Ever thought about chatting with an author at your next book group meeting via Skype? That's what the reading group of JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America), Southern Arizona Region, did with me last Sunday, complete with webcam.
I've done a lot of conference calls with book groups. Very simple. All the group needs is a speakerphone. But this time the group called me with a laptop. Or more precisely, their laptop called my laptop. And because each of our laptops had cameras clipped on or built in, we were able to chat face to face. Oh how I love modern technology.
For me, the Skype call with JASNA's Southern Arizona book group was a peak book club experience. There was a level of connection and immediacy in our face-to-face conversation that one can't possibly match on a speakerphone. Phone calls are fabulous, if that's all there is available. But if I can see who I'm talking to, and they can see me, the connection is that much more focused and intimate. It's the next best thing to being physically present in the room.
Book Club Girl, one of my favorite blogs, has a great piece about Skype author call-ins for book clubs. Book Club Girl gives her perspective, and so does author Ami McKay. They love the idea as much as I do.
There is another thing to consider when using Skype, at least for this author; to wit: trading my pajamas or yoga clothes (my favorite writing attire) for grown-up girl clothes. And powdering my nose. Oh, yeah. And unpacking that stack of office supplies piled up behind me. One never knows what might show on camera.
It's well worth the effort, in my opinion. So next time you're thinking of inviting an author to your next book club meeting, ask if you can do it via Skype.