As you read the title of this post, are you wondering what I’m talking about? If you’re a writer, you know what I mean. If you are a reader and not a writer, do you know what this post is about? Just in case you might not know, I’ll explain. I’m hoping you will let me know about your reading habits, whether you’re an author or a reader or both.
We authors sometimes discuss among ourselves about what we should put in the front part of our books and what we should put at the end of our books. If an author is traditionally published, the publishing house decides what goes in the front and back of books, but indie authors can decide for themselves. In this blog post, I’m going to use my latest release as an example. Second Chance Forgiveness, the third book in my Pinecrest series, was originally published by Harlequin Love Inspired under the title of The Heart’s Forgiveness.
When this book was traditionally published, the front matter consisted of a teaser from the story of a few paragraphs. I’ll share it here.
“I know you said you didn’t want to talk about the past, but I decided today that I can’t live next door to you and work with you every day without discussing it. Whether you like it or not, we’ve got to clear the air.”
Grady shook his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t see the point.”
“We just have to get it out of the way once and for all. Then we don’t have to worry about stumbling onto the subject somewhere down the line.”
He gritted his teeth, then forced himself to relax. “So what do you want to do?”
“I want to set the record straight about Nina. Will you listen?”
“What’s there to say about a woman who ran off and left her husband and children to be with another man?” He narrowed his gaze. “A good wife and mother wouldn’t do that.”
“What she did doesn’t mean she wasn’t a good mother.”
“In my opinion it does.”
“Well, maybe you were a…” Maria’s voice trailed off.
“Maybe I was what?”
“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head. “I just wanted you to understand that no one’s all good or all bad.”
“So I’m just supposed to forget about what she did and pretend she was wonderful?”
Maria sighed. “I didn’t say that.”
“She ran off with another man, and you stood by and let her.”
Next came a list of my previous books published by Love Inspired and my author bio. Then the reader sees a title page and the copyright page, followed by a scripture verse and a dedication and acknowledgement page. Then Chapter One.
In my indie ebooks, I start with the title page, followed by the book description (blurb), copyright page, scripture, and table of contents. Then Chapter One. Here are the questions. Do you read any of this, and does it make a difference if you are reading an ebook or a print book? If you read the front matter, would you prefer a teaser like the one above or a blurb?
Now for the back matter. In my traditionally published books there was the “Dear Reader” letter, and in my earlier books there were discussion questions. (I have to admit that when the publisher dropped the discussion questions I sent up a big cheer. I didn’t like writing them.) Sometimes there was an excerpt at the end for another author’s book coming out the next month.
In my indie ebooks I put the “Dear Reader” letter, then an excerpt from the next book in the series or a book from another series of mine, followed by my author bio and a list of my others books by series. These are my questions for the back matter. Do you read an excerpt if there is one? Do you look at the list of other books by an author? Would you use discussion questions if they are there? Or do you ignore the back matter altogether?
I look forward to reading the answers to these questions. I will give away an ebook copy of Second Chance Love, the first book in the Pinecrest series, to one person who answers my questions. The giveaway will close on July 29 at 9PM MST when a winner will be chosen at random.
“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”