Whether you’re selling what you create or just posting it online for free, it’s still a good idea to add as much value as you can to your art and/or fiction. Not only does “added value” attract a larger audience, but it can also help you to keep your audience too. After all, who doesn’t like extra free stuff?
So, how do you do this? There are literally hundreds of ways, but I’ll list four of the easiest and most obvious ones:
1) Commentary: This doesn’t have to be very long or even very detailed, but if you’re posting a picture or a short story on the internet – then don’t be afraid to write a couple of paragraphs about either how you created it, the circumstances surrounding it’s creation and/or your thoughts about how well it turned out.
Whilst this doesn’t have to be an essay, it’s worth including a short commentary for two reasons. Firstly, it helps you to remember creating the story or picture when you look back on it years later.
Secondly, it will also satisfy your audience’s curiosity about the work in question and, if anyone in your audience is also an artist or writer, then they might be interested in any tips they can pick up from your commentary that will help them with their own work.
2) Exclusives: If you are posting your art and/or fiction on more than one place on the internet, or including it in more than one e-book, then it is always a good idea to offer exclusives occasionally.
They don’t have to be anything spectacular or gigantic (eg: they can be preliminary sketches of characters, draft chapters, “deleted scenes” from your story etc…), but they should be something extra that your audience can’t find if they look at your work elsewhere.
An even better way of doing this, if you’re work is being published in more than one place, is to have different exclusives for each place. This will ensure that people will look at both places.
But, if you want to make sure that the majority of your audience looks at your work in one place rather than another, then only offer exclusives for that particular place.
For example, I post my art both here and on my DeviantART gallery.
If you look at my art on DeviantART, then you’ll usually get to see it before it’s posted here and there’s also some exclusive fan art too – like this picture of Tyrion Lannister from “Game Of Thrones” and this picture of all of Doctor Who’s recent companions.
As well as these articles and most of my drawing guides, I’ve also recently been experimenting with offering blog-exclusive content for some of my art too – such as this piece of lineart for tonight’s painting:
3) Alternate Endings: I’ve written about this in slightly more detail in another article, but if you’re writing a story or making a comic, then it can certainly be worth offering at least one alternate ending to it as an additional bonus.
Obviously, this won’t work with every story that you can tell, but if you can think of a good way to change the ending (even very slightly) then don’t be afraid to offer this as an alternate ending.
If your alternate ending isn’t as good as the “official” ending to your story, then people will probably just go “hmm… that’s interesting, but I prefer the original ending”. If your alternate ending is a lot better or more interesting than your “official” ending, then it will probably cause a lot of debate amongst your audience.
Regardless of what happens, people will both be thinking more about the ending of your story and will be more likely to remember it too. So, you win either way.
4) New Versions: If you want to renew your audience’s interest in some of your old work, or you want to revisit one of your best stories or pieces of artwork, then you can create a new and improved version of it. You can either re-create it entirely from scratch or you can just make a lot of alterations and improvements to the original story – whatever works best.
Yes, there will always be fans who will say “I liked the old version better”. But, at the same time, in order for them to say this – they will have had to have seen or read the new version. Not only that, if there’s quite a large debate about which version is best, then it means that people genuinely care about what you’ve created. After all, if people didn’t care about your work, then they probably wouldn’t be arguing about it.
In addition to this, if you want to add a lot of value to something new, then you can always include an improved version of some of your older stuff as a free gift.
Sorry that this article was so basic, but I hope it was useful 🙂