How I Started a Book Club to Cause a Revolution
As a lover of indie books, it's pretty rare to find someone else who reads the same books I do, despite being involved in the book community for years.
However, people are drawn to content about books they read, or at least have heard of. So even in highly engaged communities like BookTube, I'm screaming into the void when I mention obscure books that I love.
I wanted to change that. After all, I've read indie books better written than traditionally published books but they get lost in a sea of self-published books that almost no one ever visits.
Wouldn't it be fun to get a bunch of book bloggers and BookTubers to choose a book and read it at the same time? Not only could we talk about the book with each other, but we'll be able to create some buzz about it with a live-stream and reviews. In fact, with enough influencers in the group, we could start a ripple effect that could get a once-obscure indie book on the New York Times bestseller list. And if that book was primarily on Smashwords instead of Amazon, then so much the better.
In addition to getting some indie books covered, I also had visions of making more money with affiliate revenue and helping me and fellow BookTubers get more watch time. With YouTube's new guidelines in place for its partnership program, YouTubers have to get 4,000 hours of watch time before getting ad revenue. For a lot of people in the BookTube community, this seems like an impossible barrier to get over and it makes revenue streams like affiliate links that much more important. So I would love it if I was able to support BookTubers and book bloggers in addition to indie authors.
A great way to support each other and help watch time is with book clubs. After all, live-stream discussions are fun and a good way to raise watch time. A book club can also generate some buzz for little known books. Also, affiliate marketers can enjoy a small bit of revenue when it's their turn to pick the book by letting other members buy the book club book through their affiliate links.
So the Indie Revolution Book Club was born.
Proposal to Test Out My Idea
I only had a vague idea about what I wanted: a book club focusing on indie books priced in the $0.99 to $2.99 range, where each month a different member would choose a book to read. All the other members would buy the book through his or her affiliate link and they would all read the book. Then, depending on everyone's schedules, we could all do a live-stream or post reviews of the book at the same time and link to each other's reviews.
I was really nervous when I uploaded my "Proposal to BookTube" idea. What if no one liked it or could even understand it? Articulating myself isn't always one of my strengths.
But I wanted to do it anyway. I loved the idea of being part of a book club and reading indie novels together. I already spend enough time reading books no one has heard of. So I published the video and waited to see if anyone felt the same as me.
Luckily, I wasn't alone. Catherine Peacher from A Soulful of Books loved the idea. After we decided on a name, I started a Goodreads group and invited all my Goodreads friends to join, which a few did. I started a month rotation and it wasn't long before indie author Lisa Becker commented in the group, offering to give free copies if we picked her book. I've worked with Lisa before, and she's fabulous and an excellent writer, so I decided to choose one of her books for my month. After another author commented in the group, I knew that a book club featuring only indie authors would be an appealing promotion opportunity. So I created the Author's Corner in the Goodreads group, where indie authors can post details about their books, including any offers they are willing to make for book club members, like discounts or free copies.
We're now reading our first book: Clutch by Lisa Becker. We're planning a livestream on the weekend of the 26/27 of May and I'm super excited. The kinks aren't all worked out yet, but the book club has officially. Maybe one day it'll live up to its name and start a revolution.
Do you want to join the Indie Revolution Book Club? Sign up here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/554597-indie-revolution-book-club