Author Topic: The Importance of Back-matter  (Read 3831 times)  

Offline OJ Connell

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The Importance of Back-matter
« on: March 29, 2013, 12:15:29 AM »
I haven't got any back-matter in any of my books. I've got the copyright stuff up front and whatnot, but there's nothing appearing after any one of my stories. Doing a bit of research, I see that a lot of authors consider back-matter to be vitally important. Apparently it's common practice to fill the back-matter with requests for reviews, mailing-list links and other stuff.

Am I missing out by not including back-matter?

What do you include in your back-matter? How does one tastefully ask for reviews/mailing list sign-ups? Do most readers even care about the back-matter?

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 12:41:20 AM »
I am not new to back matter but I am new to making it work for me properly. I don't put much in the front of my books because I don't want readers distracted when they sample the books using Look Inside on Amazon. Instead, I put most of that front matter in the back and link to it in the TOC. After the last word and the * * * I have links back to the copyright, other titles, acknowledgements, and the all important mailing list. My list of other titles are all hyper-linked to the book sales page or my website, but it's the mailing list that I wish I had used years ago. I feel sick when I realise I have lost the opportunity to add 20,000 readers to my list. That's an estimate of how many books sold over five years of learning how to do this.

I recently read on kboards about mailchimp and I've not looked back. Cursing those lost years now. I have a simple hyper-linked line of text asking readers if they want notification via email when the next books comes out. If they click, they enter their email addy at mailchimp. I promise them on that page never to use the email for anything except new book notification and that's it. I have 17 subscribers so far and only been doing it 9 days.

Damn, 5 years lost :(

Offline Millard

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 03:02:45 AM »
I've never heard that phrase before. I've tended to slot in a single page listing what other titles I've got available, and my website/Twitter name. I've not needed acknowledgements lately, because I've done it all myself and there's been nobody to thank.

Offline swolf

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 03:46:27 AM »
I list links and small blurbs for my other books, which has grown to be quite extensive.  No one's complained until recently, when I got this review:

Quote
I really enjoyed the story and give it a 5 star rating but I don't like 55% of the price going to advertising.

I wanted to explain to him that I price my books based on the length of the story, not on the overall size of the file, so he wasn't paying 55% for advertising.  The blurb actually contains this stat:

"7,293 words, or 30 standard pages, in length. (Not including supplementary material)"

Personally, I think linking to your other books is the best form of advertising.  If they like your story, they're going to want to read more, so tell them how to find it.


Offline Darren Wearmouth

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 04:11:32 AM »
I am not new to back matter but I am new to making it work for me properly. I don't put much in the front of my books because I don't want readers distracted when they sample the books using Look Inside on Amazon. Instead, I put most of that front matter in the back and link to it in the TOC. After the last word and the * * * I have links back to the copyright, other titles, acknowledgements, and the all important mailing list. My list of other titles are all hyper-linked to the book sales page or my website, but it's the mailing list that I wish I had used years ago. I feel sick when I realise I have lost the opportunity to add 20,000 readers to my list. That's an estimate of how many books sold over five years of learning how to do this.

I recently read on kboards about mailchimp and I've not looked back. Cursing those lost years now. I have a simple hyper-linked line of text asking readers if they want notification via email when the next books comes out. If they click, they enter their email addy at mailchimp. I promise them on that page never to use the email for anything except new book notification and that's it. I have 17 subscribers so far and only been doing it 9 days.

d*mn, 5 years lost :(

Very good post Mr Cooper. I have created a list on mailchimp and will use it at the back of my new release.

Thanks.

Offline NRWick

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 08:55:34 AM »
Before, I just had the copyright page in the back, but based on a lot of author feedback, I added a bit more in the back when I updated all my ebooks. Now, in the front matter, I have the blurb and a one-line copyright notice, a title image with the dedication if there is one, the contents page (which I format to make it as short as possible). Then in the back, I go straight into a review request, a link to my newsletter, and a link to my website. After that, there is a list of my other books, the full copyright page, and an "about the author" page.

Usually, my front matter takes up 2 pages (or ebook page turns) and the back will take up about 3. If it is a short story, I take out the book list and the "about the author", so it will take up about a page, one and a half at most.

Here's how I word the notice in the back matter:

Whether or not you enjoyed Land of No Angels, please leave a review to help other readers decide on this book!

If youd like to be notified when N.R. Wick releases new books, sign up for the newsletter!
You can also visit NRWick.com for more great fiction.


Then I will go into the book list or copyright page. My suggestion is to add back matter, but don't make it too lengthy.

 
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Offline Amanda Brice

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 09:02:29 AM »
Yes, absolutely absolutely absolutely add a link to sign up for your mailing list in the back of your book.

I'd always thought of the mailing list as a "newsletter" and since I can't stand chatty newsletters I had no desire to start one and figured I wasn't "big" enough to warrant one anyway. It wasn't until the day I was a Kindle Daily Deal that I decided to start a mailing list on a whim, and now I could kick myself for not starting one sooner.

I average about 2-3 new sign-ups per day doing nothing other than having the link to sign up on my website and including it in the back of each of my books. I lost nearly 2 years there not having it. The list has been live for just over 3 months now and already there are nearly 300 people on it. Just imagine how many readers could have been on it if I'd had one all along.

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Offline Courtney Milan

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 09:15:44 AM »
I think the page that comes after "The End" is the most vitally important page in the book. The people who get there probably liked your book, and are at that point in their lives going to be most receptive to hearing more about you.

1. Get a newsletter signup.
2. List your other books.
2a. If you can swing it, those should be clickable links to that book on the vendor where they bought the file.

My analytics suggest that about 15% of the people who buy a book click on a link, and about half of those buy the book.

3. After that, a short excerpt from another book. That helps sell the next book a LOT.

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Offline Darren Wearmouth

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 09:20:31 AM »
The front of book stuff really turns me off.

I have seen it recommended on here before. Personally I don't want in-your-face type advertising before I've even read the book. If I 'look inside' on Amazon and see a page of piffle then I don't bother purchasing.

Perhaps I am a weirdo?

Offline Seanathin23

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 09:37:00 AM »
I had never put much thought into it, mostly just the about me and book list.

Now that I am getting ready to re-release and clean up my current lineup, I am going to really try and make the back matter work best for me, with the bio, links to books, mailing list, and since they are all in series maybe a promo chapter. Or has common wisdom started to frown on the sample?


Offline Amanda Brice

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 09:40:18 AM »
Sean, I do a sample chapter. I think as long as your total back matter is a relatively small percentage of the whole, then it's fine. I personally try not to go over 5% for the back matter, including the sample chapter.
 
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Offline Cherise

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2013, 10:09:59 AM »
The front of book stuff really turns me off.

I have seen it recommended on here before. Personally I don't want in-your-face type advertising before I've even read the book.

That's why I put it in the BACK of the book. :)

Offline Adam Pepper

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2013, 10:14:45 AM »
I keep it simple with a link to sign up for my newsletter and a polite prompt to leave a review, tell a friend or send the author a note if you've enjoyed the book. Occasionally people take me up on it and send me an email when they've finished which always makes my day.

Offline Nathalie Hamidi

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 04:57:48 AM »
There's only one thing I insist to put in front, it's a warning that my books in a series have to be read in chronological order.
I would hate for people to start in the middle and be p*ssed.
In any case, it's only a few lines.

Otherwise, I put everything else in the back.


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Offline telracs

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 07:44:13 AM »
i've stopped buying from certain publishers because their back matter was 12% of the file.  if i bought something and found that half of the "book" was NOT the "book", but other stuff, i'd probably return it for a refund.  no matter what the price. 

when i'm reading on my kindle, i go by percentage read.  if i've read 20% of a kindle book, i expect there's 75-80% more for me to read. if i get to the 60% mark and the story ends, i feel cheated.

to those of you who put a lot of stuff in your e-books, would you put 30 pages worth of other stuff if you were printing? 

Offline Duane Gundrum

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2013, 08:03:36 AM »
I don't put much in the front of my books because I don't want readers distracted when they sample the books using Look Inside on Amazon.

What I've noticed with all of my books is that no matter what goes in the front of my book, the Look Inside feature skips all of that and starts on the first words of the story itself. I find that often happens on books I look at, where I have to backpage to get to see how they handled their copyright information and all that.

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Offline Debbie Bennett

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2013, 09:19:51 AM »
I hate back matter. I expect my '% read' to be accurate on my kindle. If I like an author, I am perfectly capable of finding out more about him or her - I don't need to be co-erced or persuaded by reading sample chapters or reviews.

I leave a url of my website and nothing else, but I do like the idea of a link to an email signup - might try that!













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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2013, 09:24:15 AM »
I hate back matter. I expect my '% read' to be accurate on my kindle. If I like an author, I am perfectly capable of finding out more about him or her - I don't need to be co-erced or persuaded by reading sample chapters or reviews.

I leave a url of my website and nothing else, but I do like the idea of a link to an email signup - might try that!

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Offline Rykymus

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2013, 09:56:19 AM »
My back matter generally consists of a single page. I thank them for reading and state that a review would be appreciated. I tell them how many more episodes are available, or (if what they are reading is the last one published) when to expect the next one. I also have the address to join the mailing list to be notified when new episodes are released.

The mailing list is probably the best form of marketing out there. It's almost no effort, it costs almost nothing to do the mailings, and once your list is long enough, the surge of sales in the first week of release propels each novel into high rankings, which in turn draws the attention of those that have not yet read any of your previous work.

Front matter? Not in ebooks. To be honest, it's of no value. It does not improve your position in court. (That's what you actual copyright document is for. Anyone who would violate your copyright will not be deterred by some warnings at the front of the book.

However, for some reason, I have it in the printed versions. Hmm. I might be full of it.

Offline Ruth Harris

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Re: The Importance of Back-matter
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2013, 10:46:39 AM »
Does mailchimp work with Blogger? Or just WordPress?  Searched the site but couldn't find this info. Thanks.