Front Matter and Back Matter and Why They Really Really Matter

If you are just starting out as a self-published author, and if by any chance you are in the same situation I was when I first started out, in that you do not have an author platform, nor a mailing list, nor any fans and not a lot of budget, you may well hit a wall when it comes to promoting your newly published debut book, just like I did.

You will soon discover that the more effective methods of book promotion, which are trumpeted time and time again by successful self-published authors, may not actually be available to you at this early stage of your career.

If you do not have a platform and a mailing list, you probably do not have a street team and you certainly will not have any fans who you can rely upon to buy and review your book in the first few days of your book launch. And without those reviews, your chances of getting a BookBub Ad are next to zero.

Things may appear to be a little bleak for the self-published author, when the time comes to promote that first book. But hey, don’t go throwing in the towel just yet, there are still plenty of things that us newbie authors can do straight off the bat to help promote our books when we are first starting out.

IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU

One of the most effective of these book promotion activities is staring you right in the face.

I am talking about the book itself.

Yes, that’s right, the book you have just completed should be your first means of promotion.

“What nonsense is that?” I hear you say. “How can my book possibly promote itself?”

Okay, the simple answer to that question is that no it can’t, at least not straight away, but the use of your book as a promotional tool will eventually help your overall business, and it effectively becomes the first part of a system that will promote both you as an author, as well as your future library of books.

The way your new book will achieve that lofty goal will be in the way that you set out both the Front Matter and the Back Matter of your book. However, before we get into the important matter of the Front and Back Matter (sorry about that), we first need to talk about your Author Website.

AUTHOR WEBSITES

If you have not yet created an author website, then now is the time to do so.

I go into more detail about exactly why this is one of the 4 Key Investments that every author should make in the post, Why You Should Build Your Author Website Yesterday, but suffice to say that an online presence in the form of your own website is an important first step towards creating your author platform, which will seriously improve your chances of making a living as a self-published author.

If you are the writer of non-fiction books, then the chances are you already have a ready-made author website in the guise of a blog, and if not, it should be relatively straight forward to set one up. After all, if you are knowledgeable enough on a particular subject to write a book, you certainly are more than capable of writing articles and posts for a blog.

If you are a writer of fiction on the other-hand, you may not yet have a blog, or perhaps you have no intention of starting one, and that is perfectly fine. What is important, however, is that you have a web presence that you yourself own.

One of the reasons you need to have an author website, is so that you have somewhere to direct your readers to from the Calls To Action that you are going to set up in both the Front and Back Matter of your book.

AN OVERVIEW OF FRONT AND BACK MATTER

The following video, which is taken from the premium online course “Formatting eBooks – How To Format For Kindle and ePub”, gives an overview of the importance of both the Front Matter and Back Matter of your book and how easily you can set it up within Scrivener.

I thought I would begin with the Back Matter of your book, as that is probably the most obvious place of the two sections to place a call to action. In my experience, you should be looking to place no more than 3 different calls to action in your book’s Back Matter, namely:

i). Asking the reader for a REVIEW of your book

ii). Introducing the reader to other books that you have written – perhaps a sequel to the book (for fiction) or a book that is on a similar topic (for non-fiction)

iii). Sending the reader to an attractive lead magnet, to encourage the reader to sign up to your mailing list (this could be a Blueprint or a comprehensive PDF, for non-fiction, or an audiobook version of your book, for fiction – the key here is that it has to be something of real value, so as to encourage the reader to subscribe to your list)

FRONT MATTER

Traditionally, the Front Matter of a book consists of a series of pages pages that precede the main story, such as the Title Page, the Copyright Page, a Preface, a Foreword, etc.

In an eBook, the Front Matter also provides a great opportunity for you to add your primary call to action.

The advantage that the call to action in your Front Matter has over those in your Back Matter is that there is a far higher chance that your reader is going to see it. There is even the chance that a potential reader who has not yet bought your book will follow the call to action from within the Look Inside feature on the Amazon Kindle Bookstore.

A disadvantage, however, is the fact that the reader has probably not bought into your philosophy quite yet (non-fiction) or become a fan of your work at this point (fiction), so naturally it will be harder to sell them something.

For the above reasons, I find that the most effective types of call to actions in the Front Matter are either:

(i) a link to a high value lead magnet (such as a FREE premium online course or even the next book in the series),

or

(ii) a link to a product that totally supplements the reading experience of the eBook (for non-fiction, perhaps a workbook or a relevant case study, for fiction, perhaps an alternative POV scene in the novel).

Please note that you can find out more about how I set up the Front and Back Matter of my books in my premium online course, “Formatting eBooks – How To Format For Kindle and ePub”.

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