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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Author Insight: Digital Extras

Digital extras have become an expectation in publishing. Is there a concern that readers who aren't plugged in will miss something or are electronic extras just gravy?

"I must be one of those readers who is missing out, because I only read actual books! I’m sure at some point I’ll move over, but I really enjoy the feel of a book in my hands. The point is, I have no idea what a digital extra is. No editor has asked me to create anything extra to this point, and I’ve heard nothing about anything extra being marketed with my e-book, so I have no idea about this." - Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight

"I do think e-extras are just gravy. Maybe that's because I'm really not into them. I think extra digital content should be just that: extra. I feel like your book should be a complete experience because many readers simply don't have access to the extras. And even if the reason is simply that they're not inclined, they shouldn't be punished for that. That being said, I think it is wonderful that there are digital extras for those who want more." - Aprilynne Pike, author of Life After Theft and Earthbound.

"I don’t know that much about extras. I think what Michael Grant did with BZRK, conceiving a story that integrates a book and the digital medium as one experience, is a cool, ambitious idea. But for the most part, these extras seem like afterthoughts, made for marketing purposes. It’s fun stuff, but in the end, it’s all to serve the book." - Lex Hrabe , co-author of Quarantine: The Loners

"Yes, that’s a concern. I think anything an author writes that’s digital (in addition to their print story) needs to be considered 'gravy'. You can’t count on the reader to read it, so it should stand on its own." - Victoria Scott, author of The Collector.

" I have no idea what you are talking about..so this is probably a bad sign for me." -  Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Surfacing.

"A confession...I don’t know anything about digital extras. I’ve never experienced any with my own writing, I’ve never sought them out with things I’m reading, and I don’t feel like I’m missing something. At the end of the day I think the overriding most important thing is always going to be story, first and foremost." - Teri Terry, author of Slated

"I think for now the extras are still gravy. I have yet to do any major digital tie-ins, like an ebook between novels in a series, but I would assume authors who do make sure the print novels make sense on their own. As ebooks become more and more the norm, though, I think we might start adding extras ala a Blu-ray for a movie, to make buying the digital file more attractive." - Jeff Sampson, author of  Ravage

"The fear of missing something -- this is so much a part of our wired world! But the truth is that new books are being released at a faster pace than anyone has time to read (24/7 is oh, so limiting), and we have to make choices. The point of the extras is to encourage readers to read the books, and you can find plenty of great-reads by asking friends what they're reading, or picking up the ones that win awards. The electronic extras are fun and free give-aways are awesome (who doesn't like a little swag?), but in the end -- just gravy." - A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood

"I would love to answer this…but I feel like I might be missing something because I don't know what digital extras are! o.O" - Molly McAdams, author of Taking Chances

"Extras are great, but I think they're just that...extra. The sprinkles on an already fully-baked and iced cake, so to speak." - Stacey Kade, author of The Ghost & the Goth and The Rules

"I still believe the book in hand is the most powerful version, without bells and whistles. Maps, back story, games and puzzles I consider gravy. Maybe whipped cream. Tie-in video games are sprinkles." - Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13. 

"The emergence of digital extras is exciting, I think. As a reader, I've become a huge fan of certain books, characters or series to the point that I love (or for older works, would have loved) a way to discover even more. Extra content is a fun look into new POVs or settings, to new endings or, even more often, beginnings. I think between home access, school access and library access there are a lot of ways for readers to get plugged in, if they're passionate about a particular book. But the extras never take the place of a great book itself, so not seeing an extra doesn't mean readers are going to miss anything essential." - Kristin Halbrook, author of Nobody But Us. 

"I actually don’t like electronic extras. They’re like packaging an advertisement as extra product and rarely add a crucial element to the story." - Robyn Schneider, author of The Begining of Everything.

Stop by Thursday to learn how the rest of the authors feel about digital extras. 

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