My mother-in-law’s book group has kindly asked me to come visit next year which has prompted me to think about authors and book group etiquette. Thus far, I have been incredibly lucky that the book groups I have visited have loved my books (or at least pretended to!) so I have never faced that awkward moment of realization that someone found my books…er…’lacking’.
As a member of a book group myself I have, however, been known to initiate some pretty ‘lively’ (and negative) debates over the merits of a particular book. So what is the etiquette for author visits to book groups? How do participants and authors handle the fact that not everyone is going to like a book?
When I visit a book group I usually focus on the inspiration for my books and the writing process or writing life itself. Very rarely do I enter into a debate over the merits (or otherwise) of my writing. I wonder, however, have I just been lucky? Is the day of reckoning going to come when I have to face the hard questions? And how, assuming that day does come, should I react?
So here are some questions for authors and readers alike:
- Have you ever had an author visit to a book group that ended badly?
- How should book groups handle an author visit when not everyone likes the books (which, lets face it, is 99.9% of the time)?
Now obviously we all expect a modicum of decency and respect…but apart from that what should the etiquette be (for book groups and authors alike)?