When you buy a DVD these days, you expect something extra than what you saw in the store. You expect to see a Director’s Cut, interviews with cast/crew/directors/critics, insider info or jokes, deleted scenes and outtakes. What’s your favorite kind of ancillary materials? What do you buy the DVD for? And how can you translate this to your own book marketing?
As you are writing, think about these extras that you can add on your author website. Here are some things you can do as you write your story:
Stop and Write an Essay. In the midst of writing your novel or picture book, stop and write an essay. We know that stories shouldn’t preach, but should tell a story. So write an essay that delves deeply into the themes of your story. Why does this story hold passion for you? Here’s Kate DiCamillo talking about the super squirrel in the 2014 Newbery award book, Flora and Ulysses. Yes. Think about what you might write for a newspaper article! But strike while the moment is hot, while you are writing the story. Then you’ll be ready when the invitations for featured articles come your way.
Recipes, coloring pages, play lists. What sorts of things relate to your story? If you like to doodle, but you know you’re not ready for prime time, use the doodles to create a coloring page, or a creative coloring page. My current series about aliens on Earth involves recipes and I’m gathering great ones for the launch of that book. Many authors create playlists they listen to when they write a particular story.
Outtakes or deleted scenes. Personally, I think this takes guts! But I am trying this on my new novel, THE GIRL, THE GYPSY AND THE GARGOYLE. I wrote a prologue for the book, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t use it. That’s what we do, we try different directions and try new things. For this story, there’s a Gargoyle Man whose face is scarred and I felt a need to know him better. So, I wrote the prologue about how he and his brother–the Gimpel brothers–discovered a magical stone. Read the outtake and a sample chapter here.
Just out of curiosity, I’d love to see a “Director’s Cut” for a novel, the novel the way the author him/herself might have edited it. Sure, I know that’s probably not possible; and it would be a gutsy thing to do. But it would be fascinating.