Picking the right people to join your book club can be a tricky proposition — you want a nice mix of people in order to foster some really great discussion. This may or may not include all of your besties. While it’s comfortable to just invite your inner circle to be part of the group, if you really want to learn and add some rich dynamics to the gatherings, try inviting people you’d like to get to know better.
Start with friends
You know your friends, you know what they like to read. Asking friends often makes communication, and thus scheduling and picking books, a bit easier.
Make sure you have similar reading styles
If you like fantasy novels about warlords and kung fu princesses, you’re probably not going to want to invite someone who reads nonfiction business books. A little variety is good — one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about book club is reading books that are out of my comfort zone. But you don’t want to overshoot your comfort zone by a hundred miles.
Ask them if they would be interested in joining a book club & why
Whether it’s in person or electronically, ask potential members what they would like to get out of the book club. This gets people thinking before you even have your first meeting about what kind of commitment they want to make to the group, which is never a bad thing. Start them off with some background about what you’re looking for, including the kinds of people and books, to start the conversation.
Finding (then asking) people you don’t know
If you’re new to town, or want to start a niche book club (a book club that only reads a very specific kind of book), or just are looking to meet new people, you should consider asking people you don’t know. Of course, this can be tricky, but if done right, can be extremely rewarding.
Meetup.com can be a great place to start a niche book club (in fact, Outdoor Book Club got started as a meetup group). There are some costs involved with going this route, but it’s one of the best places to find people online who are looking to get together in person. You could also start an open Facebook (or other social media) group using keywords that describe the types of books and/or people you’re looking for (i.e. “Business Book Club for Women” or “Smallville Philosophy Club”).
Finally, there’s always the old-fashioned way of posting flyers at your local library or bookstore. That’s certainly a good way of finding people who are right in your neighborhood, and who have the added bonus of patronizing places that love and support books (which are some of the best people in the world, if you ask me).
Want to learn more about how to start a book club that doesn't suck? Download my kindle ebook "How to Start a Book Club That Changes the World" from Amazon today.
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Jill Hinton Wolfe