I can answer this question in four simple words:
There is no point.
ID 95219571 © Rohane Hamilton | Dreamstime
So what brings about this topic?
There’s a certain radio show I used to listen to a lot. It had great content, and a lot of the stuff was helpful. I could glean something worthwhile out of every show because there would be at least one caller who had a situation I could put in the, “You’ll need to know this in the future” category.
Over the past two weeks, I decided to go back to listening to this show. Instead of the podcast, I was using You Tube. This show has drastically changed. Now, it’s about 70% advertisement in some form. At the very beginning of the show, there’s two ads that run back to back for that particular show. (This is in addition to the ad You Tube will run at the beginning of the video.) So then about 15 minutes into the actual show, you think you’re going to finally get to the meat and potatoes of what the show is supposed to be about. Except, you don’t. There’s some customer who spends about 10 minutes bragging about how much the show helped him/her. So it’s really just another ad. Then we finally get to a call with actual substance, which is about 5 minutes, 10 if you’re lucky. Then we run off to another product the owner has available. And the cycle runs through this over the course of one hour.
So I figured out that in the course of one hour, a maximum of 20 minutes is actual content a listener can gain any benefit from. What’s awful is that most of the content isn’t even useful. Over the past two weeks, I think I might have gathered one thing that’s any benefit to me. So instead of getting something out of every show, which airs five times a week, I have to listen to two weeks’ worth of show to gain one new thing. This is a huge waste of my time. I don’t know how this show manages to stay on the air, and I’m not going to listen to it anymore.
Anyway, this is going to bring me to the process of making a book because my brain is wired to look at things as both an author and a reader. (I can’t remove that part of my life from most topics because I love writing and reading a lot.)
Yesterday, I started thinking about some of the reviews I’ve seen on some books as I browsed through online retailers. Some authors apparently like to shove a lot of ads for their other books into the book they have published. There’s nothing wrong with some form of advertisement. How else are people going to know what an author has written? But these reviewers claim that these particular authors have about 30%-50% actual book and the rest is nothing but ads for other books. I can see how that would turn off a reader. When they’re downloading a book (especially if they paid for it), they expect most of that space to be filled with the story, just I as expected way more content from that radio show.
In my opinion, a book should have at least 90% story. The 10% can go to ads. Ideally, I think 95% is better for actual content. But this is my rule of thumb on this particular topic.
You can always link more information to your blog or website at the end of your book. Ebooks have made this especially easy. Just insert your url as a hyperlink (if you format the book yourself) or ask your formatter to do it for you. Then, if someone loves your book, they can click the link at the end of the book to find more details about your other books where you can post as many samples or other information as you want. That way, it’s a win-win. Readers don’t feel cheated, and you still give them the option to do more in-depth on what you offer.
I also think adding a link to an email list at the back of a book is a good idea. Then you can directly reach them when you have a special sale or a new release. I also think it’s a good idea to include an entire list of books you’ve already published because if someone loves the book and wants to read more, they have the list right there. They don’t have to search for it. When I get excited about a new author, the first thing I do is see what else they’ve done. Some authors add a short description for each book. The more books you have out, the harder it’s going to be to add a short description for every single book you’ve done. An alternative to this is to add a short description for the books in that specific series or that specific genre. You can add links to the series or individual books so the reader can find out more about them in more detail without adding a lot of space that is in your book.
With e-reading devices being electronically friendly, it’s easier than ever to use links to your blog or website to your advantage. I word on an Apple computer in Microsoft Word. The way I add links is to highlight the text I want to link to. Then I go to the toolbar. I go to Insert. Then I scroll down to Hyperlink. This is what pops up:
You choose the “Web Page” option, which is in blue in the screen shot above. At the very top is the box for “Link To”. Either copy and paste the url into that box or manually type in the link you want people to go to.
That is how I add links to my sites when I format books. Depending on your program, you might have to do things differently.
You can use these links to add some fun stuff for the readers. Maybe you can offer a special short story, character interviews, pictures of characters, trivia about the book, or something else. It can become an interactive way to engage with your readers. Maybe you can ask a question and direct people to answer through the link. If you set up a page on your blog or website dedicated to receiving feedback from your readers, this could become a way to engage with them on a personal level.
I haven’t done any of these. I just thought of this stuff as I was writing this post, but there are things you can do to promote your other books without taking up a lot of valuable space in your book.