Reading up authors work to moderate
THAT was and is the crux of the book clubs I run. The author is the focus and the written word, nothing else matters.
I spend time reading the book, to list up my questions, to put the author on the mat. That’s the crucial part. And, that’s where you are either a good moderator or an interesting one, who can change the evening into a fun one, or just a boring one.I had been to many boring ones held in book shops when I worked in the Newspaper and so know what to avoid and what to play up to make it an enjoyable evening.
A number of people have tried running a book club. All I can say is that it comes with experience. One cannot be a good moderator overnight unless you have had experience. Mine began with interviewing people decades ago for my stories, which I write, as a journalist. So the kind of questions one asks, is extremely important.
So how does that happen? You need to read -- read and read. And analyse.What one moderator may think is excellent, another may not. It’s like I can’t do stand up comedy. That’s impossible for someone who does not have a funny bone in their bodies. They see humour in situations that we the common man can’t or don’t! It’s a talent and not everyone has it. That’s similar with being a good moderator and givinging the evening that much more of a lift, to make it enjoyable for the book lovers.
So a lot of time goes into reading the book and making quick notes. I mean you are the point person who will showcase the authors book and coax answers out of the most unaccommodating author. It’s not a given that an author will speak well. They might be great writers, but most are reluctant speakers. I have had authors looking positively glum because they were not given parking space in the club, by the security and other authors who are fun and enjoy the evening for the platform it gives them, even with ten people in the hall.
There are some authors who take over the mike and all the moderator does is try to reign them in. Some authors bring their own questions and want that read out for the event. Some who bring a long PPT, which takes over the entire evening, so there is no time for anything else. One never knows how the evening will go, as every author brings their own flavour into the evening.
I once had this gorgeous author who came and sat cross-legged in her chair through the event while another who was a professor from Oxford needed a podium and stood through the evening! Another brought in a minister who hogged the mike and was upset, because he was not given a book before he spoke.
So every event is different and every event good fun, especially if you enjoy books. For me, I love the different people who attend each group. Quite different from one another and yet, they have all come to meet the author and buy the book!
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