Most writers have heard they need to develop platform in order to sell books. In today’s world, in which more people connect electronically than person-to-person, developing platform means having a presence in social media, somewhere.
Most writers have also struggled with finding ways to make that happen. Having an author blog or website is a good start, but buying a domain and setting up a website isn’t enough. If you don’t have traffic, you don’t have anything.
So how do you generate traffic?
The most interesting advice I ever heard, I heard from Thomas Umstattd in a post he wrote for Author Media (read it here). He suggested treating your author blog like a movie DVD.
The main part of your blog is like the main movie on the DVD. It’s what people see when they go to the theater and it’s what readers read when they read your book.
Most DVDs don’t only have the movie on them. They have a special features section. That special features section is one of the tips Thomas offered and is what I’d like to talk about in this post.
What Are Your Special Features?
Here are some of Thomas’ suggestions.
- Character Art – how do your readers see your characters?
- Deleted Scenes – clean up and edit scenes deleted by editors and publish them
- Short Stories – write short stories involving the characters
- Do a Q&A with readers
There are a total of 10 suggestions for drawing readers to your author blog. Read 10 Ways Proven to Draw Readers to Your Novel’s Website to learn what they are.
Here are a few others you might like to consider. These are based on some of the special features I’ve seen on movie DVDs.
- Author Commentary
- A “the making of” series
- Character Images
- Character Interviews – Let readers ask characters questions; answer in the character voice
- Maps of the story world
You don’t have to use all of these ideas. You don’t have to use any of them if they don’t appeal to you.
But to draw traffic to your author blog or website, you do need to think more like the person who chooses content for the DVD special features and less like the person who wrote the movie.
Bottom line? Give your readers something special that they can get only from your blog or website and you won’t be able to keep them away.