Last year, prior to releasing my debut title, Girl Power 101: How to Get Yours and Support Her Too I decided to do something fun to create a community who shared a similar interest of mine, which is reading. So I started a virtual book club! As soon as the idea hit me, I got to work. I’m on of those “get it done” type of girls, so I didn’t hesitate to create a plan, and then put that plan into motion. In less than 24 hours, I had an email list full of women who wanted to join! Here’s what I did.
1. Come up with a name. My rule of thumb is “keep it simple “. Mine was “Girls Who Read”. It made for catchy captions and a good hashtag on social media. You want to also be creative. This is important. People want to be a part of something cool, not boring. Once you decide on a name, blast it and watch the reactions.
2. Decided on meetups. This is where the particulars come in. Since we’re talking about virtual bookclubs, you’ll need to decide what medium you’ll use to host your discussions. I chose Periscope. Now, you can use Instagram Live! You’ll also need to decide how often you’ll meet and at what time. Keep in mind, the different time-zones. Since your bookclub is online, you may have people from all over to join in.
3. Choose your reading material. You want to be able to let your group know what you’ll be reading ahead of time. This way, they’re more likely to purchase their books on time. I announced books quarterly, three at a time. This gave me room to change things if I wanted to later. It would suck to announce the 12 books you’re going to read for the entire year, and then you change five of them leaving one member SOL (shit outta luck). Figure out what works best for your group and adjust. They will let you know what works for them.
4. Decide how you’ll facilitate discussions. This is probably one of the most important things! You’ll need to decide if you’ll take turns facilitating or will you always be the host? Will you generate the discussion questions or will the group members do that? Maybe you’ll just let it flow! Come up with some way to keep members engaged. Most importantly, have fun!
5. Pick a launch date. Once everything is mapped out, choose a date to begin. This will determine the cut-off for people to sign-up and also create something for those that are interested to look forward to, which will guarantee a good turnout for your first meetup.
6. Market it. Use social media, work-of-mouth and email to get the word out there! Create a detailed graphic using PicMonkey, Canva or Photoshop (if you’re fancy) to use online. Make sure you create a list of hashtags to go along with it, to help boost the number of people who’ll likely see your graphic.
7. Go live! By now, everyone should have received their order from Amazon or should have gone to their local book retailer to grab a copy of book number one. Once the time arrives, it’s time to shine! I suggest hosting and introduction meetup before the first discussion oriented meetup. This will give members a feel for how you operate and also give everyone a chance to meet eachother. Consider it a test run.
Now, tell me you can’t do this in 24 hours! It’s so simple; a third grader could host his or her own bookclub. Just follow the outline above. If you’re involved with a book club, or have one of your own, I’d love to check it out! I’m all for a good book to add to my ever growing library. If you’d like to be a member of Girls Who Read for the next run, click here to join. Yes, membership is still FREE!
Call to Action:
1. For those who want to start a book club and use my seven steps, let me know when you’ll be launching in the comments below and I’ll be sure to join in.
2. If you’re already involved with a book club, leave a link below to share it with others!