Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Red Hat

To expand on a comment I left over at M.J.'s blog:

The Red Hat Society is a social organization for women over 50. These are the ladies who dress in the red hats and purple scarves, and get together for luncheons, seminars and other social events.

According to their web site, the society presently has more than 41,000 chapters with about one million members in more than 30 countries. Their weekly e-mail newsletter goes out to 90K+ members.

I'm in the process of finding a contact person to discover if the RHS would be interested in starting a book club, newsletter or provide book recommendations for their membership. If they are open to the idea, I'm going to volunteer my services as author coordinator. Ideally I'd like to put together a weekly newsletter highlighting new releases in as many genres as possible, with links to author web sites, blogs and other related info.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?


  1. I'm only 19, but my best friend and I have long admired the Red Hat Club and aspire to be members as soon as we turn 50. I think that sounds like an awesome idea. If they're interested in reading, then I'm sure they'll be glad to have the suggestions. Sounds like a big undertaking though...good luck!

  2. Anonymous10:40 AM

    That is a truly smart idea. It's not unlike the model used by textbook publishers, who rely heavily on academic associations and societies to advertise, promote, and gain class adoptions. (I'm a recent publishing refugee, who's now getting a library degree.)

    Doctors and lawyers immediately sprung to my mind as two other groups of avid readers, particularly in genre fiction. They have disposable income, they tend to turn to fiction to escape the hours of technical reading their jobs inflict, and they tend to be loyal to authors they've liked in the past.

    Of course, the AMA and ABA are probably too large to approach to offer such a service. But both law and medicine have hundreds of societies focused on a specialty or geographic location, many of whom are looking for such services to bolster membership.

  3. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I think it's a FABULOUS idea.


  4. What a great idea! I didn't know that the Red Hat Society really existed but a comic in my local paper has been playing with the concept: http://www.comics.com/wash/pickles/archive/pickles-20050529.html

    Anyway, I think you're on to something there and hope it all works out. Even if you can only get some of the local groups on board at first, it might spread :).


  5. Sounds like a fabulous idea to me, I'm assuming it'll be an E-news letter?

  6. When you said "Red Hat," I assumed a bunch of Linux geeks...though I suppose the two definitions are not mutually exclusive.

  7. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Brilliant! Now, where's my hat...

  8. Anonymous1:19 PM

    It could work! Just a note for those folks who are not 'of age' yet - Most Red Hat groups have Pink Hat auxiliaries. Pink hats can be under 50, but should share the zest for living.


  9. Anonymous1:59 PM

    I recently spent about an hour on the Red Hat Society web site. I love their philosophy of "just having fun". I love their philosophy of celebrating the last half of life.

    After we're back in our own apartment, I'm going to look into joining one of the local chapters. There are at least 50 within 10 miles of me, but a lot are closed to new members.

    I think this is a great idea, Sheila. Good luck with the project.

  10. PBW wrote:
    You've never seen what I can do to poor, unsuspecting HTML. It isn't pretty.

    Need a hand, I have this masochistic streak that tends to like playing with code.

  11. PBW, this is a good idea. But it might be more effective to try out on local chapters and then introduce it to the society as a whole. Maybe have different chapters reccommend a book each week. I think that eventually it could reach the level you are aiming for, but it could be a daunting process if you jumped right in.

    As to the pink hats. I have been asked to join as a pink hat a couple of times, so Jessica and friend look into it. I am only 24 and was practically invited. Didn't join, too busy. But the society readily accepts women of all ages. Just hope you plan to wear pink and lavender for a while.

    Good luck PBW.

  12. And here I thought they were just an urban legend perpetuated by a pesky never ending 'forwarded' chain email. :-P Sounds like a great idea, PBW. Good luck with it!

  13. My mom's a member. She loves it.

  14. Anonymous6:11 PM

    I've done 2 different speaking/signing engagements where members of the society were in attendance. Not only are they a wonderful group of high spirited ladies, but they're also very generous with their pocketbooks and spreading the word about your book, as I had absolutely no promotion materials left!

    Hat's off to you for being so ambitious. Please keep us posted as to your progress and any positions you may need volunteers for.

  15. It sounds like a very good idea, though I know next to nothing about the Red Hats. You might want to think about it in terms of the kerfuffle (or is it more of a stramash?) going on over at the RWA right now though. If you were sending out a regular e-bulletin to the whole society, how long before some busy-body committee started trying to tell you what was and wasn't appropriate?

  16. Anonymous6:50 PM

    karens wrote: Sounds like a fabulous idea to me, I'm assuming it'll be an E-news letter?

    That would be easiest and most logical place to start. I was thinking something along the lines of what Waldenbooks sends out to their readers, only with multiple genres versus one.

    J.A. wrote: Please keep us posted as to your progress and any positions you may need volunteers for.

    Will do.

    James wrote: If you were sending out a regular e-bulletin to the whole society, how long before some busy-body committee started trying to tell you what was and wasn't appropriate?

    I could be wrong, but I don't think this would be a problem. Women over 50 today are probably less uptight and more well-read than any of the generations who came before them. Also, these ladies are consumers, not image-obsessed colleagues pecking for power and position. If it turns out to be an issue, I'll be the first to say I was wrong, but I'd really like to give it a try first.

  17. Sounds like a good plan. I don't think I'll be able to joinh tho, heh.

    Check out chazinc.blogspot.com for a good laugh. Be sure to read "Garbage Garments", posted June 8th.

    Chaz out.

  18. What a fantastic idea. I don't have any RHS ladies that I know in the Keys, but I'm sure I've seen a couple who make a point of attending either RWA or RT. Quick -- everyone be on the lookout for a Red Hat Lady. Vibrant, 'living their lives' women will surely enjoy great books.

  19. Anonymous9:39 PM

    I love this idea and kudos to you for thinking of it!

  20. I think this is a fantastic idea! The antique mall where our RWA chapter meets also hosts red hat meetings *g*.

    Please let me know if I can do anything to help!


  21. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Great idea. How can I help?

    These are the women I am writing about (if any of them are cranky sometimes)

  22. Red Hat Society is a group of women that wear red red and pink hats. The members of it are mothers, grandmothers, and daughters of society.They encourage women to stay positive and energetic despite of their age. How happy to see old women who are very happy and sharing their happiness to each other.


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