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Creating Back Matter for Your Journals and Low-Content Books

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Low-content book designers often focus solely on the front and middle of the book.

That’s because the front is what customers see when they preview your journal…

And the middle content is what they actually buy it for!

But the end of your journal is actually a great opportunity for some marketing that can help you build your publishing brand, grow an audience, and even sell more books.

In this article, we’ll cover some things you can put in the back of your book to achieve these goals.

What is back matter?

Back matter is simply the collection of pages that come at the end of a book.

You’ll find this in pretty much every book regardless of genre.

Pick one up off the shelf, and you’ll see that the book rarely ends on the last page.

Instead, you’ll find a few pages with different content leading you to other products or services, or providing information.

This is similar to the front matter you’ll find at the beginning of the book, but the key difference is that the reader will usually visit the back matter after reading or using the book for some length of time.

They may be ready for another book or journal, or another tool to help them with whatever they were trying to achieve with that book.

So let’s look at some options for what you can include in the back matter.

About the author/bio

This is pretty universal for fiction and non-fiction books, and it can work for journals too.

Especially if your journal includes some written text, prompts, instructions, or a method that the customer will follow.

This page usually includes a short paragraph or few sentences about you.

That doesn’t mean you have to list your entire life story or resume…

But keep it relevant to the topic of your book.

You’ll often see an opening sentence that mentions where the author lives, and some of the things they’re passionate about…

Then, they’ll explain why they are interested in the subject of the book.

It doesn’t have to be complicated!

But this can be a good way to establish yourself as an expert in the subject.

You can add in a photo here, as well. I’d recommend something greyscale or black and white for best printing quality.

Beyond that, you can provide links to your social media or website. This is a great idea if you run a brand or platform where you share content related to the subject of the journal.

Fans of your work will likely track you down to find out what else you offer.

This is also how bloggers or reviewers will find you to tag you in posts including your book.

Nothing wrong with a little free marketing that way!

A freebie offer

Everyone loves freebies, right?

Well, offering your customers a little extra gift can be a great way to get them signed up to a mailing list.

And mailing lists are really important marketing tools!

Once you have people on your mailing list, you can start sending them emails with helpful information, new product announcements, or promotions.

Most mailing list services will allow you to create a landing page with a custom URL.

That page should be able to handle both collecting the email address, and delivering the freebie afterwards.

So what kind of freebie should you offer?

Well, that depends a lot on the niche of your journal.

One option is to offer a printable version of the templates within the journal they already bought.

That way, when they fill up the journal, they can print off more pages and keep using the format that works for them.

But there are lots of other things you can offer as a mailing list incentive:

  • Worksheets
  • Checklists
  • Quick-start guides
  • Templates
  • eBooks
  • Mini courses
  • Printable artwork
  • Email courses

The important thing is that the incentive is both useful and valuable to the customer.

That will ensure that they are intrigued enough to sign up for the offer.

After that, you just need to work on your email marketing strategy to further monetize your audience!

Promote a service

You might be in a position to offer a service that relates to the subject of the journal.

For example, if you’re selling a social media content planner, you might offer social media management services for those customers who quickly realize it’s too big of a job to manage themselves.

Or you could have a journal full of writing prompts, and then offer editing or book formatting services.

This is a good strategy if you reverse engineer it…

Start with what kind of services you offer as a freelancer or business owner, and then design a journal as a lead magnet.

I love selling books as lead magnets personally, because not only are they useful and help convince readers of my expertise on a subject…

But I also get paid for that marketing strategy!

It’s a win-win.

You might want to offer some kind of incentive to lead into the services.

For example, a free 30 minute strategy call, or a percentage discount on a packaged service.

Remember, we’re aiming for both useful and valuable here too!

Promote other products

This is a good space to promote other products that you offer.

This could mean other journals. If you have more published on the same platform, encourage customers to visit your Author profile to see your other work.

You can format this as a text list of other works, or you can put a greyscale cover image as a preview.

I find that the cover image seems to work best.

But of course, you don’t have to stick with books.

Maybe you have a digital product to offer, like a course.

Or maybe you have an online store to promote.

This can feed into your brand, if you’ve crafted one around your publishing subject.

Just remember, people like incentives.

A small percentage discount with a coupon code works great.

Or you can offer a “buy X and get a free Y” sort of deal.

Just ensure that your product offer is on theme with the subject of the journal.

Think about the pain points your audience has.

What are they struggling with?

What can help them achieve their goals?

Once you’ve identified these problems, you can start offering solutions.

The back matter of your journal or low-content book is an important piece of real estate for building up other income streams and growing your business.

Consider what kind of web you can build between the different products and services you offer.

This is known as your “income ecosystem”…

And that’s something I talk about in-depth in my book, Creative Passive Income!

You can find that book on Amazon as both an eBook and paperback, so if you’re trying to grow your income through creative means, don’t miss it!

About Rebecca Wilson

About Rebecca Wilson

Writer, designer, and book coach Rebecca Wilson has been publishing a broad variety of creative books for more than half a decade. She combines her teaching background and publishing expertise at SelfPubMagic to share her love of bookmaking with other creatives.