Your Book Checklist
There are several key things you will want to be sure you have included in your book when you are preparing to publish it. I will go over these things in this article and explain to you why they matter and how these items can help with your book marketing.
The Title Page
The full manuscript title should appear about ½ way down the page, centered in all caps or mixed caps. The next line should include any subtitle you have decided is appropriate, and then the by line where you type your name. If you are self-published and use a publishing company name, the logo and name of the company should appear at the bottom of the page.
This can actually help your marketing of both your publishing brand and your book. The book initially benefits from the – hopefully – larger number of links and associations on the web which the publishing brand has established. The publishing brand, in turn, benefits from the association with your – hopefully – high selling book. It’s a win-win for both parties.
The Copyright Page
This protects your work from people ripping it off, of course, but it is also a place to lay out what people need to do in order to get permission to borrow the content of your book. This is a great place to drop in a line noting that you will accept bulk orders (assuming you will) and will give discounts to those ordering in bulk if that is the case. It can encourage people who really like the book to reach out to you and order in larger quantities, which is never a bad thing for your book sales.
A List of Your Other Books
If you’ve written other books, this is your chance to mention them. Not only will it help boost their sales if this one sells well, but it can help boost this one’s sales if the others have sold well.
The Table of Contents
If you make your chapter titles meaningful, the table of contents can help the Amazon program that crawls through your book to create an index figure out what those chapters are about and present your book anywhere that there is associated content. For example, if you were writing a book about household plumbing and you have a chapter on toilet plungers, your book would appear in a list of books about toilet plungers even though that isn’t the main subject of the book.
People love to see their name in books. Seriously. So be sure to pay attention to the dedication page. This is a terrific opportunity to thank an author who has made a big difference in your life (your book will become associated with theirs), as well as thanking your spouse and the other people who have supported your work.
Think carefully about what you can give to your audience that will help you to build a mailing list. Give them something for free in exchange for their email address and permission to add them to the mailing list. Then, be sure to keep them updated on what books you are currently working on or other tidbits that will keep them thinking of you.
Ideally, what you offer them should be simple for you but of high perceived value to them. Things like an autographed wallpaper of the book cover, or a booklet with detailed character sheets for each of the characters in your book if you are writing fiction can go over very well with fans. For non-fiction books, give them something that adds value to what they have just read. Include this right after the dedication and be sure it makes it into every chapter sample you submit to places like Goodreads so that people who haven’t read the book are encouraged to come and sign up for your mailing list, too.
Don’t get so excited that you forget your actual manuscript. And make sure this is the best you can make it (although don’t let your perfectionism lock you down to the point where you never release it).
Recommended Reading List
After the book is finished, or at the end of each chapter if you’re writing non-fiction, include a list of books that you recommend people read if they are interested in learning more about the topic. For example, she didn’t do it, but Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame could easily have snuck in a list of books she read or sources she used to help her keep things authentic when writing about 17th century Scotland.
Not only is this a bonus to the fans, it also does something else for your book: Amazon lists your book when people search for those books. This can give you an added bump to your sales without you having to do too much work to get them. Try to choose books that are big sellers or whose authors are well-known figures if possible. The higher their ranking, the better your book will do. (Don’t overdo this one. A little goes a very long way.)
Request for Reviews
You’ve taken the time to put together a great book. There’s nothing wrong with asking for honest feedback on your content. People who might not otherwise think to leave a review will be more likely to do so, and the more positive reviews that your book gets, the higher your book is likely to rank. People like to buy things that they know other people like.
Author Page with Ways to Connect with You
Use your “About the Author” Page to tell people a little more about you, but also to give them ways to connect with you so that they can become your rabid fans. If you have a Facebook page, mention it. If you have a Twitter account, give them the link. If you spend time on Pinterest, LinkedIn, or any other social media sites, give those links.
Also be sure to mention your personal website, or your blog if you have one. It’s important that they know how to follow you. Plus, including that personal website gives your website another valuable link and helps boost your rankings so that you stand out among the crowd.
What Did I Miss?
Are you an author? What tips and advice do you have to offer on things to include in your book?