Book clubs - how do you find them, and which ones buy books?

My latest blog post describes the wonderful book club experience I enjoyed at Lake George last Sunday. I sold lots of books, and the experience rekindled my enthusiasm for doing in-person appearances and signings. The women of the Illiterati book club actually expressed a sense of responsibility about buying my books. Since I'd driven 65 miles and wasn't being paid for my time, that was the least they could do, some said.

I posed some questions at the end: What are your experiences with book signings? Which venues work best? Where have you found audiences most likely to buy? What about group vs. individual signings? And where do you find those wonderful book clubs, anyway?

I'd love to hear your opinions, either here, on my blog, or both.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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This is, unfortunately, not an option for traditionally published authors because they don't sell their own books. Such an appearance, regardless of distance or brilliance or presentation (and I've never charged to speak about Japanese culture and literature) would not sell a single book for me.
A very accommodating set-up! My compliments.
It's great that your authors actually realize some cash at the end of the evening! That often does not happen for newer authors who book sign for B & N or Borders.
I disagree with I. J. Parker. I'm a traditionally published author, and I always keep a box or two of my own books handy for book club and library appearances. If another entity (a bookstore rep. or friends of the library cashier or whatever) is not available to handle the sales transactions, I do it, asking for cash or check in a round number that includes tax, my shipping, etc. I know lots and lots of traditionally published authors, with the big NY presses, midsized, or small presses that all do the same thing. We buy books at an author discount then resell them during personal appearance events if another entity can't sell the books for us.

And as for your question about where I find book clubs, I don't. They find me--through word-of-mouth, contacting me via my website, etc. I do about one book club appearance a month.
Do you price the books at the bookstore rate, i.e. suggested retail price, or at your own cost? As for sales tax, that involves complicated reporting strategies and perhaps business licenses, doesn't it?

I think combining bookclub and local store is much the better option, and the store will like it better, too.
How do you spread the word about your website? Do you send an e-blast to your whole data base, which might include purchasers and non-purchasers alike??
I agree, IJ, that if you have the option, combining the bookclub with a local store would probably be a great option. You get credit for the sales and a royalty. Still if you don't get that option, you should charge over and above your cost, to pay yourself for the gig, right?
Julie, Sisters in Crime had a list of bookclubs a couple of years back with contacts listed. Don't know if it still does.I've got one on my computer from 2007 so a bit out of date. Still I'll send it to you if you like.
Thanks much, Christine. Let me try to access Sisters in Crime's site first and see if I can find their list.
Very much obliged for the generous offer, though.
I'd also appreciate a copy of the list if you don't mind! spalloneauthor@aol.com, www.jenniespallone.com, http://jenniespallone.blogspot.com
One way I stumbled across to find book clubs is to search on the terms 'book clubs' on http://www.meetup.com/. You can limit your search by zip code, so you find the ones in your area. And to narrow the results, you could always add the term 'mystery' or 'crime fiction' into your search.

Also, check calendar announcements in community newspapers. Often, libraries or senior centers have book groups that advertise their meetings there.

So far, I haven't tried to sell books this way, but I'd like to explore doing so.
Love this idea! It's so simple. Going on Google or Facebook to find book clubs was impossible!!
Thanks to all of you for your replies. Beth, I'm with you - I know lots of traditionally published authors who also sell their own books. Some great ideas here for ferreting out more book clubs when and if I'm ready.

Tonight I'll be going to a book club meeting sponsored by my Unitarian Universalist church. They've selected my book Eldercide for October, so I'm bringing copies to sell tonight. Many of them have already bought the book, though. I'm pleased to be selected, because they featured my first mystery, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, two years ago, and I doubt they would have chosen another of mine unless they liked the first one. Usually they choose more "literary" fiction, but my books have a social justice element that appeals to them. Tonight, for example, we're discussing Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. Gotta go get ready - the discussions are always preceded by a pot luck with lots of wine, which of course helps sales.

Yes, I'm registered to collect NYS sales tax, and yes, it's an enormous hassle.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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