The biggest market of readers these days seems to be book groups. The question for most authors isn’t whether they want to reach this market, but how. Some of the ways to reach book club readers are out of an author’s hand. Your publisher is going to decide whether your book is appropriate for, say, the Random House Reader’s Circle program, and whether to push it for in-store book club tables and programs like the Target Store Book Club Picks.
But authors can also reach out directly to Book Club readers through an online approach involving:
Outreach to Book Club Sites
The online outreach is the most challenging part of this, but there are numerous book club sites these days, many of which may give you a mention for the low low price of a review copy or a little bit of time writing a guest blog or author interview. Some of my favorites, in alphabetical order, are listed below. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with each site before approaching to them. It’s time consuming, but it might make the difference between ending up on the Bookmovement Top 20 Book Club Pick for 2010 (based on Readers’ Choices), as my second novel, The Wednesday Sisters, did, or being turned away at the door.
- Book Browse
- Book Club Cheerleader
- Book Club Girl
- Book Club Queen
- Book Movement
- Dear Reader
- Manic Mommies Book Group
- The Pulpwood Queens
- Reading Group Choices
- Reading Group Guides
Website Pages for Groups
Book clubs love to explore website pages with personal information and information about your books. This is a great chance to be creative! I developed mine with the help of the marketing folks at my publisher, with a portal table of contents for each of my three novels:
- The Four Ms. Bradwells portal is a legal pad, since the book is about a female Supreme Court nominee. Pages include photos from my trip to a real life Chesapeake Bay island on which I based my fictional one, a timeline history of women in the law and politics, and photos from law school.
- The Wednesday Sisters entry portal is a book, because the characters form a writing group. Pages include “character button pages” which describe where each character came from, and include things like recipes, excerpts from my journal, and even a timeline of the race to the moon.
- The Language of Light portal is a photo-book, because the protagonist is a photographer. Pages include an essay on photography and photos of the horse country I used to live in, on which the setting is based.
My pages were definitely inspired by the “For Readers” pages on Amanda Eyre Ward’s website.
A Simple “Email Me” Button
The “email me” button is pretty simple. I keep mine on a page that shares “What Book Groups are Saying about Meg’s Books” and have it set up to have an auto-header “Would-Meg-join-our-book-club-for-a-chat.”
A Commitment of Time
The last part–the time spent with book groups–turns out to be delightful. What author doesn’t relish the chance to talk with readers, either in person, by phone, or these days, by video chat? – Meg