The back matter of your books is a powerful marketing tool. Anyone who has read that far is clearly interested in what you have to say. But they’re also on the verge of putting your writing down. This is your chance to hold their attention for the future and maybe to sell them more books.
So what should go into your back matter?
As with traditionally published books, you want to tell people about the other books you have out there. This is your chance to sell people on your other stories.
There are two ways to do this. On the one hand, you might want to list your books in the back matter, complete with sales links in the e-book version. You might include a brief description of each book to grab the readers’ interest. With e-books and print on demand, you can keep updating these lists with each new release. The advantage of this approach is that the list of books is right there.
On the other hand, you could keep a list of books on your website and link to this from your back matter. This way you only have to update the list in one place with each new release. It also stops the back matter getting cluttered if you have a lot of books.
Whatever approach you take, that book list is important – it tells readers that there’s more out there to enjoy.
Bio and Social Media
Also like traditional publishing, you should include a short third person biography. This should highlight what’s unique and interesting about you as an author and a person, so that people want more of you.
With this, include links to your social media profiles. This way, people who want to know more can follow the links and start following you, ready to be marketed at later.
Ask readers politely to leave a review of your book somewhere. This will usually be Amazon. For books sold through other online outlets, you should instead ask for a review wherever the book was bought.
With e-books, include a link to where readers can post these reviews. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to leave those all-important reviews. This may mean editing the book just after its launch, to add a link to a page that wasn’t there before. It’s a little extra work, but well worth it for the benefits.
Another useful link to include is the sign-up form for your mailing list.
Direct e-mail marketing is one of the most powerful ways to get readers’ attention. By signing up to your list, they are giving you permission to contact them with news of your books and new releases.
Give readers a reason to sign up and make this clear in the back matter. Maybe they’ll get a free e-book. Maybe there will be hints and tips on the topic you’ve written about. Whatever the hook, let people know about it.
Old Front Matter
Much of what was once the front matter of books should now go in the back. This is because many e-book sites allow customers to read a preview, perhaps the first 10% of your book, before deciding whether to buy. If that preview is filled up with your biography and dedications, then you miss out on the opportunity to grab their attention with your story.
So put your thanks and dedications to the back. If you’ve written an introduction, consider turning it into an afterword. Do everything you can to let readers get to the main event straight away.
Getting the Order Right
The order in which you put this material is important. Each extra call to action – asking people to buy a book, sign up to a mailing list, leave a review, etc. – is less likely to be followed than the one before. Whatever you most need now, put that first. Maybe you’re looking to build your mailing list. Maybe you struggle to get reviews so want to focus on that. There’s no right order, but there will be an order that works best for you.
With the right information in the right order, your back matter can become a powerful marketing tool. Don’t waste the opportunity it offers.