I belong to two book clubs. One, I started during the pandemic, it’s very informal, and we meet once every six weeks or so on Zoom. It’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and discuss something we all went through together–the reading of a book.
The second one, currently, is through a library. They meet once a month in a bar or pub and chat about the book they just read. They USED to limit members to twenty- and thirty-somethings, which made me mad, but now they all got old and I can go 😁. I mean, booze and books, how angry can I stay, right?
WHY Should You Market to Book Clubs?
Book club members buy books
Okay, maybe not all of them do. I don’t buy all the books I read. But I buy a lot of them. Whatever I don’t buy I, and other bookclubbers get from the library. And guess what? That’s GOLD. Libraries buy books at full price, which means YOU, the author, benefits if a library decides to put your book on their book club list. They are going to buy as many copies as there are book club members.
Book club members spread the word
If they like your book, they’re going to tell their friends, their family members, their children, their parents. They’re going to buy your books as gifts. They’re going to leave nice reviews on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads.
Book stores and libraries have book clubs
Yes! It’s true, book stores, especially indie book stores love books and they love to sell books, and to do this, they will host book clubs. Libraries are all about books, so… there you go.
5 Tips for How to Market to Book Clubs
1 . Go to the Library.
Yes, I know I keep pushing libraries, but THEY ARE A GOLD MINE. Many libraries have their own book clubs. Find out what kind of book clubs the library system has and pitch to them (more on how to pitch in a bit). Ask them if they know about other local book clubs. Most libraries have a bulletin board–leave your book club promotional material on the bulletin board, and make sure it clearly states that you would love to come and talk to the book club about your book. Book club members get pretty happy when they can get an author to come and chat.
2. Go to your local bookstore
If you haven’t already said hello to the owner of your local indie bookstore (or brought cookies), there’s no time like today. Many indie stores have events and some host book clubs. Pitch your book! You don’t have to be with the Big Five for a bookstore to be interested.
3. Ask your publicist or publisher to pitch to https://bookclubs.com
Although it is a service for people who want to start and manage their own book clubs, as an organization Bookclubs.com promotes and sells books. They have a newsletter, and once a month they choose a book of the month. They recommend books. They have an affiliate relationship with Bookshop.org, Libro.fm, Amazon, and Apple Books, which means they want to sell books. Win/win
4. Add a book club guide to the last pages of your book, with a link to your website for contact.
If someone has read your book and loved it, make it easy for them to get in touch with you for their book club! I mean, who ISN’T in a book club nowadays? Even if they weren’t thinking of your book for their club, seeing the guide will nudge them.
And by this I mean https://www.meetup.com, which has a bazillion groups listed. There may be several groups local to you. Reach out or have your publicist reach out.
Your Promotional Material
Pitching to a book club is similar to pitching to any other media. Make sure you have a one sheet PDF with your book, a short (ish) description, and any accolades you received. Nominated for a prestigious award? Won an award? Got a starred review? Have over one hundred five-star reviews? Blurbs from big name authors? It all goes in there.
Add PROMINENT links to your website, your contact info, and that reading group guide we discussed earlier.
Have book club suggestions? I’d love to hear them!
Her short stories appear in the Bouchercon 2023 Anthology, A Stranger Comes to Town: edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.
When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.