Saturday, July 23, 2022

Extras for a Book

Scott D. Parker

I finally picked up a copy of Atomic Habits by James Clear this week. Well, my own copy, a hard back no less. I’ve been reading through it via my Kindle and my local library, but the book is in such a high demand, I only get 14 days to read it…and I’ve never finished. Now, I don’t have a countdown clock ticking and I’ll be able to finish the book.

Naturally for any new-to-me author, I check the website. is laid out nicely, effortlessly guiding you through his introduction, the offer for his habit course, and a sampling of blogs and newsletters. You can sign up for his mailing list and get Chapter 1 for free. There’s a separate email list for a 30-day guide to building better habits.

In the footer, there is a link where you can see all the places you can buy the book and all the different formats and languages. What struck me was Step 2 of this process: Claim Your Free Bonuses. They don’t leave you in the dark as to your bonus content. You get a guide to how you can apply your atomic habits to business and parenting, a cheat sheet, a companion reading guide, and a habit tracker.

The only thing you had to do is buy the book and prove you bought the book. You do that via your purchase receipt.

I snapped a photo of the receipt on top of the book (to be doubly sure) and sent the photo to a unique email address. Within minutes, I received a confirmation email with links to the bonus content.

It was seamless and I felt I got more than I paid for when I bought the book at Target.

That got me to thinking about how to apply this concept of bonus material to fiction. I suspect there are a good number of authors who offer bonus content to readers, but up until now, I’ve only experienced it via Kickstarter.

The “How” of getting that bonus content is straightforward. I’ve done a version of it myself where I offered any reader on my mailing list a free copy of a book in exchange for an objective review. Done and done.

But what kind of content would a reader want from an author? Bookmarks? Shrug. Those are not always effective and you can’t spend $X.XX dollars to mail a bookmark to someone. Let me rephrase: what kind of digital content would a reader want from an author?

Some things jump to mind: A PDF of a particular chapter, an early draft all marked up with changes and edits. That would be interesting to see. Maybe a handful of chapters. What about research? Maybe a PDF of some research material an author used to write the book, especially if it’s an historical book. What about some peek into the internal process, like an early outline or a Beat Sheet a la Save the Cat.

As a reader, these would be interesting to see.

As a writer, would I want to divulge that kind of information? I don’t think I’d have an issue with it. The book’s done and published after all. But fellow writers, would you be willing to do something like that?

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