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April 7, 2016

Self Publishing? What’s Your Plan to Keep Readers? — Part Two

Stick figure at a chalkboard with text: What's Your Reader Retention Plan?

It’s time once again for my monthly guest post over at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. We’ve been exploring the choices for what path we want to follow in our indie publishing career, and today, we’re digging more into how to walk our chosen path.

My series about Indie Publishing Paths at Fiction University has highlighted some of the choices we have to make and given us a few guidelines for figuring out how to make the best decisions for us.

We started off talking about knowing our goals. Given the conflicting advice out there about self-publishing and the frequently changing retailer specifics, we need to have an understanding of why we’re choosing certain paths so we can adapt as the industry changes.

Depending on our priorities, we might make different choices about distribution, release schedules, or pricing. I focused on each of those areas in the previous segment of the series, calling them the where, when, and how much of our decision process.

My current posts in the series focus on how to make the most of those choices we made. We started last month with a discussion of how to keep our readers after they finish our book.

Janice Hardy's Fiction University banner

Obviously, the first thing we have to do to keep our readership is write a great book, as this book sells the next book. But another common way to keep readers is to lead them to our other books.

We can include…:

  • an “Also By” page in our frontmatter (the pages before the story starts), with links to all of our other books
  • an excerpt to another book (such as the next book in the series) in the backmatter (the pages after “The End”), with a “To Continue Reading” link
  • an “ad” for another book(s), with a cover and/or cover and back-cover blurb in the backmatter, with a “Grab Your Copy Here” link
  • a listing of our books (such as listing the rest of the series) in the backmatter, with buy links for each

All of those techniques use something called buy links. One benefit of epublishing is that the titles we list in an ebook file’s front or back matter can be active links, making it easy for our readers to click and purchase those books right away.

We have two options for the type of buy links we can use. Do we link directly to a retailer’s store page for our book? Or do we link to a “clearinghouse” page, such as on our website, with all the retailer links for our book? In this month’s post, I explore some of the pros and cons of each approach.

I hope you’ll join me at Fiction University for this month’s post!

If you enjoy a story, do you check out the author’s other books? Are you more likely to check out their books if links are included? Have you ever bought a story from a link at the back of a book? Do you prefer direct links or to first read more and choose a retailer?

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