Thanks for your comments. Let me explain how the clubs or "affiliates" would operate first. The best way to explain it would be to tell you how the Fellowship of Reason works here in Atlanta, since I'm using that kind of as a jumping off point for the idea.
The biggest meeting every month at FOR is the "FORum", which is held the first Sunday of every month. It consists of the following elements:
2. Celebration of Freedom
3. Celebration of Visitors and Each other
4. Celebratory Announcements
5. Celebration of Art
6. Celebration of Heroes
7. Celebration of Talent
8. Oratory (short lecture on ethics)
9. Forum (open discussion moderated by the president)
10. Closing Quotation
At the FORum I went to this past sunday, someone gave a presentation on the importance of the Declaration of Independence (it was 4th of July) as the "Celebration of Freedom", then all of the new people were asked to introduce themselves and tell the group a little about themselves and were then welcomed into the group (Celebration of Visitors). After that, the members were asked to announce any accomplishments they had achieved in the last month (Celebratory Announcements). Many of the members announced accomplishments they had made, and were applauded by the group. Next came another person who gave a talk on "The Difference Between a 'Designer' and an 'Artist'" which was a discussion on the different ways in which those two professions look at things and the ways in which those two concepts could be applied to the way a person lives his life (Celebration of Art). Then the first person came back up to the podium and gave a biographical speech of an individual who was an innovater in the composition of patriotic music (Celebration of Heroes). After that, one of the members played a piece of classical music (Celebration of Talent). Finally, Martin Cowen III, the founder of the group, gave a lecture called "The Warrior, The Priest, and the Producer" in which he argued that those three types of people are not only evident in society, but they are also three parts of a person's consiousness. He argued that most people delegate the role of "Priest" and "Warrior" to someone else in modern society, but that we should perform those tasks ourselves by studying philosophy ("Priest" role) and engaging in cultural activism ("Warrior" role). At the very end of the FORum, we had a discussion on everything that we had heard that day, and many interesting points were made.
I found the meeting very entertaining, and I can see how it could be used very effectively to spread Objectivist ideas. I have to point out though, that not everyone likes the FORums. Some people think it's too "church-like", and that is why FOR has other types of meetings as well.
The other types of meetings include a "philosophy tapes" meeting (every tuesday) in which participants listen to a taped lecture on the history of philosophy and then discuss the lecture afterwards. This is more like the ":salon style" meeting that Objectivists are used to (what I referred to as a "study group"). Then there is "potluck" (third saturday?) which involves everyone bringing food and discussing a pre-arranged topic. There is also "FOR Pub" (third wednesday?) which invloves the group just going to a bar and hanging out. And finally, there's "Movie Night" in which the group watches a movie. Oh, and there's also a fiction and non-fiction "book club".
So as you can see, there is a great variety of social and educational oppurtunities in the group.
The group started out as an Objectivist group, and there are many Objectivists in the group now. Unfortunately though, there are now many people in the group who's views are antithetical to Objectivism, including statists and post-modernists. In fact one of the board of trustees members appears to be a post-modernist. This has made it very difficult for it to be used as a vehicle for promoting Objectivism.
In answer to your question "What are these clubs? Are they study groups? Are they social groups?" the answer is: All of the above. I want the clubs to have many different kinds of meetings that will appeal to different people.
As for how the groups would work together, I don't envision them working with each other much. I see there being more of a relationship between the local clubs and the national organization rather than the local clubs with each other.
The role of the national organization would be to advertise on a national level, get people to join the organization, issue the newsletter which serves as a way of educating new members about the philosophy, and then send them to the local groups so they can stay involved and don't get bored.
Another question you seem to be asking is "What can SOLO do as part of this idea"? I would say that there are basically two different ways that SOLO could approach this. One way would be for SOLO to BECOME the "Objectivist Society". In other words, instead of creating a new organization we just reform SOLO. That would involve SOLO developing a national committee, printing a newsletter, and trying to get the other non-SOLO Objectivist clubs to become affiliates of SOLO. It would also involve printing a "New Affiliate Chapter Guidebook" or something that would explain to people how to start their own chapter if there's not one near them.
The only problem with this is that it would require SOLO to fundamentally change the way it markets itself. Right now SOLO markets itself to Objectivists, and tries to explain how it is different from other Objectivist groups. Even the name "Sense of Life Objectivists" implies that it is a faction WITHIN the Objectivist movement rather than representing Objectivism as a whole. Compare that to "The Objectivist Center" for example, and look at the difference in connotation. What SOLO would have to do is start marketing itself to non-objectivists. Instead of distinguishing itself from other Objectivist groups, it would distinguish itself primarily from Religion and perhaps Subjectivism as well. Instead of saying "this is what makes us different from TOC" it would say "this is what makes us different from Christianity, Paganism, and Subjectivism".
The second way SOLO could approach the issue, is by becoming a group WITHIN the Objectivist Society. In that case the local groups that are affiliated with SOLO would become affiliates of both SOLO and The Objectivist Society. Members who joined the Objectivist Society and lived near a SOLO group would be directed to that group just as if it were any other Objectivist Society affiliate, and members of SOLO affiliates would be encouraged to become dues paying members of the Objectivist Society. This would allow SOLO to keep it's emphasis on the particular aspects of Objectivism it's concerned with, without having to change the way it markets itself.
The only other question you asked was about the book, and I think you misunderstood me (or I was not clear). I wanted to use the book as a means of promoting the organization, not use the organization in some kind of collective writing of the book or something. I'm actually planning on writing the book myself. In fact, I already have the introduction and the first chapter finished.
This has turned to be a really long post. I hope I've answered some of your questions, and I look forward to hearing your response.