Publishing your first or second novel requires a great deal of effort, as it does strategy. And when we talk about strategy, a book club is one of those that pull your marketing and income up the route to become a renowned author.
This article will help you understand the benefits, the “what’s” and the how-to’s of book clubs in the business of published works.
Understanding a book club’s leverage
As the publishing business grows by and by, there are a number of changes that comes along with book promotion. An example of this is the coming together of the author and a book club. This relationship is a potent marketing component for both sides.
Reagan Arthur, editor and publisher of books such as The Lifeboat and Life After Life, understands a book club’s key to the author’s long-term success: “Book clubs are a great way to sustain the conversation about a book long after its arrival into the world.”
Moreover, aside from increasing retail sales, you will earn a crowd of followers whom may not have had the chance to discover you as an author without this angle. It makes for a wonderful opportunity to catch some good followers and along with very dedicated readers. Because when an interest is sparked, so begins the simple word-of-mouth process. The next thing you know, you’ve drawn a school of fish, and it’s on to the next book club for another book discussion!
The agreement on the author’s share from a club varies. But the most common negotiation between the two is when the club licenses rights based on royalties. The book club usually pays an advanced amount to the publisher ahead of time against its royalty shares. This royalty may be said to be a percentage of the amount to the member. The book club purchases the rights, prints books, then pays a royalty on the club price of the book.
But before anything else, you will need to attract a book club first. Want to know how? Check out the tips below.
How to appeal to a book club
It’s about making the book club come to you. Below are a few starting points:
- Finding the potential book club
The first step, of course, is to find a book club close to you and get in touch with it. For many, this becomes a little challenging.
Excellent publishers such as the Random House Reader’s Circle reach out to book groups. Never say no to a book group that requests for an author visit especially if it’s near your area of travel. Additionally, you can always ask for information at local libraries or independent bookstores for potential contacts. There are plenty of bookstores and libraries which host book groups. Even historical societies, businesses, senior center and church groups have book groups. The connections are endless.
Also, don’t forget that a simple search on Google can take you far. Online book clubs are a good place to start. Just focus your target on potential clubs that may be interested in your book’s genre.
- Composing a letter
Once you’ve found a promising book club contact, you need to write a well-written letter that tells who you are as an author, and your book. If your book also has an e-format, you can easily offer a free copy. Or if in print, give some effort to mail one. Allow your connection to the book club to foster.
- Engage with interesting material
Book clubs seek for authors who are able to create original stories; stories which are skillfully told. They want a good author who can provide interesting material, which allows for members to engage in discussions composed of fired up questions regarding important societal or life themes.
Plots that highlight questions such as: How does a person cope and change along society’s differentiating views on religion or art? Or, how have your own views changed after reading from the protagonist’s point of view? Or even, how do humans develop perception and knowledge through his experiences, both spiritual and non-spiritual? Spice your discussion up enough to get members fully engaged.
With this, deeper connections are made between the members of the club, and deeper interest is invested towards your work. The result? More readers, more exposure, more attention, more sales!
- Offer a digital discussion
If you are not yet a well-known author, luring in readers won’t be that difficult as long as you create an opportunity for your readers to stay intrigued.
To gain more fans, during book discussions, you should promote more interaction. This can be done by asking for e-mail addresses if they need questions answered, or provide personal interactions such as phone calls, or even virtual discussions via Google Hangouts and Skype where you can talk about certain elements of the book. Any fan, wherever in the world they may be, would appreciate this.
Apart from updating your social media about your digital discussions, don’t forget to inform your publisher, publicist, and literary agent on your availability so they can share the news twofold.
- Staying ahead of the pace
Thinking ahead for your success marks the success you find in the first place. So, how do you stay ahead of the competition?
- Copies of your book should always be available whether it’s in the library, at a bookstore or online bookshops like Amazon. Don’t leave readers bereft.
- Ask your club to compose a review for you on Amazon. This act encourages other book clubs to give you an invitation.
- Inform your book club that you’re open to ideas for a possible sequel. Readers get to offer their own insights and bubble in excitement.
- Have a reader’s guide ready at the back of your book and on your website. Then inform your readers about the guide on your social networking pages.
- Always maintain author-fan awareness with the help of social media.
- Create a database of book clubs and contact each one. Reveal your plans for a new book or a new sequel book. Again, remember to be generous in offering a free book especially if you’ve worked with them in the past.
- Why not throw in some more freebies in your book club while you’re at it? Fans enjoy key chains, t-shirts, bookmarks to postcards.
- Support fellow authors
And finally, if you can locate good book club sources, don’t forget to give word to your other author friends. Keep it in mind that the more support you give, the more support you get!
Books clubs influence the rise of your author profile in as much as online marketing can. In fact, according to the founder of Book Movement, Paula Hubert, “I saw that book clubs were creating these bestsellers, and publishers were desperate to get at them but nobody could connect them.” Having left her profession at William Morris to build on book clubs online, she now has a website of 35,000 clubs as members. This site offers book promotions, freebies, author interviews, and more.
With a little nudge, you’ll be at the top soon enough!