Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.
Courtesy of Adirondack Editing
Using the Back of your Book Effectively
“Back matter” is what comes at the end of your book…after you type “The End.” Some authors don’t do much with it, which is a shame, because you’re missing a great opportunity for highly effective passive marketing. In other words: Free Advertising!
With an e-book, there are no restrictions as to how long your back matter can or should be. At a minimum, this area of the book should contain a polite request for a review, author bio and links, and details of other books you have written. But don’t just stop there—be creative! Why simply list the other books you’ve written? Why not post the entire first chapter of each? It’s a wonderful opportunity to coax the reader of your current book into the worlds of your already published works. If you’ve done a good job writing those first chapters, you might find improved sales follow re-publishing them.
What if you haven’t written any other books? Well, are you working on a next book? Even if it’s not a sequel, you still have the same opportunity to draw the reader in. You do need to be careful, though, of labeling material from a work in progress. For instance, if you include “the first chapter from my next book,” you’d better be 100% sure the material definitely *is* going to be the first chapter! And once you’ve published it in the back of another book, you can’t change it. You might consider, therefore, labeling it as “an exciting portion of my next work in progress.” You will not be bound as to where it will appear, and since you’re stating it’s a work in progress, you’re not promising it will ever be shown as worded. Using a key scene from the next book will generally prevent the possibility of it being cut altogether.
What if you have no plans to write another book and have no previous material to insert in the back matter? You can still use this valuable space for additional materials pertinent to your book. “Questions for Discussion,” for instance, is a popular section that frequently inhabits the end of a book. Maps, glossaries, an index, and additional character information are also good ideas. Done correctly—and well—the end of your book can incorporate added value to your customer’s purchase.
Next week we’ll discuss ‘Who, Whom, and other Word Misuses’
This series is not meant to be (nor will it be) simple static information.
I’ll be here for each post to answer questions, offer suggestions as necessary, and interact with you.
If there’s something you specifically want (or need!) to see addressed in terms of self-editing, please let me know in the comments under this, or any of the articles of the series.