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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.


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Learn how to use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise money for your book before your book comes out. This course has helped many authors successfully crowdfund their books and achieve the publishing dreams they didn’t think they could afford.  

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.


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.


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

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