Book Club Tips: Are You and Your Novel Book Club-Worthy?

Kathryn Craft

Interview with Author Kathryn Craft: 3 Questions

In a publishing market glutted with authors, making a sale is all about building relationships. That’s where book clubs can become an author’s best friend—the entire point of a book club is to create relationships around a book. Every sale made to a book club member can result in at least a handful of other sales, and what’s more, these avid readers love to tell other friends about their book club finds. Award-winning author and book club guru Kathryn Craft is here to share her tips!

First, Kathryn, tell us what it means to write a novel worth talking about.
Stephanie Rostan, agent to best-selling Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, reveals that Flynn spends little time on social media. Same with Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins—yet they were two of the three top-selling novelists of 2012.

These women were busy doing what an author should be doing—writing their next book. Even so, their success is due largely to social media. Not because they constantly hawked their books, but because their books inspired social media conversation among their readers. 

If you think about it, that’s the very definition of a great book club read: a book that others want to talk about, debate about, and bond over. So make sure to put your time in up front to earn such interest 

3 Book Club Questions with Kathryn Craft:

  1. How can we assess whether our book is a viable candidate?

Qualities bound to generate great book club discussion:

  • An unusual setting that plays a strong story role.
  • A perspective readers haven’t considered.
  • A character set orchestrated around a timely or meaningful theme.
  • An author who refuses to spoon-feed the reader.
  • An ending that clicks into place yet remains open to interpretation.
  • Reader-centric questions online or in the back of the book.
  1. How can we honestly assess whether we are a viable author candidate?
  • Not a good option if you are sick of talking about your book.
  • Not a good option if the thought of leading a discussion makes you feel nauseous.
  • Not a good option if you don’t believe in a long marketing tail.
  • Not a good option if you can’t answer one more time who your favorite author is or where you get your ideas. Because they will ask.
  • Figure out how much of your life you are willing to share because they will ask.
  • Prove you can inspire conversation on social media with provocative posts on your book’s themes.
  • Do you belong to/participate in online book clubs? It’s important to be a reader as well as an author.
  1. Are we willing to commit to book clubs at our author website?
  • Feature a “For book clubs” page.
  • Metadata: Add keyword tags to your book club page that will help search engines find you if a club host googles “women’s fiction” or “book club pick” or “book club novel.”
  • State the importance to you of this form of marketing.
  • Rewrite your book description to evoke the kinds of conversations the book might inspire, and what personal insight you have to offer.
  • Suggest you are an “insider” with popular book club title comparisons.
  • Extend invitation for clubs to connect with you for in-person or Skype visits.
  • Add incentives for those who book a visit.
  • Recipes for book-themed treats and/or drinks to serve at book club.
  • Enhance the reading experience with other media: book trailers, discussion videos, playlists
  • Post bonus discussion questions not in the book
  • Add a few pictures over time so they can envision interacting with you.
  • If you were lucky enough to get a blurb saying this would be a great book club pick, by the gods, put it on your website page!

Kathryn Craft is an award-winning author who writes stories that seek beauty and meaning at the edge of darkness. Her books are rich with material for further thought or discussion, and make an excellent choice for book clubs. She has had much success with her book club visits and sharing her discussion-provoking novels with eager readers. Her two novels, THE ART OF FALLING and THE FAR END OF HAPPY are both acclaimed by readers and reviewers as being book club-worthy fiction.

Kathryn’s website:

Kathryn’s editing services:

THE FAR END OF HAPPY book trailer: