How to Include an Author in Your Book Club Discussion

When I started my book club, our first title was a new release (Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller) and I couldn’t find discussion questions online. On the author’s website, I found an email address given to contact the author. I expected to hear back from a personal assistant or agent, so was pleasantly surprised to get an email directly from the author!

Claire’s kindness and excitement over my club’s choice of her new novel was touching. She provided me with discussion questions and asked for a photo of our group hen me met.

I mustered up courage to ask if she would be willing to participate in an author interview with me for my blog and she said yes.

My exchanges with the author not only impressed my book club. They gave me the inspiration to reach out to other authors in advance of our meetings. I realized that for as much I was in awe of the author, they were excited about hearing from readers.

Now I reach out to every author about our book club meetings. COVID has left many authors with cancelled events and boxes of their own books too unload. This has made them a little more accessible.

Most authors send me pleasant responses. Some have come up with discussion questions specifically for my group, or even worked together with me on them. I don’t hear back from every author, and some aren’t able or willing to join my club.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

If you haven’t thought about including an author in your book club discussion before, I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

(Keep in mind, this isn’t something you’d need to do for every book your club reads. It can be a one time thing, or reserved for books that particular resonate with you.)

How to Include an Author in Your Book Club Discussion

Visit the author’s website

A quick Google search or visit to their Goodreads‘ page will give you an author’s website. Check it out and look for a Contact section. This may give you a form to fill out or an email address to contact.

If the author doesn’t have a website, which is rare but does happen, visit the website for the book’s publishing house. This can also be found on the book’s Goodread’s page.

Send a simple, friendly email.

Either via a contact form or through direct email, send the author a message. Keep it short and positive. Introduce yourself and tell them what book your club is reading. Ask if they have discussion questions or other materials for book clubs. Then ask if they ever join book clubs for discussion or Question & Answer sessions. Phrase it this way instead of saying “Will you join my club on X date?” This gives them an easy out if it’s something they don’t like to do or aren’t able to schedule with you.

While Zoom meetings are common in these days of COVID, I’ve had authors offer to join a book club meeting this way in the past, too. Some authors love to be part of discussions of their books, and others don’t. You’ll never know until you ask!

Give the author detailed information

Once the author agrees to participate, tell them when the book club discussion is and how it’s held (Zoom, Skype, Facebook, etc.) Give them a specific time to show up and a fair estimation of how much of their time you’re asking for.

Depending on the book, I give my group 60-90 minutes for discussion before I have the author join in. Your members need time to freely give their opinions on the book without the author listening!

Set expectations ahead of time.

I let my group know in advance if the author will be joining us. I encourage them to think of what they’d like to say/ask in advance. Once the author is in the group, I let my members introduce themselves and have a couple minutes to say what they’d like to the author, then we go into asking questions.

Before the meeting ends, I asked a couple times to make sure no one else has questions or comments they want to make before the author leaves us.

Send the author a thank you note.

Within a day of the meeting, send the author a quick email to thank them for joining your group.


That’s all there is to it! With just a little bit of time and research, you can connect with an author and have solid material to share with your book club!

*Note: Make sure only one member of your book club is taking on this task to avoid duplicate outreach to the author.

Photo by Nicholas Bartos on Unsplash

Have you had an author join your book club? I’d love to hear how it went. If not, I hope this inspires you to give it a try.


Leave a Reply