It’s what every author dreams of: her book getting picked up by a book club. Everyone in the club reads it … and starts talking about it. Then they tell their friends about it … and they tell their friends. The rest is bestseller history.
But how do you get your book in the hands of book clubs in the first place? Here are three steps to getting started:
Step 1: Set up the incentives.
Before you even start reaching out to book clubs, you need to figure out what you’re offering them to sweeten the pot. A good starting point is a downloadable discussion guide (available via your author website). Other possible incentives can include a few free copies, autographed copies, or the offer for you to chat with the book club (either in person or via Skype). The more incentives you offer, the more likely someone is going to bite.
Step 2: Locate relevant book clubs.
This takes a little bit of time and research, but it’s totally worth it. Scour the web to find book clubs — both online and offline — that regularly read books in your genre. If you can find ones that are local, all the better. But don’t limit yourself. Make a long list of relevant book clubs and the contact information of the person who leads the club. If you don’t want to invest the time and energy, there are plenty of people out there willing to do the work for you. Then…
Step 3: Reach out to the book clubs.
Once you have your list of clubs and you have your pitch, it’s time to reach out. Customize your letter to each book club, ensuring that you touch on all the relevant points to that club. If it’s local, make sure to mention that you’re local as well. If it focuses on your genre, point out how relevant your book is to their readership. Don’t hesitate to include relevant materials in the email, such as a press release about your book, photos of you and your book cover, or the discussion guide we mentioned. This is your chance to “sell” your book, so don’t skimp.
You may reach out to 100 book clubs. If you’re lucky, a few will pick up your book. But those few could turn into hundreds — or even thousands — of copies of your book sold. Put in the thought, time and energy and your book will be the next must-read.