Book Clubs … an idea

I’ve written about book clubs in the past and talked about their necessity and importance, not only for club members but also for we authors who are trying to get attention for our books. I don’t belong to a book club myself, but I did recently publish a guest post on my blog from Felicity Harley, titled My two book clubs and why I love them. Felicity pretty well sums up the reasons most readers join book clubs. I know the camaraderie and a shared interest in reading and books are the main reasons I’ve heard others have joined them. And definitely, having your book read by a book club, or being invited as a guest author to a meeting to speak about your book, are certainly the reasons why most authors I know love book clubs!


I was thinking about recommending books this morning, about how we as readers hear about “what to read next” and how book clubs figure into the bigger picture of promoting our books to more readers. My mind was working in the way it usually does (and I know bjH is probably nodding her head right now in recognition, thinking to herself, “Oh, no, Susan. Not again …) and one thought about book clubs and their members led to another thought of how those book clubs could help spread the word further than to just their immediate membership about the books they’ve enjoyed.

What if book clubs were to take their discussion another step and post a review of a book they’ve discussed? That review could be posted to Goodreads or Amazon or the local library’s website. Anywhere online, really, as long as it catches the attention of more readers. And this review could be whatever the club decides, by whomever wishes to write it. But it should be a consensus of the members’ opinions and perhaps include some of the more important points of discussion during the meeting.

This way the book club would receive some public recognition and, trust me, those authors whose books are reviewed would be tickled pink! It’s one thing knowing that 10 or 12 club members have enjoyed what you’ve written. But if the club chooses to also share the news of their enjoyment with the reading public in general .. Well, then! Let me just say that I for one would be ecstatic if I suddenly saw a review on Goodreads posted by a book club that chose to read and discuss my book! (Besides which, we don’t always know a club has chosen to read our books in the first place. Just knowing that has happened would make me happy!)

So, is this idea do-able? Are there book club members out there reading this now who would be willing to suggest my proposal to their club, and possibly act on reviewing books publicly that they’ve read and discussed previously?

Another place where I’d be more than happy to post positive reviews from book clubs of any Reading Recommendations-promoted authors they’ve discussed is on my review blog, reading recommendations reviewed. (Authors I’ve promoted on Reading Recommendations are listed here and here. I also recommend you check through those two lists if you’re looking for ideas on which books and authors to discuss next.)

Please do share this post online, through social media and your blogs, but especially directly with any book clubs you know that might take me up on my suggestion. I’ve noticed there are book club blogs online, as well. I think they might like this concept. And please remember too that many public libraries and book stores also host book club discussions!

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this blog post that we authors manage to survive and keep writing through receiving good reviews that attract more new readers to our work. A positive review coming from a group of happy readers would constitute a major endorsement for many of us.

(So what do you think, bjH? A good idea this time?)

33 responses

  1. Reviews are not only a great idea for book clubs but I may steal the idea for an upcoming story in my Hazel Rose Book Group series.

    1. Excellent! Let me know when it’s ready

  2. Great idea, Susan. I belong to a book club and our discussion about the book that spins off into our lives is one of the big highlights of any month, for all of us. No one wants to miss book club.
    Another thought: a woman has now started book clubs in prisons and wrote a book about it. One inmate referred to the book club in his prison as a ‘refuge’. Ann Walmsley’s book is called The Prison Book Club.

    1. Thanks for commenting, and about the information on that prison book club book. Sounds interesting!

  3. Reblogged this on Creative State of Mind and commented:
    I love this idea! I used to belong to a book club and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t found a new one since we moved, but this post reminded me of everything I love about getting together with like-minded people to discuss books. Most of the members of my former book club belonged to Goodreads and we shared our reviews there. I love the idea of taking it a step further and posting the reviews to blogs.

    If there are any book clubs out there who might like to share their reviews with a wider audience, please contact Susan from Reading Recommendations so she can talk with you about possibly posting to her review blog.

    1. Thanks for your comments and for reblogging, Tricia!

  4. Book club reviews sound like a great idea, Susan, and may also sway other book clubs to take a chance on a new or little known author. A snowball effect!

    1. That’s what I’m hoping for!

  5. Great suggestion. I’d think book clubs would enjoy this.

  6. Book clubs are a vital part of an author’s world. I like the discussions that take place and I like your suggestion.

  7. Super idea. I just wish book clubs were more inclined to read less popular titles, or even indies, as opposed to the latest novel-turned-Hollywood-blockbuster. Reviews help the little guy a lot more than the already successful.

    1. Some clubs I’ve known read the less popular titles; some even look for local authors to read. Even if they are reading and reviewing the blockbusters though it’s at least a start. Perhaps they’ll consider where this idea comes from and start reviewing authors who could really use a positive boost.

  8. I used to sell my books at market stalls, and it seemed that putting a face to the book helped readers engage with it, asking questions before they bought etc.

    1. I’m not as interested in selling books as I am in finding new readers for books in general, Barb. This way, the book club speaks for us in recommending ALL our books to potential readers. All authors – and all readers! – win!

  9. bettyjanehegerat

    Now this one is a great idea.

    1. Definitely better than providing entertainment at adult birthday parties, I’m thinking …

  10. Author Rebecca Heishman

    Reblogged this on Dancing With The MS MonSter.

  11. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    An excellent idea from Susan Toy about how book clubs could promote themselves and give an author a boost too..

  12. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:

  13. Great idea Susan Toy!

    1. Thanks, Felicity! I owe you for inspiring me.

  14. Great suggestion, Susan! Posting reviews is indeed the ‘next level’ kind of idea and part of the democratizing process book clubs represent too!

%d bloggers like this: