Back Matter 101: How To Add Killer Call To Actions To Your Books

book back matter

Non-Fiction sales are rockin’ on Amazon and other retailers but books sales is not where you’re going to make your “longtail” money. It’s all about how you serve your readers AFTER the book. So how do you do this effectively? That’s where the term “back matter” comes in to play.

Back matter is the portion of your book that comes directly after the final chapter of your book and it is absolutely essential to any nonfiction author. This is where you can place a plethora of information that will lead your readers into taking the next step. Here are some examples of information you can place in your back matter so that your reader becomes a life long fan.

1. About the author – Place a short bio here so readers can learn more about you and your credentials.

2. Other books by this author – The reader just finished your book and is craving more from you.  Tell them about your other books.  If you have a book on preorder, let them know the preorder is available at select retailers (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo).

3.  Connect with the Author – The reader loved your book, they think you’re AWESOME, and they want to connect with you.  Add your active links for Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your website, and your mailing list. Once a reader connects with you via social media, they can start to get to know you and appreciate your super-awesomeness on an entirely new level.  It’s an opportunity for you to start a long term relationship building process that can help casual readers become fans, and help fans grow to become super fans.

4.  Sample chapters of other books – Give them excerpts of your other books with an order link at the end.

5.  Special Free Gift – Many authors provide a special downloadable free gift at the end of their books for readers. A downloadable action guide, to-do list, or other free book is a great list builder.

Kindle Blog Publishing Is Amazon Bestseller!

Kindle_Blog_Publishing

 

I’m so excited to share that my new book on Kindle Blog Publishing has cracked the bestseller lists in the Business Writing and Computers & Technology categories. Yippee!!!

If you own a blog and would like to learn how you can generate an easy passive income stream by having readers pay to subscribe to your blog via Amazon, then this is the book for you. At .99 it’s a steal!

Available on Amazon:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

How To Get Your Book Proofread On A Shoe String Budget

New writers often ask me about for proofreading and copyediting referrals and when I give them some names and a quote, they run for the hills. Often submitting their unpolished, unedited work to Amazon and the other marketplaces and getting horrible reviews in return. Reviews about editing are some of the worst negative reviews a writer can receive because it speaks to the quality of the book, not the content. People will interpret mistakes in the book content as a direct reflection of the writer’s talent and ability–which we know is not always the case.

But I totally get it.

Many new writers simply do not have the funds to hire an editor for $500 bucks. Not when you haven’t made one dime yet at this whole new publishing adventure:) So here are two suggestions:

1. Try The Hemingway App

proofreading app

 

This is a really cool editing app. After you’ve spellchecked your work in your own word processing software, you can then use this web-based app and type or copy and paste your text right on the page, then edit it for readability, length, sentence structure, passive/active voice, adverb use, etc. Best of all it’s free!

If you want to use it offline, there is a desktop version for both PCs and MACs that is $6.99 USD. Totally worth the investment if you ask me.

2. Fiverr

Believe or not, you can find a really decent editor on Fiverr. Obviously they are not going to edit an entire book for $5, but you may get 1000 words for that price and then you can just add on gigs to get your entire book done. Still a totally affordable way to have your book edited.

The easiest way to find the right editor for you is to go to the proofreading/editing category. Click on the “high rating” tab and take a look at some of those editors. Pay attention to how many good reviews they have and exactly what they promise per gig. Make sure the gig is NOT for beta reading but for PROOFREADING and/or EDITING.

Want to hire me? Here’s my proofreading gig on Fiverr

 

The Rise Of The Independent Bookstore (Yippee!)

independent bookstores

Barnes & Noble and it’s eReader The Nook is losing money by the minute, primarily because of it’s business model — trying to disrupt and compete with Amazon. Borders tried the same thing and you see where they are. But guess what? Independent bookstores cannot and evidently are not trying to beat the Amazon monster and it’s working. I guess print isn’t quite dead yet!

The recent news of the opening of an independent bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was greeted with surprise and delight, since a neighborhood once flush with such stores had become a retail book desert. The opening coincides with the relocation of the Bank Street Bookstore near Columbia University, leading the New York Times to declare, “Print is not dead yet — at least not on the Upper West Side.”

Two stores don’t constitute a trend, but they do point to a quiet revival of independent bookselling in the United States. They also underscore the shifting sands of physical bookselling, where the biggest losers are not—as was once assumed—the independent booksellers, but rather the large book chains.

Only a few years ago, observers projected that the rise of chain stores and Amazon would lead to the vast shrinkage of independent bookstores. According to the American Booksellers Association, the number of member independent bookstores has increased more than 20 percent since the depths of the recession, from 1,651 in 2009 to 2,094 in 2014. Meanwhile, Borders went bankrupt in 2011, and the fate of Barnes & Noble, which failed to make the Nook into a viable e-reader competitor with Amazon’s Kindle, appears murky. What happened?

The short answer is that by listing their shares as public companiesboth Borders and Barnes & Noble were drawn into a negative vortex that destroyed the former and has crippled the latter. Not only did they become public companies, but they positioned themselves as high-growth companies, focused on innovation and disruption. That forced them to compete with the growth company par excellence in their space: Amazon. It also forced them to pursue high sales volume at the expense of inventories. Those strategies, as it turned out, were precisely wrong for the actual business they were in: selling books to a selective audience. Which is precisely what independent bookstores are good at.

Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, and even Costco looked to be squeezing the life out of indies in the 1990s and into the aughts. Borders alone went from 21 stores in 1992 to 256 superstores in 1999. Barnes & Noble saw even greater growth. Those stores offered more choices, cafes, magazines, and for a while, music. Many independents, already operating with razor-thin margins, couldn’t compete. Between 2000 and 2007, some 1,000 independent bookstores closed.

But even as they were expanding, the chains were beset by questionable management decisions pressured by the demands of public markets to grow, grow, grow. Facing the need for expensive investment in technology, Borders sold its online distribution to Amazon in 2001 and threw its efforts into more stores and bigger stores, using its share price to finance massive debt. Barnes & Noble opened more superstores as well, but it also decided to challenge Amazon by developing the Nook at a cost of more than $1 billion.

The results were disastrous. Barnes & Noble bled money; it just announced earnings with yet another quarter of losses and declining revenue. Amazon dominated because it could spend far more money on technology than the chains, and because its core competency was in the disruptive technologies of e-readers, distribution, and inventory management. Amazon was never seen primarily as a retailer, and hence it could carry massive inventories that were a drag on its earnings and then spend billions on research and development because investors accepted Amazon’s narrative that it was a disruptive technology company redefining how everything is sold, not just books.

Read The Rest Of The Article At Slate

Are You Obsessed With Word Count?

word count obsession

I love this piece over on CreateSpace by Richard Ridley on word count paralysis. Sometimes I am guilty of this and it was refreshing to see that other writers feel the same.

Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer’s doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you’re unable to type a single solitary word. I call it “word count paralysis,” and there’s really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.

Read the entire article here

What Is Digital Rights Management (DRM) And Should I Use It?

Very interesting stuff is going on in the digital media world right now. Right around the same time a new report over on Author Earnings came out which included information on DRM, my husband (music producer) received a letter in the mail from his distribution company about DRM for his work. Everybody is talking about digital rights management.

It’s a super hot topic, so what is it?

Digital Rights Management, or DRM, is the encryption lock applied to electronic entertainment. The film, music, video game, and book industries all employ DRM. Unfortunately it is not very difficult for a book thief to crack the DRM lock on an ebook but DRM is a pain in the butt for the customer. It prevents them from moving their book across devices which then forces them to read through one channel.

Okay, so what’s the big deal?

Well actually it’s a very big deal and the people over at Author Earnings did a little digging and statistical research to prove it. When DRM is employed on an ebook, stats show that it affects sales and not in the good way.

When you publish a book over on Amazon’s KDP you may remember that there is a little section asking whether or not you want to employ DRM to your book. It also tells you that once you say “yes” that it is a final decision. When I first started publishing, I had no idea what DRM was and so I did a little digging in my community and discovered that it wasn’t something that I needed to participate in so I didn’t. In fact only 50% of indie authors use DRM, but basically 100% of Big 5 authors do. So the research over on Author Earnings was to discover whether or not there was any difference in revenue based on DRM and so do that they had to look at indie authors.

What they discovered was incredible…50% of non-DRM ebooks accounted for 64% of total unit sales. Indie titles without DRM sell twice as many copies each, on average, as those with DRM.

drm-author-earnings-by-price

The data suggests that employing DRM at any price point is detrimental to sales. Which makes total sense, because that’s what my husband’s letter basically said. DRM had affected music sales and removing copy protection increases music sales. So they wanted to reassure him that that’s what they were doing to all of his records.

Takeaway: When you get to that little section in KDP or Barnes and Noble or wherever else you publish your books, do NOT check the box giving your title DRM rights. It’s not worth it.

To read the entire report including this data on DRM, click here.

Cover Design Secrets For Indie Authors That Mean More Sales

I read quite a lot of articles every week on ePublishing, but I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read on how to design a book cover that sways readers into buying your books. I found it over on Creativindie.com and it’s written by Derek Murphy. Check out this snippet on crafting clever covers for non-fiction books… the great reset book cover 200x300 8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying booksMade to Stick Book Cover 251x300 8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

“Here’s a quick rule of thumb: non-fiction appeals to the brain. You want an instantly clever image to catch their men­tal atten­tion.  Non-fiction cov­ers should have a cen­tral “gim­mick” and a solid color back­ground or gra­di­ent (orange and yel­low are very pop­u­lar for busi­ness books. (BTW, notice how wide the spac­ing is between the let­ters on these two cov­ers). You catch the brain’s atten­tion by show­ing a jux­ta­po­si­tion — things that shouldn’t really go together and are unex­pected. Then the sub­ti­tle tells them what the book is about.”

I really liked some of the tips he gave on letter spacing, selecting fonts, color contrast, and adding a blurb on the cover of your book. Read the article in it’s entirety here: http://www.creativindie.com/8-cover-design-secrets-publishers-use-to-manipulate-readers-into-buying-books/ Let me know if you learned anything cool!