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.
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.
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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.
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