Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM - Inside Your Book



It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.
If you'd like to join us, click here. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Our hashtag is #IWSG
Alex's wonderful co-hosts for October 7 posting of IWSG will be:
TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!  
Please stop by and thank them for their time and effort.
*Don't forget, you need to post for IWSG for Oct 7 to quality for the anthology contest.*


  A s k  P Z M  



Q: What additional material can be included in a book besides the text of the book?


First, let’s get a few basics out of the way:

Obviously there needs to be a copyright line and, for a work of fiction, the standard disclaimer about how this is a work of fiction, etc., etc.  And these probably need to be at the beginning of the book.

Besides this and your book’s title and author name, much of the additional material can be at the conclusion of the book rather than at the beginning.

Why?  Because of the way major bookseller Amazon displays the beginning of a book via “look inside.”  If you want to hook people on buying or borrowing your book, better to have the “meat” of the book up front to be sampled and put the additional material at the back.

Now there are exceptions to this strategy.  For example, if you have a nonfiction book in which the chapter titles are very descriptive of the information in the book, you might want to have a table of contents at the beginning. 

Or, for example, if your bio is very important to why someone should read your nonfiction book, then it makes sense to put that bio at the beginning of the book.

On the question of reviews – although I know that many publishers put laudatory quotes at the beginning of a book, I personally find this annoying.  Still, you may want to consider putting two or three short quotes at the beginning of the book.  If so, I would recommend quotes that give an idea of the book’s content rather than simply saying “great read.”

Now let’s look at some of the additional material that you can share at the end of your book:


1.   Your bio – choosing what is most relevant for that particular book and perhaps including a photo.
2.   Title and brief description of your other books plus links to where these can be purchased.
3.     Your author website URL.
4.     Your major social media accounts.
5.     Your email if you want to be contacted.
6.     Information about your availability for speaking engagements.
7.     Acknowledgments.
8.    Sample of one of your other books – the first chapter or so – and links to where this book can be purchased.

Other additional material depends on your book and what you’d like to share.

For example, while I wove three kosher recipes into the text of my cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE, for the sequel that I’m working on now – SINK LIKE A STONE – I’m going to put the recipes at the end.  I’m doing this because including the recipes in the actual story impedes the flow of the action.

Also, I’m trying another experiment with the fantasy adventure story ROAD TO ZANZICA that I just put on Kindle.  At the end of the story I listed the titles of the future stories in the series so that readers know the further adventures I envision.  (The titles are rather explicit as to which adventures are planned.)

And with a nonfiction book, you may want to share your reference material including photos and original documents or other resources connected to the subject material.  (I am including original documents from 1970 to 1972 in my Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY.)

In conclusion, if you have other recommendations for additional material to be included in a book, do share these in the comments below.




Phyllis Zimbler Miller – the author of fiction and nonfiction books – blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and is active on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller

57 comments :

  1. I try to put most of the info in the back, except the must haves in the front. Interesting point about nonfiction though.

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    1. Glad you think so. Thanks again for co-hosting today.

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  2. Adding the chapter to the next book is a really good idea. Many traditional publishers do this when it involves a series.

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    1. It's exciting being able to read the first chapter when you finish. You need to stick with the same publisher, though. Hi Diane!

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  3. Looks like you have it covered, but I like the chapter idea! Now I have the title and blurb but chapter would be better!

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    1. It's a nice treat for a reader. I always find it hard to say good-bye to great characters.

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  4. Useful info from PZM. We should use up all the good real estate that's our. I put a chapter from the next book in the back of the current one.

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    1. It helps that you have so many published novels, too. Congrats on your short story being published, Joy!

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  5. This is good information to know. I definitely need to remember this for the day I actually publish! :) Thanks so much for visiting and commenting today. Enjoy the remainder of IWSG day! Eva, IWSG Co-host

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    1. Thanks for co-hosting, Eve. Have a great day.

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  6. Hi Joylene - really helpful information from PZM - and also interesting re the recipes - that could be another spin-off ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary. Yes, I think Phyllis is fabulous! Have a lovely day.

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  7. My publisher puts reviews in the front but I'm very glad my bio is at the end.

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    1. Reviews are always a good thing. Shows that readers have good sense and can spot a terrific book when they read it. You're a hero to us all, Alex.

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  8. A note from Phyllis:

    Just to clarify re sample chapter:

    If there is another book in the series, that is probably a good choice for the sample chapter. The other option is the first chapter of another one of your books. Because I write in different genres, though, I do try to match the genre of the sample chapter to the genre of the book.

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  9. I'm going to have to keep a note of this great info.
    Personally I prefer reviews at the back.

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    1. I wish! I'd take them front or back. Though, Gail Bowen left her thoughts on the back cover. That was extremely exciting.

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  10. Yes, that back matter is so important! As a matter of fact, I should update my first ebooks to include the following ones. I'm just so busy. (Excuses, excuses...) Thanks for all the tips!

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    1. I think it's marvellous that you can go in and change stuff.

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  11. Thanks for the advice.

    I hadn't thought much about what goes in the beginning or end of a book. But your advice makes sense.

    I'm mostly focused on writing something that doesn't suck.

    Dave Emanuel

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  12. All great things to think about! Thanks for sharing :-)

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  13. Great post, Joylene!! Thanks for sharing the useful advice. I will certainly keep it all in mind. Have a lovely week.

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    1. You're most welcome, Nicola. This IWSG thingy is what keeps me going. That and Phyllis.

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  14. HAHA! I just commented on LAST month's IWSG post. For some reason, my computer showed me that one instead of this one. Whoops! Still, great information about the website AND the reminder of the contest. This is very interesting about what can be included in a book. Thank you for sharing this!

    All the best,
    Jen

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    1. It's great seeing in twice in one day. i feel quite privileged!

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  15. Great suggestions as always. I've heard of putting content at the back for the reasons you mentioned.

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  16. What a great and comprehensive summary of info to put in the back of your book, PZM. I'm writing a memoir with historical ties, so I will be having reference material at the back. I will be putting a map or two at the beginning of my book, because understanding where my memoir takes place is unfamiliar to most of the world! At the back I will have annotated references and author's notes.

    If you're writing a children's non-fiction picture book, it's helpful to put factual content at the back, for the teacher or, more importantly, for the child who wants to know more.

    This can be a pro or con depending on how it's done, but perhaps your book might be read in a book club, so you might include some discussion ideas on the book or information about how you came up with your book idea and your creative process.

    If your book contains a lot of characters or characters with names from another culture, you could include a list of characters and a few memory jogging sentences about them. I often find myself creating a list of characters on the inside cover as I read a book.

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    1. That's great info, Fundy. Thanks. Best of luck with your book.

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  17. Great advice about layout. I hadn't thought of much of that. Thanks! I'll bookmark this.

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  18. Once again, Phyllis has given us super info!
    Great post.
    Hi Joylene! *waving*

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  19. I love having the list she provided. I've been tempted to add something about why a reader should consider reviewing a book. So many people I know--who aren't writers--don't understand how important reviews are to writers.

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    1. I think that's a great idea. If one used the right persuasive approach, I bet a few readers would consider.

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  20. Great info as always - I often bookmark these links. Thank you Phyllis! Thanks, Joylene, for being a wonderful hostess! :)

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    1. You are a great blogging buddy, Karen. Thanks!

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  21. Fantastic information! This is something I can certainly use in the future. Thanks!

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    1. I'm so glad you find it helpful, Shannon. Thanks.

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  22. My copyedits are on the way and I just realized I have to write a dedication and acknowledgments...YIKES. That stuff is hard to write!

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    1. I always read the dedications because I understand how difficult they are to write. Go get 'em, Steph.

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  23. Hey Joylene,

    How's it goin', eh? Have you missed me? Yes? No? Who are you?

    Come on now, Joylene, you know that "IWSG" actually means "I Was Seeking Gary." Good grief!

    That Phyllis sure has some handy tips for real writers. Me, being a smug amateur do admire what she says but that's a far as it goes with me.

    Have a nice Thanksgiving, eh!

    Gary

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    1. Of course I missed you, and Penny too. One day when you become famous, you'll need to write your biography. All these Ask PZM posts will come in handy. Happy I was seeking Gary day.

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  24. I'm late getting to this post, but I'm glad I made it. Very useful info...thanks, Phyllis and Joylene. I've edited a couple books that I ended up self-pubbing, and had to remember to include the ISBN in appropriate locations. Many publishers/printers will provide that for you, but not always.

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    1. If I was to self-publish, I'd have to make lists. Hi Carol! Thanks for visiting.

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  25. Good information. As a writer, I enjoy the "outside" material authors include, especially the things that inspired their writing.

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    1. I appreciate the comment, Tamara. Thanks for your support.

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  26. What a great post! I advertise a freebie in the back of my books, which entices people to opt-in to my newsletter. :)

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  27. Awesome advice! I hadn't thought about it quite like you explained, but that makes sense. I typically look for extras in the back of a book. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  28. That's a good approach to front and back matter. :-)

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  29. Sorry I am late commenting been trying to NaNo, no headway yet. That is great advice about the Amazon profile, I have one, but never thought to use it to promote myself as an author. Thanks for the great tip.
    http://www.junetakey.com/

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