How to Host a Writer

Never invited an author to your book group before? Don’t be nervous — it’s going to be fantastic! Authors enjoy meeting readers every bit as much as much as readers enjoy meeting authors.

Here are some suggestions — and one ironclad rule — to make the visit a success.

If your book group tends to undertake a certain amount of “business” at each meeting—choosing location and host for the next meeting, making future book choices—you might consider dispatching these items before your author arrives, or holding them until after he or she leaves. Use your time with the author to discuss the book, the writing process, or whatever else comes up in the conversation.

What should you say if…well…you didn’t utterly LOVE the author’s book? An author visit is not a praise-fest, it’s an exchange of ideas. And even if the book doesn’t turn out to be one of your favorites you may still be interested in the author’s writing process and experiences. Ask questions, and be open to thinking about books—perhaps even this book—in a new way. Remember that the time for making changes in the book is long past; even if you have identified a glaring error or have a brilliant solution to a perceived shortcoming, the author can no longer implement your suggestions.

And now for that ironclad rule…

In a typical book group, your group members may borrow their copy of the book from a friend, or the library, but when you invite an author to attend your meeting each person should purchase his or her own copy of the book. This is a courtesy that readers sometimes do not fully understand, but its importance cannot be overstated. The purchase may be made in any format—hardcover, paperback or e-Book—but it is a gesture that is truly appreciated. And yes, of course the author will sign your books! (Well, maybe not your e-Book.)

Let us know how everything went! If you have comments about the author’s visit, please pass them along. And if there’s a photograph of your visit with the author you’d like to send us for our website, we’d love to see it!