Are you using your back matter effectively?


In response to a question asked on my last post – a request for advice on gaining reviews for your book, I decided it was time to get my act together and repurpose a guest post I did for Debbie Young’s excellent blog OFF THE SHELF BOOK PROMOTIONS, as this includes one of my favorite pieces of advice on increasing your chances of getting reviews.

Debbie has been running a series exploring the author’s favorite marketing tips, and here is mine:

Add effective back matter to every book you publish, and keep it up to date

You may ask: what is back matter?

Well, its all the stuff that you add onto your book after you type, THE END.

That probably sounds a bit corny, as I don’t think too many people do that these days, but you know what I mean.

So what is effective back matter, and what exactly should you include?

At a minimum:

  • a polite request to the reader to leave a review
  • author bio and links, especially to your mailing list
  • details of other books you have published

The beauty of back matter is that it is highly effective passive marketing – the only time you invest in it is when you initially set it up.

There will, of course, be updates needed periodically, but probably only each time you publish a new book, and the core of your back matter will be the same for each book, so you only need to write it once.

Example: Step 1 – NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

2014-03-31 16.40.30Ideally, the first thing a reader should see, following the end of the book proper, is a brief ‘thank you’ note from the author, with a request to leave a review. Something along the lines of:

“Thank you so much for spending your time reading my words. If you liked what you read, would you please leave a short review on the site where you purchased it? Just a few lines would be great. Reviews are not only the highest compliment you can pay to an author, they also help other readers discover and make more informed choices about purchasing books in a crowded space. Thank you!”

If you tailor your ebook individually for a specific retailer, you can even insert a direct link to where you want your reader to leave a review.

Warning note: if you are uploading to Apple, take care not to mention other retailers by name anywhere in the book or they will decline to publish it.


2014-03-31 16.41.58

Readers love to see what you look like, so put in your very best author photo, and a short bio, complete with all your social media links, your website address, and a direct link to your email list in case they loved your book so much they want to be kept updated on further releases.



Step 3 – details of other books

And finally, add a cover shot and blurb of any other books you’ve published, and details of where they can be found. This is the bit you will need to update each time you release a new book, but other than that, unless you change any of your personal links, the rest will be simple cut and paste into the back of every  book.

2014-03-31 16.38.48


Step 4 – add a teaser

Aha – got you there! Didn’t mention this before, did I?

Well, it only really applies if the book in question is part of a series, at which point you may wish to include Chapter 1 of the next book, just to get the reader hooked so they will go and buy it immediately.

And that’s back matter. Not rocket science, but an effective, non-time-consuming method of marketing your other products and maximizing the chances of gaining reviews.

If you’re interested in taking a look at the original feature, you can find it here.

Some authors take the view that this is akin to begging, but it has worked for me. It is noticeably the bigger selling traditionally published authors who hold this view,  and I’m more interested in results than in maintaining any false sense of pride.


You may also like...