Speakers for Book Clubs – Yes or No?

camels-nose-inside-the-tentShould your book reading group invite outside speakers? Here I’m thinking of visiting authors, publishing experts, librarians, and other book related speakers.

Each group should develop a policy. Why? Because everyone and his brother has a writer or would-be author in the family. Someone always knows someone who knows someone.

This can work to your advantage as a group, or it could open the tent flap just enough that the primadonna camel gets her head inside. When that happens, it’s not long before the rest of the camel comes in. Then Shelly wants to know why her aunt, who wrote a family history, can’t come in since April’s sister got to speak to the group. After all, an author’s an author. Then feelings get hurt, someone takes an offense, and the group is in turmoil.

If you know in advance whether you like camels and want to have them in your tent (which may be great) then your life will be much simpler. And there are camels and there are CAMELS.

A good, experienced camel, err . . . speaker or author of a book you’re reading could be a great enhancement to your group. A developmental editor can give your group real insight into the process that a book passes through to even make it into your hands to read. Or these guests could bore you to death. Make sure that if the group allows visitors from the publishing world, that they add value to the group.

So . . . decide on a speaker policy. Then, if you will invite speakers, try to get a few references [unless you’re sure that the speaker will add value to your group because of who is recommending him or from his already established reputation].

A speaker policy will save you lots of grief later and keep those valuable friendships intact.

QUESTION: Does your reading/book group have a speaker policy? What experiences have you had with guest speakers?

©2013, David C Alves
Follow @davidcalves

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