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Beth-Barany_360by270-cropped Thanks to author Beth Barany for stopping by and chatting about virtual book club appearances. Both authors and readers can learn something from her post.

How to Prepare for a Virtual Book Club Appearance by Beth Barany

Many authors are looking for ways to connect with their readers, sell books, and most importantly, build a group of fans who are waiting for your next book.

Book Clubs are a great way to do this.

But how do you get a book club to have you as their featured author? Well, you can make it easy for people to consider you for a book club by having excerpts on your site, list your buy links, and have a contact form or contact information on your site. If you’d like to you can also have a page on you site that lets people know you’re available for book clubs.

Through my awesome assistant in my book coaching business, Michelle C. Geary, I got my first book club experience. Her son Alex was enthusiastic about my YA fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, and got his high school book club excited too! I made a Skype appearance to chat with them back in January 2013.

Now what do you do once a book club contacts you?

Preparation for your Book Club Appearance

1. Help them get your book, at a discount if you can.

Independent authors can often ship books from their printer directly at a discount for the book club members — I was able to do this. Traditionally published authors: check with your publisher to see if they can provide books at a discount.

2. Provide a Q&A of suggested questions or ask if the group has their own.

Patty, the book club organizer, eagerly sent me questions, that I’ve now adapted and posted on my site. http://author.bethbarany.com.

3. Set up a time and a place.

Here’s where I have to give a plug to the wonders of technology. Place no longer has to be a limitation. You can be a guest via Skype, or another webinar tool. I think Skype is the easiest and most affordable — free! — tool at this point.  I used Skpye to chat with the Marengo, Iowa middle school/high school book club, since I live in California.

4. Promote your upcoming appearance via your site and social media.

I mentioned my upcoming appearance on Twitter, my favorite broadcast medium.

During Your Book Club Appearance

Henrietta-FullCover7.indd 1. Come prepared to your book club. Have your book blurb hand, the list of questions and answers, and even props.

I rehearsed my answers, and had a copy of my book in hand. I also had my dragons next to me in case I’d have an opportunity to show them.

2. Make sure people know how to stay connected with you and see if they’d like special early notification of your next book.

I invited people to sign up for my newsletter at http://author.bethbarany.com.

3. If it seems appropriate, ask them if they know of any other book club that would like you as a guest.

4. Lastly, offer a special giveaway if you have one.

A digital trading card is popular in some genres. Here’s a how-to article on that: http://www.ehow.com/how_5821932_create-trading-cards-digital-photos.html  I haven’t created such cards, yet!

After Your Book Club Appearance

1. Thank your book club host and all the attendees.

2. Mention them in a post as a public shout out. I did that here: http://author.bethbarany.com/2013/01/23/news-from-ya-fantasy-author-beth-barany/

3. Make notes on what worked and what you would do differently next time.

That’s it! Let me know if you’ve done any in-person or virtual book club appearances. What did you like about it? Any advice that you’d like to share?

Bonus Offer: I’ll give away an ebook copy of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer to one of the commentors, and will pick a winner at random seven days after this post goes live. Good luck!”

Beth Barany is the award-winning author of the YA fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer. For more information about Beth’s fiction, and to sign up for her somewhat monthly newsletter, go to http://author.bethbarany.com

Thanks again to Beth Barany for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and my new feature, Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a book-filled day.– Vonnie

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