How To Format A Perfect Novel: Part 5 (Back Matter)

STEP 5: BACK MATTER

Back Matter might not seem that important, since you probably think most people don’t even read it. Once they finish the book, they close it and forget about it. WRONG! That’s the exact kind of thinking that will MAKE your back matter unimportant.

Let’s review our Back Matter components. First, the essentials:

  • A call to action
  • An “About The Author” page

Beyond this, there’s an infinity of components you can include in your back matter. You can have maps for your epic fantasy novel. A glossary of terms. A list of references, if you’re writing non-fiction. All of these can be formatted however you wish—like your Call to Action below, or like your About the Author page below. Learn these two basic types, and you’ll be able to format whatever you want.

There’s one other “optional” item that I consider essential—the only reason you wouldn’t include it is because you don’t have anything to put in it.

  • Other books by…

This should go AFTER your call to action but BEFORE your “About the Author” page. And the thing about “Other Books” is it has to be different for every format. Because for your ebooks, you’ve GOT to have links to your other books. But those links need to be different for every platform. Your Amazon “Other Books” page links to Kindle books. Your Kobo “Other Books” page links to Kobo. You get the idea.

First, lets look at how our Back Matter is arranged in the Scrivener binder:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.54.13 AM

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All right. We’ve got a “Back Matter” folder. This is IN your main manuscript folder (as opposed to the “Front Matter” folder.

“Back Matter” has two subfolders: “Ebook” and “Paperback.”

“Ebook” has four subfolders: “Amazon,” “Kobo,” “Nook,” and “Smashwords.” As I said above, you need different back matter for each platform.

So let’s take our components one by one.

CALL TO ACTION (CTA)

I’ll tell you a little secret: when people finish a book, they ALWAYS turn at least one more page. One more page, just to make sure they’re not missing anything. After all, how do they know there’s not an epilogue after that final chapter? How do they know there isn’t some note from the author or a family tree that they can study, learning more about the book they just read?

They ALWAYS turn at least one more page.

What does that mean? It means you have ONE PAGE to convince them to keep reading. You have about half a second of eye-recognition to make them actually LOOK at what’s in your back matter.

You’ve got to have a call to action with a big, eye-catching title that immediately hooks them. Something that promises them awesomeness if they’ll just keep reading.

After that headline, you can put whatever you want. An ad for your next book. A link to your mailing list (highly recommended). Something. You’re an indie author. You’re marketing yourself. And there IS no better marketing than the first page after your back matter. Your readers have just finished reading your (totally awesome) novel. They’re your friend now. And that friendship is deep, loyal and lasting—for about two seconds. So in those two seconds, RECOMMEND SOMETHING TO THEM.

Here’s how my CTA looks in Kindle:

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Boom. Right there. They’ve just finished reading my (totally awesome) book (which you should totally go pre-order) and BAM! They can buy the second one RIGHT NOW! If they do, they get the first part of Book Two in their email—RIGHT AWAY! This is awesome. We’ve all finished a book and wished it would go on, and I can 100% guarantee* that’s how you’ll feel when you finish mine. Now it can! How awesome!

*This statement is not in any way intended to be legally binding, even though it’s totally true.

(For anyone trying to be clever and go pre-order Book Two right now: first of all, thank you for your interest. You’re incredibly good-looking and well-loved by everyone you know, especially me. Second, no, that link doesn’t work yet. But it will by the time Book One releases on September 17th).

So your CTA can look however you want. By now, you’re familiar with meta-data and creating title images. So create a title image for your headline (in this case, “Get Book Two”) and then assign meta-data to your file in Scrivener. First, click the CTA document:

No larger image for you!

No larger image for you!

Go to the right side of Scrivener and enter the name of your image file under “Chapter.” In my case, it’s “B2.”

No larger image for you!

Then, fill in your document with your CTA text. It should look something like this:

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OTHER BOOKS BY

I’ve excluded “Other Books By” because Midrealm has two authors: myself and Z. C. Bolger. However, let’s quickly cover how to format one.

Create a new document in your back matter folder called “Other Books by (your name)”. List your books. Let’s say it looks like this:

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Isn’t that a sexy list? I’d totally want to click on those titles. And I CAN click them, because they’re links.

First, though, you’ll notice that at the top, IN THE DOCUMENT, I’ve put the title: “Other Books by Garrett Robinson.” I’m not assigning any meta-data to this document. I believe that, aside from your CTA, most of your back matter should have its own formatting that looks a little more “formal.” So when you put together your list, format it exactly how you want it to appear in the finished document. In my case, that means “Goudy Old Style Font,” body text at 12pt size, heading at 18pt size and bold.

Then, head over to the Inspector on the right and click “Compile As-Is” to make sure the document exports exactly how you’ve formatted it.

No larger image for you!

No larger image for you!

Now to provide links. Select one of your book titles:

Then, through the menu, click “Edit>Add Link…” You’ll get a window like this one:

No larger image for you!

No larger image for you!

Go to Amazon, get the link for your Kindle book, and paste it in that box. Make sure the “Web” button is ticked, and click “OK.” Boom! You’re done! Now do that for every book in your list, and your “Other Books by…” page is complete.

When you copy it into the different folders (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.) MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE LINKS TO THE RIGHT PLATFORM.

Which brings us to your paperback. For paperbacks, your “Other Books By” should be formatted differently. You don’t want to space it out so much, because that looks ugly in print. And you don’t have to worry about making clickable links. Also, you probably want to restrict your list to other books that you have in paperback. Above, I’ve included links to books that are only available in ebook format. But if someone’s a paperback reader, that’s not helpful to them. They probably want another dead-tree book.

Here’s my “Other Books By” page for my paperbacks:

Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 9.57.12 AM

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

About the Author is, if anything, even simpler. Make sure your formatting is the exact way you want it, and then click the “Compile As-Is” button like we did for the last section.

One thing you should NOT omit from your “About the Author” page is links for readers to connect with you. My “About the Author” page currently has a list at the end like this:

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A couple of quick asides worth mentioning:

  • Google+ currently has REALLY ugly URLs and it’s hard to get a vanity one. Use a service like PrettyLink (for WordPress) to create a custom link from your site that forwards straight to your Google+ page
  • You should totally follow me on all of the channels you see above

OKAY

Guess what?

After all this…

After all your hard work…

You’re SO CLOSE compiling your book.

CHAAARGE TO STEP 6!

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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