June 2, 2016

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

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 even deeper 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. The retailers’ “rules” and best practices for self-publishing are ever-changing—and the advice is ever-conflicting—so 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 are focusing on how to make the most of those choices we made. We’re in the midst of a discussion on how to keep our readers after they finish our book.

Janice Hardy's Fiction University banner

Today’s Part Four explores one specific way to entice readers to stick around for our next book: excerpts. An excerpt is typically the opening chapter of another story that’s pasted to the end of our ebook file, usually right after our book’s story ends.

With an excerpt, we try to hook our readers into wanting to read more of another one of our stories. Our excerpt can end with a “To Continue Reading…” buy link for our next book to entice them to purchase right away.

We could also include an excerpt for an unrelated story of ours to bring one book’s fans over to another story or series. Or we could use an excerpt to kick start a spin-off series.

But like most choices, there are pros and cons to this decision. An excerpt isn’t always the best choice for our story or situation.

For my books, I have a teaser excerpt of Treasured Claim at the end of my freebie short story Unintended Guardian. Yet for the rest of my books, I’ve used just a promotional page with the next story’s cover and blurb to drum up reader interest.

Want to know why I’ve made those different choices? In this month’s post at Fiction University, I’m sharing some guidelines to help us figure out whether including an excerpt teasing readers with another one of our stories is a good idea—or not.

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

Do you enjoy excerpts at the backs of books? Do you read them or not? Have you included excerpts of another book on any of your stories? What made you decide whether or not to include an excerpt?

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