An Author’s Guide to Book Clubs is now available! This 22-page booklet contains hundreds of questions an author, book club leader, or teacher can use to spur literature discussion. Use them as is or tailor as desired. All authors should consider the benefit of including such questions within their book or on their author website. This guide also offers strategies to help authors connect with book clubs. This sign-up incentive is truly one of a kind. Enjoy!
All new subscribers to Word Bank Writing & Editing will receive a download link to this booklet in their final confirmation email. What are you waiting for? Click the link to join the mailing list to receive your free download. Existing subscribers should look for the link in the emailed version of this post. What follows below is the guide’s introduction
An Author’s Guide to Book Clubs
About This Guide
Book clubs are treasure troves of potential readers often under-utilized by authors. Not to mention, a set of accompanying discussion questions can help deepen the reading experience. This guide provides ready-made questions that can be pressed into service for most fiction and creative nonfiction titles.
Beyond that, explanations and examples for each questioning strategy allow an author a better understanding of how to generate their own questions that get at various aspects of a story.
This guide also delivers strategies for connecting with such groups. Book club leaders may also find this book invaluable to generate questions to encourage their members to go into more fruitful discussion and to also participate in hands-on activities to bring a book to life.
This guide covers five main areas of interest:
- Developing Discussion Questions
- Going Beyond the Book
- Finding Book Clubs
- Reaching out to Potential Readers
- Being a Book Club Guest
My expertise comes from a background in education theory. Reading does not take place in a vacuum. Meaning is made in the interplay between reader, writer, and text. The best questions are open-ended and account for basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of response.
Beyond asking general questions that encourage readers to delve deeper into the seven elements of literature, applying critical theory questions from a feminist perspective or utilizing cognitive strategies such as Bloom’s Taxonomy are great starting points for in-depth discussion questions.
Activities to Spur Book Discussion
Sitting around and gabbing about a book is indeed great fun, but what might happen if readers are encouraged to try various activities like writing character poems, conducting mock interviews, making collages, putting on skits, or recording a short video? Tons of fun. That’s what.
Finding Book Clubs
Book clubs abound, though effort is often required to find them. Strike up a conversation with a head librarian or approach professional organizations. Sites like Meetup and online book clubs are fabulous as well. Seek and you shall find. I’ve included links to speed your search.
Reaching Out to Potential Readers
Before reaching out to the group leader, ask if your book is properly edited and available in both print and e-book form. Does it fit the club’s intended audience? How active and passionate is the group? What can you find out about its members? Are you willing to be a guest?
Being a Book Club Guest
What type of questions might you be expected to answer? Are you prepared to answer honestly? How can you convey a friendly persona? How many copies should you bring and are you ready to sign? What makes for a good public reading? Will you provide any freebies?
What experiences have you had with book clubs as an author or as a reader? How often do you refer to discussion questions included with books What aspect of An Author’s Guide to Book Clubs are you most interested in?
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2017.