Are you looking at that title wondering what a Buddy Read is? Perfect. You’ve made it easy for me to just jump right in.
WHAT is a Buddy Read and WHY do they exist?
A Buddy Read is when you plan to read a book in a certain amount of time with one or more people who also want to read this book. It isn’t necessarily a book club since it tends to be for one-off books not a new book monthly. But sometimes it turns into something greater and you become a less formal book club. No biggie. Those are great too because you get to know each other as time goes on and who doesn’t like having friends that read with you? Anyways, within this buddy read there are a few things that happen. A group chat is formed so that everyone participating can check in with each other easily. If you’re not one for notifications on your phone then you might want to turn them off if you choose to join a buddy read. The chatting isn’t just for designated check in times. Speaking of, there will be a reading schedule sent out that the host creates breaking the book into digestible sections. This holds everyone accountable (though most times if you don’t keep up, it’s not a big deal) and it also designates at what dates/times a group chat will occur.
WHO joins and/or creates a Buddy Read?
These are for anyone who wants to be able to chat about a book with others as they experience it together. There are a few ways Buddy Reads come about.
1) You see one being advertised through someone’s account. This happens a lot where someone will mention they are hosting a buddy read and they are looking for participants. Typically all you have to do here is respond and they’ll add you into the group chat they’ve created. Easy peasy!
2) You want to host one. Similar to what happens in bullet 1, you are the one sending out the call for participants, typically through Instagram stories, and creating the schedule, calling the chat meetings to order etc. It’s a bit more legwork clearly, but still a lot of fun. Sometimes you only get one or a handful of interested parties, other times the chat is so big you fill up the limit for a group chat on IG and need to start another one. I’ve been involved with both and they are equally fantastic. It’s not the quantity of people in the group, it’s the quality of conversation that occurs.
WHERE (+HOW) and WHEN do you host a Buddy Read?
Well expanding on bullet 2 from WHO it all begins with wanting to read a book with someone else. Here’s a quick rundown of how to host:
1) Send out a call for participants in IG stories, your regular feed, your blog, whatever you feel will reach the right people.
2) Divide the book into reading sections. Now, typically these things are only a month long so break out the calendar and see if you can divide it into 4(ish) chunks. If not, you can always go longer but definitely let everyone know up front as that turns it into a bigger commitment.
3) Set up a group chat and start adding in all your participants. This typically happens in Instagram but i’m sure you could use other platforms if your group was interested.
4) Choose check in points for your group. Not only will you need to select dates but you will need to figure out a time and that can get tricky. I tend to ask for everyone’s timezone and then try to find something that isn’t 4pm for some and midnight for others. There’s always the odd person that it doesn’t work for but they know this joining up for a group read so don’t worry yourself too much about accomodating every single person. Just go with what works best for most.
5) Post the reading schedule to the group chat along with your selected check in times.
6) Come up with a fun hashtag so your group can post about the book together!
7) Read and chat!
This month I am participating in several Buddy Reads. I’m finishing up Moby Dick. This is one that I’m hosting that we all ran behind in so it got extended one week into April. I have my online bookclub that I’m in and we are reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. And then I joined up for a read of 4321. This one is THICK so it’s going to take us into May.
Have you signed up for or run a Buddy Read before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!