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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *