Friday, November 30, 2012

World Building Work: Reuse It!

As authors and small business owners, we have the opportunity create lush worlds for our readers and customers to experience.

How do business owners engage in world building?  Just think of Ralph Lauren.  He has built his career on creating the clothing for the world he longed for in his youth.  Mr. Lauren's lines allowed everyone to own a piece of preppy clothing that at one time was only available to members of aristocratic and wealthy social circles.  In marketing terms, POLO by Ralph Lauren is considered to be an 'aspirational' brand.  People buy his products because they want a piece his world.  If you visit Ralph Lauren's website, you will see that the images and layout are in line with the aesthic of his world.

As authors, world building is critical to our story tellling.  Through vision board collages, personal photos, stock images, and journaling we flesh out the details of scene settings.  Why not share your world building work with your readers through your marketing?

As we've said in the past, we are big on recycling and reusing content in multiple areas of your marketing.  Here are some ideas of how you can put your world building to work:
  • If your book features a saucy New York DA.  Include a map of Manhatten with dots to designate key locations on your website.  You could also include pictures of the clothing she might wear or a list of songs on her iPod.
  • Maybe your heroine is trying to save the storefronts on the mainstreet in a fictional town.  Why not include a diagam of the store locations?  Use blocks to represent the stores - it really doesn't have to be fancy or cost a lot of money.
  • Jessa Slade's works include a variety of monsters.  She could create a Monster Handbook that features a sketch of each monster, their strengths, weaknesses, and how to kill them  - like the information on the back of a Pokemon card.  She could also use this content to produce a free read handout or ebook.
  • If you write Victorian era works, myabe include pictures of homes you've visited from the era.  Show the chair that your heroine sat on when the hero proposed.  Add a video of your bestfriend being properly cinched into a corset.
  • If you write Steampunk - maybe showcase some drawings of the machines and gadgets that populate your world.
  • If you write Sci-Fi - show your readers the layout of the ship, clothing worn on different planets, alien plant life, or the sketches of the hero's sidekick robot.
Find ways to put your world building to work beyond your writing.  Your readers will love the opportunity to further escape into your books and you'll keep them coming back for more.


  1. This all makes sense, but...the time, the time. I'm not a very visual person--much more of an internal, emotional dialog person-- so I go looking for pictures to help me think about my world and so I can describe it.

    But it is a good idea. Look at how J.K. has capitalized on Harry Potter with books and maps and character studies, and now Pottermore. Of course, she also has professional programmers helping out with all that.

  2. Hi Maggie,

    The last thing we want to do is put one more thing on your plate to suck up valuable writing time!

    Many of the things you already collect for world building research can be added to the website for your readers. For example, my first manuscript takes place in the year 2073. I went on line to find a calendar for 2073 to help with my timeline development. Right now, this calendar is sitting in a file on my computer. When my book is published I will dust off the calendar and put it to work for me.

    Yup - J. K. is the extreme example of putting world building content to work. For us poor schlups, the little, low cost, and low time investment additions to our websites will pay dividends with our fan bases. Just reuse what you already have.

    Hope to see you Saturday at the Christmas party,