Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

Good morning Story Empire readers, P.H. Solomon here with you today with a few questions, and maybe a few answers, about your content development. Do you struggle with developing marketing content for your fiction? Have you spent copious amounts of time creating your book? If you’re answers are yes, then read on for a some insight regarding your fiction writing and marketing.

As authors we spend quite a lot of time with development of our content whether it be non-fiction or fiction. For the moment, let’s stick with fiction for this discussion. We spend a lot of time on characters, plot, settings, world-building and much more. As a consequence, we develop a lot of content and this generation of words can be as long or longer than the book we create.

It’s said that Tolkien wrote perhaps several hundred thousand words of development content about Middle-earth. I have little doubt that authors such as Brandon Sanderson might generate even more for their world development. I like to call this development meta-content, meaning all the extra content and information that doesn’t go directly into the book but is useful to have as an author.

While all of this content is the basis for books, much of it often languishes. Once completed, many of us find that we are putting together our release information and struggle with the various blogs, newsletters, and many other forms of marketing information. Perhaps many of us even draw upon our copious notes and research to work through this demand for content with which to market. Too often, we struggle to convey it all to readers, let alone finding time to create the extra material for marketing.

One of the ways my thinking is currently changing with the production of two new series (and two more waiting) is to develop with both the book and the marketing needs during the time when I’m building and nurturing a book into a finished product. While I’m going through the development process, I’ve begun thinking in terms of writing blogs about any and everything related to my newest book series.

For example, when I wrote The Bow of Hart Saga, I never paused to think about this type of work and struggled for content to use for blog tours. It may seem obvious, but so many of us are focused on the finished product that we forget we will be marketing the launch. I’m referring to this practice as dual-use since it’s meant for both the book and the marketing.

However, development of the book is a perfect time to begin writing this marketing content as a part of all these creative activities. Harmony Kent shared a post several months ago on our Something Wicked blog tour where she went through a creative process of asking herself many questions about her elements of her novel. This type of creative work lends itself to making a reader guide to go into the back of a book so readers are further engaged, or an interesting blog post.

If I write up a character profile, or describe elements of my world building, why not use this information to generate blog posts and newsletters for use at a later time? Why not write these as part of my creative process? This way, I’m still developing the elements of my novel, but I’m also killing the proverbial “two birds with one stone” by writing what I call meta-content in such a way that it can be easily used later. I don’t have to worry about it being perfect at this point or completely matching what the end product will be, but I do have something to go back to and quickly make the appropriate changes to have a full library of content to share for marketing.

Getting back to the reader guides; you can also develop more specific content to share in private groups or other, less public venues, for those who might be using other platforms to engage fans and followers. The important point is to have in mind using your meta-content development for your marketing as well has book creation.

Working through all of this type of writing with marketing in mind creates less of a hectic atmosphere later. In future posts I’ll share more about those specifics with a few examples of my own so you can think in terms of your development and marketing as being two sides of the same coin. Perhaps you already do this and can share more of your process. Non-fiction certainly lends itself to creating marketing engagement from research and development topics while fiction can be harder. Harnessing your fiction meta-content as you work on it can be a more rewarding way to reach readers and not just a lot of empty words that are written never to be used again.

Thanks for stopping by Story Empire today and reading this post. If you found what you read informative, please share it on social media or re-blog it. Please leave your questions and reactions in the comments section and I will respond as quickly as I can.

P. H. Solomon

28 thoughts on “Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

  1. Pingback: A Deeper Look at Reader Guides | Story Empire

  2. Pingback: Dual-Use of Meta Content Pt 6: The Marketing Plan | Story Empire

  3. Pingback: Dual-Use of Meta-Content Part 5: World Building | Story Empire

  4. Pingback: Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 4: Newsletters | Story Empire

  5. Pingback: Dual Use of Meta-content Part 3: Reader Guides | Story Empire

  6. I never share my works on progress, usually, on my blog. I do though in my newsletters. You have a good idea because, yes blog ideas can be trying. Marketing is always a challenge and this is a good approach. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never thought about doing this, but I sure am thinking about it now. Of course, I don’t write lots of notes while working, other than brief character sketches. I don’t outline, either, using a “What-If” brainstorming process, instead. This doesn’t mean I can’t change how I work, though. Nor does it mean I can’t grab ideas from my usual What-If list and elaborate on them as I go, for possible future usage. Very interesting idea, and I just might give it a try with my current WIP. Thanks for a thought-provoking post! I’ve sent it winging on its way for others to enjoy, as well. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love this idea, P. H. I’ve done character interviews before when marketing my books, but the idea of preparinng to market as I write certainly makes sense. (I hate the marketing aspect of writing most of all.)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I absolutely LOVE this idea, P.H.!
    As you said, I’m often skim my “meta content” for blog ideas when I finish a book. By then, I’m exhausted from writing and struggling to find ways to piece the material together. I love the idea of developing posts as I’m working on the book and my momentum and creativity levels are strong. Thanks for the great tip!

    Liked by 3 people

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