Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Clubs: A Wonderful Marketing Tool

Book Clubs: A Wonderful Marketing Tool
Guest post by Tia Bach for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews

Depression Cookies

Book clubs promote books, it’s that simple. Through the years, I’ve belonged to many book clubs. I love reading, and my book clubs have always pushed me to read outside my comfort zone. In a sea of book choices, I have always loved having this book community to suggest books.

My mother and I recently co-authored Depression Cookies, a coming of age story told from two different perspectives: teenage daughter and her mother. I wrote the teenager’s point of view while my mom wrote the mother’s.

Becoming an author made me realize book clubs are not just social events for readers to gather. Really, they are a very useful source for marketing. I knew if I could get our book into the hands of book clubs, especially if several members loved it, the precious word of mouth marketing would begin. The strategy went further since most book club devotees attend more than one club or have friends in other book clubs. Never underestimate this market. As a reader, 85% of my book choices come from friends’ recommendations; most of those come from my book club friends.

So I started by suggesting our novel to my own book club. Since my family has moved every 2-3 years, I also reached out to my former book clubs across the country. When I suggested our novel to groups farther away, I offered to either Skype or conference call into the discussion to make it more personal. Mom did the same with her book clubs. Even if you didn’t co-author with your mom like I did, I bet your mom, sister or friends would be willing to recommend your book to their book clubs.

Overall, the response has been tremendous. Our book club friends knew we loved reading, critiquing and highlighting discrepancies in writing. They saw us bring honest questions to the forum and felt at ease to do the same with our book. After a recent book club, a grandmother suggested our book to her daughter who in turn gave it to hers. The end product was a speaking engagement at a sorority’s Mother-Daughter tea at North Carolina State University−a wonderful opportunity to interact with more potential readers.

On our blog and website, we make sure book clubs know how important they are to us as authors. We have a “Book Club” tab dedicated to suggested book club questions. We encourage readers and book club attendees to send us questions, and we post our answers to our blog. To give the personal touch, we make ourselves available for discussions through Skype or teleconference. In addition, we’ve offered discounts for groups ordering ten or more copies of the book.

Libraries host book clubs, too, so check with your local library about getting on their schedule. After I attended a recent book club discussion, one of the members requested the local library buy Depression Cookies for other book clubs to enjoy. Not long after, she sent me a picture of Depression Cookies proudly displayed in their book club section.

Remember, book clubs are an excellent resource for finding enthusiastic and loyal readers. Both are important keys to book marketing success. Word of mouth is not the fastest marketing tool, but it has a lot of staying power and is never-ending if the product is worthy.
Thank you Tia!!

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