The moment readers finish your book is the perfect time to sell them more of your books. If your ending is satisfying, or if there’s a cliffhanger to the next book in your series, the reader will be eager for more. So the ending of your book is prime marketing real estate.
Use this opportunity to promote your other books via the back matter of your ebook — the pages that come after your story has been completed. This is also where your acknowledgements and biography appear. There are several ways you can entice readers to purchase your other books in this space. Here are some ideas and examples:
Option 1: Include a sneak peek or excerpt.
Immediately after the acknowledgements, include the first chapter of the next book in the series, or one of your popular backlist books. Bookend this excerpt with links to purchase that book, and make sure the link works on each reading device.
The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson includes the first chapter of the next book in the series, The Tudor Bride, in the back matter, with links to purchase the ebook before and after the excerpt.
Someday Maybe by Colleen Hoover includes the first chapter of another book in the author’s backlist, Ugly Love. But instead of a simple link to buy the full ebook, a page after the excerpt includes a cover of Ugly Love and a clear call-to-action button to order a copy.
Option 2: Include covers and a blurb.
If you’d rather not include sample chapters, showcase the covers of other books in your series or backlist and link to each book’s product page. You can also include a short synopsis to entice readers to click.
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones includes the cover and blurb for several other books in her backlist in the back matter, complete with a call-to-action button to order the book now.
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger includes the cover and short blurb of the sequel, Revenge Wears Prada, in the back matter. Ideally, a call-to-action link or button would follow the blurb so readers could purchase the sequel in a couple of clicks.
Option 3: List other backlist books.
Another strategy is to include a list of all your other backlist titles, hyperlinking each title to the book’s product page. Update this list whenever you release a new book. If your book is part of a series, group the links to other books in that series at the top of the page.
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and After Her by Joyce Maynard each include a list of the authors’ other titles, grouped by subject matter or genre. However, only a couple of Joyce Maynard’s titles actually link to the product page. Ideally, every title would link to its product page on whichever retailer matches the reader’s device.
Option 4: Include an ad displaying other books in the series.
You can also display ads in the back matter that showcase other books in your series or backlist all at once. This is an easy way to bundle books and let readers know which books go together.
The back matter of The Maze Runner includes a one-chapter excerpt of The Eye of Minds, followed by an ad for The Mortality Doctrine series (which includes The Eye of Minds) and The Maze Runner series. Ideally, each of these ads would link to product pages where the user could immediately purchase the books in these series.
Option 5: Link to a page listing more books.
Oftentimes, publishers will link to a page on their website listing other books by this author or similar books readers may enjoy. This is easier to maintain than updating the back matter of each of your books every time you have a new release. However, adding more clicks to the discovery process may result in fewer sales.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins includes a page in the back matter that links to a page on Penguin’s website that lists other similar books readers might enjoy.
Option 6: Encourage readers to sign up for a mailing list.
Instead of (or in addition to) linking directly to other books to download immediately, you can also try to get readers to sign up for your mailing list. This way, you’ll be able to contact them any time you want to promote your backlist titles, new releases, giveaways, price promotions, or anything else you’d want to promote.
At the end of Nicholas Sparks’s Safe Haven, its publisher Hachette included a page encouraging readers to sign up for a mailing list.
Option 7: Show what’s coming soon.
If you don’t have an artillery of backlist books to promote, you can also let readers know what’s coming next. This edition of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why includes a page teasing his next book, The Future of Us.
What other strategies have you seen for cross-promoting books in the back matter? Let us know in the comments below!
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