Readers who have reached the end of your novel are prime candidates to talk about your book. One great way to encourage them to do so is by adding a reader’s guide. This provides some boost to members of a book club or a reading group who want to recommend that your title be added to their monthly rotation.
The reader’s guide need not be long. In fact, a set of 25-30 discussion questions or just 2-3 pages maximum in a paperback is more than enough.
The challenge facing you the author is to ensure the discussion questions are open-ended, that they focus on key points in the key, and that they are interesting enough to foment conversation. One way to accomplish the last point is to ask readers to provide examples from their own experiences as part of the answer; for example, if the novel is Albert Camus’ “The Stranger”, one question might be “Would you characterize yourself as a ‘stranger’ in your community? In what ways?”
Discussion questions might address the following aspects of your novel:
• Title’s significance
• Meaning of symbols in the story
• Character’s controversial decision(s)
• Whether or not the reader agrees with a character’s actions
• Changes characters undergo
• Nature of relationships between characters
• Ways readers might identify with characters
The reader’s guide can be posted to your blog or website as well as to the book. When readers see the intriguing questions, they might purchase the book or feel encouraged to get it on their book club’s reading rotation. And be sure to include in the description on the website pages where people can purchase your book that it includes a bonus reader’s guide.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.