Author Topic: Back Matters Revisited  (Read 848 times)  

Offline amdonehere

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Back Matters Revisited
« on: October 12, 2017, 09:05:29 AM »
Once upon a time, conventional wisdom is to include a CTA for newsletter sign up in the back matter.

I also read the sage advice that back matter should include no more than 1 CTA, (at most 2), because once you have too many CTAs, the result is the reader will do nothing.

I've always felt it's tough to decide what to include as the back matter CTA. Excluding Copyright notices, acknowledgements, About the Author, etc, all of which are not CTA and I can easily shove to the very end, the various CTAs that compete for attention are:

1. Subscribe to my NL -- "my" or "me" being generic here as in any author, not me personally
2. Visit my FB page -- implicitly please like my page
3. Join my FB Group -- now a new thing as FB is showing only 0-2% of your posts unless you pay to boost, or already have an established record of engagement
4. Follow me on Twitter/Instagram
5. Like this book? Review on Amazon
6. Books Also by me -- list of your other books (linked to retailer)
7. Excerpt of first chapter of next in series

The way I set it up now, I have:

1. Sign up for my NL on one page
2. Request for Amazon review on next page
3. Excerpt to my next in series or a list of Also-By.
4. One page with link to my FB, Twitter, website, email.

I feel like this is too much, and certainly defeats the sage advice to have just one CTA. I just can't figure out which one is the most important CTA so I an leave out the rest of it.

I'm now thinking of how to revamp the whole thing entirely but it's a difficult choice:

1. Sign up for my NL: I feel like I can't ditch this. At the same time, I'm noticing a huge drop in sign up since 2 years ago. I believe reader have reached a NL saturation point and don't want more NLs. I still get some trickling in though so I don't know what to do.

2. FB has actually been very good to me. Despite the warning that NL subscribers are really our own and FB can change things and we can lose FB followers overnight, my own FB followers are organic followers and it's much easier for me to post something to stay in touch with them without seeming like I'm Spamming them.

3. FB Group -- I haven't done it and probably won't. Don't want to give my readers one more thing to sign up for and one more hassle for myself. I'm ok to pay $5-10 to boost a post if I must. But I'm throwing it up there for those of you who do this as another thing to consider whether it's something to include in the back matter.

4. Twitter/Instagram/Vimeo/YouTube/Pinterest/whatever -- again, just to throw it up there. I personally can ditch these from the back matter  really for now as they aren't my main marketing venues. But they might be for some of you.

5. Website and email address - I guess this isn't exactly a CTA and including these probably make things more professional. Maybe have it below the little "About the Author" bio?

6. Review on Amazon - I feel like I can ditch this. Amazon has a pop-up at the end that asks anyway. And Amazon sends you an email a few weeks after you buy the book to ask you to review. Either the reader will review or he/she will not. One more CTA isn't going to make a difference.

7. Also-By: I feel like this is important to steer the reader to go to the next book I want them to buy. An excerpt certainly can help. But this competes with the CTA to sign up for NL or follow me on FB. If I put the NL sign up or FB follow CTA first, readers might skip and go straight the excerpt. If I put the CTA after the excerpt, the reader is already on her way to buy and read the next book and won't be coming back to the CTA to sign up for whatever.

So I really don't know. What is the best strategy?

Ask them to sign up to the NL to get the excerpt to the next in series? If I were the reader I probably won't bother. Not because I'm not interested, but ANYTHING that requires an extra step is a deterrence to the next sale. I'd just as soon go right to the retailer page and get the next book from there.

Can we all brainstorm about this?

Offline amdonehere

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 02:40:58 PM »
Bumping because I really am hoping someone will share opinions.

Offline Michele_Mills

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 02:53:34 PM »
I like to keep my front/back matter clean and not too much:

1. I start the book with the blurb which I title Summary
2. copyright
3. table of contents
4. Book
5. Did you like this story? I hope so! Please sign up for my newsletter...(I don't have a reader magnet yet or automated anything)
6. At this point I always include a blurb of the next book in series or if at the end of the series,the first book in series. At the bottom it says- continue reading for an excerpt
7. Excerpt of first scene of next book. Available now! link. (I'm a big believer in helping readers to buy your next book- make it easy for them!)
8. Short author bio along with links to social media, email, website
9. Also by Michele Mills: A list of my books that readers can click.
10. Sometimes I throw in a gushy acknowledgments page. :)

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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 03:09:03 PM »
Wow, you guys have a lot of back matter. I pretty much just have "If you liked this book, please leave a review" and links to my website (contact page and books page). I update the book links on my website so I don't have to do it on each book file.

I guess I figure that as a reader, too much clutter makes me ignore all of it, so keeping it minimal might make it more likely for readers to at least look at what is there.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 03:15:17 PM »
My back matter often goes:

Thank you for reading [story]! All reviews are appreciated.
For similar stories by Laran Mithras, check out these titles:
TITLE-LINK (usually 5-7)

I do nothing else. Maybe that hurts me, maybe it doesn't. I don't know. I used to list every book I had published with a short 1-line synopsis, but with 110 books, that becomes silly.

I don't ask for emails or sign-ups. I don't have a newsletter or website or street team or blog following. I know, I know, I'm doing it wrong. But I really just don't care. I write my heart, put out a story, and let the book float or sink. My customer base is expanding as people find me. I answer emails but don't have an email list.

I also know many depend on making it work with all the strategy possible because they depend on the income. That's fair. But it just isn't me.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:51:15 PM by Laran Mithras »

Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 05:36:48 PM »
I just have thanks for reading my book (next one available soon if it's a series) and website and email. 

It seems to be working for me, so far. :)

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 06:47:54 PM »
Right at the end of the story/novel I have a break with * * * and then a link to either the next in series or a related title they might like. On the next page I have the about the author with mailing list sign-up and email and blog info. I recently put also by sections at the start and the end of each title. I should probably put samplers, but I never have.

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 09:42:54 PM »
I also tend to keep my back matter fairly simple, and somewhat modeled more on the traditional book formats than what many indies do.

* A single thank you page pointing to my website, newsletter, and Facebook for updates on my upcoming works, a short blurb and links on my podcast, and if its a series, the titles in the series.  I don't bother with the "please leave a review" as it never worked and I've never seen it in a traditionally published book.

* Final words, if any.  Maybe what the story means to me, or discussing some aspect of the story.

* About the author page

* A sample of another book in the series or that I think meshes well with the one just read (something only recently added, will see how it goes)

* Endnotes, if any

Copyright, TOC, Acknowledgements (if any), dedication, etc all are front matter for me, so I put them in, well, the front. :-)

Offline farrago

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 12:14:57 AM »
Not sure I can offer much, but I do know this from a techie. The instant a reader reaches The End [page], amazon bots grab readers and sends them on to sponsored ads or other books. The gentle review plea must come immediately after The END on the same page... Following that I start a Note From the Author, sort of a bio...and I know it gets read because readers mention it in reviews. At the end of the bio, I write turn the page for more...where I list a few edited reviews for two or three books.  I close with: That's it. I'm done or some sort of close. If more back matter, say to reference some curiosity in the book, I write, turn the page for more.  Any links I want to share, I put in my Amazon bio.  At the moment I list my webpage and newsletter sign up. I prefer a clean crisp front matter that gets the reader into the story.  I keep back matter to a minimum in hopes the reader will chose another of my books. Whether it is wisdom or not, I never add excerpts for first chapters of other books in back matter.

I know the big print publisher add those 'coming book' chapters to hook the reader, but what happens to me is I read those...then when the book comes out months later, I pull it off the shelf, open it and think, "Oh, I've already read this." And move on. Anyway, the whole book is already in my list, so if the the story resonated with the reader, the few edited review quotes work for other books.

I don't ask anything of the reader in front matter. IMO That's like a waiter asking for a tip before he's served the food. Anyway, hope you sort it out.

Online Rinelle Grey

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 01:06:43 AM »
I have three CTAs I include in every book - a request for reviews, link to the next book in the series or next logical book, and newsletter signup. I vary the order on these. For a new book, reviews come first, for a first in series, next book is often first, for a last in series, newsletter might be first.

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Online Jena H

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 05:08:36 AM »
Wow, I can only imagine how long some people's backmatter is.  As a reader, once I hit "the end," I think my eyes would glaze over if the backmatter was too long.

I can't gauge how long things would go on a Kindle or other e-reader, but in Word, my backmatter is no longer than 1.5 pages (not solid text).  A quick thank-you-for-reading, please consider leaving a review, and titles/links (maybe including a one-line teaser).

Disclaimer:  for my MG books, the backmatter might look a little different, as I explain a few details of the time-travel elements in the story.  But still, the length remains no more than 1-1.5 Word pages.

Offline George Donnelly

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 06:34:37 AM »
As long as you get their email, you can get all the rest, because you can send them an automation sequence that prompts them to do all the other things you want over time.

That said, not all will give you their email, so how about:

- Email CTA
- hook of next book in series (max 2K words?) with purchase link after it

Another way to skin it is to ask for the action that requires the least commitment on the reader's part but enables you to keep talking. Social media follows don't enable you to personally follow up. A Facebook group might, but it's a big commitment. I think email wins here, too.

Another option is to give them a link and set up a Messenger bot. That's like a mailing list, you can automate stuff and for some it may feel like less of a commitment than email (not sure about that tho).
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Offline AnnetteL

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Re: Back Matters Revisited
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 09:00:26 AM »
Wow--so many good perspectives and food for thought--especially the idea of putting any CTA on the SAME page as the actual end of the book. That had never occurred to me. *Mind blown*

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