How to Approach Book Clubs as an Author

book club in action

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Book clubs are as popular as ever — for readers and authors alike. Readers enjoy them because they offer a social outlet focused on discussions about books they love. Authors value book clubs because they offer an active platform to connect with readers, generate buzz, and establish a base of book lovers who might spread the word about their books.

What are book clubs and how do they work?

Book clubs connect readers who meet regularly — typically weekly or monthly — to discuss a selected book. These clubs usually consist of members who have a shared interest in particular genres, reading in general, and exploring diverse literary themes.

Traditionally, book clubs meet in person, though modern book clubs can take various forms, including virtual book clubs conducted via online platforms. Virtual book clubs enable individuals from different geographical locations to come together and engage in book discussions via video calls, chat groups, or dedicated websites. This digital transformation has expanded the reach and accessibility of book clubs, allowing more people to participate and share their thoughts on literature and connect socially over a common interest.

Why are book clubs valuable for authors?

Book clubs offer obvious benefits for authors seeking to promote their books and connect with readers, including:

  • Word-of-mouth promotion. When book club members discover a book they love, they often recommend it to their friends, family, and colleagues outside of the club. These readers are more likely than most to become evangelists of authors or books they really enjoy.
  • Influencer connections. In the age of social media, book clubs have become influential platforms where readers share their favorite books, discuss literary trends, and showcase their reading experiences. By engaging with book club members and book influencers on platforms like #BookTok or Instagram, authors can tap into new audiences and gain exposure to potential readers.

How to get book clubs to read your book

You don’t have to wait and hope a book club will discover you — there are steps you can take to proactively contact and pitch to book clubs.

Research your audience

Obviously, not every book club is going to cater to you genre or style of book, so step one is understanding a particular clubs preferences, reading habits, and interests. Research the genres that resonate with your target audience and identify book clubs that are most likely to want to read your book. Do online research to seek out book clubs that align with your topic and genre. By tailoring your approach to specific book clubs, you increase the chances of capturing their interest.

Create a compelling pitch

Craft a concise and compelling pitch that highlights the unique aspects of your book. Clearly state why your book will resonate with club members and spark engaging discussions. Emphasize the themes, characters, or plot elements that make your book stand out and evoke curiosity.

For example, if your book delves into thought-provoking ethical dilemmas, emphasize the potential for stimulating debates and differing opinions within the book club. Perhaps you could include an offer to address the club before or after they read your work to heighten interest and personal connection.

Connect through email and social media

Once you have identified relevant book clubs, reach out to them through email. Introduce yourself as an author and express your interest in having your book considered for their reading list. Be genuine, personable, and demonstrate your understanding of their club’s interests and goals.

Engaging with book clubs on social media platforms can also be effective. Participate in discussions related to books, share valuable insights, and showcase your passion for literature. By building authentic connections with book club members, you can solidify their interest and potentially get your book on their agenda.

Provide reading resources

Make it easy for book clubs to access your book by providing reading resources such as discussion guides, author Q&A materials, or supplementary content related to your book’s themes. These resources not only enrich the reading experience but can support or impact the book club’s discussions.

Should I offer my book for free to book clubs?

Offering your book for free to book clubs can make a lot of sense, especially for new or independent authors looking to build a readership. By providing complimentary copies, you remove the financial barrier for book clubs to consider your work and increase the likelihood of them selecting your book for their reading list.

Before you promise free copies to every book club, weigh the potential benefits against the costs of giving away free copies. Consider the size and influence of the book club, the anticipated exposure your book will receive, and the potential for word-of-mouth recommendations. In some cases, the exposure and goodwill generated through book club discussions may outweigh the initial loss of revenue from free copies. Or perhaps you can barter a free book for an online book review from each of the book-club members.

You need books to connect with book clubs

Of course, to get selected as a book club’s choice for the week, you need physical copies of your book ready and available. BookBaby is your go-to source for professional self-publishing packages and worldwide distribution to make certain your book gets in the hands of eager readers.

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