Scheduling a time that works for everyone in your book club can be a huge headache. With everyone's different schedules and commitments, find a date, time and place can feel like a perfect storm. Here are a few guidelines to make scheduling your book club easier.
First set a meeting length
You’ll want to give your group enough time to fully discuss the book, but still have plenty of time left over for socializing. However, keep in mind that having a three-hour long book club can be intimidating for some people who are busy. For more social book clubs, evenings are a good time to schedule a meeting, so that people can stay later if they’d like to socialize more. But for more formal book clubs, sometimes lunch hours work better. In fact, my own book club was initially comprised of all co-workers, and sometimes the only times we could meet were in the executive conference room at lunch.
Pick a location
For book clubs among friends, rotating between the members’ living rooms is a good choice; that way one person doesn’t take on all the responsibility of hosting. For friendly/social book clubs, it’s best to keep the group to eight members or less, and no one should be required to host the group at their home if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. Restaurants, libraries, bookstores and even local parks and hiking trails can make good meeting spaces too (at Outdoor Book Club, we believe that being outdoors and talking about books is the best of both worlds!). If you decide to regularly meet at a public space, inviting 12 or more members becomes more feasible.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your locations a bit — maybe pick someplace different for special occasions (like reading a book that inspired a movie, you go out to watch the movie then hold your discussion afterwards at a restaurant). Or maybe for your holiday party/gift exchange, you’ll decide to meet at the botanical gardens or museum, adding an a special air to your usual book club gathering. Or maybe your book club is having an anniversary, or someone is getting married, or you just want to treat yourselves to something special for your birthdays — in that case, can I suggest planning a custom Outdoor Book Club trip (I do all the work, you just show up and be awesome)?
Sending the invite
Once you’ve got a good idea of a time, place and meeting length that works for everyone in the group, it’s time to send the official invitation.
As I’ve already mentioned, make sure you give people plenty of time to put the meeting on their calendars. Two weeks is good, but a month is even better.
Make sure the email lays out all the details, in writing, that gives everyone all the information they need to get to the book club on time. There’s a template for doing this in my book "How to Start a Book Club That Changes the World" if you need some inspiration, but basically start with passion and excitement, be clear about your agreed-upon expectations and end with a warm, personal touch that let’s everyone know how happy you are that they’re part of this amazing little group.
Want a convienent, clearly written guide that gives you everything you need to know to plan an awesome book club? Buy my ebook on Amazon, How to Start a Book Club That Changes The World.
Jill Hinton Wolfe