If you want to get people talking about your book to their friends and neighbors (and word of mouth is key to your book going viral) then book clubs can be the holy grail for authors. Let’s talk a bit about the advantages and how to get on this fast-moving promo train!
Book Club Visits
The best traction you’ll get with book clubs comes when you’re willing to visit the club. If you can do this live (beginning in your own geographic area) so much the better. Readers love to have a signed copy. And, chances are, you’ll sell more books in a live club setting as more readers will buy your book to have signed than checking out at the local library or purchasing the less expensive e-edition.
But nowadays the signed copy isn’t always as important as that one-on-one interaction with the club. When you can’t participate in person, Skype and Google hangout options allow an author to attend a book club virtually, and readers enjoy asking questions of you, the author.
Book Club Value
Maybe the club you’re visiting only has ten members. The spike in sales for that afternoon or evening may be minimal, but the interaction is critical. Our authors have cited a number of side benefits, including:
- Invites from members to other clubs and events
- A book club member blogging about the book and author
- Book club members using their influence to get an author a bookstore signing
- Book club members sharing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and their own social media, expanding the book’s buzz and reach.
Authors getting book club participants to sign up for their mailing lists to build list
And ultimately, when a book club member recommends your book, whether personally to friends and family, or virtually via their social media accounts, that’s the kind of “hand-selling” of your work that simply can’t be bought with advertising! Most publishers and authors agree, the greatest book marketing tool of all is word of mouth. Book clubs are a key conduit.
Attracting Book Clubs
Through our Winner Circle, we’ve been able to connect with hundreds of clubs to know what they’re looking for. In a nutshell:
- Make sure you have a list of book club questions or a reading guide. This makes your book “book club friendly.” Hopefully, you can include it both in your book AND on your author website.
- Have a tab on your author website dedicated to book clubs. They don’t want to wade through your upcoming events or appearances page. Instead, feature a book clubs tab that includes your book(s) reading guide, how to contact you, where (approximately) you’re located (for live appearances) and if/how you do virtual book club visits, i.e. through Skype.
- You might also share photos of book club appearances on this page and encourage book clubs reading your book to send photos for you to share on your site and social media!
- Your book must be easily available in both print and digital formats. Often a book club will require that the local library has a copy and some even request one be donated.
Finally, don’t forget to mention in ALL your media appearances that you love interacting with book clubs. Make it one of your key messages; book club members will hear your radio interview or read your blurb in the local paper and take note!
Finding Book Clubs
Obviously, with over 400 clubs and growing each week, our Winner Circle is the most useful and economical place to begin. (Hint, use promo code VIPW20 to save $20 now through November 1st!) Clubs are organized by state and we include the genres they’re willing to read and whether or not they’re affiliated with a bookstore or library, plus have easy contact info.
Other ways of finding clubs include connecting with your local bookstores and libraries, as well as doing online searches for book club meetup groups and reading groups. You can also connect to book groups via your related genre groups and discussions at Goodreads.
When doing a signing or event and collecting names for your email list, be sure to ask them to note if they’re a book club member. We’ve found dozens of new clubs this way! You can also visit www.readerscircle.org but fair warning, due to too many authors spamming clubs they’ve put a 50 cent fee on each listing. We’re currently sourcing here (and paying the fees!) so these groups can be added to our Winner Circle. This IS a site worth listing your book on – highly recommended.
Have a unique way of sourcing or interacting with book clubs? Have clubs influenced your success as an author? We invite you to share your story with your comment below!