14 Aug 2015
Guest Post by Michelle Dear

You know your website is important—it’s where readers learn about you, your books, and come to enjoy your blog. It’s your hub; the place where you keep all of your content, and you want to bring your readers back again and again.

Many of us would agree that posting fresh content to our blog is a great way to connect with readers on a regular basis.  But some of us find blogging too time consuming or would rather pull out our teeth than blog every week. If you’re a member of either group, there’s good news for you!

In the last year, we’ve learned that people just love graphics and video, whether it’s an uplifting quote, a beautiful picture, a funny gif, a video of their friend’s cute cat, or the latest wacky video post from George Takei. You have a brilliant opportunity to build creative visual content that will make your site stand out and thrill your readers, bringing them back for more.

Plus, it can be a lot more fun than blogging!

If you write fiction, you have many ways to add creative content for your readers to enjoy. I’ve provided only a few examples to get your imagination going!

Fiction Writers


Create visual images or text examples of plot or recurring devices. For example:

  • Imagine your protagonist was featured over time in the local newspaper as a murder suspect, and the newspaper was a recurring device in your novel.  Create the newspaper articles and post them on your site. (Attribution: @jcarsonblack)
  • You have a physical MacGuffin or other physical entity/ies critical to your plot. Create a visual of it and provide it for your readers. 


Videos can be fairly easy to create these days. You can also get assistance on Fiverr for shorts. If you use images for your video and look among your friends for voice-over assistance, you most likely can do this yourself with a little technical skill. Here are two examples of short videos you can create:

  • A dialogue between two of your characters. Use images, and friends for voice-over.  
  • A quick video bio (or mysterious backstory of intrigue) of one of your main characters as opposed to a written bio. Much more fun to watch!

Extended or additional scenes

You may have noticed authors providing extended or additional scenes for awhile now. As a reader myself, this is a big draw for me. I adore additional scenes over extended scenes, but this is a personal preference. I'm providing 2 recommendations as opposed to examples:

  • Put the content directly on the page of your site—don’t put it in pdf form. It won’t be viewable on mobile, and you want your on-page statistics to be as high as possible for search engine rankings.
  • Consider using one additional scene from your latest book as an “ethical bribe” to encourage existing and new readers to subscribe to your email list. 

Backstories and historical information

  • If done well, character backstories can delight your readers unless, of course, you’re planning on including that information in your series.  Writing a backstory with just the right amount of information to entice, keeping the mystery surrounding the character can still leave your reader enchanted with him or her.  Be sure to use relevant images in this type of content. Bonus points if you do it in video!
  • You can also provide historical information about a location or event using the same technique as a backstory for a character, particularly if it helps the readers for future books in your series. Relevant images apply here as well. Again, bonus for video!

Recorded audio

Create recordings and embed them on your website. Examples include:
  • Record the dialogue instead of using video.
  • Record book readings or readings from events.
  • Record messages to your readers.
  • Record your blog entries for an additional option for your readers.

Non-fiction Authors

You can take advantage of some of the same content types as fiction authors.
  • Extended information and updates as opposed to extended and new scenes.
  • Videos and relevant videos from other sources.
  • Archive of evergreen and timely relevant articles and books.
  • Recorded audio.

Interactive Content for Fiction and Non-fiction Authors

Interactive content is important because it provides your readers with a way to engage with you. Some types of of interactive content are available through Facebook with add-on applications, but many times, I recommend running them on your website. Why? This allows you to own the content and removes you from Facebook regulations and liability. Additionally, it brings the readers back to your site, which is what you want for many reasons; one of which is search engine rankings.

The Facebook add-on applications you may be familiar with include polls (available directly), quizzes, picture submission and voting, and video submission and voting, just to name a few.

Below, I talk about using these interactive content types with contests and giveaways. But readers will enjoy participating in them even without an incentive because they are quite fun! I've added in the contest and giveaway information to provide value-add since many of you like to  take advantage of the opportunities these can provide (e.g. increasing subscriber sign-ups, downloads of eBook samples, etc.)

With respect to contests and giveaways, I don’t recommend using Rafflecopter due to the lack of engagement unless you are using it in tandem with a creative giveaway below. I prefer to run unique contests and giveaways for my clients that are fun for their readers. I also recommend giving away a relevant prize to encourage qualified entrants.

Creative Giveaways and Contests

When I ran eBookSwag, I had a number of engaging ways for readers to participate in giveaways. They were fun and popular. The more interactive they were, the higher the entrant rate. And the more relevant the prize, the more qualified the entrant.  

Here are 2 examples of creative engagements I ran on a regular basis for the giveaways that the participants loved:

  • Have the participant answer a question from the description of 3 (or more) of your books. If you have fewer than 3 books, get together with another author and run the giveaway together. Another option might be to have them download the sample of a single eBook and answer a question from it. For this, you can use Rafflecopter since it’s fun and interactive. 
  • Ask a number of trivia questions relevant to the content of one of your books. If your book is a fiction novel with a location of Ireland, ask questions about Ireland. Or if your novel is involved in a particular historical conspiracy, ask trivia questions about that. If it’s a nonfiction work, ask questions around your topic. 
Imagine the creative possibilities for giveaways and contests that you can run on your site!

You have the basics down for your website. Now make it stand out! Start slowly—one piece at a time. See what works and what doesn’t. Give your readers amazing content they will love, and they will return again and again.

Your turn! 

What type of visual content do you have, or have you used on your site? What other creative and engaging ideas do you have?

As always, we love comments and questions about what you want us to write about. Please let us know in the comments so we can provide you with the information you need and want most!


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