Looking forward to Book 2, I know it’s going to need more supplemental material than the first book had (which was just a local map). I have a few ideas so far, but for those who have actually read the book, I’d like to know if there’s anything you want to see that I’ve missed.
Glossary?: I know a glossary is important to a fantasy work, especially a big horking thing like my series will probably be, but I don’t think I should put one in Book 2. At least, not at the beginning. Book 2 is when a lot of things start getting explained — particularly terminology — and I don’t really want to front-load those explanations. Maybe I could put it at the back as a reference, but I don’t know that people check the back pages of ebooks. Might just wait until Book 3 so I can have the Glossary there as a reminder.
Continuing Cast: This, I’m pretty sure I’ll do. All the named/important characters that are carrying over from Book 1 to Book 2 and a few words about them, as a quick refresher. I kind of see it like the character list at the beginning of a playscript. Definitely useful as a reference for when I start pulling the minor characters back in.
In Memoriam: Also pretty sure I’ll do this at the end of the Continuing Cast. Just a list of characters who are no longer alive and thus not directly active, but are still important to remember in terms of the plot and people’s reactions/thoughts.
Blaze Company/Crimson Army mini-roster?: Not sure I’ll need this, but since the Crimson Army remains in play throughout Book 2 and I do bring up various names and ranks, it might be nice to have a proper listing, just so readers don’t have to remember every single name and relationship on their own. Still, I don’t want the early material to be too thick…
Maps?: I will have at least one map — the one featured on the Book 2 page, of Cob’s current area — but I’m wondering if I should re-include the map from Book 1 (of Illane, where several B-side characters still are) or perhaps a world map. I really wish I could do a two-page spread on some of these, but I don’t know how well that would work in an ebook, especially if I use Smashwords again with all its varied formats. And again, I don’t want to stuff the front of the book so full of material that it becomes an atlas. Book 2 is going to be a bit of a doorstop already (and Book 3 is just getting bigger and bigger, piking thing).
Cosmologies/Histories?: I kind of want to include a few of the Cosmologies and Histories at the end of the book, as a bonus/supplement (once I’ve rewritten them to inclusionary standards). But again, it’s already gonna be a hefty chunk of book, and even though I’m just talking about the e-version, I don’t know. I could always release the entire pack of Cosmologies and Histories as their own book (with illustrations? maps?) but I kind of want to slip a few in at the back of Book 2 as teasers/context.
Of course, all of that stuff either is or will be available here on the blog, so maybe I should keep most of it exclusive to here. I don’t want to cause info-overload to people who aren’t all that interested in extras.
But…I kind of dream of a day when I can release a version of each book that has been hyperlinked and commentated and filled with pictures and audio and video, sort of a Full Story Experience. A book with the same variety of extras/commentary tracks as a DVD. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d buy that for a lot of my favorite authors, to read a second time and check out all the notes about why they did this or that, how they feel about these characters, any anecdotes or deleted scenes or statistics, all embedded in the e-book file….
Is that a thing? Can that be a thing?
If it’s not, we should figure out how to make it.
like an annotated copy? footnotes all over?
Well, since it’s an ebook, you wouldn’t need footnotes, you could have a highlight and if they click on the highlight, it pops up the little note right there in the ebook, like a tooltip.
Right, let’s see…
Glossary – I don’t think that’s necessary just yet in book two, but there’s no harm in putting it in the back. Maybe people will read it, maybe they won’t, but at least it’ll be there if they want to. Also, if book three is going to *need* the glossary, I personally reckon it’ll be easier to have book two stuck on the glossary to flick back to, rather than having to move around *within* book three. Let’s face it, the one major downside of e-books is that it isn’t as easy to flick through the pages, and even setting bookmarks isn’t quite that easy I think.
Continuing cast: Always a handy thing to have, and personally I believe that any Blaze Company/Army roster should just be included with that. Cast is cast, why split it up? It’s one of the things I find annoying about George RR Martin’s cast list – he has them split by House, so if I come across a character I can’t remember a thing about, never mind what House they’re in, I have to look through seven or eight lists to find them rather than just the one.
In Memoriam – Again, why not just stick them in the cast list with a note to say they’re dead?
Maps – Don’t go crazy. Put in one or two relevant ones and then stick in a link to your blog with a note that there’s many more there.
Cosmologies & Histories – How about you pick a few and put one in each of the books you do? Update book one and put one in there, then you have teasery bits in each book. But as you say, everything is available on here, so you could just stick in links for interested people.
I think that you need to strike a balance between what the average reader might be interested in and your own desire to publish your entire blog in book format. The latter becomes an option once you’re as famous as JRR Tolkien, but until then I’d say keep it all here, and put in links for people who are interested.
The Full Story Experience does sound like a mega-cool idea btw. Sort of like the super extended edition LoTR boxsets with seventy hours of documentary material, but in book format.
Yeah, I think the Cosmologies/Histories are probably my Silmarillion so I should probably keep them like that — separate, for the people who are interested yet not intruding into the books for the people who aren’t.
But I really do want to subdivide my cast list… Maybe I can divide the soldiers from the other characters in book 3 though, since that gets even more into the Army stuff, with more names…
I was thinking to divide it, though, just because the main cast and the Army cast don’t really cross paths in these early books. So it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out which cast list to look in…