When self-publishing an ebook, it’s vital to utilize your digital space as much as possible. One of the most important ways indie authors can do this is by using backmatter to promote their work. Backmatter is one of the easiest and most important ways to promote content.
What is backmatter? It’s the page(s) that come right after the end of your ebook. It’s all the stuff at the end that isn’t your book but provides important information to readers. Why is backmatter important? Because the moment when your reader has just finished the book is when they will be most eager for another, when they are (hopefully) most favorably inclined to you as an author. When a reader finishes your book, they may be thinking, “What a great story!” or “What else has this author written?” or “Where can I get more of this author’s books?” Backmatter is designed to capitalize on this moment in a way that’s helpful to both the reader and the author.
So what should you include in your backmatter? Here are some ideas:
This may seem obvious, but you don’t want your backmatter to sound too promotional. It’s usually best to start off by thanking the reader for choosing your book. You can keep it simple: Thanks for reading [Title.] I hope you enjoyed it! Taking a moment for sincere, heartfelt thanks can set the right tone for the rest of your material.
- Series information
If your book is part of a series, now is the time to mention it. You’ll want to include the titles of published or forthcoming works in the series and links to where they can be purchased, if possible. Again, you can keep it simple. For example: You’ve just finished the third installment in the [Name] series. The other books in the series are [Title 1 with link], [Title 2 with link], and [Title 3] (out in fall 2015). If this is the first book in the series and the others aren’t out yet, still make sure to include information on the titles and release dates of future books in the series. It’s also a good idea to customize the links by vendor (so someone who bought the ebook from B&N will get links to other books at B&N, for example).
- Newsletter/mailing list info
If you have a newsletter or mailing list for your books, include a link where readers can sign up. This is especially important if this is your first book and you don’t have much info about future books yet. Example: For more information about forthcoming titles in this series, sign up for my bimonthly email newsletter here: [link].
- Website and social media links
Of course, you’ll want to include a link to your author website so readers can find out more about you and your books. You’ll also want to include links to your primary social media accounts. There’s no need to go overboard here, especially if you have lots of social media accounts, but definitely include the platform you use most to connect with readers. I’d recommend including Facebook, Twitter, and blog links if you keep all of those things updated. Encourage your readers to follow and connect with you in some way.
- Suggest reviews
It’s okay to include a line or two suggesting that readers leave reviews. It is not okay to ask for only positive reviews, or to solicit reviews in exchange for payment/free stuff. I’d recommend something like this: Consider leaving a review of this book to help other readers! Both positive and negative reviews are greatly appreciated.
Including excerpts from other books you’ve written is a great way to entice readers to check them out. You can include a sample from one you’ve already published, or perhaps a forthcoming title if the excerpt is finished, polished, and unlikely to change before publication. Example: Turn the page to read an excerpt of [Title], the next book in the [Name] series. At the end of your excerpt, include another buy link, customized by vendor. (If it’s a forthcoming book, consider linking back to a page on your website where readers can find out more about the book, or the link to your newsletter signup. Also repeat the release date if you have one.)
- Sharing/lending info
If the book is available through some kind of sharing/lending program, like Amazon’s, mention it! Not all vendors have a lending program, but it’s a good idea to share that info when available. Example: This book is available through Amazon’s lending program. Share it with a friend! If the book isn’t available through a program, you can encourage readers to share anyway: Enjoyed this book? Share it with a friend!
- A list of all your books
We’ve already covered other books in the series, but it’s a good idea to have a separate page listing all of your books, again with buy links customized by vendor. Let readers know what you’ve written! If this is your first book and you don’t have a list, consider including your marketing pitch or copy for a forthcoming book, along with the title and release date.
One thing you’ll probably notice here: the more information you have, the better. It’s helpful to have titles, release dates, marketing pitches, and even excerpts of your next book ready when it’s time to write the backmatter for this one. Even just a title and approximate release date for your next title (fall 2015 or spring 2016, for example) will be helpful. And after newer books are published, consider updating your backmatter to include the new buy links and new titles.
Of course, not all of these suggestions will work for everyone. Take a look at the backmatter of successful authors in your genre and consider what might work best for you. Ultimately, your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for a reader to read another one of your books.
What do you include in your backmatter? What do you like to see in ebooks you read? Let me know in the comments!
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