Do I need book discussion questions?
July 11, 2012 | Written by admin
Timothy wrote to say, “Some book clubs have asked me for discussion questions for my book. I took a stab at it, but came away sounding like my high school English teacher. What do book clubs like to discuss? Do your clients develop book club study guides, or is this rare enough it can be handled on a case-by-case basis?”
Book clubs are looking for 7 to 12 open-ended questions (i.e., questions that can’t be answered “yes” or “no”) that explore the themes of the book and allow them to either debate the choices made by the characters, or discuss how to apply the situations to their own lives. So for a novel, coming up with questions that foster debate is probably more important than coming up with questions that examine the accuracy of the story. For a nonfiction title, coming up with questions that take your principles and ask people to apply them to their own lives is imperative. Get people telling their own stories and interacting with the text, and you’ve got a great book club.
I’ve had several authors create book club questions. Again, they usually sit down and get about ten questions that all inspire discussion. Some publishers will put these on a page in the back of the book. If yours doesn’t want to do that, here’s an idea to try: Post book club questions on your web site. It will offer readers genuine value, while increasing traffic to your site and allowing you to cross-sell your other books.