When you sell books through retailers, you won’t receive any contact information for those who buy your books.Offer Bonus Content Throughout Your Prescriptive Nonfiction Book to Build Your Mailing List 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 is such a powerful strategy. Providing bonus downloads to readers lets them feel they’re getting extra value, while it helps you build your mailing list and stay in touch with your readers.

As you write your manuscript, or while putting on the finishing touches for your work, consider what kinds of bonus content you can offer readers. Your bonus content might include a combination of the following:

  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • Lists of resources
  • Quizzes
  • Audio or video recordings
  • Templates
  • Charts and diagrams
  • Recipes
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Maps
  • Illustrations
  • Printable content from your book

For example, if you’ve 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 choosing 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 ones might be a better fit. They only need to get excited about one of your downloads in order to take action.

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 setup 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.

Additional Ideas

As you sprinkle bonus links throughout your book, you could also use any of the following suggestions.

  • Add a call-out 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 of the above without sounding like you’re selling. If your manuscript constantly references your other programs and services, or worse, you mention how readers can get more details from your programs and services, you will risk turning off readers. This can be reflected in reader reviews. Your best bet is to dazzle readers 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 on 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/her to take the next steps you suggest.

If you like this blog post, you’ll love this book: The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Nonfiction Authors Association CEO Stephanie Chandler!