Book clubs can be very powerful marketing tools. A group of people, passionate about books, all wanting to read your work and then talk to people about it is every author’s dream. How do you go about making yourself attractive to them? Here are five tips.
From a group of housewives who meet once a week, to Oprah’s Book Club which reaches millions of Americans, there are groups of people all around the world who are ready and willing to endorse your book. Getting to them pretty much guarantees success.
Even just getting involved with a book club ensures that a group of people will buy your book, read it, and talk to others about it, and that is worth it’s weight in gold, word of mouth sells. Word of mouth from a group of people is seen as holding more value than a recommendation from one person, so what can you do to improve your chances of being picked?
Here are five tips to make your book appeal to clubs.
1 Offer a deal
Book clubs buy books. Even if you just get yours in you’re guaranteed to sell some copies, but you need to make it an easy choice over every other book that is vying for a place on the list.
The easiest way to do that is through a deal. Offering a discount for bulk purchases of your book will push yours to the top of the consideration pile. A 25% discount for buying ten copies might eat into your royalties in the short term, but if you sell 100 books from the recommendation of the book club you’re making sales you might not have in the first place.
You could even consider giving copies away for free if your pockets are deep enough. Remember, this is an investment, a marketing opportunity. Don’t skimp if you don’t have to.
2 Make an appearance
As a self-published author, you’re more involved with your work and can dedicate more time. Use this time to sell yourself as well as your book. If a book club likes you as an author, as well as your work, then you have a ready and able audience for future books.
One of the best ways to sell yourself as an author is to get personally involved with the book club. Make an appearance if the location isn’t too far away, offer a Q&A session over Skype, or answer questions in a chatroom for online book clubs. You could even give a short reading of one of their favourite scenes.
Get involved, and offer something that other authors might not be able to, your time.
3 Provide questions
As well as being on the receiving end of questions you can start discussion by providing your own, giving the club things to think and talk about.
Remember not to be dreary with your questions, don’t ask things that can give a closed yes or no answer. You need to provoke discussion and ask questions that might divide the group, things that are subjective and ask for an opinion.
4 Include extra content
Book clubs clamour for things that aren’t available to the general public, exclusive things just for them, and it should be encouraged. Give them some extra content that wasn’t in the book. Maybe a scene that didn’t make there final edit but has a bearing on the story, or some background information on the main character, or you could have a short story that serves as a prologue or sidebar to the main narrative.
Anything that you can offer as added value will be well received.
5 Set a theme
A great way to set your book apart from the rest is to turn it into an experience, something that members of a book club are going to remember and talk about for a long time afterward.
Setting a theme can turn a book club discussion form a simple meeting of friends into a major event, something that they will share with others.
Think about the setting of your book, and see what you could suggest to spice up the evening. Maybe your character has a favourite drink, shaken not stirred. Your book could be set in India, so you could suggest some recipes for curries, and maybe decorations. You could even suggest a playlist of background music to help with the atmosphere.
It doesn’t even have to be an event for the discussion night, you could encourage the readers to get involved with local groups and charities that might be relevant to your story.
Getting a book club to review your book creates evangelists for you, people who will champion your story and you as an author. Make an effort to please them and they will reward you for a long time after.
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