Hosting a Well-Read Black Girl Book Club: Getting Started
Here, from Well-Read Black Girl (WRBG) book club founder Glory Edim, is the first chapter in the Well-Read Black Girl Ambassador Orientation and Book Club Starter Guide, which will help participating booksellers launch their book club.
Chapter 1: Getting Started
Mission Statement: While the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club is focused on empowering Black women writers, we encourage readers who identify as genderqueer, non-binary, or others who feel inspired by what we’re doing to join us and be a part of our community.
Why does the WRBG & ABA partnership exist? As a community, Well-Read Black Girl (WRBG) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) are focused on the need for inclusion, equity, and diverse voices within the book industry. We want to emphasize the importance of representing a variety of voices but also encourage publishers to create books that represent a wider set of experiences and perspectives. In 2019, our primary focus is on uplifting women and non-binary writers of color.
Well-Read Black Girl Ambassadors: WRBG ambassadors are volunteers who help coordinate and host monthly book club meetings. As facilitators, they should be outgoing, friendly, warm, and inviting, and they must love talking with people of all ages and backgrounds. Having a natural sense of curiosity and passion for reading is KEY! They will help lead the discussion and make sure members adhere to our community guidelines.
- Success depends on participation — collectively, we should share ideas, ask questions, and engage others in conversation.
- Respectfully listen and hold space for others.
- Listen to understand, share your unique perspective, and speak honestly.
- Be positive, non-judgmental, and open to new ideas.
- Critique ideas, not people. Remember to practice non-defensiveness during the discussion.
- Respect each other’s thinking and value others’ contributions. Everything happens through courageous conversations.
Build a community around your book club meetings! Using social media is a wonderful way to encourage camaraderie, connect with readers, and invite readers to your book club meeting. Booksellers can also use the display kit materials (delivered in early April to stores that signed up to participate) and downloadable marketing assets to advertise the book club in their stores, in newsletters, and on their websites.
Booksellers should also join the dedicated ABA-WRGB Facebook group to learn about what other stores are planning, ask questions, and get answers.
Remember to take a group photo after each book club meeting and tag Well-Read Black Girl and the American Booksellers Association on Instagram!
Use the hashtags:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/wellreadblkgirl
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wellreadblackgirl
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wellreadblackgirls
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ababook
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/americanbooksellers
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/americanbooksellers
Schedule monthly book club meeting in advance: Pick a reoccurring meeting day or be vigilant about scheduling your next meeting. We all have busy schedules, so it’s much easier to put something on the calendar for a month out than a few days out. This gives everyone time to get the book from their bookstore and read it.
Ahead of the meeting:
- Share the selected title for the upcoming meeting
- Prepare discussion questions and/or book-related activities for the meeting
- Send the date, time, and location of your next meeting to all members as well as details about upcoming meetings
- Send book club members contact information for all members (we suggest compiling this information in a shareable online document)
Watch upcoming issues of Bookselling This Week for more chapters from the Well-Read Black Girl Ambassador Orientation and Book Club Starter Guide.