Friday, June 24, 2011

Your Second Storefront

I just had a long conversation with Barry Eisler (no, we're not writing this one down) and one of the things we touched upon was what makes a bestseller a bestseller.

I've argued that brands, name recognition, and fanbases aren't as important as we'd like to think they are. In short, the authors who are famous bestsellers right now might not be famous bestsellers in the near future. Rather than repeat the reasons why, you can read the argument here.

In the legacy world, the more books you had in print, the more you'd sell, because you took up a lot of shelf space (both in a single store, and in thousands of stores.)

But in a digital world, every ebook has one slot on the shelf. You can increase shelf space by having many ebooks, but there are only a handful of stores (Amazon, BN, Smashwords, iBookstores, Sony, Kobo, etc) rather than the thousands of bookstores and thousands of other stores that sell books.

This is a much more even playing field. And while I disagree that name authors lowering their ebook prices will hurt my sales much (at low prices, people buy more), I do recognize the importance of standing out among the millions of other titles.

It is easier to make a sale in a digital world, but there it is still a multi-tiered process.

1. A reader must discover that your book exists.

2. A reader must be compelled to look at it.

3. A reader makes a decision to buy it.

4. A reader makes a decision to read it, and then possibly buy your other titles.

The first point requires some heavy lifting on the part of the author, building buzz, networking, trying to get some awareness. But the author has some help. Amazon is leading the pack in making it easy to discover ebooks. Their bestseller lists (which have been supplemented with their new best rated lists) and the "customers who also bought" make it easier than ever to find things to buy.

Once a reader realizes a book exists, the author has to make a good impression. A great cover, great blurb, and professional formatting are all subtle indicators that this is a quality product.

Believe it or not, the size of the author's name on the cover can subconsciously signal that the author is important. But there are other indicators, too.

Star rating, and the number of reviews (along with what is said in the reviews) can help sell books. Here's an interview I did with BookRooster.com, which I recently used to some success, and which helps authors get reviews.

But once the ebook is bought (or the sample is downloaded) there is yet another hurdle to overcome. Just because the book is on a customer's ereader doesn't mean it has been read.

In fact, everyone with an ereader has a choice of where to get content. They can go to Amazon (or whatever store they shop at) and look for new ebooks. Or they can peruse the content they've already downloaded, either as a sample or as a full book.

This has some disadvantages, however. Unlike a print to-be-read pile, where a reader can look at what they bought, it isn't easy to read back jacket copy on an ebook.

This means that some ebooks or samples that have been downloaded get forgotten, and it is a minor hassle to figure out what the book is about.

If you own an ereader, no doubt you've looked through the dozens (hundreds?) of titles on your device and probably forgotten why you downloaded some of them.

Here's the easy fix. Instead of beginning an ebook with the copyright page (that should come at the very end--no one cares about reading that) your ebook should start with the same description that is on the product page. That will jog a reader's memory, and make it easy for them to decide whether or not to read that ebook or sample.

That simple trick (which I stole from Blake Crouch) will improve your chances at being read. Then, once you are read, there are some other tricks to use.

First, make sure you have a clickable bibliography, which allows readers to directly access your other content. But this bibliography should be more than just titles. It should also include the product description of the ebooks (if not for all, then for at least a few of them).

You can also have excerpts from your ebooks, and other writers' ebooks. Again with links.

In other words, you've turned a customer's ereader into your second storefront. They can still find you by browsing online, but as more people buy more and more ebooks, more and more browsing will be within the ereader.

Make it easy for these readers to read you and buy you.

76 comments:

Bob Mayer said...

Good suggestions. I just emailed my business partner the link to your blog and said we have to do this with formatting. I hear the groan from New York.
Definitely have to look at ebook structure differently than print. Thanks.

Joe Konrath said...

I'm in the process of doing this with my ebooks as well.

Want to trade a few excepts, Bob? I've got a few technothrillers that cater tot he same audience as you.

Moses Siregar III said...

Nice ideas, Joe. I like the product description up front.

Can I ask, how were your BookRooster reviews? What book or books have you sent to them? I'd love to see examples of some of their reviews before signing up with them, but they won't reveal any of their clients due to confidentiality (which I can understand). I'm wondering if the reviews are honest and legit. I'm not interested in cheap and easy 5-star reviews.

Welcome to my blog... said...

That is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing this tip.

Katherine said...

Your generosity with Indies is amazing. Love the idea. And, it's true, e-readers do forget the gist of the book they downloaded days later. You would think AMZN would be looking at this. I know there are charges for the doc size, but it would be interesting to include the back cover in an e-book as well. I'm going to play round with mine.

Katherine Owen
http://katherineclareowen.com
Author: Not To Us and Seeing Julia

Excuse Me, Miss said...

Great ideas! I will look to do all with my existing and upcoming books.

Barry said...

Thank God we lost that cell phone connection. Otherwise I would get no writing done today. :D

Moses Siregar III said...

Indie authors, here's a free opportunity for anyone who's interested in being part of a fun community (a kind of author collective) that will promote indie books, one author each month. Link.

On July 1st, we'll be choosing our first six books at random (you can still submit your book). At the end of July, we'll vote on which book will be the IndieAuthorRockstar.com (the site's not up yet) author of the month for August. We're also hoping that Joe will let us write a guest blog post about the site to help us feature our first rockstar. But I haven't asked him yet :D.

Please check out the above link for more info.

Terry Odell said...

Good suggestions. Nothing more frustrating than finding samples that never even make it to the text.

I've started adding excerpts from the next book in the series to my e-books, and eliminated a lot of front matter, but not the copyright stuff or the acknowledgements. Starting with the blurb -- yes, hitting head on desk.

And those links can be quite an endeavor, because you don't want to link your B&N books to the Kindle store. I shall try setting up a master document to add to each version of my books.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

SBJones said...

I like the idea of putting the copyright page at the end. And having the back page blurb up front.

Alfred Poor said...

Excellent! Your posts are great, but this one is gold. And the tip about rethinking "front matter" for ebooks is terrific. Thanks!

Alfred Poor
Desktop Wings

Mister Snitch! said...

"In short, the authors who are famous bestsellers right now might not be famous bestsellers in the near future."

Do you have any particular authors who you feel are vulnerable this way? Just curious.

Christopher Hudson said...

I could individually call the people who downloaded my books and remind them what they were about.

Anonymous said...

(Eric – still can’t use my blogger account to post)

As an alternative might I suggest that you can also just make sure in the formatting that the copyright page just be not marked as the beginning of the book. Like the table to content page, which is before everything else but the e-readers jump straight over it, the copyright page can be treated the same way. Using this method the copyright info is at the front of the book and will be downloaded with all samples, but a person would have to click back to it in order to read it.

I would also agree to make sure that there are hotlinks to websites, blogs and all of the other media at the front so that people can the author and their other works.

Kate Madison, YA author said...

What a great idea! I've bookmarked this posting.

Thanks!
Kate

Anne-Mhairi Simpson said...

This is such a brilliant idea. One of those 'so simple anyone could have thought of it, but obviously they don't' ideas. It's things like this that make me glad I haven't published yet so that I'm not in the position of looking back and then slamming my face into a wall with a groan of despair at the opportunities wasted through the things I haven't done...

Anonymous said...

The industry standard is to have the title page near the front. A book that doesn't follow the typical format will look weird and scream amateur. If you want to sell like the pros, look like the pros.

Joel Arnold said...

Great idea. I'll have to do a little reformatting this next week! Thanks for the suggestion.

Joel Arnold

J.T. said...

Great idea to move the copyright page to the end.

The Guardian has a good article on epub today. It mentions two authors that listed "the full title of their ebook on Amazon as Catch Your Death (for fans of Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson). This catapulted the book to the top of searches – and in fact, says Voss, it was so successful that Amazon decided to remove the "subtitle", in an attempt to block self-publishers looking to market their work in a similar way. "

Probably won't work again but a great example of thinking outside the covers.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/24/self-publishing

Jen Talty said...

Some really excellent ideas here. As Bob Mayer's business partner, I am groaning...while we do some of this, I realize we can do this even better, which means...groan.

Douglas Dorow said...

Joe, you're always thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Putting the blurb in the front to trigger the reader who has an ereader full of books they bought is fantastic.

I recently published my thriller, but may need to repub to stick the blurb in. The Copyright is already in the back.

I'm looking for other indie thriller writers to share excerpts so my readers can find something else to read while they're waiting for my second book!

Ninth District - kindle

Ninth District - nook

blog - Thrillers R Us

Douglas Dorow - Facebook

Twitter @DougDorow

John French said...

Interesting stuff. I've been following your blog for a while now and have been holding back one comment. I'll try here.

You know, I don't think being a successful professional writer is something you can really plan, although it is something you can try. What your blog shows in a compelling way is that the digital age makes it much easier for a self-pubbed author to try at being a full-time writer -- and then succeed, when a couple of things are done right.

What this new era of self-pubbing entails, however, is that the process itself of publishing a book is now at everyone's fingertips. And that's where this blows my mind.

I've always felt I'd love being a writer, but I've made other life choices (I also love other things, you know!). Still, there's this book I've always wanted to write. It's been writing itself in my head for a couple of years now. However, the legacy publishing part of it has always tempered my enthusiasm. The submission process, the wait, etc. Rejections are fine, by the way, they are part of life, but when it takes so much time and effort to get a book to the store shelves, I hated the idea more than I feared it. And I know firsthand how publishers can be in academia, so I've always imagined them at least as bad in the world of fiction publishing.

And now, ever since I found your blog, I'm totally obsessed with the idea that I can in fact do it on my own. In just about every way, from formatting to building a website for my ebook, and (at least) trying to build a community around it, and fan pages, and stuff. All the little things to engage with readers, in cool, and free and efficient ways. I so much want to do it (because I have the tech skills), it hurts.

So, honestly, I don't care much about money figures and all that. Your blog seems to be a lot about the profitability of the ebook venture, and the markets, and so on. This is interesting, of course. A modest return on time investment would also be nice for me, but I'm not looking for a new career here. I just want to write one goddamn book and distribute it.

And you've shown me there's truly nothing stopping me now. And for that, I'm very grateful. So, erm, thanks for your blog! :)

Derrek said...

Excellent post as usual Joe. Thank you for sharing your great ideas--they really are invaluable.

I think you really hit the nail on the head with the part about readers forgetting why they downloaded a sample. I know that I do that all the time as a reader--I'll grab a bunch of samples of books that look interesting while I'm browsing, but then forget about 'em for awhile. That might be another reason why a lot of authors have slow starts for a few months and then suddenly sell a bunch of books--it took awhile for people to read their book and once they did, they started spreading the word from there.

Jonas Saul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Everett Peacock said...

I personally like seeing the cover initially, but your suggestion of a blurb brings to mind a hybrid idea:

a splash page that has both cover and blurb, like a webpage might.

of course the main cover will still be available, author image and even back cover image.

also, love the copyright stuff in the back, but also in the back a bibliography page.

good stuff, loving your blog

Michael said...

That's excellent advice, sir! Product description up front. Gotcha.

Thanks for that.

I'd still like to have some sort of "please don't read this if you din't pay" for it thingy on there, but maybe I need to get over that...

Eloheim and Veronica said...

I like when an ebook starts with the cover and goes from there. The blurb would be an AWESOME addition to the very beginning as I have lost track of some of my samples in just the way you describe.

Thanks for the idea!

Veronica
The Choice for Consciousness: Tools for Conscious Living, Vol. 1

The Homo Spiritus Sessions, Vol. 1-7

Douglas Dorow said...

@jonas

Hope the travels are going well:)

I think the idea of just the book blurb up front with other titles, reviews, links etc at the end is a good change.

I think people remember the cover and the blurb for the book they bought and seeing this quickly as they page through their to be read lists on their ereaders may get them to stop at yours. Which gets it read, which gets them to the end of the book for your other info and excerpts and which may get you a review, if they take the time to do that.

J.M.Cornwell said...

So, the copyright page doesn't have to go in the front of the book? That makes a difference. I'll give it a try. Good thing I can just upload the book to Amazon without too much problem. Great tip, Joe.

Katherine said...

On my Kindle it never shows the cover first even though they are there. I have to navigate to the "go to" bar and click on "cover". Weird. The copyright page to the back would probably be fine (Zoe Winters recommends this in her book on self-publishing). A blurb page up front would remind the reader what the book is about as Joe is saying. I can tell you right now (as a new Kindle owner of ten days; I've read three NF books and three fiction) that I miss the colored book cover which serves as an association to the e-book I bought online, but a blurb (back cover) up front would be helpful, just like the inside flap jacket of the hard cover and a link to author's website or blog would be another way to capture the reader's attention.

To anonymous at 2:11PM

I don't think anyone is talking about eliminating the title page. I actually did a different one in grey and white specifically to suit the Kindle. Also, I matched most of what the pros did (used to do) from a print standpoint (drop caps et al), but e-books look different and Indies can help in some ways to set a new standard to enhance the reading experience. IMHO.

Like it!

Katherine Owen
Author of: Not To Us and Seeing Julia

John G. Hartness said...

I've had good success swapping excerpts with other authors in the back of my books. You can see from my "also-boughts" that Derek Canyon and I have a lot of crossover now, and we didn't have any before we swapped blurbs.

Nice post, Joe.

Edward M. Grant said...

I've had good success swapping excerpts with other authors in the back of my books.

I can definitely say I've bought more ebooks based on included excerpts and/or blurbs in ebooks that I'd previously read than any other source. If I liked the book I just read and see a blurb for a similar type of book at the end which looks interesting, I'll at least read the sample pages.

Jonas Saul said...

@Douglas

The travels are going wonderful. In Denmark for another few weeks and then to Spain or Cyprus.

About my previous comment...I misread the post. I thought Konrath was suggesting we have our list of titles at the front in place of the copyright page.

After reading your reply to me Douglas, and then re-reading the post I agree that having the product description is a fabulous idea to remind the reader why it's on their e-reader in the first place.

I'm sure many people purchase titles and get to them months later, leaving them vulnerable to wondering why they'd bought the title in the first place. It could happen and a suggestion like this would counter that.

Or, as the post suggests, doing it this way could inspire the reader to take on your title sooner than another.

Thanks for pointing things out Douglas and have a great weekend.

Jonas Saul

Marsha Canham said...

Great ideas. That came with a little groan as I've already uploaded some files two or three times adding other "great ideas" from other sources LOL.

My ereader, however, opens on page one of chapter one, skipping the copyright and TOC entirely.

Jack Badelaire said...

I tried to do exactly this with my recent e-zine, HATCHET FORCE JOURNAL. I put links to the
Excellent advice.

Amazon ebook page of each excerpt, and links to the blog/website of each contributor. When I mentioned another review I wrote, I put in a link to that review on my blog, and for the movie review, I put in a link to the IMDb page.

E-books aren't just books, they are dynamic content, and the more you take advantage of that, the more your readers get their money's worth.

Jack Badelaire said...

"Excellent advice" was supposed to go up top...whoops. That's embarrassing.

As for the copyright page, another good idea. Title page first still makes sense to me, but putting a little descriptive copy up front will be important if you buy a lot of the same sorts of genre books.

I noticed in my own free sample that it didn't even make it to the end of the Editor's Note.

Peggy Ireland said...

I second Marsha's comment. :) But will definitely be using this idea from now on with all my writers, and all the books I layout.

Thanks Joe, great ideas as always.

J.R. Pearse Nelson said...

This is such helpful information, I'm going to link to it on my blog tonight, under the title Konrath the Godsend. It's a title I may be using again and again.

These are really great ideas. I've considered adding excerpts from other authors, and I've even considered adding links to where to find great indie music (I'm from Portland, what can I say?). But I'd never considered adding the product description and it is absolutely brilliant!

Peggy Ireland said...

I second Marsha's comment. :) But will definitely be using this idea from now on with all my writers, and all the books I layout.

Thanks Joe, great ideas as always.

Sariah S. Wilson said...

Maybe it has to do with Kindle configuration, but all of my Kindle books start at Chapter 1. I never see a title page or cover or copyright info - and I buy both indie and trad books.

TK Kenyon said...

What a great idea! From now on, and with every update, I'll think about my books as the "second storefront."

So smart.

TK Kenyon

You can receive writing prompts daily, "Like" us on Facebook: Dr. Kenyon’s Writing Apple or subscribe to the RSS/Atom feed at Blog: Dr. Kenyon’s Writing Apple Blogspot .

Andy said...

Great post, Joe.

I actually came up with this idea myself about three weeks ago, but no one gets a prize for being slow! ;-)

And it's thinking as a reader that put me on to it. Too many ebooks downloaded that I've now forgotten the blurbs for and 'wouldn't it be great if the blurb was at the start of the book... er... so why aren't MY blurbs at the start of MY books? Duh!!!'

Had it planned for my fourth title, coming out next week.

Honest.

I love the idea of hyperlinking the 'Also by' titles and even putting short blurbs with them.

I've been trying to also place the cover image with each one and hyperlink that too, but the standard cover image size seems to be too big and they don't appear, so I'm about to experiment with smaller sizes till they look right... unless anyone else has tried it already and knows the ideal size????

And maybe not only the standard cover image but an image that's a full page ad, containing the book's image with tagline and some review quotes.

Just need to get the ideal image size to make it work.

I think it would be great to reach the end of a book and then see a series of visual ad pages for other books.

And hey, not just your own, maybe let out some space to other authors too?

My brain is buzzing now...

Andy Conway
Publishing 11 titles before 11.11.11 on Amazon and Smashwords : 3 down, 8 to go
The Very Thought of You, a timeslip ghost story, out now...

fantasydreamer12 said...

Awesome advice as usual. I never thought of putting the synopsis in the beginning , but that makes sense. On a normal paperback, I read the synopsis on the back to refresh my interest in a book. Just makes sense.

Jude Hardin said...

Great idea, Joe! Also, one of the things John Locke recommends in HOW I SOLD 1 MILLION EBOOKS IN 5 MONTHS is to include a link to your website at the beginning and end of each book.

Emeline Danvers said...

Joe,

What do you suggest we do about this problem:

I've noticed with my Kindle that when I open a book, it automatically opens to the first page of the actual story. With my nook, it usually opens to the front cover. So when reading on a Kindle, unless I remember to go back and check the first few pages of the book, I will miss anything before the first story page.

Is there a way for us as authors to set it to open to the cover? There are some things I'd like to put at the front of the book (like the blurb, as you suggested) but if most books are read on Kindle, and Kindle skips ahead, then most people will never see it. Any suggestions?

Emeline Danvers
www.emelinedanvers.com

Walter Knight said...

The back of my latest book, "Vampire in the Outfield," has sample chapters to nine of my other books, and two other authors' books. I have done this before with positive results for the advertised titles.

It's like starting our own online book store.

Michael said...

I'm actually quite surprised at how simple these ideas seem in hindsight, Joe.

I would have never in my life even thought of doing something like putting a blurb in the front and the copyright in the back.

It makes me wonder what other small things self-published writers could do to improve the experience for readers that no one has thought of yet.

Ellen O'Connell said...

I have since the beginning had my Kindle books open to the book description - because as a reader I wanted that description in my ebooks. I also put everything else, including the T/C at the back because I wanted to maximize the story available in the Sample.

I format my own Kindle books using MobiCreator, and you can format and dictate where the book opens and what happens on a "Go To" Table of Contents (or Beginning) for Kindle.

However, I never thought of the other suggestions such as making the list of Other Books by Author clickable or including a short description of those books.

Great ideas. Thanks, Joe.

Ellen O'Connell
www.oconnellauthor.com

Rob Cornell said...

Dang. Great idea. Guess I'll be making more updates to my books.

An indie's work is never done. :)

Rob Cornell
Author of Darker Things
Let the world you know meet the world you don't.

rick nau said...

Synopsis in the front seat? Great idea. I'm going to start doing this.

Copyright in the trunk? Works great. I've been placing the copyright notice at the end of our books since the beginning and have gotten no complaints.

Rick Nau
Dancing Pen Books
Author: The Ruby Float

Mboyd1978 said...

This is why you rock. I am so doing this. Thank you.

W. Dean said...

A few disliked the idea of putting the book blurb inside the cover, and I can understand why it might throw some readers. Breaking with tradition causes confusion. Let me suggest a tweak that makes for an easy way to transition from the old way to the new.

Remember that on paper books the book’s description usually goes on the dust jacket or the back cover. So keep the “back cover/dust jacket” concept by running your cover art onto the page after the cover and write your description and author bio there. The third page, then, is chapter one (i.e., the first page of the sample).

J.A. Marlow said...

Except Smashwords, who insist that the copyright goes in the front. I had a book refused Premium Distribution because of it, even though I had the Smashwords license at the beginning.

To get the stupid reviewer to stop looking at the larger copyright at the end of the book, I had to put it under and "Appendum" and not CALL it a copyright.

So very frustrating. Putting a full copyright at the beginning of a book takes up too much valuable real-estate.

Into the Forest Shadows: A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother's House...

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, Joe. One I will save in my files of ideas.

One key point you make is getting the novel/author noticed by the reader, being the first step.

You focus on pre-published authors on this thread. For Newbies, I'd say this 'getting noticed' step is the most difficult of all (as in a sense, it has always been).

I know people who have reasonable novels, good blogs, websites, on goodreads, etc - yet aren't really being noticed. One person has joined a group of newbie enovelists and has seen a slight increase in sales but not much.

You have mentioned Estributors before, Joe. In recent posts I've suggested that moderately selling Eauthors could take on a newbie's novel and publish it under their joint names. The advantage to the moderately selling author is that they have more product (which they didn't have to do any writing for) and you have often said more product is good. They also have more chance of earning revenue. In return, they have put their name to a novel they like, written by someone else. They have given that someone else, a newbie, marketing oxygen.

Returning to your estributor idea, Joe. What better marketing technique could they use for newbie writers, than to have a database of moderate Enovel sellers who wish to be paired with a newbie's novel in a similar genre? The Estributor would then have a similar selling role as the agent of today, but rather than promote to publishers, he would promote to EXISTING Eauthors.

I think this would only work with newbie authors (have novel, need legup in marketing) and moderate selling Enovelists (sale some novels but not huge amount, and could really use more decent product with high royalty share, for free).

The interesting thing is, no one has really commented on my suggestion - it's as if those that get any sort of known name as authors are somehow reluctant to share the fanbase which allows them to sale 200+ novels a month in exchange for a free novel product at high royalties.

I'm not sure if there is something of a 'treasure of the sierra madra' mindset to those that start selling ;-)
... or whether they just don't
see themselves in a role that is more publisher than author.



Mike
[unpublished newbie realgoodbookstoread@gmail ]

Anonymous said...

Great post Joe, one to bookmark.

For a newbie the most tricky part must be (I quote)

1. A reader must discover that your book exists.

Where do readers go to look for great new enovels? To existing enovelists they like - You for instance Joe.

Enovelists could be the new Estributors too?

Mike

realgoodbookstoread@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Old model for agents who accepted submissions from unpublished authors:

Read from slush pile - send gem to publisher

Next model for agents accepting submissions from unpublished authors?

Read from slush pile - find gem - notify existing Eauthor of compatible novel and suggest that author take the novel on under joint-name deal so that existing author has free product, and new author has great marketing start.

For non-gem novels, agent suggests pure self-publish in standard reply - given names of companies that do edit, cover, upload etc at good price.

Mike

[ realgoodbookstoread@gmail.com ]

Russell Brooks said...

What great ideas. I'm going to try these out with my next novel.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

josephinewade said...

Thanks for the good ideas Joe (and Barry).
I was thinking your title should be 'Papa Joe'. If Hemingway was the father of the last era the certainly you are the father of this one.

Josie

Melissa F. Miller said...

As an author, I see merit in these ideas. As a reader, I really hope folks don't overdo it and load up their front matter with marketing stuff. I'm a sampler, and if the bulk of the sample is just links to the author's other books and a description of the book (and I believe John Locke advises reprinting reviews in the front matter, too), then I'm not going to get enough actual book in the sample to decide if I want to buy.

Just something to keep in mind while everyone's busy retooling their books today. ;)

Anonymous said...

Joe:

Great bit of advice. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

- Z

Sean Mac said...

As a YA author won't it be more difficult for your auidence to find you if they don't have an ereader? I would think you'd need to do ads or some other promotion.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club

tmsouders.com said...

Great advice! Although I'm not too good with some of this stuff, so the clickable bibliography will pose a challange, but I'll get it done somehow. I'm glad to get this recommendation now, seeing as how I'm going to be publishing my first e-book in 2 weeks. Thank you. When I'm successful (I say when, not if), I hope to help authors like you do...pay it forward.

Sean McCartney said...

Can the set-up of an ebook be done by the author or is it better to hire someone out?

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club

Andy said...

@Melissa

I think links to other books by the author are definitely end material, not to be front loaded.

Personally, it would kill me to place the copyright notice at the end, not the beginning, because that's where I've seen it my whole reading life, but I think we're all going to get used to the structure of books changing.

Andy Conway
Publishing 11 titles before 11.11.11 on Amazon and Smashwords : 3 down, 8 to go
The Very Thought of You, a timeslip ghost story, out now...

Karen Woodward said...

Great tip, Joe. Thanks!

@John French
Your story is inspiring. I hope you do write and publish your book, and let us know when it's up for sale!

Donna Ball said...

For those worried about cluttering up your book with front matter, here is how I've always done it:

Page 1-- Title and author, space down, copyright statement
Page 2--Pull quotes from reviews that describe the book. For example, "Donna Ball knows the Smoky Mountains, knows dogs and knows how to write a page-turner" might remind someone that this book is a dog mystery set in the Smokies. If I don't have good quotes, I sometimes use an excerpt here from a particularly gripping part of the novel, like they used to do in the paperback originals. From now on I will definitely be using an abbreviated (3 sentence) product description. Great idea! But this is still just page 2.
Page 3--Chapter One

After the last page of the novel I always include a page that begins. "Don't miss the other great books in this series" or "If you enjoyed this book, you may alsio like..." with hyperlinks and 1 paragraph descriptions of all my other books. This is the single most important piece of promotion I do, and I owe the vast majority of my sales to this one thing.

Great post, Joe. Thanks as always.

Duane Spurlock said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Http://kshoop.com said...

Fantastic advice! Now I just need to figure out how to do it all!
The Last Letter

Lisa Toppin said...

Thank you for the great tip. I'm just getting started, but I will be doing this with everything I put out. Wow!

Thea Atkinson said...

fantastic idea! I had started putting a chapter at the end of each novel, but hadn't added the blurb at the top. I spent the whole day updating my novels to add these ideas consistently.

thanks for a great blog and your generosity

Lee McAulay said...

Good ideas, Joe. I like your idea of adding the blurb at the start.
I realised quite quickly that if the first 10% of a download was my copyright page, readers wouldn't have much of the actual story to sample. I put a brief summary copyright in my opening paragraphs and a full copyright notice at the end.
Aslo... Add Smashwords coupons to the text at the end so that readers who buy a short story can get the money off the collection where the short is featured. Links to your blog, links to appropriate reference material, sources of inspiration, cartoons, music that you listened to when writing the story - the list goes on.
In the gaming world they're called Easter Eggs (and you have to hunt for them). In music, it was the vinyl LPs with secret messages in the outplay groove, and picture discs, gatefold sleeves, inserts with artwork and lyrics.
This is going to be so much fun...

Judd Exley said...

Sometimes, I wonder if you're too fkn brilliant for your own good.

This probably has more to do with the fact that we've never sat down with a beer together.

Awesome stuff, as always mate, and yet another arrow in the quiver of the e-pubber that's seeking a bullseye.

Craig said...

Amazon is yanking review services that are not Kirkus. Just started. I wonder if this service is having the same problem and why they are doing it???

Anonymous said...

In the legacy world, the more books you had in print, the more you'd sell, because you took up a lot of shelf space (both in a single store, and in thousands of stores.)

Yet another unsupported opinion. Keep 'em coming!

Unknown said...

More great advice, Joe. I'm adding book descriptions at the front of my ebooks now.

Coral Russell said...

I was skeptical about BookRooster, so since I'm a book reviewer, I went undercover there and here's what's happened so far.

http://alchemyofscrawl.blogspot.com/2011/07/bookrooster-update.html