March 14, 2018
Happy new year! … What? … Easter?! … Aww, crap.
We snoozed the blog straight through winter, but we’re back and ready to continue our series on using exclusive content to connect with your mailing list and turn them into fans!
Epilogues: Just for the Fans
Speaking of fandom, anyone see the Gilmore Girls “A Year in the Life” on Netflix? November 25, 2016. Anybody planted on the couch for six solid hours that day, grieving Richard and catching up on what those sassy gals had been up to for the last nine years? Anyone? Just me then. And why did I lose an entire day to TV and defeat my sofa’s 10-year cushion warranty? Because I’M A FAN.
If you never watched the show, the four-part revival would not excite you, and that’s ok. It wasn’t made for you. The new series was a love letter to the fans. It was made for me (and the 5 million other folks that tuned in that day). The fact that it was made just for us made it that much more special. Six seasons of storytelling (nope, seventh season didn’t happen), and we were still hungry for more. True fans always are.
Give Them More of What They Want
So, give your true fans a little more story with a special epilogue just for them. Epilogues work because the reader is already invested in the book they just finished. You’re giving them a little bit more, and assuming they liked the book, they want to know what happens next. This works for a series or a standalone (it actually works really great for a standalone). If they love your words, and they love your story, more content is always more good, and they’ll join your list to get it.
And, as a nice bonus, epilogues are a great reward to true fans, but they’re not of much value to freebie seekers. Someone randomly coming across your website and seeing that epilogue you’re offering for free is not going to be tempted to take it just because it’s free. An epilogue is worth nothing without the whole story. The only ones taking that epilogue are going to be readers of the series who really love it and want to hear the rest.
But, What to Write?
Well, for you romance writers, an epilogue can easily follow a standalone. Say your story features two characters that meet, fall in love, have a falling out, but (spoiler alert!) eventually reconcile and get their happily ever after, the end. What’s left to tell? The epilogue could be the wedding. Nobody wants to miss the big wedding, right? See Gilmore Girls above.
If you’re writing a series, you probably want to reserve the epilogue for the last book. Putting out an epilogue after each new book in the series might get really old for readers. Save a little side story for the epilogue, even if it happens years after the original story, and give that as incentive to get on your list and to reward your true fans.
And, just to be clear here, the bonus epilogue should be just that: a bonus. Don’t leave readers hanging and make them join your list to finish the story. That is not the way to make fans. Finish the story. Wrap it up in a satisfying ending and give the people what they want. Come back and tell a story that happens a little later that wasn’t part of the original ending.
We have a lot of authors doing epilogues on BookFunnel, and readers love them. A true fan will always want more story from you.
We’ll be back soon with another post in this series!