When your books are sold through retailers, you will not receive any contact information about those who buy your books. This means you can’t connect or follow up with them unless they happen to reach out to you. This is one of the many reasons why adding bonus content to your book is such a powerful strategy. Providing bonus downloads to readers lets them feel they’re getting extra value, while helping you build your email list and stay in touch with readers.
As you write your manuscript, or while adding the finishing touches to your work, consider what kinds of bonus content you can offer readers. Your bonus content might include a combination of the following:
• Lists of resources
• Audio or video recordings
• Charts and diagrams
• Step-by-step instructions
• Printable content from your book
For example, if you have authored a book on how to get fit at any age, your bonuses might include a handful of items from the following list:
• Daily habit-tracking worksheet
• Printable lists of recommended foods or activities
• A printable chart detailing your process in easy-to-follow steps
• Bonus recipes
• A list of your favorite healthy products
• A recorded meditation
• A free sample video from your course (that leads to a soft upsell into your paid training program!)
Where to Place Bonus Links
I recommend offering three to five bonus downloads. Anything less may not be enticing enough to register, and anything more may feel overwhelming to readers. This strategy works best when you sprinkle bonus items throughout the book. Then, if the first bonus doesn’t inspire a reader to go online and download it, the next one(s) might be a better fit. They only need to get excited about one of your downloads to act.
There are several places where you can mention your bonus content to readers:
• Directly in your text while discussing a related topic.
• In areas where the text has a logical break, like the end of a section or chapter.
• On blank pages, which will happen after your book is typeset. When chapters start on the right, a handful of blank pages are inevitably created in a book. And while it’s fine to leave these blank, why not take advantage of this valuable real estate? Provide your typesetter with a list of “Blank Page Fillers” and have your bonus links sprinkled throughout.
Capture Reader Contact Information
Next, you will need to set up a reader registration page. (Or ask your webmaster to do this for you.) Keep it simple and ask readers to register only with a name and email address, then immediately grant access to your bonus content. This should be integrated with your commercial email system, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp.
Your registration page might have a link as simple as this: MyWebsite.com/BookBonus.
Keep the link short and simple so it is easy for readers to remember and type. Also, this link should be hidden from the main navigation on your website so that only readers can locate the page. You could password-protect the page for added security, though this may not be necessary. Visitors will only get access to your bonus content if they register with name and address, so your content is protected unless they register. Adding a password could frustrate readers and create a barrier to registering.
Ultimately, adding bonus content creates a win-win situation. Readers feel like they receive added value, while you capture their email addresses and build an ongoing relationship with them. This strategy can be incredibly powerful and is recommended for anyone who writes prescriptive nonfiction and wants to build rapport with readers.
Try These Additional Ideas
As you sprinkle bonus links throughout your book, you could also use any of the following suggestions:
• Add a callout box that says something like the following: “The best way to thank an author is to post a review online. If you are enjoying this book, your review on Amazon would be greatly appreciated.”
• Invite readers to a social media group that you manage. If you have a free group on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another platform, share the link and invite readers to participate. Don’t have a group? Perhaps you should create one!
• Do all the above without sounding like you’re selling. If your manuscript constantly references your other programs and services, you risk turning off readers. This can be reflected in reader reviews. Your best bet is to dazzle readers with your best content, both in your manuscript and in your bonus items. When you impress readers by over-delivering value, they will naturally want to know more about the other products and services you offer.
• At the end of your manuscript after your author bio, add a sales page with details about other products and services you offer, along with a call to action that inspires readers to learn more. Including this at the very end of the book will capture a satisfied reader’s attention and lead him or her to take the next steps you suggest.
EXERCISE: Identify Bonus Content
What bonus items can you offer readers? Do you already have reports or other digital downloads ready to go? If not, what could you create that readers would enjoy? Brainstorm a list and then choose at least three items.
This article is an excerpt from The Nonfiction Book Marketing and Launch Plan – Workbook and Planning Guide by Stephanie Chandler.
Learn more about the book here.