Creating the Complete Reader Experience

So my book draft is with the editor and the cover designer is doing her preliminary research, leaving me to…

1. Twiddle my thumbs, scratch my chin and think about all of those other things I could have included within the book but didn’t.

2. Catch a bug/head cold/virus/who-the-hell-knows-what-this-is-but-I-know-that-it-sucks!

3. Work on related web content.

Okay, this last one is definitely the most fun of the three. It’s fascinating to me how much the reading experience has changed since five or ten years ago, not solely with the rise in popularity of e-readers and nature of the most popular reads but also its “value-added” content.

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In the genre I’m exploring, contemporary romance, I can expect at most author websites now a plethora of bonus material for readers to sink their teeth into after they’ve become attached to the characters…items like author-suggested audio playlists tailored to specific plot points; additional scenes or re-engineered scenes featuring a different POV; Pinterest photo galleries to highlight locations featured and fantasy casting possibilities for the characters; and mock interviews with characters or in the most exquisitely clever way of Olivia Cunning (appropriate surname!), a whole mock website devoted to a book’s celebrity figures as she’s done with her Sinners on Tour series. Her ability to coordinate the branding and everything related to the characters from one book to the next is masterful. Hats off to her.

I’m actually looking forward to this part of the process, because in the real world – aka my day job – I have written the content for many websites over the years, but this one will be the most meaningful to me personally—and fun.

I would be very curious to hear from any fellow voracious readers of romance especially, including some of my favorite book bloggers…What kind of additional content do you look forward to most when you’ve finished a book and are looking for more opportunities to connect with the book, the author or other readers? I’d welcome your suggestions.

Now if I could just keep my hazy mind focused while the cold meds are in the bloodstream, I could get quite a bit done in this area. Instead much of my time this weekend was spent half-sleeping, half-reading my Kindle, half-chatting on Twitter and half-staring at the wall, eyes glazed over. 

<Sad exhale> Can’t wait to be operating on 100% capacity again. For now, I’ll continue to dream up ideas, jot them down when I have a moment of clarity and stay within a few feet of the guest bed in case the urge to pass out arrives.

Toodles for now…and happy reading!
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