A few weeks ago, we discussed how to cross-promote your books in the back matter. This space is prime real estate for selling more of your other books. If your book is a great read or if it ends in a suspenseful cliffhanger, readers will be eager for more when they reach the back matter. There’s an array of promotional strategies you could try, such as including an excerpt from your next book and linking to the retail page, or encouraging readers to sign up for a mailing list.
But how do you actually create these links? How do you handle linking to your book’s product page when it’s on multiple retailers? This tutorial will show you how to add links to your back matter in a way that creates the best experience for the reader. It also assumes you will be linking to your other books’ product pages.
Step 1: Decide what you want to link to
In your back matter, you can link to any webpage you’d like. Here are some of the options you’ll have available:
- Links to your other books’ product pages
- A signup page for your mailing list
- Your website or blog
- Your social media accounts
- Links to that book’s pages on Amazon, BookBub, or Goodreads (if you want to encourage readers to rate or review your book)
You can choose any combination of the above, but compile your links in one place so you can easily pull together your back matter pages.
Step 2: Customize links to all of your retailer pages
If you’re including links to your other books’ product pages in your back matter, you should customize the back matter for each retailer on which your book is available. This means creating a new ebook for each retailer. For example, if your book is on Amazon the links in the back matter should be Amazon links, for Barnes & Noble the links should be B&N, etc. While this requires a bit more effort, it’s worth the time for a few key reasons:
- You will create the best user experience possible for your readers. If someone bought your book on Kobo, that person will likely want to buy your next book on Kobo as well. A link to your book on another retailer may be confusing and frustrating to a reader.
- Linking to another retailer can delay the initial book review process. For example, if you link to your book’s Amazon product page in your Smashwords back matter, it will get flagged during Smashwords’s review process and not get accepted to their premium catalog.
- Reduce the number of clicks required to purchase. Fewer clicks required means more sales because there are fewer places for a potential buyer to drop off. Some publishers work around this by linking to a page on their site that links to multiple retailers. This isn’t ideal — not all e-readers have easy-to-use browsers, so requiring a “middleman” page could reduce follow-up sales.
Do not use scalability as an excuse to avoid customizing your books’ back matter for each retailer edition. You will only be hurting your own sales numbers for something that doesn’t take much time at all. The back matter is some of the most valuable marketing real-estate at your disposal, and it’s free advertising space. Don’t waste it.
If you decide to take this advice and create a separate book for each retailer, start by compiling a basic list of links to your books on each retailer:
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/your-book/dp/xxx
- Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/your-book/xxx?ean=xxx
- iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/your-book/xxx?mt=11
- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/your-book?id=xxx
- Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/your-book
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/xxx
These URLs are for US retailers, and will need to be altered if you’re linking to other international editions, like the UK or Canada. It’s up to you how many editions you want to customize. If it’s too much hassle to create a new version of your book for each retailer AND each international edition, create one standard version of your back matter — perhaps linking to your mailing list or a page on your website that links to all of your books — for regions in which you don’t sell as many copies.
Step 3: Create your back matter page(s) with hyperlinks
If you’re linking to multiple retailers, choose one retailer to start with; Amazon, for example. Then craft the back matter. You can get ideas for layout of this back matter here. Once you create the back matter for one retailer, you can simply clone these pages for the next retailer and swap out the links.
When you’re adding links, the retailer URLs can get long and unwieldy, so you don’t want to simply paste in the URL. Instead, turn text into a hyperlink, so readers can click on a concise call-to-action or the name of your next book instead.
There is a variety of software you can use to compile your book. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll focus on Scrivener, a popular tool among authors that makes it easy to compile your manuscript into the file types required for each retailer, even if you did most of your drafting and revising in Word. If you use a different tool, you’ll still get an idea of how to customize your back matter for each retailer.
First, highlight the text you want to hyperlink and click Edit > Add Link. Enter the URL without the http:// portion and click OK.
Head to the inspector on the right and check all three checkboxes in the General section. This will ensure that your back matter exports however you’ve formatted it rather than reverting to standard text.
Step 4: Create a new manuscript for each retailer
Now that your back matter is complete for one retailer, you should create a new version of this back matter for each retailer, linking to your books on that retailer. This will not take as long as it sounds.
If you’re using Scrivener:
- Add a “Back Matter” folder in your main manuscript folder (unlike the default Front Matter folder, which is separate).
- In the Back Matter folder, create two folders — for “Ebook” and “Print” — so you can customize the back matter for any print editions you create as well.
- In the Ebook folder, create a subfolder for the first retailer you worked on (for example, Amazon). Add all of your back matter pages to this folder, like this:
- Once your back matter pages are complete, duplicate your first retailer folder by right-clicking the folder and selecting Duplicate. Rename the folder to the next retailer.
- On the duplicated back matter page, swap all the links from the first retailer to the second retailer.
- Repeat the last two steps for all retailers, until you have folders looking like this:
You could also simply create new versions of your entire Scrivener file for each retailer and region, but this folder method is more scalable because if you make any other changes to your manuscript, you don’t need to make those changes across 5+ files.
When you’re finally ready to compile your manuscript, make it easy for readers to see that the hyperlinks are clickable. In Scrivener, when you’re in the Compile tool, click HTML Settings and check the Underline links box.
And when you compile the ebook for each retailer, be sure to only select the back matter associated with the retailer you’re creating the manuscript for.
If you need more help, here are some useful tutorials on how to compile your manuscript using Scrivener.
- How to Publish Your eBook from Word to Kindle in under Ten Minutes
- Scrivener — How to Compile with Style
- How to Compile a Smashing Doc in Scrivener
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