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New Marketing: Short Story and Novel Combos
Marketing is constantly changing. The new media model is packages and crossing mediums. Don’t just create a movie, but get a graphic novel, a novelization of the movie, and a short TV series if you can. Toys, fast food, … you live in the world, you know how this works.
For books, write a novel and a couple short stories (and pray for the one-in-a-million movie deal). One of the short stories should be sold to an anthology to point readers to your larger (and more profitable) piece. The other short story should be offered for free as a sampler, and point to your larger piece. A series of 99 cent short story ebooks on Amazon pointing to the larger piece is also a workable option.
All those side stories which bounced around in your head but didn’t make the final cut can now be used. Those little exercises to develop side characters and explore backstory which went into the writer’s trunk can be dusted off.
But it is more than just a cool way to use up your excess words. Creating short stories is rapidly becoming a requirement for engagement with your readers. The more bits of your novel out there, the more chance a reader to discover your novel and pay you so you can write another one. The more times your readers play in your world, the more they will want to see of the world.
David B. Coe, of Magical Words, gives examples of how creating stories can help with worldbuilding a new world for a series in “Doing as I Say“. Written in 2008, the series he is referring to developing is Thieftaker.
WRITING EXERCISE: For your present long-form Work-In-Progress (WIP), look at your backstory or side characters. Can one be made into a short story of between 3,000 and 10,000 words? Could breaking out the story as a stand-alone provide fan service of a detail unneeded for the novel but cool to know? Write a scene from the short story of 1,000 words or less.