Getting your book selected by a book club for reading and discussion will provide you with invaluable publicity and recommendations. Furthermore you can then use it in your social media advertising “Selected by Conejo Valley Newcomers Book Club as their choice to read in 2016”. So, this costs very little, perhaps nothing, in terms of dollars. But it does take some time to make this happen.
Start locally researching book clubs
Look for organizations such as Newcomers, Libraries, and other clubs which have sub groups within them. You may want to start with a small club, to use them as a launching board to larger clubs. However, a club with 20 to 50 members (medium sized) is where you eventually want to be.
Ideally one of your friends or acquaintances belongs to a book club. Start there. If not, Google book clubs in your area. Then contact the local book club and ask who you might talk to about reading your book.
You want to meet (on-line or in person) with someone who is interested in your area of writing – mystery, political, historical, etc. Romance readers do not want to have a science fiction novel sent to them. Ask if you could send them several chapters to read to see if they are interested. If they are, then provide them with a paperback or ebook to fully read.
Did they like the book? If so, would they be willing to recommend it to their book club? This is when it is the time to offer to speak to the book club and moderate their discussion questions in conjunction with the book. This is critical – even if you were to offer do it by some type of SKYPE. The readers love meeting an author. The idea of reading a book and then spending an hour with the author present discussing it and their thoughts is very exciting to them. I had one book club tell me of all the efforts they had made to get authors to come to one of their sessions – and I was the first one to ever attend! This is a powerful offer that will go a long way to getting your book selected.
Books are usually selected at least 6 months in advance. But that actually works for you. The one complaint that book clubs have is that they do not want to read a book that cannot be gotten from a library – and many indie authors are not carried by libraries. Therefore it is important to convey to your initial Beta reader from the book club that you can get the books for the members at a discount so they are not paying $20 per book for paperbacks. You offer to lower the price on the ebook to 99 cents for one designated day so that everyone wanting to purchase the ebook has that opportunity. You can also advertise that one day of lowered prices to all your other followers on social media. You should see a wave of increased sales that day that will raise your Amazon ratings significantly, powered by the purchases of the book club. For those who do not read ebooks, paperbacks can be purchased directly from Amazon Create Space in quantities at a 50% discount. Have your Beta reader from the book club collect checks made out to you for each person who wants a paperback in the amount of 50% off the list price of the book. The Beta reader gets the checks to you and you order…all at one time…the number of copies in paperback that have been requested. Have them shipped directly to the Beta reader to distribute to those members who purchased the copies.
At some time during the following six months your novel should be scheduled to be read by the members and discussed at their monthly meeting. You would be involved in choosing this date and you would plan to attend the meeting. Get a list of the questions that this book club uses to guide its discussions so you are prepared. (You can google general “Book Club Questions” if they have no standard sets in order to prepare yourself. Click here for an example.)
You are going to be asked to sign most of the paperbacks so have several phrases ready to jot in before your name. (“Thanks for your interest!” or “Enjoyed meeting you!”) When the person presents their book for signature, ask them to spell their first name, so you get right! They will be showing the signed copy off later to their friends and families.
And finally while you are at the book club meeting, pass out a flyer detailing information about yourself, your other books, and places on the internet they can follow you such as twitter or facebook or your blog. Stress how wonderful this experience has been for you and you would really be grateful for a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or…? Reviews are hard to get and this is an ideal opportunity to secure positive ones!
Barbara Billig is the author of three current novels which are written in a thriller style to highlight the dangers of nuclear in today’s world: “The Nuclear Catastrophe” (Southern California residents experience a nuclear power plant meltdown), “#Betrayal”, (the sequel and aftermath years later of a nuclear plant failure), “Nuclear Road Trip, Onward to Destruction” (Terrorists attack nuclear waste stored at a power plant). For more information and to follow Barbara Billig’s blogs, twitter, and other social media visit: http://www.barbarabillig.com.