Good morning story Empire readers, PH with you today, continuing the series of posts which helps you create marketing material as you develop your book. I call this process dual usage of your meta-comment content (based on your story bible, if you will). Meta-content is basically any content use or create specifically for your book or series. Dual usage means that you’re using the meta-content for both writing your book and writing your marketing, that is, creating both at the same time. If you wish to read previous posts on this subject you can find them here at these links:
To elaborate and recap a little of what I’ve written previously, the concept is that you specifically write development material so that it is also marketing materials such as blogs posts, newsletters, reader guides and whatever else you can think of to market your book. The hope is to proverbially kill two birds with one stone so that you have a catalog of useful marketing information at your fingertips. You’ll have material ready to schedule and share for your marketing while using you time and resources effectively and efficiently as you release your book.
This dual use requires some forward thinking on your part, but it also means that you’re creatively engaging with your book and your readers at the same time. This concept is meant to be a time saving process as well as a good creative exercise, but it does not require that all your marketing be final draft because the development of your book and the completion of the novel is fluid in nature. But, you should be arriving at marketing content that can be quickly updated and used for your book launch campaign.
Today I wanted a little deeper into some of meta-content development with a more fantasy perspective. World building is an important part of writing fantasy, but it can also be important in writing other genres though to a lesser extent. When world building, it is meant that an author spends quite a lot of time creating as much detailed information about a wide range of topics and characters for a novel or series. This ranges from developing everything from geography to countries to political systems and social strata. As part of all of this development, you will often be creating areas of conflict which will affect your story and how your characters fit in the overall world. As part of world building, you’re going to be developing quite a lot including a magical system information if you’re writing fantasy.
During this phase of world building, no matter where you end up doing it in the process of your writing, you will be creating copious amounts of content. In recent months, I’ve been writing as many profiles as possible about my characters in all the aspects of my alternate fantasy world. Anything of which I can think becomes a profile on the topic. Sometimes I’m asking myself a series of questions to further understand how characters and world setting combined into conflict and story arc.
How magic works can be very intricate to understand, so it is a topic with many different aspects which I can subdivide and describe intricately. I’ve been undertaking writing all of the topics as suitable blog post for the future. Likewise, these can be used for free material, additional information at the end of a book as well as reader guide questions. Everything which I am developing I want to be usable when I began marketing.
As an example, I have been working on clearly defining the magical system so that readers are not confused or surprised with inconsistencies. Here are a few excerpts from some of my profiles as well as some additional topics which I’ve been covering. Hopefully these will assist you in how you think and develop your meta-content as you world build. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how or what you’re developing, it can be used for marketing at a later time by creating free material to share on your newsletter and in private groups such as Goodreads, clubs and at the end of your book.
This is an introduction to a post about the nature of magic by my main character:
“Magic is pervasive in my world, a force of nature which can be harnessed with current discoveries and inventions to many uses. But magic requires talent, skill and knowledge to perform spells of all kinds correctly since there is some danger in misuse. Even some one of a chaotic or criminal nature is well-advised to use magic carefully since the consequences can be dire or lethal.”
Here is something from my main narrative character about being around dangerous magical usage when he’s not a magic-user at all:
“As someone with a predominant background in writing, investigations often prove challenging for one such as I. Too frequently, I find myself in dangers for which I never prepared as a younger man. It’s true the streets and taverns of Cal Rindon can hold their own threats at times, but these are not as unpredictable as they are with my newest chosen profession.
Being out of work taught me much about taking care of myself since I lived in places where crime and threat went hand-in-hand. But that environment was relatively short-lived compared to the rest of my life and the several years of investigatory work with my partner Mandlefred Mandeheim. Cutthroats can be avoided in any number of ways, even fought off if necessary, but a destructive spell is not so easy to avoid. Likewise avoiding some of the other nefarious characters with whom we interact challenged me in the beginning of the business partnership.
Manny taught me new skills of avoiding contact and escaping conflict. Unfortunately, many of these skills were learned on the job in dangerous conditions. One might think one deserves hazard pay from these frequent encounters, so we do charge clients for risk and danger involved.
My first learning curve was how to stay out of the way when magic comes along. But this is not so easy in some circumstances. Magical traps with curses of all kinds can often be set off and may have lethal effects. Manny is a top-notch mage with skill at disarming these many traps but care must still be taken. Of course, I came into possession of a fleer gun with which I can provide myself a modicum of self-defense when conflict arises. This is too often the case during our investigations and can occur at a moments notice. I’ve learned to keep my hand in my pocket and ready with the fleer gun based on circumstances but those are not always predictable.”
These profiles are creatively fun, add to my understanding of both character and story, and already have marketing potential. This kind of material is important even if it is a list of questions, because these are the very things that you want to share with readers about your book. Make sure when you’re creating this content that your thinking in terms of how you can use it, and thus, writing it in such a way that it is easily updated and usable for marketing when the time comes.
What ideas do you have already or use your meta-content or story bible? How does this line of thinking affect your book development and launch planning at the same time? Do you find there are any drawbacks for you in approaching this process of dual usage of your meta-content?
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