BookBrowse interviews Paging Creatives, a Zoom-based book club for creative business owners about all aspects of their book club.

Book Club Interview (see full list)

Paging Creatives, a Zoom-based book club for creative business owners

Paging CreativesRegina Garay and Cindy Howard are cofounders of Paging Creatives, a Zoom-based book club for creative business owners. Their book choices alternate between fiction, biographies and memoirs of artists or designers, and business books; and they’re open to new members!

In this Q&A they chat with BookBrowse publisher Davina Morgan-Witts about their group, providing invaluable insights for anyone running, or interested in running, a specialist book club.

Hi Regina and Cindy, it’s so good to meet you both. How did your group get started?

Regina: Cindy and I have known each other for years, and we've often proven a support system for each other. We share a love of books and thought we'd start a book club of two, meeting once a month to talk over the phone about our book selection. This quickly grew into the idea of having more join us, and having the meetings online. We put the word out and Paging Creatives officially launched in January 2022.

Cindy: Regina and I were working on building our own creative businesses and strengthening our belief in our self-worth. We felt strongly that discussing books was helping us, so we hoped others might benefit, also.

I’d love to know more about the sort of books you discuss.

Regina: The book club is for creative small business owners - or, really, anyone with an interest in arts and design. The fiction selections are all creative in nature due to the protagonist, location or theme; we also read biographies and memoirs of known artistic talents as well as business books that are beneficial to a creative small business.

Paging Creatives is such an apt name, who came up with it?

Regina: Cindy did! We each created a list of potential names and reviewed them together. When Cindy said it out loud, I immediately loved it. It was a fast call!

Cindy: Our rapid-fire brainstorming is one of my favorite things about us.

When and where do you meet?

Cindy: We meet via Zoom at 8 pm ET on the last Tuesday of the month. We both moderate the meetings which usually run for about one hour but we’ve been known to extend longer for those interested in going deeper into the subject matter.

How many generally attend a meeting and what sort of creative backgrounds do they have?

Paging Creatives Regina: We usually have between 6-12 attendees. The members are from all over the U.S., and one is from Toronto, Canada. Most are professional full-time artists, and some do the work as a side hustle. We are all in different artistic mediums. Some do decorative painting on walls, ceilings and floors; others are canvas artists; some specialize in murals and patterns; one is a mosaic artist, and I train creative small businesses in marketing and time management (while also being a former artist myself).

Wow, so much talent in one group! How do people find you and are you open to new members?

Regina: We typically find new members when our own members chat to their friends and colleagues and, yes, we are open to new members joining! We have a Facebook group called Paging Creatives and we post our monthly selections there, as well as the RSVP link to register for our monthly book chat. We’re also on Instagram @pagingcreatives. Interested creatives can also contact me at and I can send them the Zoom registration link directly.

Cindy: We are open to new members, but we do stress that we focus our book choices on creativity.

What books have you read so far?

Regina: We've tried a couple of different variations and have settled on three types of books: novels, biography/memoir, and business books. Everyone loves the mix of options! These are some of the books we’ve read so far (fiction, followed by nonfiction):

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
The Cloisters by Katy Hays
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell
Horse by Geraldine Brooks
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives by Helen O'Neill
Julia Morgan by Victoria Kastner
Con Artist by Tony Tetro
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards
Art Money Success by Maria Brophy
Visual Thinking by Temple Grandin

What an intriguing selection! How do you pick the books?

Regina: Cindy likes to choose the non-fiction selections, and she's great at picking them. I like to choose the novels and do a lot of research, including on BookBrowse. Our members also like to recommend books, and we love that. They've suggested really good ones so far!

Cindy: It’s proven to be a great mix so far! We usually do a novel one month, followed by a memoir or biography the next, and the third month is a business book. Then we repeat. It’s tough to keep the creative parameters in mind, but we've yet to run out of books. Normally, we have a mix of opinions, but there are months when we all enjoy the book equally. Horse by Geraldine Brooks was the latest book that received thumbs up from all of us. It was so good!

I agree, it’s a wonderful book. Do you feel your book club choices are evolving over time?

Regina: Yes. We didn't have biographies in the mix until about half a year into the book club. We've also learned to balance 'heavy' books with lighter ones the following month. We've also had to keep in mind time periods and pick a mix of both modern and historical subjects.

I think it’s really interesting that you don’t just think about what books to read but how to schedule them. I’m sure that the members of your group appreciate you putting so much thought into the group. Are some of you also in other book clubs?

Cindy: A few of us are in other book clubs, but as far as we know Paging Creatives is the only one that we all attend virtually.

There is clearly so much that’s special about your group, but are there particular things that stand out to you that you’d like to share?

Regina: I truly love these women, and they are all magical in their own way. We have some time at each meeting when we update each other on what we have going on in our businesses, and we are all so supportive of one another. We've become good friends. It's just a beautiful mix of personalities, and I consider it kismet. I pinch myself at the good fortune that we all come together monthly!

Do you feel that a focused topic such as yours makes for a different book club experience?

Cindy: It does make for a different experience! We dive deep into creativity - it's not just something we touch upon for one month and then let that string go. It makes us more well-rounded creatives, keeps us informed and widens our worldview. We take that into our businesses, and it enhances them.

Are there any tips that you’d like to pass on to others who might be thinking of starting a book group on a specialist topic such as yours?

Regina: We'd be glad to. First, have a clear understanding of your focus and the parameters the selections must fall within, and also the type of members this would appeal to.

We have a mission statement which reads: "Paging Creatives is an online book club for small business owners in the art & design fields. Book selections will have a creative component, whether by subject, plot, or theme. The monthly selections will alternate between business books, biographies/memoirs, and fiction books." It's simple, but it lays out our specialty well.

Cindy: Secondly, be adaptable. The group itself will ebb and flow, and if you greet changes and requests with flexibility, both the book selections and the members will be all the better for it.

That is such good advice. I’ve seen many book clubs have challenges because the founding members have not clearly articulated what their group’s focus is, and then they sometimes run into problems later, particularly when new members join. But it’s also important to be flexible because groups can and should evolve over time.

Any other nuggets of wisdom?

Regina: A specialist book club will have a narrower range of books to select from than a general interest group, so choosing books may take more thought and planning. Ensure the selections are available in multiple formats (e.g. paper, ebook, audio) as your members will consume them differently. Also, ensure that the cost or ease of getting these books does not exclude anyone. Sometimes, if it's a newer book, there might be a waitlist at the library, so some people may not be able to get hold of a copy quickly. We keep that all in mind by planning well ahead. It's a balancing act, but well worth it!

We hope these tips will help.

I am sure they will! Thank you so much for telling us about Paging Creatives; and before we close, I’m sure BookBrowse readers would like to know a bit more about you two.

Regina: I’m based in Orlando, Florida and am the founder of Right Brain Loves Left, a company dedicated to providing small businesses with courses and training on managing their time, projects, and marketing effectively. I help entrepreneurs harness their creative and analytical sides; hence right brain loves left.

Cindy: I’m the owner of CRH Studios in Houston, Texas; I create artworks on commission for Interior Designers and clients nationwide. After 25 years as a decorative painter, I’m also very happy to be able to teach others some of the techniques and styles I use.

Thank you both; and Cindy, your artwork is beautiful!

© June 2023.

If you feel that your book group has something unique to offer, and you would like to tell others about it, please contact us with brief details, and maybe we can feature you in the future.

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