10 Steps to Starting a Book Club

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I cannot count the number of times I have gotten excited over a book, but did not have anyone to share my excitement with. It’s frustrating, disappointing, and even a bit lonely. Starting a book club, whether it be in person or online, is a great solution for the social bookworm. Check out these 10 ways to start a book club:

01: What kind of book club do you have in mind?

It’s imperative that you decide on a club focus, with a blend of social and academic being a great place to start. Deciding on your club’s orientation will allow you to figure how to advertise, who to permit, and what genre of books to read. For example, a paranormal erotica is decidedly out of place among nonfiction history buffs. Choose your focus, and stick to it to ensure continued success.

02: Which takes us to the next point: Genre.

What kind of books are you going to cover in your book club? Take into account genre, character tropes, possible triggers, and level of difficulty. To start, decide if you want to go with fiction, nonfiction, or other. Once you have that pinpointed, break down your decisions into subgenres. If your club has a mix of reading levels, vary up the interests of your members by switching between mildly challenging works and simplistic entertainment.

03: Know your members.

Knowing your members and their interests is a salient part of starting a book club. To begin with, a membership of eight to ten readers is best – enough for discussion, but not too crowded. Check for people with similar reading habits – someone who breezed through Infinite Jest may not enjoy discussing the Goosebumps books.

Infinite Jest, 10 steps to starting a book club, book club, reading, novels, books
Infinite Jest is one of my favorite novels!

A word of caution when inviting members, though: If you do not know them, it is probably best to meet in a public setting. This will decrease the chances of a dangerous situation evolving.

04: When and where?

Successful book clubs have schedules. . .and stick to them. Once a month seems to be the standard, although some leeway should be given for longer books and holiday occurrences. Most clubs meet at a time that works best for everyone, taking into account other life obligations. Mid-morning or early afternoon is pretty common, but take note of everyone’s personal schedules. The location depends on finances, comfort level, and space available. Depending on these factors, the location for your meetings could be anywhere from members’ homes to restaurants.

05: Snacks and beverages are a must!

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Beverages are a must-have….Especially coffee!

06: Name your club to give it more of a solid identity.

Take a vote, or brainstorm together as a group. If you come up with it yourself, it may be difficult to find members who love it as much as you do. That will also make it feel more likeyour club, rather than a group collaboration.

07: Take notes!

Keep a club journal to keep track of the selections, plot summaries, discussion minutes, and opinions. This is especially helpful for getting new members acquainted, as well as for ensuring nothing is duplicated.

08: Determine how your finances will be handled.

Do you want to collect dues to pool together to create a budget for books and food? Do you want everyone to be responsible for their own items? Perhaps you want to raise money to give back to the community? Making these decisions as a group before the discussions start is an important part of starting a book club.

09. Decide on leadership.

A lot of clubs operate on a shifting authority system, with one person carrying more weight than others. This switching off ensures fair distribution of book selections, snack choices, and discussion flow.

10. Make sure everyone is comfortable with one another.

If someone gives you a bad feeling, or makes others uncomfortable, it may be necessary to ask them to leave the book club. Doing a quick check of names online can help to avoid any potentially dangerous individuals from joining your book club. Always keep safety in mind when socializing with people you do not personally know.


Are YOU part of a book club? If so, what are the 10 steps you took to starting your book club? Do you have any advice for others starting out?



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