Author Platform: What Should I Blog About? – Supplemental Literature

In last week’s post, “What Should I Blog About?” we discussed the five topics that could make up a core strategy for author platform blogging. We also looked in more depth at the topic of “personal life”. Today, we will look at using supplemental literature as a subject to include in your blogging strategy.

Using your supplemental literature creates a chance for you to expand on your books or stories and draw the readers even further into your settings, characters and stories.

In the main, instead of researching authors first to make an informed decision of what book to buy, readers tend to wander into a bookshop and pick up a book as the cover looks interesting or the title sounds intriguing, and the synopsis piques their interest. They may have no clue who the author is and it’s only after reading the book that they think, “wow, I enjoyed that, I wonder if they’ve written anything else?” Then will then get their phone or laptop out and Google, and that search will often lead to them landing on the author’s website.

It’s important to remember therefore that a lot of first time visitors to your website will be coming there after reading one of your books. If they’ve enjoyed your book (which you can presume they have if they find their way to your website), then it’s probably that they’ll be keen to read more of your work. Thank them for reading your book by giving them more information and insights into your stories.

For those people who do land on your website before they’ve read your books, this is where the food-tasting analogy that I mentioned in the previous post comes in. Give them little snippets of inside information to tempt them to go and buy your book in order to read the whole story.

Examples of Supplemental Literature to Share

1. Cut Scenes

You could share scenes that you decided to delete and which are now sat on the cutting room floor. These can make great standalone short stories for those who have not read the book they were cut from, or they can add another layer of insight for those that have read it.

Madeline Hunter shares deleted scenes from several of her bestselling novels on her blog, together with insights as to why those scenes were cut. You can read those by clicking here.

2. Back Stories

Another idea would be to share back stories for some of the minor characters in your books. Expanding on the lives of some of these characters can again, be great standalone short stories to give new readers a free taste of your writing world. And for your more established readership, they would be thrilled to read more about the characters they already know and love – especially those that only have minor parts in the main story.

3. Thought Process

Finally, you could share hints at the thought process that goes into your writing. There are several ways of doing this. For example, Matt Haig gives an author’s commentary on his book, “The Last Family in England” with some notes on various elements of the book. He also gives us a humorous look at how he wrote the book including what music he was listening to at the time, what food he ate and where he was when he wrote the book. You can read his commentary by clicking here.

On her website, Abi Oliver uses both a video and a written FAQ interview to talk about the thought process of writing her novel “A New Map of Love”. She talks about the inspiration behind the book as well as giving details as to how she actually wrote the book. All of this information can be engaging and interesting to both your established and new readership. The use of video makes you, the author, even more approachable as your readers can see “the real you.”

Benefits of Sharing Supplemental Literature

Sharing these types of titbits has two benefits:

  1. it gives existing readers a reason to stick around, and
  2. it draws in new readers by giving them free samples (or tasters) of your world.

Always ensure that you include links to buy your books (and other offerings if you have them), just don’t overdo it! A gentle nudge towards your shop, or Amazon page etc, is enough.

Next week I’ll take a look at the third topic being inspiration/behind the scenes.

Do you share examples of your supplemental literature on your website? Do you think it’s a good idea? If not, why not? Is it something your readers are keen to read so they can find out more? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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