Late in October one of my close girlfriends approached me about starting a book club. Problem was she lived 2.5 hours away. We brainstormed a couple ideas and successfully started a book club that not only meets the regular guidelines of meeting with a group once a month but also includes gals that may live far away and has a great streamlined process for communication.
Step #1: Start A Facebook Group
Facebook groups have been used to bring people together since the dawn of time – or at least since 2010. I started off with creating a group that clearly stated what I was inviting people to and the format of the club. I think it is super important to make this description clear and concise. We all hate getting Facebook group invites only to find out it is another pyramid party where we are being sold something. I wanted the ladies to know this was something real and fun and FREE!
Step #2: Invite Your Friends
My husband and I are in this weird phase where we fall in between each other’s age gap. Most of his friends are married with kids while most of my friends are still single. We have been making a big effort to network with new friends since we don’t have one close friend group. I decided for book club that I would expand to people I haven’t necessarily seen in a while and really make an attempt to meet new friends. Since my co-founder lives in Sioux City we decided Omaha would be a good home base meeting point. I reached out to a couple girlfriends in Omaha and in a 1 hour radius and ended up with a good group of about 20 gal pals.
Step #3: Pick a Book
Since I did the set up I let my co-founder be the moderator and pick the book for the first month. The book she chose was Woman in Cabin 10 (I’ll be sure to do a review). At the beginning of the month I made a short post noting the moderator and included the Amazon link where they could purchase it.
Step #4: Pick a Moderator
This step goes with the previous one but I think it is important to note that we decided to chose a different moderator each month. I am always scared of being too bossy so I though it was a good way to spread the responsibility and make the other members feel ownership in the club. Our rules (you can decide your own) is that the moderator gets to chose the book and then lead the discussion. For November the moderator chose to do a poll with a few book options which really helped with engagement.
Step #5: Pick a Meeting Date
You can do a poll or decide on a specific date for each month – for example, every third Thursday. I set the date for October and added an event through the group page so we could gauge how many members planned on attending and could automatically remind people. I would suggest finding places that are good for groups and have a good happy hour. 😉
Step #6: Discuss!
The first month we actually ended up doing the discussion on the Facebook Group Chat and it worked out great. We had a member that lives about 4 hours away and she was so happy she could participate. I started by creating a Survey Monkey link (Google forms would work great too) where people could submit questions. It is important that the moderator is the only one with access to this. That way people don’t throw out questions randomly and it keeps the conversation focused. Next month we are going to attempt a group Skype so any far away members can join the large conversation.
- Don’t get your feelings hurt! It is so worth it to reach out and invite people but don’t be offended if someone says it just isn’t their thing or they are busy!
- Start a collaborative Pinterest page! I started a page with book recommendations and invited other members to join. Then each month the moderator doesn’t feel like they are floating midair and have something to reference if they don’t have a book in mind.
- Stick to deadlines! Since it is a once a month group – skipping even one month can make people lose interest. Keep it up and build your group up – it will be worth it!
- Encourage others! Don’t try to do it on your own. Encourage other members to choose books, moderate, and invite their friends. You will end up with a diverse group and even meet some new people!
If you are in the Sioux City, Omaha, or Lincoln area or want to join in virtually email me or send me a Facebook message and I will add you our group, Busy Girls Book Club!