Friday, 1 July 2011

Fortnight of Guests: Angela's Anxious Life (YA Book Club)

Hello all!  I am your guest blogger this week.  My name is Angie and yes I love to read. My blog is Angela's Anxious Life.  I know many of you out there might be wondering how in the world to have a great online book club? Well I am here to help.  Having a book club is rewarding but also very hard.    I have two fabulous book clubs on (see links below).  One is for Stephen King fans which has 2000 members,  and my other group is the YA Book Club (Young Adult), which has 3000 members.  Both groups are quite large so about 6 months ago I had to go out and find a co-moderator for each group which has been a big help.  You must be dedicated and wiling to do what it takes to get your book club off the ground.

All of the following advice can be used in real-world book clubs or online books clubs.  First, you must get people interested in wanting to even read with you.  I make sure I read the book with my group every month whether I want to or not.  If the leader of the book club doesn't participate why should it's members?  Then I try to get members to participate in picking the book for that month. So I will run a poll for the members to vote on.  I used to take suggestions each month, and maybe even do a theme month but I found that was too many books to vote for.  Sometimes we would end up with 30 books and then too many books would end up with a tie.  So I found it easier to create a Master Book Suggestion List where people could still suggest books and then I would randomly pick the book using an online number generator.  I also used to have 2 books a month for members to chose from, but I found this to not really work.  First off I had a hard time as the leader of the club reading two books a month when I have my own "to be read" pile, and second off the more popular book would get the most participation and the other book hardly any.  So I would recommend one book.
As for our group discussions, I prefer to have multiple threads of discussion for one book, whereas I've seen some online groups do just one discussion thread per book.  I've found that by allowing multiple threads of discussion, it does require a lot more work to moderate, however it makes a much more meaningful and active conversation for all readers.  I also try to get group members involved by having them volunteer to be the discussion leader.  Sometimes I do not have a volunteer so I have to do it myself.  This is fine with me but it is really great when members participate.  I also have the group select the "book of the month" about a month and a half in advance so that members have a chance to get the book before we start reading it.  Remember - everyone will have different opinions and there is the chance for conflict between members.  Just be sure to keep the discussion going in a good direction and make sure everyone's opinions are respected.
Well I have so much more advice but I don't want to babble on all day (and I can). Feel free to message me if you want any more advice or have questions.  I hope everyone enjoyed this and wasn't bored to tears.  I promise my book clubs won't bore you so if you are interested in reading any King or YA Books with fellow book lovers, stop by my groups!  Oh and stop by my blog... I promise it is fun and entertaining!

Book Club LinksStephen King Book Club Photobucket

PhotobucketYA Book Club

Well, I've joined your YA Book Club, and I'm looking forwards to reading my first book as a part of it!  Thanks for these brilliant tips, Angie!


Angela's Anxious Life said...

Thanks so much for having me a guest blogger. I had a lot of fun actually thinking about how I handle my book clubs! Can't wait to see the rest of the guest blogger's posts!


T.B. said...

Wow, really great advice! I've never been part of a book club or reading group, but it sounds like a lot of fun! It sounds like so much work to start one though! I would think an online book club would be harder to set up and keep up with rather than one that meets up regularly, but then again I could be wrong. Really interesting guest post!