Book Extras You Should Use in Your Marketing
Hello again, book lovers and authors! We've been hitting the writing theme hard this month, but there's more to your book than the story itself—the cover, merch, and special features are important to readers. Adding a little extra oomph to your work is always worth the effort and makes fans frenzied with excitement. So today we're touching on neat things we've seen authors include in their publishings that you should consider for your own work.
SERIES SUMMARIES / RECAPS
Sometimes it's been a while since you visited a story/world; the details are a bit hazy, but you don't have the time (or desire) to read the entire series again before getting into the latest installment. This was the case with Kori and Witchshadow by Susan Dennard (check out her review!). Luckily, Dennard is an angel who's dedicated a page on her website to spoiler-free recaps of each book in the series!
Not only does this help readers, but it can also help authors by giving readers one less reason to put off reading their latest work.
Epic stories can get a bit confusing at times. Having a glossary so readers can keep characters, places, terms, history, etc. straight makes the reading experience less intimidating and easier to enjoy.
Another common issue in fantasy stories is the unique names that some aren't quite sure how to pronounce. Adding a pronunciation guide prevents readers from getting it wrong (which can be embarrassing, especially when facing Super Fans) and/or skimming over a character's name, which can add a level of disconnect.
Let's face it: sometimes traumatic things happen to our characters. Some readers can hang, but for others certain scenes or characters can be triggering. Authors may be hesitant to include trigger warnings for fear of losing sales, but wouldn't it be better if readers knew what they were getting into beforehand rather than shocked mid-read? This ensures you will reach your target audience and pose less risk of receiving negative reviews from readers who prefer not to associate with that content—much like film ratings let viewers know what they're in for so they can decide if and when to watch it.
We can't always rely on book reviewers to let us know what potentially triggering content is in a novel. Adding trigger warnings before a story, in marketing, etc. not only prevents readers from reliving trauma, but it shows care and respect that will lead readers to have more respect and appreciation for your work.
Though some aren't fans, plenty of readers appreciate how music can elevate a reading experience. It's even better when the author shares a curated list that really nails the tone and aesthetic of a story—especially if the author listened to the songs while writing. It helps the reader feel closer to the writing process (like a behind-the-scenes sneak peek) and to the story's atmosphere and emotional beats.
You can simply share a playlist link to your online sites or somewhere in the book, or you can create a detailed list of each song and the characters or scenes associated with them.
FULL CAST AUDIOBOOKS
Okay, so this one is harder to pull off depending on your budget. But if you have the means, an audiobook featuring a unique narrator (or voice) for each character makes the characters feel even more real and takes the entire experience to a whole other level. Especially if you pick voices you think best fit. Scouting aspiring voice actors is also a mutually beneficial creative endeavor—just make sure you're compensating for the time that goes into it!
WORK WITH FANARTISTS
Honestly, it seems like the best covers are the ones commissioned by fan artists, probably because they're more invested in your work than a freelancer who hasn't read it. Plus, fans of your writing are likely also following whatever fanartist you pick and will immediately recognize their signature style on your cover, thus hyping them even more for your book. It's also possible fans of the artist may not know your work, and you'll be able to expand your audience.
And let's not forget that book nerds LOVE artwork of our favorite stories. While it isn't always within your control depending on how you publish, advocating for and working with fan artists to create officially licensed prints, clothing, and other collectibles is sure to set your readers fangirling.
Either way, it's a win-win. Help others while helping yourself.
We all know the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover," and yet it's something we all do! Aside from making sure you have a gorgeous cover (perhaps supplied by a fan artist?), there are other personal touches book dragons cannot get enough of: stenciled or sprayed edges, foiled art on the naked cover, reversible dust jackets, decorative end papers, etc. Any extra artistic design will make readers lose their minds and rush to purchase.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS BEFORE STORY
This seems to be gaining popularity lately, and it's honestly not the worst idea. Without your support system, it's likely your story would never have been completed. If they came before your story, why not give them credit before diving into the story? It may not cause more people to read the acknowledgements, but it is sure to make your loved ones feel extra appreciated, and it's a neat way to mix things up in publishing.
Have you used added any of these cool features to your own writing? Is there something you've done that's not on the list? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. As always, you can catch us on bookstagram and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you!