Are you wondering how you can keep your book club alive in times of social distancing? Go virtual! Yes, it will be different from meeting in person and cozy up at someone’s house with nice hors d’oeuvres and beverages (you can definitely have this part also at your home! ). But you will discover new ways, new possibilities, and new fun!
What do you need to move your book club virtual? Not much! Here are some tips on tools and ideas on how you can organize your move to the digital world.
First of all: Your books.
Okay. You’ve done this, so how do you get it?
We all should stay at home as much as possible and libraries are most likely closed but there are a couple of other options. Call your local bookstore (if it’s still open, of course) and ask them if they are willing to deliver it to your house. Our local toy store did this so it’s worth a try and you are supporting a local business that will be hit hard during these times.
Most libraries have expanded their online services, check if your book is available online.
Surely there is always the option to order it via Amazon – either as a paper or ebook version. Please leave a review for the book, see it as your TIP to the author and a help for other readers who are looking for recommendations.
The benefit of reading an ebook is that you’re able to track your favorite quotes and highlights and share them with your fellow club members.
Plan the date of your virtual meeting.
Times are crazy with kids at home all day long, trying to work from home (and not to forget your spouse that is probably also around you the whole day ) It will be more challenging to find a day and time that is convenient for all, Doodle is a great tool for it.
Share the questions that you will discuss when you meet, thoughts and opinions.
You can do this via e-mail but the smarter way is a Facebook group (make sure you set a moderator for discussions). There are a couple of possibilities to make this group more interesting and fun. Share links to author interviews, reviews, book trailers, and more. It’s a great way to keep yourself and your members engaged with the club outside of your scheduled talks. You can even try to get a short virtual message from the author to the group.
Consider remote reading sessions
Most likely, we are going to be isolated from our fellow human beings for a while, so consider asking one or two members to hop on your favorite video-chatting app. You can be in the same “room” while you read and make some fun comments here and there. It’s not exactly like being there in person, but it’s better than being alone, and it holds you accountable for actually reading the book! Try Google hangouts or Skype for your reading sessions.
Host your regular book club meeting
Get creative in video sharing! Zoom is a great tool for video conferences but keep in mind that the duration is limited to 40 minutes with 3 or more participants in the free plan. Discord and Google Hangouts are also great options.
Surprise your book club members
Help your favorite authors raise their visibility by having them chat with your book club whenever possible. Make sure to reach out to prospective writers at least a month in advance, to make sure they’re open and available.
But the most important thing: Have fun discovering new possibilities and technologies!
Are you considering moving your book club online or have you done it already? I’d love to read your experiences and stories!
If you are an author, feel free to share this blog post with your fan base to make sure they keep reading your wonderful books!