OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
As a reader, I love to learn something new in a book. As a writer, I am a research junkie!
I'm obsessed with learning about new places, different ways of looking at the world and scouring sources for little tidbits that can bring my story alive.
As well as enriching your writing, your research can also function as extra content that your readers will love. Plus, it can also be a great marketing tool, drawing people to check out the book.
So here's some of the ways you can share your research with your readers:
(1) Use an Author's Note at the back of the book
My favorite thriller author James Rollins uses this trick and it's what inspired me to do the same. I include the details of what is real and what is fictionalized, as well as some of the books and places I researched. This is usually just a page or two at the back, and sometimes I link back to more information on my fiction site JFPenn.com. This is a great way to get people to go to your website for more information, and hopefully to sign up for your mailing list. [You do have a mailing list, right?!]
(2) Create a video on YouTube
You can see below the video of my research for ‘One Day In Budapest', [or watch it here on YouTube] a process I will be repeating for all my novels since I enjoyed making it so much. I used a lot of my own photographs from my research trip and added a little text to a Keynote (or you can use Powerpoint) presentation. I then recorded myself talking about the various aspects of the book. Since you see my face, it (hopefully) brings the ideas alive as I talk about them.
To create the video, I used Screenflow on the Mac to record both the screen and my face. Then I edited the video in Screenflow and loaded it up to YouTube.
(3) Create a Slideshare of your research
If a video is a step too far technically, consider a presentation on Slideshare.
To create the slides, you can still use Powerpoint or Keynote. Personally, I prefer a lot of visuals to just text. Think TED talks or Presentation Zen.
(4) Write blog posts about your research
I keep all my research articles on my fiction site, where I don't blog too often. But when I do post, it's related to my own fiction or for fans of thrillers e.g. interviews with thriller authors. Here's an example post all about the John Soane Museum in London, which I use in Exodus, ARKANE Book 3. I include some history as well as my own impressions and an excerpt from the book where I describe the place.
Visual images give a swift impression of what the book is about, and then readers can click through to find more information if they're interested. Check out my Pinterest board for the ARKANE series, and if you are a fan of darker things, have a look at the board for my next novel, Desecration (not for the faint-hearted).
Pinterest is really easy to use. Just set up a profile and then add and share images. Beware, it's addictive 🙂 I only really use it for my fiction and I link to the page for the book in my Author's Notes in order to give more of a 3D effect to the writing.
Are you a research junkie writer? Do you love to know more as a reader? Please do share your thoughts and questions below.