June 26, 2022

Virtual Book Clubs: How to Host a Fun and Engaging Online Book Group

Open your book and your laptop, your virtual book club is waiting for you. Patrick Alex/Unsplash

Books have long been an outlet for those seeking escape. Find yourself transported to a new world through the words of a page, or gain some solace and solace between the covers of your favorite work of fiction. Book clubs turn this wonderful solitary pastime into a social occasion, whether it’s a weekly get-together at the local library, a group of friends talking about books, or a chat at the office. lunchtime with colleagues. Book clubs are a fantastic way to discover new reading materials, support authors, and maintain connections with loved ones.

While social distancing looks set to last for a while, do you wonder how book clubs will continue to operate? They will, they just had to evolve. The new normal now comes in the form of virtual book clubs. Whether you’re trying to maintain your in-person group or looking to start a new gathering of avid readers, here are our tips for making your virtual book club a success.

SEE ALSO: The most popular books New Yorkers read while social distancing

The place

Virtual book clubs can be managed from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection to participate. When choosing a platform, make sure it meets the needs of your group. Many platforms are free and easy to use and can also accommodate large numbers. Try looking at Zoom if your members are tech-savvy, want to get creative with their backgrounds, and you’re willing to shell out some cash for a subscription (the free version will cut off group meetings after 40 minutes). Skype and Google Hangouts are also great options for a simple group call. You can even try Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp if those platforms are more familiar to you.

When looking for inspiration for your book choices, discussion topics or format, social media is a great source, with the many book clubs that have sprung up among large groups of strangers. Take The hyphen club, created by author Emma Gannon. She uses a dedicated Instagram account to host her monthly book club. Author Lindsey Kelk created the I Heart Book Club as a Facebook group. And Anna James, host of the The Bibliophile Clubcreates a great example of how to harness the power of YouTube to create a book club.

The book

Next comes your reading material. As libraries and bookstores are closed and mail delivery is delayed, you may need to be flexible when choosing your book. Choose a book available for purchase as an e-book or available as a digital loan from your local library. You can also find an independent bookstore that continues to take orders, making sure they have enough copies in stock.

Take your club’s temperature to see what they want out of it. Is your band looking to tackle the classics together or do they have a favorite genre that they like to read? Try to give one person at each meeting the chance to choose the book based on these general guidelines. Or, if you prefer to decide by consensus, a simple doodle poll everyone’s answers will follow.

The discussion

As the leader of a reading group, you are there to guide the discussion, ask questions and generally lead the session. Take notes as you read and highlight any quotes or interesting topics that resonate with you and can be discussed further with your group. It’s the digital age, so feel free to sow some pre-chat thoughts via whatever communication method works for you, such as a quote posted in your facebook group or in the email reminding everyone of the date and time. And be sure to send those reminders! As the days fade further and further, it might be a good idea to send out a calendar invite or at least check in with everyone the night before so they don’t forget.

Expert tips to keep your book club sparkling, no matter how small

“I would say research the best platform for your needs and make sure you are comfortable using it! For my book club, it was just a question of which technology served best. Anna James, host of the Book Wanderers Club and author of the Pages & Co.

“Be consistent, stay involved and keep things under control. You must post regularly and interact with the group, if not, what’s the point? The most important thing is to know what your book club is and honor it. Lindsey Kelk, author of the I Heart series

“I’m finding hosting giveaways, contests and daily recommendations is a good way to keep the community engaged between virtual meetings and Hosting a book discussion once a month seems frequent enough for me to do it alongside all my other projects. I would suggest investing in nice visuals and graphics, having a brand identity and experimenting!Emma Ganon, Sunday Times Bestselling Trade Author of The Multi-Hyphen Method

If you are leading the group, remember that other members will look up to you, so be prepared to ask open-ended questions and encourage a range of voices within the group. » Hanna Andersen, founder and leadership coach at AS WE ARE.

Feeling inspired to start your own virtual book club? Remember that the most important thing right now is to have fun. Spend time engaging in engaging discussions with like-minded book enthusiasts, while supporting the authors you love.

Virtual Book Clubs: How to Host a Fun and Engaging Online Book Group