You might be going out less, but your calendar doesn’t have to stay empty – socialising with your friends, family and community is now more important than ever – and you don’t even need to leave the couch! Here’s how to invite a Fremantle Press author into your lounge room for a chat with your book club via Zoom.
Book an author
Once you've zeroed in on your target, either go to the author page and click the Book Author button, to complete a web form, or just email firstname.lastname@example.org with all the dates and details.
Buy a book
While most book club visits are free, a great way to support our authors is if everyone in the group buys or borrows a book by way of payment. Order your books online from your local bookstore (many are doing free local deliveries!) or through the Fremantle Press website. We know virtual signatures are not a thing. If you want a signed copy, send us a note and we'll make it happen somehow. Don't forget you can buzz your your local library to find out what their click and collect options are for library loans.
If you're the host
Write a few dot points about how you’d like to run your book club, and what you’d like to ask the author. You can ask the other book club members to have their own questions ready. You might like to share a recipe or cocktail for other members of the group to make at home. Be creative, is there a recipe or drink that fits with the book's theme? Jay Martin's Vodka and Apple Juice springs to mind.
Dress code: 'Noice'
If you're hosting Jon Doust for Return Ticket, maybe you want to dress as hippies and host your book club meeting at the kitchen sink? (Bottom left: That's what Jon looked like way back when. Who wouldn't want to steal that awesome shirt off his back?)
Footy lovers ready to argue the finer points of the Eagles Docker rivalry could join Derby authors Sean Gorman and David Whish-Wilson in team colours. (Top left: a completely unbiased outfit suggestion is modeled by the authors.) If you're inviting Anne-Louise Willoughby, perhaps everyone should come dressed as their favourite Nora Heysen painting? (Above left: Children's author Kelly Canby shows you how to model your favourite painting. For her full collection check out Facebook @KellyCanbyArt.) Want to just hang out in your PJs with a fluffy toy? Our authors aren't that fussed. (Below left: Kathryn Lefroy models her best pair of flannel pajamas.)
Become IT Savvy
It’s time to set up your Zoom account. You can either do this through your browser (no download required), or via the free app on your phone or computer (download required). Note that for free Zoom accounts, there is a 40-minute limit to virtual meetings with more than three attendees.
- To go through the browser, head to zoom.us and click the sign-up button in the top right-hand corner of the homepage. Here you can either sign up with your email address or Facebook account. Follow the prompts and you’re ready to go.
- To go through the free app, search for ‘ZOOM Cloud Meetings’ on your Google Play Store or App Store. Once it’s downloaded, press ‘Sign up’ and follow the prompts. Now you’re ready to get Zooming!
You can either schedule your meet up for a specific date and time, or you can wing it and do it on the day of.
Location, location, location
Set up a spot where you’d like to host your Zoom meet-up. It could be in your backyard, on your couch, or even in the bedroom. Make sure there’s good lighting – natural is best but who cares after a couple of cocktails anyway. Place your device of choice in a stable position. You wouldn’t want anyone to get motion sickness!
Start your engines
To start a meet-up on your browser, click ‘Host a meeting’ in the top right-hand corner of the homepage. Now you can invite the other members of your book club by pressing the ‘Invite’ button on the bottom row of the Zoom call. Choose the email option that’s best for you, and send off your Zoom call link. This link allows anyone who has access to it to join the meet-up. If you’d prefer to schedule in a time instead, click on ‘My account’ from the homepage, and then ‘Schedule a meeting’ in the top right-hand corner. From here you can choose the topic, description, date, time and duration of the meet-up. Hit save, then share the link generated with your other book club members. (You can find this as ‘Join URL’ between ‘Meeting Password’ and ‘Video’.)
To start a meet-up on your phone app, sign in and click the orange button that says ‘New Meeting’ in the top left-hand corner of the homepage. Now you can invite the other members of your book club by pressing the ‘Participants’ button on the bottom row of the Zoom call. Click ‘Invite’ and choose the best option for you to send your Zoom call link (this can be through email, text messaging and more.) This link allows anyone who has access to it to join the meet-up. If you’d prefer to schedule in a time instead, click on the blue button that says ’Schedule’ at the top of the homepage. From here you can choose the topic, description, date, time and duration of the meet-up. Once saved, you can add invitees via email, Facebook messenger, text messaging and more.
And that’s it! You’re ready for your Zoom book club meet up.
If you’re on your desktop, you have a few other options. You can set a virtual background (for those who don’t want to make their bed) and even put on a beauty filter! Have a play around – it’s a lot of fun.
We look forward to seeing some Zoom book club meet-up updates on your social media channels! Tag us @FremantlePress #FremantlePress