How To Start A Book Club
Everything you’ll need to know when starting a book club!
Research & Refine your Business Idea
Starting a book club doesn’t need to be a difficult thing! There are just a few things that are worth keeping in mind to ensure it becomes a successful endeavor. From selecting the niche of your club to ensuring people keep coming back, we’re going to take a look at how to make your book club magical!
To begin with, people with a keen interest will be more likely to stick with a book club that covers book genres they like. Think about the kinds of genres you like best, and pick one to center your club around.
After you’ve done this, coming up with a relevant name can also be a great way to quickly clue people into what your club is about. The more eyes you can catch with just the name, the higher the chances are that people will be interested in getting involved.
Once you’ve chosen these things, you’ll also need to figure out where the club will meet and how often. This can show people who are interested that you have a plan.
Then, it’s time to get the word out about your fantastic book club!
Creating your Business Website
Having an online presence for your book club is an extremely important way to spread information about the club and what it has to offer. There are also a variety of ways you can do this, which you can tailor to your budget and needs.
One popular option for something like a book club is using Meetup, or a similar website that helps people to get together and form clubs. There is typically a monthly fee for those who are creating a club, but free for all others. You can also keep s schedule and let people know about upcoming meetings quite easily.
Social media is also a decent choice for letting others know about your club. You can easily make a club page for sharing information, pictures and allow members to communicate in a convenient way. The best part is that this option is often free!
If you’re looking to really get your group set up for success, then providing the club its own website can be a fun endeavor. There are plenty of options that allow you to make websites for free, though hosting and a domain name can require a little money. Take a look into some website-builder sites like Wix and Squarespace to see what you can create for your book club!
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Get Ideas for your book club business name!
Marketing Your Business
While marketing for a book club is a little different from marketing products or services for sale, it can still be an important part of allowing the club to be successful. Depending on how large you want the club to become, you may make use of marketing to any extent you see fit.
For many, just using Meetup or a social media page is more than enough to get the ball rolling. However, some also opt to have their own website for the group.
If you’re interested in expanding the club as far as it can go, there are many other things you can do, like advertisements online and in print, and even on the radio.
Another possibility you can try out is taking the club to a podcast. Maybe that means discussing the book yourself, or with one or two others. This can be a good way to reach out to those who may not be nearby and able to attend physical meetings. Instead, people can read the books on their own and then listen to the associated podcast episode.
The possibilities are endless, and that means that there are so many opportunities for growth out there in different ways. You may even find that you can bring in some income with the help of the book club.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
Because a book club tends to be a much more casual experience than something like a business, KPI’s, or Key Performance Indicators, don’t tend to be as much of a concern. However, that’s not to say that you can’t use them to help with making your book club as successful as possible.
If your club has a website, then keeping tabs on the traffic that site is getting can be an indicator of how interested people are in it. In addition, keeping an eye on the number of people active in the group at a given time, or how many newcomers you get for each meeting, can give you some ideas as well.
Using these statistics, you can learn how to make adjustments in order to get more new people coming in, and getting people to stick around once they’ve made an appearance. As a result, your club will thrive and grow a little better than leaving it to grow and change organically.
Plan your Finances
Unlike a standard business, there aren’t often a lot of finances that need to be handled in a book club. In some cases, there may be fees for membership, location reservations or other aspects of that nature, but it isn’t often an income-generating endeavor.
Consequently, the planning can be a little bit easier when it comes to financial aspects. If you think you’re going to need to collect membership fees or have any need for a club bank account, then it’s a great idea to open one up. That way, funds for the club can be separated from your personal funds.
That said, in many cases the costs for a book club can be close to free. If you already have a space to run the club out of and can find free ways to get the word out, then the only price involved may be that of the books themselves. It’s really going to depend on your unique situation.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Whether it’s a business or a book club, there can be obstacles that get in the way. Sometimes it’s financial, while in other cases it might just seem like no one is interested in what you’re offering. This can make it tough to be successful whether you’re trying to make money or not.
However, it’s important to remember that even those with extremely successful creations have experienced bumps and failures along the way. Rather than giving up, it’s worth stepping back, making some adjustments and continuing forward as best you can.
It could be that there aren’t many others nearby interested in the genre of books you’ve selected, or that people would prefer to read that genre alone rather than talk about it in a group. In some cases, people may just not want to do the extra socialization.
Whatever the issue is, there are ways to make it a little bit easier for people to be involved, even if that means hosting the book club online rather than in person. Each unique situation is going to dictate what may or may not work for your group, so it’s up to you to find flexible solutions!
Other things to consider when starting your book club
Because book clubs are often something that is done just for fun, there is less of a concern for the legal requirements involved in the process. However, you may want to consider some rules for within the club to keep everything fair, productive and fun.
One important guideline that might be overlooked is the decision on which books are going to be read. There are a number of ways you can lead this process, such as voting, selecting a random title from those provided by members, or simply taking turns choosing the book for a given period.
Additionally, you may want to create some basic ground rules for how meetings will be handled. While there shouldn’t be many issues with people being rude, unkind or violent, sometimes people can get excited and begin to talk over one another.
Having a plan for these kinds of situations can be a great way to just make sure that things are flowing smoothly, and that everyone gets their say.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
Especially if you end up requiring member fees, it’s a good idea to have some kind of system for bookkeeping. Sometimes those fees may need to go for books for the group if you decide, or for reservations for a place to meet at regularly, or other club-related expenses.
The good news is that keeping that information in check doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. Programs like Xero can make it much easier to stay on top of group expenses. Or if you would prefer, you may be able to get the help of a mathematically-inclined member to function as the treasurer for the group.
Another option you have is to hire outside help, which isn’t likely to be necessary, but it could happen!
In the event that you should need to hire someone to help outwith any aspect of your book club, there are a few ways you can go about it! For some smaller, or short-term tasks, hiring a freelancer from a site like Upwork can be a great way to go.
For a freelancer, the hiring process tends to be pretty easy and you can have several proposals from those who want to work for you within a couple of days. The good news is that you can hire them for anything from a single task to ongoing services, depending on what you need and agree on with whoever you hire.
If you are going to need someone more regularly, then hiring through standard means can also be a good idea. However, this is something you’ll want to familiarize yourself on so that you know what kind of pay to offer, and are able to allow for things like breaks, lunches and other employee necessities.
The more you understand about the hiring process and treating employees well, the better off you’ll be!