What to put in the backmatter of your books

Or, to put the title more accurately, here’s what I put in the backmatter of my books. This is what works for me, and what has helped me become one of Amazon’s top publishers. Check them out below:

First of all, the front matter.

Ok, ok. I know this post said backmatter. But my own brain kind of considers front matter to be the same thing, and honestly, I think frontmatter is just as important as backmatter. And since it comes first when you’re reading a book, here’s what I have at the front of my books:

A link to 3-4 other books in the same genre

You know when you find that perfect book and even before you’ve read it you know you’re going to love it? The links in the front of my book are aimed at those people. The ones who saw my cover, read my blurb and automatically know they’re going to like my book, and decide to download as many of them as they can before they start reading the first sentence.

Is that a huge number of people? No. I track my links in my books using bit.ly and I usually only get a few clicks to my frontmatter links every day. But those few clicks are way more likely to convert than anyone else, and if that’s leading to a few extra sales a day, I’ll take it! I don’t include any other info for these few books other than the title of the book, since I want it to take up as little space as possible.

A link to my newsletter

Same thing here. Just a quick little sentence:

To be the first to find out about new releases, please click or tap here now to join the thousands of other readers on my mailing list.

It’s quick, it’s simple, and the two of these things together don’t take up more than one e-reader page. It’s enough to get some people to click on it, but not annoying enough to cause others to click off.

Table of Contents

I realize I’m in the minority here, but I had always put my ToC at the front of my books. Call it force of habit from reading so many physical books, but I don’t have a single book out there with the table of contents in the back.

And that’s it! You don’t really need a lot in the front matter, since you don’t want to annoy your readers before they’ve even started chapter one. Less is more is the perfect sentence to describe how I do frontmatter.

And now, for the backmatter content

This is where the going gets good! Your readers have already finished your book, they’re (hopefully) happy with what they’ve read, and they’re voraciously ready to read whatever else you have to offer them. This is your time to shine! Make a good impression. Make them want the rest of your books, and make it easy for them to get them! This is, in order, how I format my backmatter.

About the Author

Literally just 2-3 quick sentences. At the end of it, I add links to my Facebook page, website and my email address so readers can contact me. Easy peasy.

Mailing list link

After the “about the author” section comes my mailing list shout-out. It usually looks something like this:

Thanks for reading! Please don’t forget to click here to join my mailing list so you can be the first to find out about future releases. If you enjoyed this book I encourage you to leave a review on Amazon so you can help others find it as well.

If I’m actively looking to make my ARC list bigger, I’ll add a link inviting people to my ARC list as well. Check out this post for more info about adding ARC reviewers.

Links to other books

I don’t bother including covers to my other books in these links. Not only do the photos add to the file size (it might be minimal, but a couple cents here and there adds up over thousands of sales) but quite frankly, the small cover thumbnails look pretty shitty on a small e-reader screen. I format my links to other books in the backmatter like this:

Other Book Title: This is the blurb to the book. The whole blurb goes here. This is one of the reasons why blurbs are so important: in the back of your book, readers won’t get a good look at your cover. So you have to sell them with the blurb. Then, at the end of the blurb, I always add this sentence: Click or tap here now to read Other Book Title now.

Now, how do I decide what order to put links to other books in? Simple: I sort by genre, and then by bestsellers.

So if I have 3 books in the same genre as the book I’ve just written, I will put the blurbs to all three of those books in the back. I’ll put the bestselling of those 5 at the top, and then continue in descending order of sales.

I generally limit the number of books and blurbs in the back of my books to 5. I try to only add books in the same genre as the book I’m writing, but if I don’t have any I’ll link to whatever I have, just because it’s better to have some sort of links up than nothing. If I have three books in the same genre and more in a completely different genre, I’ll usually only link the three similar ones. Make it easy for your readers as much as possible, try to give them as many books that they might like as possible.

Finally, how often do I update my backmatter? I usually go through and update it in my novels every 3-4 months, but I only update once, or for really good sellers, twice. I work in romance, which means huge churn rates, so the books I published six months ago are making very little money compared to my new releases. That’s just a fact of life in this genre. It’s not worth it for me to go back after a year and update the backmatter again, because when my books are just down to making around $5-$10 a day, it’s really not worth it. The links to the books that are in there already will be fine.

Copyright statement

Finally, at the very end of the book I add a generic copyright statement. Honestly, I only put it in there to make my books look more professional. After all, anyone who’s going to pirate a book isn’t going to look at a copyright statement and go “oh shit well now that this is copyright I had better not pirate this book!” But it gives a bit more of a professional look to your book, and after all, you want to look like a pro. You’re an indie. Be proud of that. But you should still be striving for professionalism in everything you do.

 

And that’s all! That’s what my backmatter looks like. I know some people like to include excerpts from other books, but personally, I prefer to sell with a blurb. I hope this has given you a good model to base your backmatter on, or at the very least given you something to think about.

 

About the author

Liv

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