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
Developing Discussion Questions
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.
Awesome! I will definitely download.
Thanks so much, Alex!
A very useful resource for authors… Thank you Jeri for offering this to your readers… Have a great week ahead! 😀
Aqui, I really do think I’ve created a unique and valuable resource. Hope you have a great week ahead too!
Hi Jeri. Thanks for this wonderful offer. I’m already one of your subscribers but can’t seem to download the book? 🙂
Did the link in today’s MailChimp delivered post work for you? If not, what happens when you click on the link or the download screen when the PDF URL comes up?
What a fabulous resource, Jeri. Thanks for sharing this. I started a book club with friends (back in the 90’s) and it was really fun. There was always the one person who never finished the book LOL. Now, of course, many book clubs are on line for example, on goodreads. I’m definitely adding this download to my library. Thanks again, Jeri!
Lisa, book clubs can be a lot of fun. I wish there were more in my city rather than a 45-minute drive away in Boise. I hope you find the guide helpful.
This is a fantastic guide, Jeri! Oddly enough, I haven’t been in any book groups except for one when the book was Boys in the Boat. A guide like this would have made it even more rewarding. I think I’ll send this blog over to the woman running it and suggest she sign up for your blogs. 🙂 Hey–they might even discover some good books to read!
In the meantime, as an author, this is a great way to take a new look at my novels and see what I can do to improve them before groups read them!
RoseMary, I participated in a book club for a while, but the conversations tended to veer too far off-base from the book a lot of the time. A handful of structured questions is always great to have as a fall-back for the times when people get off topic or run out of things to say. Questions help us delve deeper!
Thanks for the offer Jeri, coming from an author cum editor, this book must be a wonderful guide. Blessings for your benevolence, dear friend.
Thanks, Balroop. My teaching background in literature probably most lent itself to the development of this guide.
I almost never use discussion guide questions. I have started looking up reviews and background on the author, after I finish a book. Helps me remember and put together pieces I missed. Thanks for the download.
Julie, I always like to at least look at the questions provided. Good ones (especially questions stemming from critical theory lenses) will get me to consider angles I otherwise might have not considered as a reader.
This is a great idea. I’ve always thought it would be great to get a few book clubs to read my books. I downloaded it and hope to implement it with my next novel. Thanks for putting this together.
Denise, Net Switch could be a strong contender to approach book clubs with to read during Mental Health Awareness month.
I love it when a book includes book club questions. Even if I’m not reading it for a club, they help me think through what I’ve just read in New ways. What a great incentive for your subscribers!
Meredith, at long last, I finally have made a signup incentive available! Never say never 😉
Oh what a great idea, Jeri! This resource will prove helpful for many authors wanting to get new eyes on their books. And may your subscriber count here continue to grow 🙂
Christy, thanks so much. Your presence here reminds me that poetry selections are great for some book clubs as well.
Great resource Jeri! Thanks!
You are most welcome!
I was part of a book club a few years ago. Quite frankly, I think we were probably an awful book club because we weren’t very focused. And we very easily got off topic. But we still did have some good discussions. I think it is a great idea for writers to reach out to book clubs if possible. We often had difficulty deciding what to read next.