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What do you expect at the end of a book?

Besides happy emotions and a grin that splits your face so wide the muscles in your cheeks hurt, what do you expect (or like to see) when you reach the end of a book?

In the back of mine, I have the following sections:

Ways to share and recommend my book if you enjoyed it

Books Coming Soon (complete with a short link to be added to my “new release” newsletter list)

Books Already Available

About the Author

Currently I have 14 books available, not counting the bundle I have of an entire series. I don’t normally count that one. So I have 14 different stories floating around the ether, which also means in the back of every single book, I have 14 one-paragraph “blurbs” for that book and all the others I’ve written. At first, this wasn’t a problem. I had only one series or possibly two and there were about seven books listed and explained. As I’ve written more, there are more blurbs. That’s the way it goes.

In January, I plan to go through and update ALL of my books to reflect this upcoming Regency Series. That means 6 copies of all 14 (actually 15 since I have to update the bundle) will be updated to include the three new books of my upcoming series, plus that first book will also be updated. Which means every book will then have 17 blurbs. I think that borders on madness and I’m starting to doubt anyone will read them all.

So…

I’m thinking to revamp, but only if I need to, and I want to do it in a way that will make my readers happy, so my question today is: what do you look for in the back of books? Do you want to see 17 one-paragraph blurbs (about 3-5 sentences), 17 quick one-sentence descriptions (which I have NO idea how I’ll manage this, but I shall try) OR are you one who’d prefer to just see a list of each of the books in the series? It would look like this:

Scandalous Sisters Series:
Intentions of the Earl
Liberty for Paul
To Win His Wayward Wife

Groom Series:
Her Sudden Groom
Her Reluctant Groom

etc all with hyperlinks that lead to more information about the book.

I don’t want to bog the back of the book down with advertisements for my other books, but at the same time, I don’t want to not give enough information and not have people be interested in the other books in that series or that I’ve written.

OR do you just not even read anything past the last line anyway?

I’ve created a poll and I hope if you get a chance that you’ll take a few seconds to give me your answer.

Thanks! Have a  wonderful Boxing Day!

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11 thoughts on “What do you expect at the end of a book?

  1. My thoughts are to not go back and update the prior ones, but for the ones coming out, to have a short blurb (paragraph) of the ones coming soon and the ones available to just list either the title or the short sentence about them.

  2. Do you have any idea how rare (and thus awesome) you are? Aside from the story itself, one of the most important things for me is to find a list in the book of all other books by the other (including ones that weren’t out when the book in question was published), listed according to series, in order as they fall in the series with a long enough description to figure out (unless secrecy is needed) who the main characters are, what the problem is on both sides (preferably), and some clue as to how these characters connect to the ones in the rest of the series. Better still is if they have a short preview of the actual book to give me a feel for the characters (although for that, probably just a preview of the books in that specific series).

    Authors who actually do that are hard to find and I’ve gotten so frustrated by authors who all that have is a list in order of publication with no indication of series (despite the fact that they clearly have one since the book I’m reading is part of one) and no clue how the stories connect, if the series connect, and who the characters are and why I should care.

    I love the way you do that. I don’t aways read the stuff at the end, but despite that fact that I’ve read most of your books more than once (and some of them more than twice) and thus I know all of the stuff in that section, I often do reread them, because I like what’s there.

  3. When I saw the results of the poll, I was not surprised. Most people agree with me. All I need is a list of books with them grouped into series. I NEVER read all the blurbs. And one thing that really makes a lot of readers mad is when they think a book is longer and they’ve still got awhile to go in it, then they find that a lot of what’s left is promotion. If you put in too many blurbs, you’re going to end up with lots of pages of that. That’s my experience, anyway.

    • That’s what I was afraid of: discontent when the last 3-4% (or more) of the book is blurbs for other books. Right now I think I’m at the 2-3% range which is why I think I need to address this now.

      • Obviously you can tell what my opinion is based off what I wrote above, but I’d like to add something. I only recall one time when I got upset with the amount of promotional info at the end of a book. I don’t recall what the book was, but I remember being somewhere in the 60% range and thinking that the story seemed like it was drawing to a close and that this made no sense because there was more than 30% of the book left. Turns out somewhere around 1/3 of that book was promotional info and it was promotional info for unconnected books when there were books in the same series. There was no information about the books in the same series. The promotional info was full chapters of somewhere between two and five books (it has been a while). It made me think of my reactions on numerous occasions to the promotional material at the back of print books by big publishers, but amazingly despite less space taken up by the big publishers, the big publishers annoyed me more, because they would promote books that were not only not connected to that specific series, but they would be from different genres and by different authors. I always hated that.

        I admit I am surprised at the way the poll is going, but I’ve never really considered myself normal, so I guess that’s not really surprising that I wouldn’t be in this either. And I understand the need to go with the majority on there, so I’d like to make a couple requests on the assumption that you are going to do that and get rid of the synopses. The first one is that whatever link you use goes to a long synopsis. The second is that, since you write romances and thus there will always be two main characters, can you at least list them (although I get that this would be an issue for my two favorite books “To Win His Wayward Wife” and “His Brother’s Bride”). Or alternately, maybe you could put a short synopsis of the series, telling how the series connect. Like the fact that “Scandalous Sisters Series” is about three American sisters who, along with their parents, are visiting relatives in England during the 1810s.

        Obviously you need to do what is best for your books and I’m certainly not going to stop reading your books just because they don’t have this info in them, so I’m not the audience that this will affect most. It’s just that it really bugs me when there isn’t more of an idea of the other stories then just titles. The convenience of having the info there is valuable to me.

      • I’ve done it somewhat like that. I don’t want people to think they have 10% more book then claim “well it just ended so abruptly–it was like there needed to be more story”. This way, if it goes to 97/98% people don’t feel so upset because they can look down and see the end is coming.

    • I’m inclined to agree with Lauralynn. I’ve noticed a backlash on various threads on the Kindleboards from readers who feel deceived when they come across a less “book” and heavy promo at the end of the story.

      The problem comes when you have more than a couple books out. When you don’t have many books, it’s easy to put them all in the back and give a blurb about each one. But when you get close to 40 (where I’m at now), it’s just not possible.

      I don’t know what the answer is for you, but I’ve decided that I will only promote the books that are in that particular series and add a list of all of my books divided up into series (and list the sub genre of romance they fall under) at the end of my book. That way I don’t use up a lot of space but also focus on what the reader is already interested in. If I write a standalone romance novel, I’ll pick a book or two that fall in a similar genre to complement it, figuring that readers who are interested in the Regency will want to read other Regenices (rather than a contemporary).

      I have done a sample chapter in the past on a couple of books, but I don’t know how well that goes over. What I have noticed is that if I put a blurb or just a brief intro to a book that I will write next in that series, I don’t get a lot of emails asking if I’ll write a follow-up book. That’s why I mention the follow-up books (if there are any). It helps cut down on the emails. I have never gotten an email asking me for a sample chapter, so I figure that isn’t important. As a reader, I don’t read sample chapters. I just look at the other books the author has written and the blurbs about them if they’re there.

      But every author has to do what they think is best, and you sell more books than I do so your expertise is better than mine.

      • There is a backlash that hits (hard) when we include too much promo. At the same time. Yu don’t want to not include any and miss the chance to catch more readers. You have to find a balance. With you having so many books out, I think your system works!

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