This is one thing that I often recommend to clients as we’re discussing what kinds of content their author website should include. It’s a downloadable book club discussion guide.
If you think your book might be appropriate for a book club (and what book isn’t, really?), then you should be making it as easy as possible for someone in a book club to find your book and get ideas about how to integrate it into their book club. One of the best ways to do that is to provide them with this discussion guide.
Not only would a good discussion guide make it easier for someone to understand why your book should be reviewed by their club, but it could also improve the discussion itself. The better (and more heated) the discussion is, the more likely book club members are going to mention the book to their friends.
So what should be in such a guide? Here are six ideas, courtesy of Chlorine Books.
1. Direct your questions at the appropriate age level for your book. If you’ve written a children’s fiction or non-fiction book, questions should be targeted at the reading level of your book’s market.
2. Questions for adult fiction or non-fiction books should include a range of questions so that different levels of book groups can find questions that appeal to their groups.
3. For fiction books, are there any current or historic events that impact the story you’ve told? If so, create questions based on these events.
4. As people often read discussion questions before reading the book, be careful about accidentally revealing a fiction book’s surprise plot points in the questions. With careful consideration, you will usually be able to find a way to discuss a question topic without revealing these plot points.
5. Before making available your discussion questions, test them on friends who haven’t read the book yet. Check that the questions mean to others what these questions mean to you.
6. Offer the questions to anyone who might be interested besides making the questions available as a free download on your website or other author platforms.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you put together an effective discussion guide, and, as a result, your book will become the hot topic in book clubs across the country!
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