By Sherrie Wilkolaski

Connecting with new groups of readers is like an explorer discovering a new land.  If Lewis and Clark were self-publishing today, I am sure they would leave no stone unturned in the search for a wider audience.  So how can you venture into uncharted waters?  Why not try approaching some book clubs?  Yes, I’m talking about reaching out to groups like Oprah’s Book Club.

If you’ve never considered cultivating book clubs for your title, think again.  Book clubs are where an author can really identify and connect to their niche reader and start to build a fan base.  Where can you find book clubs?  There are both online and offline book clubs and I recommend finding both with some online research.

  1. 1. Meetup.com. This website provides localized social connections for a variety of different clubs and groups.  Do a local search to see if you can find any local book clubs that fit your genre.  Then reach out to the group organizer and see if they would be interested in considering your book to include in their reading list.  Let them know you are available to come and talk with their group.  They may ask you for a discount on the books if they buy in bulk, so extend them that offer.  If you don’t find a group, then why not start your own.
  2. Book-club-queen.com. This site targets book clubs of all genres.  From romance, cookbooks, history and even non-fiction groups.  It is a good resource to learn more about what book club readers are interested in.
  3. Book-clubs-resource.com.  Another good site that talks to the club readers, providing instructions on how to set-up a book club, what type of discussion questions to ask and a variety of other topics.  It is good to understand how to better approach a book club, if you can speak their lingo and address exactly what they are looking for in a new title to add to their book club shelf.

How can you make it easier for book clubs to be interested in your books?

  • Create a book club welcome page on your author website. 

Make your book “book club ready” and create a page on your website, just for book clubbers to enjoy.  Write up a short paragraph or give a list of 3-5 reasons why your book is the right fit for a book club.

  • Book club discussion questions. 

Create a list of the top 10 discussion questions a book club group can print out or download, right from your website.  They will use these questions to discuss your book.  Things like, What was your favorite character?  How did this book impact your feelings about…?  Make it easy for them.

  • Discounts for book clubs.

Everyone is looking for a deal.  Offer a discount for book clubs who buy in bulk.  Don’t forget to include a free auto-graph!

  • Author appearances.

Let book clubs know that you are available to come to speak with their group.  You may want to do this on a local level only, do what makes sense for you.

Authors can use the intimate experience of book clubs for book promotion and an opportunity to get up close and personal with your readers.  It’s like having your own private focus groups.  I’m sure it goes without saying; you can also connect with readers via online book clubs like Goodreads.com and LibraryThing.com.

To see what one author is doing to reach out to book clubs, check out: http://fortyplusandfabulous.com/book/book-clubs

Happy Book Clubbing!  Tell us about your experience with book clubs by posting below.

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