The end game…

If you’re a reader, do you peruse what’s at the end of a book? Many authors only include a short bio, especially those reliable mares and stallions in the Big Five publishers’ stables, but as a reader, you might like a wee bit more, right? What can authors for you beyond that ubiquitous bio, especially authors of indie books and those writing for indie publishers (small presses)? Consider it a bit of dessert after that full meal corresponding to the book you have just read that tells you more about your favorite authors.

I’ll go through the back material I’d like to see as a reader.  For the first page:

A thank you to the reader.  Here’s an example: “Thank you for reading my novel, The Vienna Gig. There are so many good authors and good books, I’m honored you chose mine.” Most of the old mares and stallions don’t bother with this.  The advantage of such a message beyond showing a wee bit of humility, even for them, is that it’s the perfect place to continue on to ask for a review on Amazon: “If you have the time, please write a short review on Amazon—other readers and I would find such a review beneficial.”  Readers who have finished your book and arrived at this message, probably liked the book, so it’s also likely the review would be positive.  This message is also a good lead-in to…

A list of the author’s similar books.  The writer can start this list with something like “If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy:”  If the current book is in genre X and the author also writes in genre Y, I’d just list the genre-X books, but that’s up to the author.  Many authors put the list of their other books in front. I’d do one or the other, but not both, and something like “Other books by John Q. Author:” sounds a wee bit cold at the start of the book, although it’s typical of Big Five authors.

The author’s website.  I’d end this first page of back material with “For more information, visit my website:

Let me say here that any omission of these points by a Big Five author might not be the old mare or stallion’s fault—Big Five publishers generally dictate the book formatting, often to the author’s chagrin.  These publishers aren’t known for a lot of TLC for either readers or writers and will support their authors only until they think they’re ready for the glue factory AKA “you’re fired!”

For the second part of the back material, I’d suggest:

Notes, Disclaimers, and Acknowledgements. The author should include material about how s/he came to write the book, her or his sources if research was done for the book’s background, and reasons why s/he didn’t do X when writing the story (create an ET language, have Y marry Z, and so forth).

The author might not have or want any of that (or her or his publisher), but there are always people who helped the writer prepare the book for publication, and it’s nice to acknowledge them—the agent, if applicable, chief editor, copy editor, cover artist, and beta-readers. S/he might also want to acknowledge those who provided inspiration to write the book. And s/he shouldn’t forget that significant other if there is one—that person has to live with a nerd who’s always writing!

And finally:

The author bio. Can’t forget that!  The author doesn’t want to write a memoir here, just a few paragraphs containing the essentials: where s/he was born, where s/he lives now, what experiences s/he’s had that might relate to her or his writing, and so forth.  S/he shouldn’t include a mailing address or telephone number, but should indicate the website again, author page on Facebook, or other social media, and contact info if the website doesn’t have a contact page.

This isn’t a place to be a name-dropper.  Maybe the writer lives next door to superstar author X, one of those mares or stallions, or s/he was a ghost writer for politician Y, but I’d leave out those references—the reader might hate X and Y!  For the same reason, I wouldn’t say that the major goal in her or his writing life is to write like Z.

Authors, will your readers care about any of this?  Maybe not, but none of it can hurt either.  All authors need to learn to include interesting back material because some readers love this and are disappointed if it’s not present.  I know I do (and I’m disappointed with most Big Five authors for this reason) because it assures me that the book wasn’t written by IBM’s Watson.  The back material is a fitting end for the journey I’ve made as a reader of the author’s book.


Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and Smashwords and the latter’s affiliate retailers (Apple, B&N, Kobo). It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the review and interview at Feathered Quill.  An excellent holiday gift for that VIP reader on your gift list—maybe you!

In libris libertas!  


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