Why Your Book Front and Back Matter DOES Matter!

Why Your Book Front and Back Matter DOES Matter!

When it comes to your ebook, the front and back matter is a practical place to continue the relationship you made with your audience. If you’ve done your job well, your readers will want to learn more about you, your future books, and other ways to engage with you. In the new age of digital self-publishing, the end of your book needs to contain the same content marketing, keywords, and branding that you use (or should be using) to make yourself visible all over the digital media space.

Careful and strategic planning of your front and back matter is critical. I can’t overstate that you are missing a major opportunity if you do not take full advantage of the back and front matter of your book. If your reader enjoyed your book, they will explore every resource that you include.

POWER TIP: Do not be tempted to disrupt the reader’s engagement by linking to sales or marketing material in the body of the book. Leave this for the front and back of the book.

Direct Book Publishing

For digital books, keep the front matter spare. The primary reason to move everything to the back, other than the required copyright pages and the table of contents, is your downloadable sample. This is typically 10 percent of your book. You don’t want the majority of that sample to be blank pages, title pages, a picture of you, or ten pages of acknowledgments. You want the reader to dive right in so they see how amazing your book is and buy right away.

The end is the place to include your heartfelt acknowledgments, list your other books for sale, tell readers about your services or products, and include links to your mailing list, all your social media, and your website. Write a letter to your readers and tell them what your future release plans are. Make the material fun and interactive with the intention of capturing your audience so you can keep in touch and sell more books, products, or services.

Mailing List

An opt-in should be the very next action your reader takes after they finish the last page. Pow! Put an offer that can’t be refused on the page after the end of the text. This will be in the form of a link to a landing page with an opt-in form to your mailing list. Offer an incentive, for example, a few chapters of your next title, a quiz that tests the retention of what your new fan has just read, or a worksheet or next steps checklist. You can even link to a sales page for an online course the reinforces what your reader learned from your book. The point is, now is the time to ask. This reader is committed; they have finished your book after all.

There are many email marketing services on the market. However, ConvertKit is the most affordable option for authors. Your ability to create multiple giveaways and incentives is unsurpassed by other similarly priced email management software on the market. ConvertKit’s email automation design is highly sophisticated, yet easy to set up. The segmentation features are as advanced as any email services that cost ten times the ConvertKit subscription price.

Website and Author Central

Link to your author website. Design, or have created for you, a simple above-the-fold funnel featuring either your book cover or a headshot. Have pages for your bio, blurb, and other sales copy. Some nice additional features are a book trailer video, a review slider, or an “other products or services” slider.

If you are unable to create a website, at the very least, link to your Author Central page on Amazon.

Social Media

Share all your social media links. At the very least, link to a Facebook or LinkedIn page. Build a more powerful connection to your audience with a dynamic presence in discussion groups, or with YouTube videos, podcasts, or blog syndication.

You have the content to share—you are an author after all—so you should take advantage of the visibility and new audiences social media can earn for you by sharing your message and brand it in as many ways as you can. However, I want to point out that many writers disagree with me, in particular, novelists. Social media and digital marketing can be daunting for authors. After all, there is plenty to do if we want to produce a couple of books per year.

Opponents of platform building assert that writers should spend their time where they are comfortable, writing books. I argue that growth does not come from staying comfortable. However, I agree that social media or publicity can overtake the primary objective of your career if you are not aware of what that objective is. Personally, I have been guilty of being so focused on keeping my audience engaged that I neglected to write books to sell. A good business plan and an editorial schedule is your protection against spinning your wheels while creating a platform.

Frontispiece, colophon, epigram – these words conjure misty visions gliding, leather, ink, and linen. However, like most industries, publishing has been irrevocably changed by the digital age. With the advent and new legitimacy of online publishing, the front and back of your book are now where you direct your readers to engage more with your personal story and work.

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Can a Developmental Editor Make Your Book Unique?

Can a Developmental Editor Make Your Book Unique?

Let’s face it, publishing a book is an investment. Save both time and money by hiring a developmental editor right from the start. For the record, a developmental editor is not a proofreader. Instead, they look at the overall structure of your book from your ideal reader’s point of view and do a thorough edit of your manuscript.

Why It’s Hard to Write a Book

About 81 percent of people who say they want to write a book never do. Why? Because they don’t know where to start or they are simply overwhelmed by the process. There’s one thing you can do to solve this problem—invest in hiring a professional developmental editor to help with the structure of your book even if all you have is an idea and some notes.

By hiring a developmental editor from the get-go, you save time, money and unnecessary frustration. What I’m suggesting goes against what many recommend to save money. Most people typically consider hiring a developmental editor after they’ve poured their heart and soul into their book and it’s about finished. Don’t do that. This is like running a race without any visible finish line. You never know when you are done. You’ll want to know your destination before starting your race. Consider your book outline to be like your map.

A detailed outline of your book will save you precious time. This detailed outline serves as the blueprint of your book. Consider this to be like a sturdy foundation of a building. A good outline holds the structure of the book together. The strength of your book lies in its foundation. You don’t want a foundation with cracks or gaping holes. When you take the time to build a sturdy foundation, the entire process of writing your books becomes so much easier.

What goes into a book outline?

Know Your Audience

Who is your ideal audience or better yet, who is your avatar? A good book outline will dig deep into who your audience is including how much money they make, their career and even the vehicle they drive. Why? This way you have a visual of who you are writing to as you write. Often, authors describe their audiences as everyone. Don’t do this. By doing so, you dilute your message and by trying to please everyone, you lose the opportunity to connect to your readers.

Explore Why You Want to Write the Book

It’s time to look at your goals. What do you want to accomplish by writing the book? Is it to establish yourself as an authority in your field, get paid speaking engagements, make money or become a bestselling author? Authors have all kinds of reasons for writing a book. You need to be clear on what you want to achieve so you won’t be disappointed with the result.

Explore Why They Want to Read the Book

What do you want your reader to achieve by reading your book? Do you want them to learn something, be entertained, be inspired, take some action or a combination of all these? Spend some time determining what your vision is for your book. It will help inspire that book outline.

Create Order from Chaos

It’s time to organize all those chaotic thoughts into a clear book outline—essentially a detailed table of contents. This is where the book outline begins to take shape. Those ideas become individual chapters. Write down those chapter titles and the purpose for each chapter. By doing so, it prevents your writing from rambling on and keeps you on track.

Nobody wants an uneven foundation when building something from the ground up. Here’s the good news—when writing a book, developmental editors can provide that solid foundation. Once you create the book outline with your developmental editor, you can begin the writing process knowing you’ve got a solid foundation. By hiring a developmental editor from the start, you have someone beside you to guide you along the way and ensure you successfully reach your goals.

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Your Book is the Breakthrough That Makes Social Media Marketing Easy

Your Book is the Breakthrough That Makes Social Media Marketing Easy

Book repurposing is a revolutionary method for content creation. When you repurpose your book, you create a bank of unique, business-relevant content to share across social media and other online channels.

I get so excited when I tell people about how business books on hot topics can be broken down into smaller pieces that become website copy, blogs, features, emails, social posts, video scripts, podcasts, and more.

My excitement is palpable when I close in on my point that the reverse is also true. Online content that you’ve already shared can become content for your book that eloquently communicates who you are and what makes your business special.

This back and forth method of testing ideas on audiences ensures that what you are writing is engaging, entertaining, and makes sense. If no one likes what you’re saying online, they are not going to like it better in a book. Conversely, if your book is self-centered and confusing, broadcasting that same content digitally isn’t going to improve the message.

Content Marketing Breakthrough

Profitable PublishingHowever, Daily House’s breakthrough solution of repurposing book content is meaningless if you don’t see the problem. This wisdom occurred to me while explaining our method to a potential client. All my talk of meta-repurposing, split testing, and reciprocating had this poor man’s eyes glazed over with a combination of boredom and panic. I realized that what I was so excited about was almost completely lost in translation because he had zero online presence and had never attempted to pursue one.

The elegant content marketing solution I offered made no difference to him because he had not been bludgeoned to death with the challenge of finding an online audience and converting leads into customers over social media and website opt-ins. That a chapter from his future book could be blogged or that a blog could be turned into a chapter meant close to nothing. 

I was pitching to a man who didn’t understand the need for a digital marketing content solution. Unless I could convince him that he needed a platform and that it was critical to the financial success of his book and business, then ultimately, he was not going to understand the need for easy access to relevant and engaging content.

But you know it’s important! 

Make Books Profitable

Daily House has two primary areas of operation—publishing and profitability. What the publishing department does is easy to grasp; we edit and design high-quality books. But what the profitability (digital marketing and product development) department does is what makes Daily House revolutionary! Book profitability and revenue diversification is what makes us different.

Here’s how we do it:

We Define Your Unique Value Proposition

Even if you’re writing fiction (and occasionally we do take a fiction client) your story and voice must be unique. Your specialness and quality is your unique selling point (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP).

If you’re teaching a business tactic, strategy, or method through a book and your content, you must offer a NEW solution to a painful business problem. That, or you need to provide the most interesting, understandable, and best information on a subject.

“Books are products and products meet needs.”

When we assess your book idea, we scrutinize if your idea fills a void in the readers’ lives.

We Create Your Book’s Brand

Again, just like with any other product, your book’s brand must communicate what solution you provide. The cover, blurb, book/author website, social media branding, video content, and more need to let your potential readers know exactly what they are getting.

Maybe your book is the best dystopian sci-fi epic on the market, or maybe you’re delivering a clear and easy-to-follow plan on how to scale a business from a handful of founders to a thriving 100+ employee company.

In your mind, picture what the books I described above look like. Are these visual brands different? Hell, yeah they are! How about the copy or related marketing content? Again, different genres have very, very different branding. You need to create the best branding of its type.

We Test Your Method and Message

Now that we know who you’re talking to and what you are telling them, it’s time to test everything! Make no assumptions.

Think you’ve come up with the best book title, ever? Your audience might think the title is laughable or a poor metaphor.

Think your book cover is an award winner? It may be, but if it communicates that your book is a sci-fi novel when you’ve written a business book, that award goes in the garbage.

Ready to share your revolutionary business method with your peeps? If you don’t test your ideas with your audience first, you won’t know if what you have to say is confusing or unreproducible until it’s too late.

You must test your book brand and messaging before you publish!

We do this through repurposing your ideas into blogs, tweets, video scripts, social media posts, emails, blurbs, pitches, and finally, a bestselling book.

Outlining and Editing

With your brand and vetted ideas in place, we build the sturdy foundation of your bestseller. This outline will serve as a road map to guide you as you write your book. Through weekly coaching calls and exercises, you’ll receive a detailed book outline, a blueprint for the structure of your book, and an action plan to ensure a finished manuscript that matches your vision and sells.

Digital Product Diversification

Direct Book PublishingOur goal is to make your book work for you and your bottom line. We take you beyond the book and guide you to grow your business with courses, digital products, speaking tours, and more. Your financial and creative success is our mission.

At Daily House, we deliver the care and guidance that you expect from a traditional publisher but without the loss of royalties or artistic control.

Your personal book team includes coaches, editors, and production and marketing geniuses that are dedicated to leveraging the latest best practices in engagement, marketing, and sales conversion.

We take you beyond the book and guide you to grow your business and profits with courses, digital products, speaking tours, and more. Your investment in your book includes a publishing experience that produces ROI and measurable business results.

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Set Up Your Book for Preorder with Amazon KDP Bookshelf

Set Up Your Book for Preorder with Amazon KDP Bookshelf

See the actual steps you need to take to prepare a preorder for release on Amazon. You get a full tour all of the setup pages on your KDP Bookshelf. This is a highly useful walkthrough if you want to run a preorder book promotion on Amazon or you just want to know what to expect the from the KDP interface when you publish your first book!

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Book Layout Tools That Make You Look Like a Professional Designer

Book Layout Tools That Make You Look Like a Professional Designer

Book Design Daily House

 

When it comes to print, the difference between a reader enjoying your book and tossing it aside after ten pages has a lot to do with the book layout and design. If you think I’m overstating the matter, think again. The spacing between lines, the font, and how the text flows are all part of a subtle art that book designers know comforts the reader and encourages immersion in the text and story. Ragged ends, stacked words, weird breaks, lines that are too far apart or too close together, text on the wrong pages, all of these create distraction and anxiety. After a lifetime of reading, we expect a particular experience from our book layout.

Vellum

book layout daily houseVellum does a fair job for print, but if you have any custom design needs or if your book layout is graphics heavy, Vellum is not the tool for you. For ebook formatting, Vellum is king. This elegant software solution starts at $199. Simple to use, Vellum outputs files that behave properly across all devices.

Poorly formatted reflowable text is comedic at best and, in the worst cases, unreadable. Furthermore, formatting issues and bad ebook conversion creates large, unwieldy files that take a long time to download and render poorly. On top of it, this can even cost you royalties since you are charged for data transfer. Yep, take a look at your Amazon royalty statement. Under a separate item, you will see fees for the data your book downloads consume.

Vellum offers robust, easy-to-use features and the ability to change and customize your book layout. In minutes, it delivers balanced spread, page numbers, an accurate table of contents, and beautiful headers.

There are several alternatives, including Jutoh, Scribus, and Scrivener, but these apps are much more difficult to use for layout, formatting, and conversion. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Scrivener for book outlines and as a word processor. However, in my opinion, Jutoh, Scribus, and Scrivener are not intuitive when it comes to book layout design and MOBI, EPUB, and JPEG conversion.

Adobe InDesign

In the creative departments of the big publishing houses, you will find the pros using InDesign. Adobe InDesign is the professional standard for interior book layout and design for print. It is not an easy software to learn, and it can be very temperamental. The rules for book layout are also complex, if you do not complete a class like Book Design Basics on Skillshare, you WILL get lost. This includes where page numbers start, how the front and back material is treated, and how to format a table of contents. If done improperly, layout mistakes mark the book as amateurish.

Aggregators

Draft2Digital and Smashwords convert Word or Rich Text documents into decent ebooks. It is button-click easy and fully supported. However, these companies are distributors and send your book out to many booksellers. If you join the KDP Select program, this means you have an exclusivity contract with Amazon that is renewable every ninety days. Using an aggregator is a violation of the KDP Select contract. Amazon offers special promotional and marketing tools to KDP Select members that you probably don’t want to miss out on, especially during the launch of your book.

Draft2Digital and Smashwords are excellent options if

  • You are no longer in the KDP Select program and are expanding distribution.
  • You want to distribute your book widely and do not want to manage each platform.
  • You are publishing a free book.
  • You have never joined and don’t want to join KDP Select.

Many bookseller platforms will accept Word files, but these tend to create large and problematic files. If you insist on using Word, invest in an inexpensive template. Joel Friedlander, a celebrated book designer, offers templates for a good price. These start at about $40.

Metadata

Each bookseller has metadata (encoded information about the book) that is attached to the book file. It is a best practice to generate files specifically for Kobo, Apple, Google, Kindle, and Nook. Software like Vellum outputs this metadata for you. A generic EPUB will work, but keep in mind that your book will be less discoverable because the metadata that search engines use may be in the wrong places.

If your book layout is complex, and can’t be converted with a tool like Vellum, hire a professional. Daily House offers beautifully formatted and easy-to-read book layouts for both print and electronic distribution. Files are provided in PDF, INDD, EPUB, and MOBI. Attention to typography and special details will make your book shine!

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

Book Descriptions That Get Browsers to “Buy Now”

Book Descriptions That Get Browsers to “Buy Now”

Book Description

 

Your book is taking shape and is getting near launch. This is an exciting time for first-time and seasoned authors alike. Editing is underway, and you are defining your book’s style and brand. It’s time to turn your attention to writing your book description.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Description, Blurb, and a Synopsis?

If you don’t know the difference between a book description and a blurb, you’re among the majority. There is a lot of confusion on this topic, even among publishers. The term book blurb and book description are used interchangeably because they are essentially the same thing. In the traditional publishing world, this piece of sales copy is called a blurb. New-era publishing leaders like Dave Chesson and Daily House refer to it as a book description. Both are correct.

What is more important is that a blurb or description (which I will refer to as a “book description” from here on) is not a summary of your book. A book description doesn’t give away the ending! These are teasers; the purpose is to entice browsers to buy. Book descriptions can appear on the back of a printed book, on the sales page of an online bookseller, or in advertisements.

Do not include your book’s ending in your book description!

A synopsis, on the other hand, summarizes your entire book—beginning, middle, and end. Think of it as a sort of book report. You might need a synopsis if you’re looking for representation, aka, it’s what you send to literary agents. This kind of copy might also be sent to media outlets or included with requests for editorial reviews. Another modern use for the synopsis is as a cheat-sheet for influencers who are willing to give you an endorsement, but who are not actually willing to read your entire book. In reality, this is often the case.

 


Get Outside Opinions on Your Book Description

Writing your book description is difficult. You’ve spent months (or years) writing. As far as quality time goes, you’ve probably spent more hours with your book than with your friends and family. For most authors, to be able to cut all your darlings and stick to only the essentials when writing a description is painful if not impossible.

Yet, when it comes to sales, your description combined with reviews are what moves books. You can get thousands of eyeballs on your Amazon product page, but if your book description sucks, so will your sales.

Outside opinions are a helpful shift perspective. Ask your editor and a few choice beta readers to select three main selling points of your book. This could be pivotal scenes or problems you can solve. Letting outsiders help gives you the distance you need when writing your book description. Better yet, have a professional write it for you. Daily House’s Author’s Copy Kit package includes a book description, your bio, ad copy, and endorsements.

PUBLISHING POWER TIP: Organize all the copy for your book so you can easily access it. You’ll need your blurb, bio, synopsis, endorsements, short and long book descriptions in one place (like a folder in Google Drive) because you’ll be using this copy everywhere, including bookseller sites, promo sites, social media, and your author website. This also will become the foundation of your press or media kit.

Actionable Tips for a Great Book Description

Keywords

In the digital world, for better or worse, book sales copy needs to start with keywords. No one will read your book description and, by extension, your book if they can’t find it online.

Start by typing search terms into Google, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. Think through what you would use to find a similar title to yours. First, examine if the search results are what you expected. If not, keep at it until you come up with ten keywords and phrases.

Install the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere (if you don’t have it already) and use it to study the search volume and competition for keywords that are relevant to your book. Based on this data, narrow down your keyword selection to two or three of the phrases or words that have the highest volume and the lowest competition.

PUBLISHING POWER TIP: Before you start creating copy for your book, you need to analyze how people will search for it.

Hook Readers in the First Sentence

With your keywords in mind, start to write the descriptions. This first sentence is one of the most important sentences of your life. Hook your readers! Let them know who (or what), where, and when in quick succession. If you’re telling a story, don’t use the character’s name, describe or “show” them. For example, “Tormented by grief and betrayal, a 14-year-old Union soldier and his Confederate brother are drawn back to the battleground where they died in 1861…” If your book is about a method or process, again, don’t label, describe it. In the example, we know that it’s a ghost story set partially in the Civil War and in a timeline sometime later.

Keep it Short and Simple

With keywords in hand, move into either the conflict (fiction) or the problem (nonfiction). Keep away from ornate language or complex sentence structure. Keep it tight, exciting, and stick with the main storyline. Close with a teaser or cliffhanger. Don’t give away the cow! Give readers a compelling reason to find out how your book resolves or hint at how you can solve a nagging life or business problem.

The length of a converting book description will run from 200 to 500 words. Follow the rules for online content while maintaining your voice and personality. Your actual book can be as meandering as Remembrance of Things Past, but your sales page needs to consist of short, engaging, motivating sentences, and discoverable keywords.

Your description will let shoppers know if your book is their kind of book! Good reviews give social proof that the quality of the book will not be disappointing. Don’t let your book languish unread and unappreciated. Follow these guidelines and your copy will convert browsers to buyers.

Do you have a great idea for a book or a manuscript in development, but you don’t know the best way to turn it into a bestseller?

Daily House’s team of editorial, production, and marketing experts will evaluate your project, send you a complimentary custom assessment, and a next-steps plan. To get started, fill out our short questionnaire

Follow us on LinkedIn, join our group Your Path to the Bestseller List on Facebook, or subscribe to The Bestseller List on YouTube for weekly videos on writing and publishing.

How to Promote Your Book with Contests, Prizes, and Awards

How to Promote Your Book with Contests, Prizes, and Awards

Contest are great fun and can drive engagement and expand the reach of a book promotion. If your prizes are valuable or interesting, your followers will share the contest with others even if it lessens their own chance to win. What’s more, the contest doesn’t have to be a random raffle. Learn more in this video.

Do You Write Books for Profit or Passion?

Do You Write Books for Profit or Passion?

Why do you write books? Is it for passion or for profit? Expression, creativity, and the need to tell a good story are some passionate reasons. Authority, money, and credibility are profit driven ones. Find out where you fall on the profit/passion spectrum in this video.

The Difference Between Writer’s Burnout and Block and How to Prevent Both

The Difference Between Writer’s Burnout and Block and How to Prevent Both

For many of us, devoting consistent hours to writing ain’t no easy enchilada. This is especially true if you are struggling to feed and shelter yourself and your family with the income from your efforts. Doubt and criticism, from oneself and from outsiders, have probably killed more budding writing careers than any other factor.

What is a Hybrid Publisher and Do They Care About Your Book?

What is a Hybrid Publisher and Do They Care About Your Book?

In this dawn of new publishing, there is a hair’s breadth of difference between what straight-up service providers and hybrid publishers do. Hybrid publishers have a traditional manuscript acquisition process and distribute books through traditional channels but where hybrids differ is that they charge for services like editing and cover design.