plugged-inThe editor has returned a copy-edited manuscript and the cover is well on the way to being designed, so D-Day is fast approaching. This has got me thinking about the nuts and bolts of the ebook itself.

First I need to put the ebook together as an HTML document, then think about getting it uploaded to iBooks and Amazon but what about extras? Ebooks are capable are containing content other than words and if I’m going to try to stick my head above all the other ebooks out there, wouldn’t some original, different content be one way of doing this?

I’ve only read one ebook novel that had content other than words, it was a collection of short stories by Kafka and each story was proceeded by a short video about Kafka’s life. I thought it was quite good but I don’t think this would work as part of a novel as it would keep taking you out of the story (You could have content during the story if it was part of the story but that’s another matter…albeit a very interesting one).

So the extra content has to be after the main event, not a distraction.

It’s surprising how little there is. I’ve read a few ebooks recently and most of them don’t even have a link to the author’s website let alone any specially created content. Right there on the last page you’ve finished the authors work, you feel a connection, you want to know more about the person who wrote it and then…bam! You’re dumped, left alone to simply find another book. Why not harness this positive feeling?

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with for extra content;

  1. Interview video – this is probably the most obvious one. Either someone interviewing the author about the book or the author responding to questions asked by readers online. How often do you finish a novel and wanted to know why X did Y, or why it was based in W, or why they named Z. If you really don’t want to be on camera then do an audio interview.
  2. Location tour video – this is one I’ve thought of as I’ve based my novel in Worthing which is an unusual location. It’s not really, but London gets so much attention that basing anything outside London is probably ‘unusual’. Anyway, name another story based in Worthing since ‘Wish You Were Here‘?
  3. Cover drafts – show how the cover evolved.
  4. Book Commentary – like a DVD commentary talking about stand out scenes, how something got completely changed, where scenes got deleted, easter eggs, go through handwritten notes too, etc. Probably best to avoid a Noel Gallagher approach until after you’ve made a couple of million.
  5. Twitter Hashtag – #IveJustFinishedInARightState, this can be added to as and when people finish the book and want to leave comments or ask questions at that vital moment – not a review on GoodReads or Amazon, or  a blog post, just a simple comment. An interview that never stops. Readers can discuss the novel in an open forum, maybe the author can get involved too.
  6. A link to author’s website – duh.
  7. Jump Off Points – if your novel addresses issues, covers a period of history, an industry, a country, etc then point readers in the directions you took as part of your research.

Can you think of any others? What would YOU like to see from an author? From me?!

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