Book Clubs: Unique Ways to Promote Your Self-Published Book

book clubsOur latest blog series has explored unique ways to promote and sell your book. One way is to get as many book reviews as possible. Another is to get your book into book clubs. Book clubs are a wonderful way to stay active in your reading. They’re groups that meet up strictly for the purpose of discussing literature. They offer members accountability and companionship. There’s more than just reading involved: these clubs demand a closer look, a sharper eye, and a thoughtful reaction to novels, memoirs, essays, and other noteworthy books.

As self-publishers, book promotion is going to take up a lot of your time and energy. Books must be promoted in order to sell. Traditional advertising works great, and is a common way to increase sales, but there are other unique ways to attract potential readers. You’re a writer, so it goes without saying that you’re creative. Why not go for a creative, unique way to promote your book?

Book clubs are just that: unique and beneficial for self-published book promotion. Sure, it won’t make up a majority of your sales, but it’ll get the word out. Raising awareness is a fundamental part of promotion.

Why Book Clubs?

Depending on the size of the club, you could increase your sales considerably. When a club selects a book for their monthly or bimonthly meetings, their members must buy (or borrow) the selected book and read it before the meeting. Therefore, selection equals sales.

But more than that is the knowledge that people want to read your book. This itself is crucial to an artist’s livelihood. Just knowing that someone—perhaps, many someones—find merit in your art, find it worth consuming and discussing, is reward enough.

Start with Local Book Clubs First

There are a lot of book clubs out there. Where should you start? Locally, of course!

Most likely, there will be at least one book club within your community. Check online or in bookstores, community centers, or libraries for clubs that meet in your city or town. Local book clubs should be your first choice, because having hometown appeal will definitely help your pitch to the book club.

If there aren’t local clubs you can pitch to, expand your search to surrounding areas. Continue to work your way out.

If you’re having a difficult time finding clubs near you, consider using a search engine like Meetup or the American Library Association.

Themed Book Clubs

If local book clubs aren’t for you, consider approaching a themed or niche bookclub. Examples of themed clubs:

  • Feminist book clubs. Is your book feminist? Specifically pitch to feminist book clubs, and include, in your pitch, what makes it a feminist book. Does it have a woman narrator? Are there themes of social justice? Does it explore marginalization in our society?
  • YA book clubs. Have you written a young adult book? Pitch to clubs that only read within this genre. Maybe this means it’s a book club for teens and young adults, or it could be a book club for those who enjoy the genre.
  • Self-help book clubs. Self-help books are immensely popular, and book clubs that focus solely on them are part book club, part therapy. If you’ve written a self-help book, look for these kinds of clubs first. In your pitch, include your credentials or background as well—what makes you qualified to write about this subject?

If your book can fit within the parameters of a book club’s theme, be sure to include this in your pitch. Explain how your book fits within the theme, but also be sure to include how it’s unique. For example, how is your mystery novel different than others? How have you made your book stand out?

Pitch Perfect: How to Pitch Your Book to Clubs

Despite not having a traditional publishing house to pitch or sell your book to clubs, there are still ways to connect with and get your book into book clubs. It may require a little bit of work, but the more people who read your book, the more word will spread about it.

There are a lot of excellent online resources for self-published authors. From idea conception to writing to editing to promoting, countless of sites offer information, connections, and tools for self-publishers to make the most of their publishing journey.

Some of these online resources offer assistance to authors who will be pitching their book to book clubs, whether online clubs or local clubs that at the library or other community centers. Unless you have a personal connection to the group, you’ll have to pitch your book to them.

When you pitch your book, you’ll make a case for why it’d be intriguing, beneficial, or worthwhile for the club to read and discuss. What can your book offer to the group’s dialogue? Why should they pick your self-published book over everything else? These are points you’ll need to consider when pitching your book.

When approaching a book club that you have no connection to, reach out to the club’s organizer. Introduce yourself and your book; provide a book summary to them. Explain why you’re interested in their club, and then provide the aforementioned points: why your book will be intriguing, beneficial, or worthwhile to the group’s discussion, why they should select your book, etc.

Try, Try Again

Not every pitch is going to be successful. Some book clubs plan their schedule out for months or even a year in advance. Your book may not be a fit for some, or it the club may be too busy to accept your proposal. Don’t be discouraged if a club denies your book. Ask them to keep you in consideration, and try again at another club.

Some clubs may promote a “Recommended Reading” list—books that they don’t select for their meetings, but recommend nonetheless. If your book can land a spot on such lists, this means raised awareness, too. If a club offers such a list, ask for consideration in your pitch.

Book clubs are just one avenue of unique book promotion. Stay tuned as DiggyPOD’s Blog explores other promotional options, such as book reviews, book trailers, and book festivals.