by Liz Donatelli
Originally published in the 2012 Fall Edition of Book Club 101 Magazine
Book clubs can take their romances with authors to the “next level” by inviting them to engage in bookship-building activities. Book club organizers, or BCOs, should keep in mind that bookish intimacy is best initiated in cyber space. They should send their word-slinging paramours personalized, spell-checked emails containing sincere compliments and offering details of the love fest that awaits.
The best way to “turn the heat up” on a bookship is for the literary sweethearts to meet face-to-face. A local wordsmith, or one who’s willing to travel, would make the best book club companion.
After reading a particularly enjoyable book club selection penned by Mr. Author Fonzarelli, the BCO could invite him to participate in a cozy book club gathering. This get-together could include a book reading and signing, a round or two of Q&A, refreshments, and, perhaps, a giveaway. A local book store, boutique, or restaurant would serve as the perfect love nest for the evening.
A Skype Rendezvous
Skype is a free, convenient and user-friendly book club tool. (Visit www.skype.com to learn more.) This software allows book clubbers in Boise to meet with authors in the Bronx via video call. A BCO who owns a webcam and has downloaded Skype could invite Mr. Author Fonzarelli to join in the book club’s discussion of his novel “The Happiest Days.” A Q&A session could follow. In preparation for the Skype call, BOCs should encourage each attending member to comment on what they liked best about Mr. F’s novel and to come prepared with questions.
Skype-averse book clubs and authors can still make bookish love. Creating a private online chat room would be a terrific way for a book club to engage an author in a real-time conversation. A BCO could open a free account with a chat room service, such as Chatzy (www.chatzy.com), coordinate a specific chat date and time with Mr. Author Fonzarelli, and email invitations to the chat participants. To ensure a successful chat, each book club member should enter the room with a few questions in mind.
Becoming a demonstrative lover requires compromise and creativity. Book club organizers should remain flexible and cooperative when hashing out the details of their dates with authors. Also, every effort should be made to create a situation in which both parties can best enjoy each other’s company. If this means hosting a Skype pajama party, then go for it.
A book club that commits to showing, not just telling, the author of their dreams how much they’re admired and appreciated will bring balance to the bookish universe. And, authors will cherish the act of requited love. A consummated bookship is a beautiful thing.
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