Table of Contents

What a Good Ending Should Do

What the end of the book should not do, how to end a book (and get readers talking about it), great conclusion examples, how to write a book conclusion (& end your story the right way).

how to write a book conclusion

Here’s the thing about ending your book the right way:

If the reader got all the way to the conclusion, that means they read the whole book , they liked it, and now they want to wrap this up.

So don’t ramble on and on. Give them what they want.

The goal of a great ending is to tie everything together, neatly summarize your book, and then provide a specific call or calls to action for your reader.

Don’t overcomplicate the conclusion—just let it do its job, and it’ll work great.

At Scribe, we like to outline the conclusion using this template:

This is one of the most important writing tips for any Author:

Every chapter should start with a hook. Even the last one.

This can be a story that summarizes the book, or you can close a loop from earlier in the book. But the point is, the reader should feel like they do at the end of a good movie, where everything feels nicely summarized with a satisfying ending.

By this time, you’ve mentioned a lot of different topics. Usually, the easiest and most compelling way to begin the conclusion is by referring back to one (or more) of them. Or you can add another dimension to a story you already told or tie up loose ends.

2. Restate the book’s mission/thesis

This is pretty simple, but make sure you restate the book’s thesis. From the first chapter to the final chapter, your book’s primary message should be consistent.

3. Summarize chapters

This is optional, but most good nonfiction books do this. They summarize the key points so succinctly and clearly that the reader can’t help but understand your lessons the same way that you do.

You want the reader to think about and talk about your book to their friends the same way you would if you could be there yourself. The best way to make sure they do that is to tell them exactly what to say.

That’s what this section is for.

how to write a book conclusion

Specifically, it’s about nailing whatever you want your readers to remember about your book. What are the takeaways that really matter? How do you want them to talk about them?

If your book is a memoir, your conclusion also needs to complete your story arc, tying up any plot threads and subplots in your storyline so you don’t leave any cliffhangers.

You might not summarize the plot points of each chapter literally, but you still want to remind your readers of the journey.

4. Call to action

What’s the first thing you want your reader to do when they finish the last word and put the book down? This is usually the final word, and it’s what you should leave them with on the final page.

Note on the call to action

A call to action (CTA) is not required in a conclusion, but most nonfiction books have them. It’s usually the very last bit of the conclusion, the final word to readers, and it ensures they know what you want them to do.

Authors generally adopt a different tone with the CTA—one that’s not just more explicitly inspirational but that’s also framed as an imperative. The underlying message of the call to action is straightforward and empowering: now that you have all the tools, go out there and use them.

This is good, and readers tend to like it. Some authors feel uncomfortable including such a direct appeal to readers because they may feel it’s unprofessional, and they can be right (sometimes).

Authors often want to be too inspirational in the introduction, and not enough in the conclusion. But this is when you can really tell your reader what to do, and be very direct.

What you do not want to do is write a glorified sales brochure. The last thing you want to do here is try to pitch them something of yours to buy.

Think about it—you’ve spent the whole book earning their trust, and now you ruin it with a bad ending that tries to sell them?

Don’t do that. Most importantly because it doesn’t work very well.

Readers are smart. They’re interested in your topic because they’ve picked up your book. If they’ve made it this far, then they’ve already read an entire book’s worth of your knowledge and expertise.

They can form their own conclusions when it comes to contacting you.

That said, if you do want to suggest they contact you, do so authentically—from a place of trying to help them , not yourself. Tell them you want to hear from them, or that you want to help them move forward.

If your website or the name of your firm is in your bio or About the Author page , that’s sufficient. Give them your email in the conclusion if you like—but only if you’re sincere about responding to them.

Ultimately, your goal is to provide so much value to them that they respect and admire you and your work, and choose to contact you because they have sold themselves on wanting to, not because you sold them.

Some authors want a more explicit CTA, such as directing readers of the book to a specific landing page. This can work, as long as the page you’re directing them to gives the reader something.

But it has to be something they’ll see as extra, not something they’ll feel should have been in the book. For example, a map or chart that is additive, but not crucial, to the content is great.

What you don’t want to do is give them something on a landing page that makes them think, “Why isn’t this in the book?” That just breaks faith with the reader.

1. Syndicating is a B*tch, by Bruce Petersen

“The most tangible stress of managing a syndication deal happens prior to close. You’re taking care of a lot of moving pieces and are responsible for a lot of money for a lot of people, and that’s a lot. Once the deal closes, that’s it. There’s not a lot happening at that point.

That doesn’t mean the stress has ended. The more experience you gain doing deals, the more prepared you’re going to be for the weird things that come up—and something will always come up. Remember when I lost $5.2 million to OFAC? I was completely blindsided that first time, and as I’m writing this book, it happened again. Yep.”

This is a fantastic example of how to start a well-structured conclusion. The author leads by talking about closing a deal, just as he’s closing his book. There’s a parallel structure there that orients the reader to the end of the book.

He also refers back to something that happened earlier in the book, then leads into a story about the same thing happening again. The new story hooks the reader while reminding them of an important point he made earlier.

2. Breakthrough Leadership Team, by Mike Goldman

“You’ve just finished reading this book, and your head is swimming with ideas. You’re probably wondering, Where do I begin?

I suggest you start by measuring where you are in your journey toward becoming a Breakthrough Leadership Team …”

Here, again, the opening lines of the conclusion orient the reader, signaling to them that they have reached the final chapter. In this case, the Author jumps immediately into helping the reader figure out what to do next.

The title of this final chapter, by the way, is “Call to Action.” It’s the theme of the whole chapter, reminding the reader of their journey throughout the book and suggesting what to do next.

3. Beyond Wins, by Mala Subramaniam

“Did the book address questions posed in the OpeningThoughts?

Why do I feel like I am on a seesaw of wins and losses in my business negotiations? Even when I win, I sometimes feel like I lost something. Tools and techniques I picked up in books and training are not foreign, so what am I missing? What will put me on the path to success? What Is the yardstick for success?

It did for Paula of the Adrift Website Case, which is a real success story.”

This Author begins her conclusion by returning to and listing the questions she asked at the beginning. As the book ends, she reminds the reader of where the journey started, then immediately leads into a new story.

While you shouldn’t introduce new concepts in a conclusion, new stories that drive key concepts home are a great way to leave the reader with a memorable application of what they’ve learned.

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How to write a book conclusion in three stupidly simple steps

How to write a book conclusion in three stupidly simple steps

March 19, 2021 by Liz Green

How do you write a conclusion for a non-fiction, self-help book? What do you say at the end of your book? Why is it sooooooo hard to wrap things up? You’ve written about so much stuff already—what’s left to say? How do you end your book in an awesome, not-at-all-lame way that makes readers excited to tell others what they’ve learned, eager to put their new knowledge into practice, and raving about you, the incredible author?!

As an editor and book coach, I read a TON of first-draft manuscripts, and writers almost always overcomplicate their book’s conclusion . There are really only three things a conclusion needs—and they are stupidly simple . Trust me: your big, beautiful brain is overcomplicating this conclusion thing, so let me break it down for you.

But first, do you need a structure for your conclusion?

This is the third post in a series. The first is How to Write a Book Introduction , and the second is How to Write a Book Chapter That’s Actually Good . As I said in those posts, not everyone needs a structure like the three steps presented here. If you're flying by the seat of your pretty panties and writing epic books, then go you!

But if you're not flying the g-string of victory, and you need some writing help,   here are three stupidly simple steps to write a book conclusion without overcomplicating the matter.

Three Stupidly Simple Steps to Write a Book Conclusion

Step 1. remember the point of all this.

Remind the reader of the point of this book —which is usually that they want to move from where they’re currently at to a solution . Refer to the I Get It and The Solution sections of your introduction and recall some of those details here.

Length: Three to five paragraphs.

Step 2. Here’s a little recap

Remind the reader of everything you’ve taught them. You might feel like you’re rehashing stuff; that’s how it should be. Humans need repetition to learn, so repeat the key takeaway from every chapter , and relate it back to how it will help the reader overcome their current challenge. Use the If You Remember Nothing Else… section of each chapter for this.

Length: One or two sentences to introduce this recap, plus one to three sentences per chapter recap, plus one or two sentences to conclude this section.

Step 3. What’s next?

Paint a picture of what life will be like for your reader when they’ve acted upon everything you’ve taught them. Let them see the new life available to them. This will leave them encouraged and excited.

Add a call-to-action at the end. This should direct them to somewhere where they can learn more . Often this is your website. Sometimes it’s a Facebook or other social media group, or a particular page on your site where they can access an additional resource. Consider how this book will funnel readers into interacting with you, and direct readers accordingly.

Length: Three to four paragraphs.

A note about length guidelines

The length guidelines above are  only guidelines ! Don’t get caught up in adhering to them. Writing is a creative process that can never be completely codified. The guidelines are there to keep you from steering wildly off-track, but  you must be the judge of your own work , and write accordingly.

If you have a book coaching package with me, I’ll guide you on length as we work through each chapter and tell you if your drafts are too long or short. If you’ve hired me as an editor , I’ll look out for this as I edit your writing. Otherwise, use your judgment to assess if you’ve said everything you need to on a topic in the shortest possible way.

Additional Conclusion Notes

The conclusion will be your shortest chapter in the book. It doesn’t really matter how long it is, but if it’s coming up at the same length as your chapter or longer, you need to revisit it. (See Most Common Pitfall, below.)

Writing Practice

If you get stuck during the writing process, drafting your conclusion can be a fantastic exercise to refocus on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Revisit your introduction (if you’ve written it) or introduction outline (if you haven’t yet) and ensure you’re tying up any loose ends. Refer back to anything you promised in the introduction and mention here how you fulfilled that promise .

Most Common Pitfall

Do not teach new content in your conclusion! Writers are usually generous people who want to give everything they’ve got to their reader. They’re often uncomfortable writing a chapter that doesn’t give more information, more teaching, and more help. However, this is the easiest and most common way of ruining a conclusion.

Your conclusion should just recap everything you’ve already said. This isn’t a cop-out; it’s essential in helping your reader retain the information and feel confident enacting it. If you overload the reader at this crucial moment, you’ll sink them. Hold back. Help them absorb what you’ve shared. They will love you for it.

What questions do you have about the three stupidly simple steps to write a book’s conclusion? Email me and ask away! I'm happy to help however I can.

Liz "One, Two, Three, I’m Outie" Green Editor, Book Coach, and Ghostwriter Green Goose Writing

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How to write a book introduction

Don't know where to start writing your book? Wondering how to write an introduction? Not sure what to include in your book's introduction? This is for you. If you're writing self-help, a guide, something that's designed to help other people by sharing your experience, knowledge, and stories, listen up for the seven essential parts of a book introduction . Read more…

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So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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by Kaelyn Barron | 2 comments

how to write a conclusion blog post image

Even if you’ve presented knockout arguments and indisputable evidence all throughout your paper, it won’t amount to much if a flimsy closing is what’s left in your reader’s memory. That’s why learning how to write a strong conclusion is an essential skill for effective writing.

What Is a Concluding Paragraph?

The concluding paragraph is the final section of your research paper, report, or any other kind of essay , including expository or descriptive papers.

The goal of the paragraph is to wrap up your main points, show how they connect and why they matter, and demonstrate to your readers that you’ve achieved what you set out to do in your paper.

At this point, you shouldn’t introduce any new points, information, or arguments; that should all be covered in the body of your paper. Your conclusion, instead, should offer readers a sense of closure.

How to Write a Conclusion

To write a strong conclusion, there are several “do’s” you’ll want to keep in mind.

writing a conclusion image

1. Synthesize your main points.

While your summary should neatly wrap up your paper and tie up any loose ends, you should note the difference between summarizing and synthesizing your main points.

It’s okay to summarize your main points, but your conclusion shouldn’t just be a repetition of what was in your paper. Instead, synthesize the information you presented by showing your readers how those points fit together and support your primary argument.

2. Address the “So what?”

Your conclusion should adequately address the question “So what?” In other words, it should show your audience why everything you’ve argued matters and why they should care.

For every statement you make in your concluding paragraph, ask yourself “so what?” until it’s clearly and concisely been addressed.

3. Write with conviction.

Your conclusion isn’t the place to get wishy-washy or iffy about your arguments. Stand by the points you’ve made and write with conviction.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be humble or you can’t acknowledge other possibilities or arguments. You should do both of those things!

Writing with conviction simply means avoiding phrases like “might,” “could,” or “I believe” to express your opinions.

If you really believe in what you’re writing, then say things affirmatively and refer to your specific arguments to back your statement. For example, if you think action needs to be taken, use “should” or “must” instead of the more weak “could.” Wherever you can, choose strong verbs or weak weasel words .

See more examples of weak vs. strong language in a concluding statement below.

Weak : Governments might want to consider taking action to fight climate change because doing so has many potential benefits.

Strong : Governments must take stronger action against climate change because doing so will create more jobs, raise the quality of living, and decrease health complications associated with pollution.

4. End with a call to action.

The end of your paper should contain a call to action (ideal for persuasive essays) or questions for further thought (this option might be more relevant for research papers, or essays that describe rather than argue).

Your call to action doesn’t necessarily have to address your readers directly; you might suggest an action that the government, a business, or other groups of people should take. Tell your readers what should happen next based on the arguments you’ve made throughout your paper.

Example : Post-conflict reconstruction offers a window of time in which pre-existing policies can be reevaluated and amended. All states should be armed with the knowledge and skills to critically address issues of inequality and ensure that these issues are not exacerbated after times of conflict.

What to Avoid in Your Concluding Paragraph

There are also some “dont’s” to consider when writing your concluding paragraph.

writing an essay conclusion image

Don’t introduce new ideas or information.

Your conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or ideas. Instead, this should be your final appeal to your audience, where you show them why all those well-researched points make sense together and actually matter—so don’t attempt to open any new cans of worms!

This will only distract your audience, and since this is your conclusion, you likely won’t have the space to fully develop any new arguments effectively.

Don’t just restate your thesis.

Your conclusion should absolutely drive home your main argument, or thesis statement. However, it should be rephrased in such a way that it still hits the nail on the head, but doesn’t sound like your just repeating your introduction.

This is where effectively answering the “so what” question comes in handy. Your rephrased thesis in your conclusion should directly address that question in a way that’s satisfying to readers—after reading it, they should clearly see why your argument is relevant and worth considering.

Don’t change your tone in the conclusion.

One final thing to avoid in your conclusion is a sudden and drastic change of tone . For example, if you’re writing a research paper with an academic, analytical tone, then you shouldn’t switch gears in your conclusion to an emotion-driven plea.

Try to be consistent in your tone throughout the entirety of your paper. You can still move your readers and change minds with facts and reason, rather than making a sentimental appeal that’s out of character with the rest of your presentation.

What Is an Example of a Conclusion?

Through the information they present and the ways they present it, the media have the power to shape an individual’s view of their environment. In the case of Southern Italy, the stories and images presented in the news often carry negative connotations. Research, including surveys of headlines, has illustrated that

Through their involvement in the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the women of South Africa and Liberia demonstrated the valuable skills and unique perspectives that women can bring to post-conflict reconstruction. While these TRC’s should be commended for their efforts to include women, there were several key factors that limited the potential for transformative change in these societies, even though the opportunities were present. A better use of gender mainstreaming was needed, because while the Commissions achieved gender balancing, they failed to examine the importance of gender perceptions during the conflict. Post-conflict reconstruction offers a window of time in which pre-existing policies can be reevaluated and amended. All states should be armed with the knowledge and skills to critically address issues of inequality and ensure that these issues are not exacerbated after times of conflict.

What Words Can You Use to Start a Conclusion?

There are a number of words and phrases that can be used to indicate to readers that they have reached your conclusion, such as “finally,” “in conclusion,” or “in summary.”

However, these phrases are overused and have become clichéd . And they’re actually not necessary!

To start your conclusion, you can use a unique transition that flows well from the sentences preceding it, or simply get to your rephrased thesis and work on tying your points together.

More Essay Writing Tips

Ending with a strong conclusion is just as important as opening with a powerful thesis, so make sure you leave your audience with a clear understanding of your argument, along with a call to action or something to reflect on as you wrap things up.

For more tips for effective writing, check out our post on how to write a research paper , which will walk you through the steps of presenting your findings.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:

Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Nape Motana

Thanks for this enlightening piece on how to write a conclusion. I stumbled upon it on at the right when my editor asked that I should insert a conclusion on the chapter I have submitted.

Dennis Lee

If you truly want to improve your writing skills and don’t have an access to an in-person editor, consider utilizing a sentence structure checker tool. It’ll assist you with fixing punctuation and supplanting familiar words with additional remarkable choices. A few devices even explain to you why you ought to roll out a specific improvement, which is a reward since it assists you with additional mastering and further developing your composing abilities.

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    Your conclusion should adequately address the question “So what?” In other words, it should show your audience why everything you’ve argued matters and why they should care. For every statement you make in your concluding paragraph, ask yourself “so what?” until it’s clearly and concisely been addressed. 3. Write with conviction.