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Prequels: Author’s Benefits of Writing Them

26 Jan

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Prequel

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J.K. Rowling did it for Harry Potter – every writer should create them too: Writing a Prequel for their upcoming book.  According to the FreeDictionary:  “A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work, whose narrative takes place before that of a pre-existing work or a sequel. [pre- + (se)quel.] prequel.” They are teasers in short story form that preview the key characters and settings of an upcoming novel.
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Prequels: Promote Your Future Book Through Short Stories
Savvy authors are building excitement and attract readers to their upcoming books. Editor Alan Rinzler describes them: “Back stories for the longer book to come. Others are like outtakes from the novel, standalone narratives that add to our knowledge of the characters but don’t appear in the books themselves.  Prequels provide readers with the flavor and quality of the forthcoming book in a way that makes them yearn to read more. This technique has had notable successes lately, like propelling a book from obscurity to six-figure advances, and building pre-publication buzz and momentum.”
Rinzler mentions two authors, published by the “Big Five”: Brittany Geragotelis and thriller author Mark Sullivan.
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When and What to Write?
It is never too early to write a prequel.  You might write it even before starting to write your book, using your research, character outlines or your first draft manuscript. Often your novel has to be shortened to create a faster pace. Don’t delete these text parts! Create your prequel out of it. Or use locations where your novel takes place to elaborate and write in detail about it. For example:  If you write a thriller and your protagonist is an art dealer in Paris, you can write several prequels how and where in Paris your mystery unfolded, a comprehensive description of the main character and his dealings or a pre-story of the events.

No Limit on the Number of Prequels
The prequel can be one story or a dozen. However, it should be an irresistible preview of the book itself, short, but with a revealing scene from the draft manuscript of the novel, and a great teaser for the upcoming work. The author’s goal should be: to make the reader want more…
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Where to Publish a Prequel?
There is no limit how you publish a prequel. It could be a short story in the form of a magazine or website / blog article, a short (free or inexpensive) e-book or a guest blog, and even a video or slide show.  Most import is that you post it in as many venues as possible, including your Social Media sites. Even better are reader communities or forums, where people tend to spend more time, including sites, such as Google+, Wattpad and Goodreads or FictionPress, and send an invitation to load it down to your readers on your mailing list.
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Prequels are beneficial for you and your readers: Show off the quality of your forthcoming book, build pre-publication buzz and momentum and create back stories for the longer book to come. Don’t see prequels as a marketing gig, they are valuable parts of your author platform and brand.
Don’t forget:  Promotion of your book must start long before you finish your manuscript if you don’t want to loose sales and success!  Competition is growing by the day… Do what you as a writer likes most:  WRITE!  Not only 90.000-word-manuscripts, but also short stories and blog articles.

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3 responses to “Prequels: Author’s Benefits of Writing Them

  1. marlamadison

    January 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    HI!
    I thought this was an interesting article. But, for me, I’d be too afraid to publish a prequel for fear of having my idea copied!
    There is so much competition these days. Everyone is writing! With millions of other authors out there scrambling for notice, I’m way too timid (or paranoid) to put an original plot out there
    Marla

     
    • ebooksinternational

      January 27, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Marla,
      I wouldn’t worry about this, as every book idea can be copied too. And it does not necessarily need to be conform with your future book. When it is directly related, you can keep it short (such as a blog or short article) and not even synopsis-like. You can pick one single aspect of the novel, or what happened before your story begins, so readers do not find out the whole story of your book.
      Cheers, Doris

       
  2. LizLong

    January 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    This is a great idea! I’ve been toying with several character backstories that never make it into the novels in order to keep pacing, but love this outlet. Thanks, I’m totally going to do this!

     

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