Are you part of a book club? Reading groups are a great way to meet fellow book nerds, discover new books, and exercise those analytical skills that might be a bit rusty since college graduation. If you’ve been curious about joining a book club, October is a great time to try it out. It’s National Reading Group Month, an event founded by the Women’s National Book Association focused on sharing the joy of group reading.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities hosting a chapter event for National Reading Group Month, these official celebrations would be a great way to get started in book clubbing. You can see a full list of events and the month’s featured books here.
Another great place to find a book club is the site MeetUp. After entering your city, you’ll be able to browse social groups for your area. Book clubs are typically easy to find on the site. If you live in a city like Austin you might find book clubs as varied and fun as “Beer & Cookies Book Club,” “Thrill Me! Book Club,” and “Young at Heart: YA for Adults Book Club.”
Most local libraries also host book clubs where you can meet your fellow bookish neighbors and great bookstores also usually have popular monthly reading groups. If you can’t seem to locate an ongoing local book club, you can always start your own as well. There are many sites (LitLovers, Book Club Girl, and Reading Group Guides to name a few) dedicated to helping book lovers find great book club reads and plan engaging discussion questions.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to leave the comfort of your pajamas and living room to be a part of a reading group. There are plenty of active online book clubs. Huffington Post has a very active book club (they’re currently discussing Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and Oprah’s Book Club also typically has great book picks and thorough discussion resources.
Reddit hosts several different book clubs, including a general one and many genre-specific clubs such as fantasy book club, science book club, and history book club. GoodReads has an impressive mix of online reading groups; you should be able to find a book club that interests you with options as wide as “19th Century Epic Romances,” “Books2Movies Club,” “Graphic Novel Reading Group,” and “The Study of the Mind: A Psychological Book Club.”
If joining a book club is something you’ve been curious about but haven’t acted on, take National Reading Group Month to explore the joys of collective reading. Just be sure to read BookRiot’s “Seven Ways to Fake it at Book Club” before you attend your first meeting.
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October is designated as National Reading Group Month by the Women's National Book Association. The mission of National Reading Group Month is to increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading. Special events are being held throughout the month in each of the association's 10 chapter cities: Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Charlotte, N.C. These events are open to the public, so you might consider doing some mingling with reading group members if you live in one of these cities. If you do attend, consider preparing and bringing a discussion guide for your book, as well as some free copies of the book, to hand out.
As we’ve mentioned before, reading groups can be an effective way for authors to find a readership and build word of mouth. Reading groups love author contact and will be more inclined to select your book if you offer to participate in discussions in person or via audio/video conferencing.
If you can’t attend the National Reading Group Month events, here are a few other places to find and connect with reading groups:
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When you think "book club," you may think of old biddies, crumpets, Aquanet, doilies, and a mystery novel. Or you may think of that blasted "O" sticker you spent ten minutes peeling off your copy of Bookspan from Time, Inc. The two companies joined forces in 2000, when Time's Book-of-the-Month Club and Bertelsmann's Doubleday Book Club combined to create Bookspan, which now operates over 35 book clubs.
According to the Beyond the Bookstore: to avoid making a hasty offer when negotiating with a book club; instead, ask them for standard terms and go from there. Follow these instructions when submitting a manuscript to a Bookspan club, and always submit at least six months in advance of your publication date.
It's also helpful to check out other titles in the catalog of the club you're considering submitting to. See if you fit in. Another helpful tip from Brian Jud: based on what you see in the catalog, draft some copy that you think would best sell your book to members.
Here are some examples of special-interest Bookspan clubs. For a full list, click here.
- History Book Club: Choose from a selection of books relating to all things history, from ancient to WWII.
- Equestrian's Edge: Books of all types for horse enthusiasts, including fiction, instructional books, and horse history.
- American Compass: Offers a catalog suited to today's conservative reader. Hot titles are from names like Bill "Culture Warrior" O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter.
- InsightOut: Books for LGBT readers on a variety of topics.
- One Spirit: A one-stop shop for books on yoga, spirituality, nature, and, of course, the Law of Attraction.