Sparking Book Talk: Finding a Book Club to Promote Your Books

promoting your books to a book club

Being the subject of discussion in a book club is an accomplishment for authors. Book clubs boost sales and foster engaging discussions across diverse reader communities. 

Despite this, some authors face the challenge of crafting a book that resonates with book clubs and effectively promoting it to these groups. 

Joining a book club, especially during the writing phase, can offer invaluable insights into reader preferences and the dynamics of book selection, aiding authors in making their books more appealing to these circles. 

With the rise of online book clubs free of membership fees, authors have more opportunities than ever to connect with potential readers to promote themselves, understand how to choose a book for a book club and immerse themselves in communities that eagerly await their contributions.

Authors have two options: finding a book club to join or launching their own book club.

Key takeaways

  • Participating in book clubs boosts sales and provides valuable insights into reader preferences, enhancing authors' connections with diverse reader communities.
  • Authors can join existing book clubs or create their own to curate discussions and promote their works effectively. Strategies include offering bulk ordering discounts and creating discussion-starter videos.
  • Authors should consider factors like length, uniqueness, broad appeal, and potential for sparking discussions when selecting books for book clubs. Crafting books with universal themes and complex characters enhances their suitability for book club discussions.

This article goes over:

A. Finding a Book Club to Join

When joining, you should select a club that aligns with your interests. 

By joining a book club ecosystem, authors can give valuable insights to that particular book club, from how to pick books for a book club to how to lead a book club discussion group. In this way, authors can significantly increase their visibility, connect deeper with readers, and create communities around their works. 

1. Research possible options

Authors can find book clubs ranging from formal groups with structured meetings to casual gatherings of friends. Websites like,, and offer extensive listings of both in-person and online book clubs free of charge, facilitating easy joining. 

2. Connect with the organizer(s)

Once there, authors should connect with the book club organizer. 

Organizers, who are typically volunteers passionate about reading, select books they believe will engage and inspire their group. Responding promptly to their inquiries can significantly increase the chances of your book being selected. 

3. Participate in meetings

Offering to participate in book club meetings, whether in person or virtually, can give you an edge over other authors. 

Providing additional materials like discussion starter videos or sharing inspirations behind your book can make the meeting more enriching for members. These are also great marketing materials, as we'll see later.

💫 After participating in a book club meeting, send a thank you note to the organizer, and inquire about other clubs that might be interested in your book. Share photos of book club meetings on social media to attract more clubs to pick your book.

B. Launching a Book Club

Even if you need to take a while to learn how to start an online book club or how to set up a book club in person, you'll have the freedom to curate discussions and pick books that resonate with your literary taste, fostering a community of like-minded readers.

Starting a book club as an author is a fantastic way to engage with readers and create a community around your work. 

Here's how to set up a book club that you are proud of:

1. Find members with shared interests

Leverage your existing platforms to find book club members. Utilize your email list to reach out to readers who are already interested in your work, inviting them to join your book club.

Additionally, explore reading communities, online forums, and social media groups dedicated to writing and reading. These spaces are filled with potential members who share your passion for literature and offer a rich source of diverse perspectives.

2. Clarify your book club's purpose 

Ensure everyone shares the same vision for the book club. Whether the focus is on socializing or delving into the nuances of literary works, having a clear purpose will keep the group aligned. 

Discuss your collective goals at the initial meeting to avoid turning your literary discussions into mere social gatherings.

3. Choose the right books

Take advantage of your deep understanding of your genre or niche to guide the book selection process. 

Since you're intimately familiar with the themes, trends, and nuances of your specific field, you can curate a list of readings that resonate strongly with your audience. 

Consider introducing books that complement the themes of your own work or explore new perspectives within your genre. 

4. Schedule the meetings

Monthly meetings typically offer enough time for members to read and digest the books. Consider the group's reading pace when scheduling.

5. Select the venue

While meeting at someone's home offers a cozy setting, public spaces like cafes, bookstores, or libraries can provide a neutral, comfortable environment without the pressure of hosting. 

The key is finding a quiet, accommodating space for in-depth discussions.

Following these steps on how to set up a book club ensures a successful book club launch.

Once here, your task is to promote your book club.

Let's see a few ways to do it.

C. How to Promote Your Books to a Book Club

If you're a book club member:

1. Create discussion-starter video

Whether you join a book club or create one, record a brief video discussing the inspiration behind your book, posing open-ended questions to kickstart book club conversations. This approach personalizes the reading experience and can make discussions more dynamic.

2. Give bulk ordering discounts

Offer tiered discounts for bulk purchases directly through your website or by partnering with local bookstores. This incentive can make your book an attractive choice for larger book clubs looking for cost-effective options.

3. Post visual presentation

On your author website or social media accounts, post an engaging presentation that book clubs can use to navigate through your book's themes, settings, and key discussions. Include visual aids related to your book's content to make discussions more immersive.

If you're a book club founder:

1. Engage with your online community

Utilize your author website, email list, and social media channels to announce book club meetings, share reading lists, and post discussion highlights.

Engage with your readers by inviting them to suggest books or topics for upcoming discussions, creating a sense of ownership and community.

2. Partner with local bookstores

Consider partnering with local bookstores or libraries for co-hosted events, which can attract new members and provide a physical space for meetings.

3. Choose to collaborate with an author from your niche

Collaborate with other authors in your niche for guest discussions or joint book club sessions to broaden your reach and introduce your club to diverse audiences. Remember, the goal is to create a vibrant, interactive community.

4. Offer reading group resources

Insert in-book discussion questions

  • For fiction, include questions at the end to guide reflection and discussion.
  • For nonfiction, consider chapter-end questions to prompt immediate contemplation.

5. Provide online resources

Provide downloadable discussion guides, character analyses, and thematic explorations on your author website to enhance engagement. 

You can also:

  • include a call-to-action in your book's backmatter, encouraging readers to discuss your book in their clubs.
  • inform your subscribers about new book club resources available on your website, such as discussion guides or leader's guides.
  • involve your launch team to introduce your book to book clubs they're part of or encourage them to start new clubs focusing on your book.

D. How to Pick the Best Books for Book Clubs

When selecting materials for a book club, the goal is to engage as many members as possible in a rich, dynamic discussion. 

When it comes to how to pick books to read, here are the attributes that guide organizers to good reading materials.

1. Length appropriate

While the length of a book shouldn't be the sole factor, shorter books often encourage more members to finish, facilitating a more inclusive discussion. A book that is too long may deter some members from completing it in time for the discussion.

2. Unique

Opt for books that offer a fresh perspective or a unique story. Books that are too similar to previously discussed works or that follow popular trends too closely may lack the novelty needed to inspire engaging discussions.

3. Broad 

While niche topics can be fascinating, the best book club picks often touch on broader themes or universal experiences. This doesn't mean you should avoid unique subjects, but finding a way to relate them to wider themes can increase their appeal.

4. Content sensitive

Understanding the preferences and sensitivities of the book club's demographic is key. 

Books that might be considered inappropriate due to language, themes, or political views can alienate members.

5. Newcomers appropriate

Prefer standalone books or the first book in a series. Committing to a book deep in a series may discourage participation due to the time investment required to catch up.

📌 Books that show rather than tell are more likely to spark debate and discussion. A preachy book might leave little room for interpretation or discussion, making it less appealing for book clubs.

E. How to Write the Best Books for Book Clubs

When crafting books for book club selections, focusing on universal themes and complex characters can significantly increase a book's appeal. 

Here are some writing tips to ensure your book is book-club-worthy:

1. Feature universal themes and complex characters

Books that delve into universal themes like love, friendship, betrayal, and resilience often resonate with a broad audience. 

  • Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner explores themes of redemption and friendship set against the backdrop of Afghanistan's tumultuous history.
kite runner book club book

Creating characters with intricate personalities, flaws, and growth arcs can stimulate engaging discussions. 

  • Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere offers complex characters whose intersecting lives and moral complexities provide rich material for discussion about family dynamics, identity, and ethics.
little fires everywhere best book for book clubs

2. Spark Discussion

Including questions that probe deeper into the narrative's themes, characters, and plot twists can guide the book club's conversation.

  • Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale often includes discussion questions in book club editions, prompting debates on feminism, power, and dystopian societies.
best book for book clubs handmaid's tale

A well-paced narrative with elements of mystery or suspense keeps readers engaged and eager to discuss theories.

  • Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl uses thrilling plot twists and unreliable narrators to keep readers and book clubs guessing, making it a topic of fascination and debate.
best book for book clubs gone girl

3. Encourage multiple perspectives

Books that introduce readers to new cultures, historical periods, or philosophical ideas can expand horizons.

  • Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing traces the lineage of two sisters and their descendants across continents and centuries, offering insights into history, race, and legacy.
best book for book clubs homegoing

Narratives centered around relatable dilemmas or societal issues can drive deep conversations.

  • Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things tackles racism and privilege, challenging readers to confront their own biases and sparking profound discussions.
best book for book clubs small great things

Endings that provide closure while still leaving questions or themes to ponder can keep the discussion lively.

  • Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go leaves readers reflecting on the characters' fates and the ethical implications of cloning, encouraging varied interpretations and viewpoints.
best book for book clubs never let me go

Get Things Going

Whether you're looking to dive deeper into the genres you love or share your own stories with a captivated audience, learning how to have a book club is your gateway to building meaningful connections with readers.

Discover the joy of reading collectively and watch as the pages of your own writing journey unfold in the most rewarding ways!

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