How to Get Book Clubs to Choose Your Book

A friend recently told me that her book group had chosen to read the book The Devil In Pew Number Seven. The book is a memoir by a North Carolina preacher’s daughter. I was a little surprised at the choice because I had read the book years ago, so I knew it was not a newer book.

The Devil in Pew Number 7I asked my friend how her book group had decided on that particular book. She reported that each member in her book club nominates a book that they have read and then the group votes on which book to read.

Getting a book club to read your book is a great way to increase both your book’s exposure and your readership. Yet, promoting a book to book clubs can be a daunting task. First you have to find resources that reach book clubs; and then you have to advertise.

A new study on book clubs by BookBrowse that was published in the report “The Inner Lives of Book Clubs” shows that reaching book clubs may not be a difficult as many authors think. The study found that, when it comes to choosing what books they will read, most book clubs require a member to have read a book before recommending it to the group—or, at a minimum to have thoroughly researched it.

This means that you don’t have to promote your book to book clubs. You just have to reach a reader who is involved in a book club. And, book club members discover books in the same way that most readers discover new books.

Book clubs read both fiction and nonfiction books. The BookBrowse study showed that 70% of book clubs primarily read fiction, and 93% read nonfiction at least occasionally.

Book Club

So, what type of books do book clubs prefer? BookBrowse’s study showed the following:

  • 97% of book club members want a book that will provoke a good conversation.
  • 73% actively seek out books that challenge.
  • 55% look for books that are controversial.

Now, BookBrowse is a secular organization. The book clubs that they interviewed for their study were primarily secular book clubs, not Christian ones. I imagine that most private Christian book clubs operate similar to secular book clubs. However, in the Christian community, I think the vast majority of book clubs operate as small groups.

Many churches’ small groups—whether these are home groups, life groups, women’s groups, or men’s groups—read and discuss books. This raises the question of who chooses the books for these groups. Do the individuals in the group recommend the book, or do the church leaders decide?

In my church experience, I have been involved in small groups where the group chose the book and in groups where the church leadership chose the book. The groups I have been involved in where the church leadership chose the book far outweighed those where the group got to choose.

Since leaders appear to be the primary decision makers when it comes to what books a church’s small groups will read, marketing your book to church leaders is a necessary ingredient to get church groups to read your book.

This is just one example of how marketing a Christian book is different than marketing a secular book. If you need to learn more about how to market your Christian book effectively, I suggest that you check out my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.

Related Posts:
Selling Books in Nontraditional Places
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Market Your Christian Novel Like a Pro

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Photo courtesy of Nathan23.

Enhance Your Marketing with Bonus Content

Recently, BookBub ran a compilation of New Year’s Resolutions from bestselling authors. Each of these resolutions focused on what the author is planning to do in 2018 to more effectively market her book.

One author’s resolution stood out for me. I thought it was worth sharing.

Debbie Macomber is an extremely successful American author. She writes romance novels and contemporary women’s fiction. Six of her novels have become made-for-TV movies and her Cedar Cove series of novel was adapted into the television series of the same name. Many of her books have been on the New York Times bestselling list.

I am seriously impressed by the extras she provides her readers. Here is what she said on BookBub:

“I have always been an author that wanted to do more, something extra above and beyond. In many of my books I have included a recipe used in the book, a knitting pattern or anything to enhance the reader’s experience of connecting to the story while reading the book. Something little, not a lot, but that has garnered big results. I have also built up my reading list by expanding on the experience while reading the books by providing town maps, character lists, and newspaper articles surrounding the series. In today’s digital world, I often offer themed recipe and holiday cards for readers to print and use as well as desktop wallpapers. Each book has a Pinterest page associated with it to help inspire readers to connect to the story in as many ways as possible. Since these efforts have allowed me to engage more with my readers, I’d like to create more of these types of assets in 2018.”

I think this concept of bonus content is worth exploring further. Let me break out for you the type of bonus content that Debbie Macomber gives her readers:

  • Themed recipes
  • Knitting patterns
  • Maps
  • Character lists
  • Newspaper articles related to her story
  • Desktop wallpapers
  • Dedicated Pinterest Board for each book related to topics in the book

Whether you are a fiction or a nonfiction author, you can take a lesson from Debbie Macomber. Providing your readers with bonus content is a great marketing tool. Bonus content rewards your readers and enhances a connection between you (the author) and your readers.

I encourage you to follow Debbie’s example and make one of your goal’s this year to create bonus content to enhance your marketing efforts.

Related Posts:
Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool
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Your Number One Marketing Tool

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