by Steven M. Moore, Contributer
If you’re a reader, do you peruse what’s at the end of a book? Many authors only include a short bio, but you might like a bit more. What can authors add to that for you, especially authors of indie books and those writing for indie publishers (small presses)? Consider it a bit of dessert after that full meal corresponding to the book you just read.
I’ll go through the back material I’d like to see as a reader. For the first page:
A thank you to the reader. Here’s an example: “Thank you for reading The Vienna Gig. There are so many good authors and good books, I’m honored you chose mine.” The advantage of such a message is that it’s the perfect place to continue to ask for a review on Amazon: “If you have the time, please write a short review on Amazon—other readers and I would find such a review beneficial.” If the reader has finished your book and arrived at this message, s/he probably liked the book, so it’s also likely the review will be positive. This message is also a good lead-in to…
A list of your similar books. You can start this list with something like “If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy:” If the book is in genre X and you also write genre Y, I’d just list the genre-X books, but that’s up to you. Many authors put the list of other books in front. I’d do one or the other, but not both, and something like “Other books by John Q. Author:” sounds a wee bit cold at the start of the book.
Your website. I’d end this first page of back material with “For more information, visit my website: http://JohnQAuthor.com.
Notes, Disclaimers, and Acknowledgments. In the next section of back material I suggest, you can include material about how you came to write the book, your sources if you did research for the book, and reasons why you didn’t do X when writing the story (create an ET language, have Y marry Z, and so forth).
You might not have any of that, but there are always people who helped you put the book together and you should acknowledge them—your agent, chief editor, copy editor, cover artist, and beta-readers. You might also want to acknowledge those who inspired you to write the book. And don’t forget your significant other is you have one—that person has to live with a nerd who’s always writing!
Author bio. Can’t forget that! You don’t want to write a memoir here, just a few paragraphs containing the essentials: where you were born, where you live now, what experiences you had that might relate to your writing, and so forth. Don’t include your mailing address or telephone number, but do indicate your website (yes, again), author page on Facebook or other social media, and your contact info if your website doesn’t have a contact page (say if does if you do).
This isn’t a place to be a name-dropper. Maybe you live next door to superstar author X or were a ghost writer for politician Y, but I’d leave them out—the reader might hate X and Y! For the same reason, don’t say that your goal in your writing life is to write like Z.
Will your readers care about any of this? Maybe not, but none of it can hurt either. All authors need to learn to include interesting back material because some readers love this. I know I do. It’s a fitting end for the journey I’ve made as a reader of the author’s book.
Steven M. Moore
[Editor’s Note: My deep apologies to Steven. This blog post was submitted last year and was to be published last year. It got lost in the dead blog files, ACK!!!]