What are good ways to increase interest and membership in a writers’ group?
This week’s question is going to require audience participation—and that means YOU! Keep reading . . .
A writers’ group needs to have several things:
- At least four writers who are serious about their writing.
- A regular meeting day/time that is convenient for most members, most of the time.
- An agenda for each meeting.
Let’s start with Number 1—size of the group. Two is not “a group;” with three members, if one is absent, two is still not a group.
Number 2—a regular day and time makes it easier for members to schedule and remember.
Number 3—an agenda of some sort promotes continuity and is a time-saver. If you always start with chit-chat, followed by any announcements or business, then move on to reading and discussion, a late-comer will know exactly how and where to jump in. You won’t have to start all over with the greetings, etc.
And Number 4: Rules. You have to have some sort of timetable or you’ll be sitting there all night. You could have folks email their WIP to everyone a week ahead of time; you could limit the reading time; and whoever is in charge needs to be able to gracefully cut off the critique time or, again, you could be there all night.
Speaking for myself, I don’t like to be read to—never have. You know, when you go to a meeting and someone hands out information, then proceeds to read it to you? I stopped enjoying being read to when I was about six, maybe. I like to read for myself, and absorb it, and then I can better critique the piece.
I also prefer limits to reading time, if reading aloud is included. Two pages, tops. After that, I tend to drift.
Now, that said, back to the question: What are good ways to increase interest and membership in a writers’ group?
When we had our AOTSP writers’ group at the bookstore, we usually had food. And often, wine. Those are both good things to have at a writers’ group, plus coffee. Duh. Of course, it depends on when and where you meet—currently the AOTSP writers’ group meets at a local Starbucks. Food and coffee, right there! Several groups I know of meet on Saturday mornings; wine might not be a good idea. Might not.
Advertising works. Get the word out on social media. Create a Facebook page or group—people can join, get to know others, and writers, being a generally introverted bunch, will be more likely to come to a meeting if they’ve already “met” a few people.
Just like doing an elevator pitch for your book, create one for your writers’ group. “This is what we do, when we meet, would love to have you!” Heck, you could even make up postcards for current members to hand out when they’re in line at the grocery store. Or leave some at the grocery store. Or the library, the bookstore, the coffee shop . . .
Fliers, too, can be helpful, just like the postcards. Same info.
And now, it’s YOUR turn—go ahead, don’t be shy. Brainstorm in the comments and let’s see how many ideas we can generate!