Monday, July 20, 2015

Connecting with readers through bookclubs

A friend of mine recently asked me if I'd be willing to attend her book club meeting in person. They'd selected WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS as their monthly read, and since I was local they thought it would be fun to have the author attend in person and answer some of their questions.

Connecting with my first book club!
I was nervous, but agreed. And I'm so glad I said yes. Not only were they gracious hostesses, but I had a blast hearing their take on the story, answering their questions and meeting some new folks who live in the Bay Area.

Book clubs, it turns out, are a great way to reach new readers. Whether you're a member of one or not, there are thousands in your area, and many would welcome the chance to have an in-person discussion with a local author. It costs you very little beyond a few hours of time, and you'll have a blast.

Here are a few ways you can connect with local book clubs:

Fun with Q&A
1. Start with friends and family.

The easiest place to start is to reach out to friends and family and ask if they know of any book clubs in the area who might be open to hosting an in-person author Q&A.

2. Leverage your personal social media pages.

We tend to do a lot of marketing on our author profile pages, but your biggest support base is likely right in your own back yard. Post to your personal Facebook and Instagram pages to see who might be interested. You may be surprised by the response.

3. Consider Skype and Google Hangouts.

Saturday Night Book Chat
If you can't be there in person, why not have a virtual chat? Skype and Google Hangouts are great (and free!) ways to have a personalized chat with readers without having to fly across the country to meet them.

3. Reach out to alumni networks.

Consider reaching out to your alma mater's alumni network to see if you can post in an upcoming newsletter. They're often looking for alumni willing to provide content, write articles and share updates for upcoming publications. Who knows, you might reconnect with some old friends!

4. Post on local library boards.

Many local libraries allow for ads to be posted to bulletin boards or other shared contact sites.  In fact many include information about local book clubs looking for new members. Post some information about your book and see what happens. What do you have to lose?

Tell us - how do you connect with new readers?

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