(pictured L to R: Tiffany, Lori and Malena, members of Chapter 1, BEbabes)
I know. Starting a book club and asking people to join is akin to asking someone to be your friend. Awwwkwaaard. In this 4 part series, we’ll discuss ways to grow your book club, beginning with THE ASK.
YOU: (sheepish) Hey, I’m starting up a book club and thought you might want in on it.
THEM: “What’s involved?” they ask in a tone that sounds like you just ask them to join your pyramid scheme.
“Reading, like, a book? I haven’t read a book in…years.”
Oh, boy. Ship is sinking, and not Titanic-slow, either.
“Yes, a book. It’s a book club. We’ll all read a book and then come together and discuss it.”
“Discuss a…book. I don’t know. With my schedule….”
Take 2, a different approach
YOU: (smiling, as if you just won the lottery or something) Hey, I’m getting some girls together for a book party. I’m making my favorite martinis and some gals are bringing their best appetizers.
THEM: (intrigued beyond belief, after all, you just said (free) martinis and (free) food) What do I need to do?
” Just read a book. Any book you like, then come to the party and we’ll discuss it. I’ll send you a site with some recommended reads and if you pick one of those, awesome. But if not, read something else and then come share.”
With a devilish glint in her eye, “I’d love an excuse to get out of the house for a night. And I’ve been meaning to take up reading again. I love to read, I just never make the time anymore.”
“It will definitely keep you motivated! Besides, we miss you and it’ll be fun, I promise. Can I mark you down for your amazing guac?”
Now, the difference in Take 1 and Take 2 is about confidence, tone and approach. Some women will say yes to a book club even if you said your first selection was WAR AND PEACE. Others, well, they may be afraid that the selections will feel like homework. So let them no upfront how you’ll be selecting the books, how often you’ll meet, where and what you’re expecting of them.
Remember to ask twice as many as you think will be there. You want enough to feel like a “party”, at least five or so. For my first book party on October 1st, I invited 25 and 13 were able to make it. ALL OF THEM are in the book club, but they had other obligations and illnesses that night. Very typical, especially if your members are moms of active children. Or active civic moms in general. I probably asked another 10 or so who declined the invite into Book End Babes.
If you’d like to start up a chapter of Book End Babes in your area, just e-mail Malena at bookendbabes at me dot com and we’ll get you set up with bookmarks, index cards and the next three queenBs to host a chapter will also get a cute tote and free book!