September 12, 2018 • Aerio Staff
If not, they should be! Devoting time and effort to finding book club readers can pay off in more ways than one. Not only can this important book marketing tool help you build your fan base, it will help you sell more books.
They raise awareness of your books.
Book clubs are a great way for authors to raise awareness of their books. Consider libraries and retail bookstores that host small-group book clubs. Don't let the small number of attendees stop you from approaching these subgroups; they can lead to book clubs that are the ideal size - between 20 and 50 readers.
They are a powerful marketing opportunity.
Book clubs are a powerful marketing opportunity for indie authors and self-publishers, as they offer the opportunity to engage directly with new readers and fans alike and, ultimately, help you sell more books.
Because one of your goals in writing books is probably selling books, you should take advantage of every book promotion tool at your disposal. Having 30 people buy your book at the same time is great book publicity and helps boost your sales ranking.
They help indie authors in a variety of ways:
1. Make Your Book "Book-Club Friendly"
Include thoughtful discussion questions on your author website, social media sites like Facebook, or even at the back of your book. Don't use simple yes-or-no questions; that's boring! Instead, ask questions that put readers into your book, for example:
Connect the theme or genre of your book to some kind of event. Provide ideas for combining your book with a related activity on your author website, social media profile, or as a handout at book club gatherings. Your whodunit could become the basis of a mystery dinner, you could include a playlist of music that enhances the reader experience, your Christian romance could be part of a Bible study or singles meetup, or you could share related recipes or prepared dishes.
2. Find Book Clubs
Finding book clubs doesn't have to be scary. Start at local libraries and indie shops. Give a copy of your book - or sample chapters - to the person in charge and ask if they'd be willing to recommend it. They may not want to give out personal information about book club members, so leave your contact and other information with them and ask them to share it.
Ask friends, colleagues, and family members if they'd be willing to share your book with their clubs, but remember - no one likes to feel pressured! Visit coffee shops and other places where booklovers hang out. Some coffee houses maintain a shelf of books for their customers. Leave a copy of yours there with contact information; just don't do it all over town. (Remember, your goal is to sell books - not give them all away.)
There are plenty of online book clubs you can approach as well - book clubs for authors are especially amenable to checking out other authors' books. Try Meetups, LibraryThing, onlinebookclub.org, and yes - even the god of online, Google.
3. Craft your pitch
Consider how you want to pitch your book to book clubs in advance. What is your book about? Why would people want to read it? Will you be offering a discount? Are you willing to attend the meeting in person, online, or via telephone? Do you have discussion questions prepared?
Continue to market your book with book clubs even after they meet. Follow up with readers, offer signed copies, ask for reviews, solicit newsletter signups, conduct contests or giveaways, and stay in touch. Book clubs can be a powerful component of your book sales and marketing plan - plus, they're fun!