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.
I 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.
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.
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Photo courtesy of Nathan23.