Today’s episode comes from a listener question. This question came from one of our patrons for the patrons only Q&A episode. In case you didn’t know, there is a bonus episode each month for patrons of the podcast. 

This month we talked about: 

  • pre-order pricing strategy
  • How to find the right category for your book
  • How best to get traffic to your blog
  • How to get more Amazon reviews.

And finally this question that was so good I wanted to devote a full episode to it. 

Listener Question from Garrett Hutson

Any special tips for marketing a companion novel to an existing series? Not a sequel, not a prequel, just shares a significant character with the books of an existing series (and same genre). The connection’s not enough to make it a volume in the existing series on Amazon or D2D, though. 

Great question!

What is a Literary Universe?

  • A literary universe is a way of connecting books without them being sequels or in the same series. 
  • It is what Marvel and Star Wars do with their cinematic universes. 
  • Extending the universe is a popular strategy right now and can be an effective one. 
  • It’s also time tested. Asimov and Heinlein (The grandfathers of SciFi) both did this back in the day.
  • Not just for Scifi and Fantasy. Authors are creating literary universes in in all kinds of genres. 

Pros of a Literary Universe 

  • Makes selling subsequent books easier.
  • Creates binge buyers. 
  • Allows you to explore side characters.  
  • Only have to worldbuild once.

Cons of a Literary Universe

  • Puts a lot of pressure on book #1. Most author’s first book is thier worst book. With a series or literary universe, that first book becomes your most important book from a marketing perspective. 
  • Can be creatively restricting. 
    • How does this book effect the other books?
    • Stuck in the same micro genre
  • A dud is riskier. 
  • More potential retcon issues. You have a lot to keep straight.

Literary Universe Writing Tips

  • Recruit continuity beta readers.
  • Create a way to stay organized to keep all the characters, locations, and plot lines straight. 
  • Experiment with different kinds of plots stories. Captain America Winter Soldier is a Spy Thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera. End Game Is a heist. 
  • Avoid time travel. It makes storytelling exponentially more complicated. 
  • Make the connection between the books meaningful. Connect them by more than just easter eggs. 
  • Write lots of short stories as connective tissue. This is helpful for world building. This is also helpful with marketing. 

Literary Universe Marketing Tips

  • Create a name for the literary universe that connects the names of the individual series and the individual novels. 
  • Create a landing page on your website for the literary universe that explain how the books connect and the recommended order to read them. You can do this with MyBookTable
  • Create a design hierarchy for the book covers. Each series needs to be connected, but there should be some design elements that connect the universe together. This could be as simple as a logo. It could also be a pen name.  
  • Let anticipation build, don’t rapid release. Be Disney Plus not Netflix. 
  • Price pulse book 1 ahead of each new launch. Episode 108.
  • Advanced: Create a wiki for your universe that your fans can edit. 
  • Recruit other authors to write in your literary universe, even if only for short stories.  
  • Backmatter is key. Each book should promote each other book in the universe in the back matter Episode 182.

Sponsor:

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Featured Patron

Michael Jack Webb author of Infernal Gates         

Time is running out for Ethan Freeman an ex-Special Forces Ranger, to stop conspiracy to free The Destroyer and his horde of Fallen Angels.

You can become a Novel Marketing Patron here.

Encouragement

At Least Blood is Not Coming Out of My Eye story. 

  • Last week after recording the Patrons only episode, I came downstairs for dinner. 

I have really been struggling with discouragement. Trying to see this as a season for rest rather than a season where I can’t get much done.

Questions:

Do you have a question you would like us to answer on the show? Call our listener help line! 512-827-8377‬. You can also send us a high quality recording on AuthorMedia.com/contact.

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