The final pages of a book often contain supporting or explanatory material such as an index or a glossary, but at Self-Publishing Relief we know that your book’s back matter can do so much more! This is prime real estate for sections that can forge and strengthen bonds with your readers. It’s also a great place to include a list of book group discussion questions for your self-published book!
Book club discussion questions are a must for getting and keeping the conversation going. By including discussion questions in your book’s back matter, you make it easier for group leaders to choose your book to read—and that can really increase the buzz about your self-published book!
3 Tips For Writing Effective Book Club Discussion Questions
So how do you compose well-designed discussion questions? This will, of course, vary according to genre and specifics of theme, characterization, and plot, but here are some general tips:
Avoid “Yes” Or “No” Questions. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, such as “Did you like the book?” Be specific and ask open-ended questions whenever possible. Multi-part questions can also draw people out, but be careful not to overwhelm them.
Ask About Everything. Don’t limit your questions to the main plot line. Be sure to include questions about other, less obvious elements like title choice, cover design, and setting.
Think Outside The Book. Invite your readers to think beyond the confines of the book itself. For example, ask them to imagine what would happen in a sequel or whom they would cast in the film version.
5 Examples Of Book Discussion Questions For Fiction
- Did the setting enhance or detract from the story? In what ways?
- Who are the main characters? Did they develop during the course of the book, and if so, what aspects changed? What are the events that triggered these changes, and were they believable?
- What, if anything, made you uncomfortable about X’s relationship with Y? Why?
- How did the plot change your thinking about X (e.g., an event or a place or an ideology)?
- What aspects of the story, if any, are reflected in the cover design?
5 Examples Of Book Discussion Questions For Nonfiction
- How did reading this book change your opinion about its subject?
- The subject matter of this book is controversial. Did the author present all sides of the debate, and if not, what biases do you think are present?
- What did you find surprising about the discussion of this topic?
- How does the choice of title frame the presentation of the information about this subject?
- Has the book piqued your interest in this subject, and if so, how do you plan to find out more?
Self-publishing authors may sometimes feel as if all the promotion work for their books falls onto their shoulders alone—and it’s not easy. But help is available if you know where to look for it! When it comes to crafting effective discussion questions to include in your book, ask your beta readers for feedback on the discussion questions as well as the rest of the book. Run your ideas by your marketing street team. Ask book groups to visit your website and contact you with other possibilities, and consider including these new questions in a revised edition of your book.
Question: What tips do you have for creating great book discussion questions?