Writing a book is an accomplishment worth celebrating, but before you sign off on your manuscript, there are some simple ways you can enhance your manuscript and boost reader engagement. Before you send your manuscript off for typesetting, consider the following suggestions.
- Ask readers for reviews. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, most authors don’t do this. And sometimes all you have to do is ask! Sprinkle this simple request in a few places within your book:
“The best way to thank an author is to write a review. If you’re enjoying this book, please post a review on your favorite site.”
- Offer bonus downloads. Years ago, I read a book that offered readers several bonus downloads throughout. It included worksheets and checklists and other supplemental content. As a reader, I appreciated the added value provided by those downloads. I had to register with an email address to access them, which no doubt grew that author’s email list exponentially. It’s a strategy I’ve personally used ever since.
What supplemental content can you offer your readers? How can you deliver value and build your mailing list at the same time?
- Give your typesetter blank page fillers. When a book is typeset, all chapters are set to begin on the right. This inevitably leaves a few blank pages throughout. While there is nothing wrong with some blank pages in a book, why not view these pages as bonus real estate? You can provide your typesetter with a list of tips, quotes, images, or notes to your reader. Your blank page fillers can also include the suggestions shown above—a request for reader reviews and offers for bonus downloads, plus other fun or interesting content your readers will enjoy.
- Interview contributors. When I wrote my first book over a decade ago, I decided to include interviews at the end of each chapter. I wanted readers to gain real-world insights from others in their shoes. Readers loved the interviews, so it’s a signature strategy I have since used in all of my books—interviews with real people who share their successes and failures.
Aside from inspiring readers, this strategy has another big benefit: The people who contribute interviews typically want to help spread the word about the book. They are usually honored to be included, and can then become some of your best marketing partners. Who could you interview and feature in your book? It doesn’t have to be a whole formal interview. You could simply request a quote or two to share within your content.
(By the way, this strategy can work for your blog or podcast or any other medium where you can invite contributors to share their own stories. This can inspire your audience and help you build a team of supportive partners.)
- Ask for lots of endorsements. New authors often assume that endorsements are tough to get, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Many experienced authors enjoy endorsing books because they know it will put their name in front of readers.
Sure, top authors aren’t always easy to reach, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. You might be surprised by how many authors read their own direct messages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media networks. Big name authors often have a publicity contact listed on their site. If all efforts fail, contact their publisher’s publicity department.
When reaching out for an endorsement, make it personal. Compliment their books and show that you are a real person and an actual fan of their work. This can go a long way.
Also, spend some time on Amazon looking through other books in your genre. You will discover authors you didn’t know about, and you can add their books to your reading list and their names to your list of requests. Adding half a dozen or more endorsements to the opening pages of a book is impressive and will make you look like a pro.
- Add a call to action in your bio. Your book should end with details about who you are, and this should be more extensive than the single paragraph featured on the back cover. Include details that are relevant to your expertise as the author of the book, and perhaps some additional content that helps readers relate to you. For example, you could let readers know you volunteer for a favorite nonprofit, you collect vintage doilies, or that you rescue guinea pigs. Let your personality shine through!
More importantly, end your bio with a call to action. Ask yourself what you want readers to do when they finish your book. Here are some examples to consider:
- Annie Author offers consulting services to help implement the strategies in this book. Learn more here: <link to consulting page>
- Need a speaker for your next event? Annie Author is an inspiring keynote speaker. Learn more here: <link to speaker page>
- Want to continue learning from Annie Author? Join her private LinkedIn community here: <link>
- Don’t forget to download all the bonus content from this book! Register here: <link>
By the way, use this same call to action strategy on every page of your website! Let site visitors know what action they should take next. It works!
The suggestions above benefit your readers while also inviting them to become part of your tribe. Let us know how these strategies work for your next book—we’d love to hear from you.
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