Ask the Book Club Expert

Have a question about starting a book club?

Want to know how to invite more people to join your club?

Wondering when’s the next big literary event?

Ask the book club expert a question  by posting it in the comment box below and she will reply back as quickly as possible. Also, your questions  may be featured in future editions of A Literary Diva’s Guide: to Hosting a Fab Book Club Meeting!

6 comments on “Ask the Book Club Expert

  1. When you invite an author is it ok to collaborate with other book clubs and is charging appropriate?

    • Hi Lashanda,

      To answer your question….. YES, YES, and YES! Partnering with another book club for an event and inviting an author to attend is a great idea. And yes, its perfectly okay to charge a fee for others to attend your event. If you feel a little uncomfortable about charging a fee, just think about all the time, effort, and money you and your book club will spend in planning the event.

      If this is your first event, try to find a local author and ask them them if they can attend. I wouldn’t seek authors outside of your area unless they are willing to pay to fly into your city. This way you avoid incurring additional fees.

      Your event could be a workshop and include an luncheon or a book release party. But don’t charge for a book signing since thats normally a free event.

      Networking with other book clubs and organizing an event together is a great idea. Just make sure everyone is aware of the role they have to play and it should run smoothly.

  2. I am planning my first literary event for this fall. I plan to invite 2 to 3 local authors and one well known author to this event. Do you have an itinerary or agenda that I could use as an outline for my program? I’m not sure of how I’m suppose to put the authors in the program. Any advice you can give to get me going with this event is appreciated.

    • Hi Lori,
      Without knowing exactly what type of function your hosting its hard to give you the exact answers you’re seeking.

      If you like, you can email me directly at nubianlit@gmail.com and send me more specifics about your event. But for now, I can give you a couple of general tips.

      If it’s only 2 authors, I would put the well known author at the end of the program.

      If you have 3 other authors, schedule the well known author in the middle.

      And here’s why.

      If you have 2 local authors, and one well known author and schedule that well known author (let call him Mr. X) at the start of the event, you risk overshadowing your local authors.

      However, if you schedule Mr X at the end of the event and you have 3 authors speaking before him, you risk upsetting Mr. X because:
      1. he may be a Prima Donna and very impatient or
      2. he may have other speaking engagements to attend.

      You’re best bet, however, is to contact Mr X’s assistant and ask how does Mr X prefers to be schedule. At the end of the day, its best to cater around Mr. X’s schedule since he’s the crowd grabber.

      As far as an agenda… again…I can’t answer that without knowing the type of event you’re having. For the sake of this post, I’m going to assume it’s a book reading. Book reading are pretty informal.

      First you have the introduction where you thank everyone for coming, including the authors and then you introduce your first speaker/author. Afterwards the author will answer questions from the audience and then: wash, rinse, and repeat with the next speaker. Afterwards, wrap the event up with a closing remark and encourage the audience to support the authors by buying thier books and having it signed.

      Again, email me if you have any additional questions. I’m here to help.

      Joy Farrington

  3. I am hosting my first book club next month. How do you kick off your first meeting. How do go about choosing a book topic. Thx for your response. Peace and blessing

    • Hi Judy,
      You really need to decide what type of books/genre your club plans to read. This will help narrow the field of all the books currently out there and help you select a Book of the Month (BOTM). If you decide that your book club will read a Christian Fiction novel, your first book could be “Sins of the Mother” by Victoria Christopher Murray. If you like to read contemporary fiction, E Lynn Harris’s new book “In My Father House” may be a good pick for you. If you prefer classic, you can never go wrong with The Color Purple. Or even better, read “Eat Pray Love.” Your first meeting could be a trip to the movie theater. Afterwards finish the meeting during dinner at a restaurant where you can discuss the book in more details and even compare it to the movie.

      Once you decide on the type of book your club will read, the next step is to plan the meeting.
      Meetings are usually set up as follow:
      Club Agenda
      Book Discussion

      My book club, Nubian Sistas, enjoy playing games during the meeting as well. It makes the meeting more entertaining and help keep the club fresh.

      But keep in mind- your book club- your rules. So basically, you could format the meeting any way you like.

      Let me know how you’re first meeting goes,

      Joy Farrington, The Book Club Expert

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