Good morning Story Empire readers, PH here today with another suggestion for creating your meta-content for a novel with dual use in mind. If you haven’t read other posts in this series which you can find Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 at these links. Just as a reminder, by meta-content I mean what content you create as you develop your novel including character profiles and notes about setting, etc. Dual use is a concept where you create your meta-content with both your novel and marketing in mind to make the release of your book less complex. Nonfiction authors will find it easy to create marketing material from their research, but often fiction writers may run into problems with creating usable marketing material from their books.
Fiction authors are often concerned with developing a story more than creating their marketing material. As such we often do not have the latter in mind, but writing our meta-content with marketing in mind means that it will be available to use quickly and easily if written with marketing in mind at a later date. It’s not required have completed drafts of this material since the work will be fluid, but you will often find that this material will be available and easily updated and edited for used to fit your marketing plan.
Today, I’d like to address another form of marketing with meta-content with newsletters. The newsletter will often have a similar feel to a blog, but where your blog may be public, you may want to consider that your subscriber list is more of a closed market of people familiar with you and your books. For this reason, you may want to consider more specialty content for your subscribers, information which they will find even more interesting and useful. Using your meta-content to offer special, free content is what you’re newsletter subscribers are looking for most often. With this in mind, you will want to consider how you can use your meta-content as you write it to engage your newsletter subscribers specifically because they are more likely to buy than the general public.
Much like in the former post where reader guides were discussed, similar content can be used to share with your subscriber list. But you may want to consider other forms of content that you can offer for free to your subscribers. For instance, has a part of developing characters, some of the more interesting and colorful individuals in your novel may be worthy of more than just writing a character profile. In this case, when you’re writing that character profile you may want to unpack the character’s back-story into one or more short stories to use as a prequel. If you have the time, creating such content may well yield benefits by sharing it them with your newsletter subscribers very early. This way you can obtain possible feedback that can help you as you finish brushing up the main novel. This will also lead to releasing the short stories before your novel to the general public, but at this stage the main focus is on what you can give existing readers in your audience.
There are a few fantasy authors who have done well with creating meta-content that the readers find interesting. These are used in some different ways, most commonly within the book or releasing a short story, but the concept remains the same when using it with your newsletter (and your blog or reader guides, for that matter).
Brian McClellan released a number of short books about his characters, and all of them were compelling and intriguing to read for his fans. If you want to develop short stories, you would do well to share these on your newsletter as a special offering to your subscribers who are more likely to be your core readers.
Likewise, Brandon Sanderson included all kinds newspaper reports for his Alloy of Law book and the proceeding editions in the series. In the final version of these reader extras in the book, these appeared much like a newspaper, but the effect can be the same if you share it in your newsletter with your core readers. You can easily become creative about your book and use much of your meta-content to create similar types of marketing material to share on your newsletter.
How can you create your meta-content with dual use in mind? What kinds of ideas could you use in presenting some of this content to your newsletter subscribers? In what ways does this shape the marketing plan of your next book release ?
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