Behind the Scenes with the Book of the Month Club
If you are reading this I would imagine that you are like me in that you have a Book of the Month Club problem. I search Instagram during the week leading up to the 1st of the month for any signs of what the new monthly book picks may be. I have stopped waiting for the email that comes at 11:30 on the first day of the month because I know that if I open the site when I wake up on that morning, the picks are up and I can now fill my book box. Then there’s the actual making of the book selections. I have been a member since November of 2016 and I have never been able to stop myself at just one book. Never. 3 books EVERY. TIME. Oh, you have socks with BOTM logo on it? Yes please! A wine koozie? That is complete genius and I must have it. I am like a moth to a flame and I have no control over myself when I log in to their site because I always want all the books and all the things. Once my order has been placed, then comes the agonizing wait. How many times do I check the tracking? 100? 5000? I will never tell. I hold my breath when I see my beloved box has gotten stuck in PA for a day or two, and then breathe a sigh of relief once it successfully passes through that clingy post office and makes it’s way finally, to my door step. Do I jump up and down, clapping and squealing once my box is placed in my hands? You bet I do.
Who is responsible for this madness? Who has turned all of us normal, fairly calm bloggers and readers in to crazed lunatics awaiting their monthly book fix? The fabulous team at the Book of the Month Club, that’s who. Headed by the insanely talented Maris Kreizman, the Book of the Month staff has harnessed the power of social media, revamped the concept of the book club and turned us all into eager, excited subscribers. AND WE LOVE IT!! Maris and her team have given us all a platform where we can engage with each other, discover new authors, and discuss the latest literary works across all genres. We look to BOTM to keep us up to date on what the next big read will be and they deliver EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Maris is the author of the book and blog, Slaughterhouse 90210 and is renowned in the literary world for her taste in books. Her book selections for BOTM have been American War, Perfect Little World, All At Sea, Dark Matter and The Girls. I was incredibly honored when she agreed to take a few minutes out of her day and answer some questions about the book of the month selection process.
SA: I would imagine you receive thousands of submissions for potential BOTM picks. What is the process a book goes through to become one of the final five selections in your BOTM box?
MK: I have a list of all books coming out in the month we’re selecting for. I narrow it down a bit based on what I know our members enjoy—fiction and narrative nonfiction, with the occasional essay collection or short story collection thrown in—and then discuss with our CEO, John. We narrow down to about 35 potential picks, and then send to our panel of judges. We take their feedback very seriously, but I also have to make sure that we have a good balance of books. The final five books come highly recommended, and they should be a diverse group!
SA: How do you select your monthly judges?
MK: Most of the time we choose our judges based on the books they love. I choose the five books that will be monthly picks, and then I match a book with the judge who endorsed it.
SA: In just a year’s time, your staff has revived an iconic brand and made it a massive success by utilizing the power of social media. What are your future plans for BOTM? Do you anticipate BOTM expanding and distributing boxes internationally?
MK: I don’t get involved a lot in the business decisions around BOTM. I mostly stick to the books. I can tell you that we’ll continue to experiment with different genres and styles of writing to find ones we think our members will love the most.
SA: Besides having access to all the amazing books, what is your favorite part about working for Book of the Month Club?
MK: The people! It’s so lovely to work with such a smart, fun group.
SA: What has been your biggest challenge in relaunching the BOTM brand?
MK: I come from the book publishing side of things, so my biggest challenge is simply reintroducing the brand to people who think they already know what it is and how it works. The old school people are always excited to learn that our audience of young women reads hardcovers regularly.
SA: What is your favorite genre to read and your favorite book?
I’m a literary fiction person, which is just to say that I really value the quality of writing in a novel. The book can lack plot, can lack likeable characters, can lack a happy ending, but if the writing is excellent I will find it thrilling. I like reading about characters who are different than I am, and trying to understand their worldviews. My favorite book is Anagrams by Lorrie Moore—she is a master of mixing the funny and the sad.
Many thanks to Maris for providing us with a glimpse of how the final 5 are chosen. My book box tracking information tells me that today is the day my box is coming, so the stalking of the mailman has begun. Head on over to @bookofthemonthclub on Instagram to check out their latest posts on the May book picks and what people are saying about this month’s selections. If you do not subscribe to the Book of the Month Club book box, drop everything and go to their website https://www.bookofthemonth.com because IT IS AWESOME!!!! Have a great day and happy reading!
Photo cred: courtesy of Book of the Month Club Instagram account