Connecting in a more tangible way with readers can sometimes be a challenge for writers when it comes to forging relationships that create life long fans of your work.
Enhancing the Bond Between Your Audience & Your Book
Through your words in print (and now digital - zeros and ones) you strive to evoke emotions so that your audience can live through your story, and share an experience.
When the connection is made, the reader experiences delight and craves more of the experience, which is often fulfilled through sequels and trilogies.
Like in the world of film, a hungry audience sometimes wants even more - A way to step into that same world that they've read about, visualized in their mind and become a part of.
Short of getting a movie deal to turn your book into a film or building a theme park, it may appear impossible to give your readers that extra step that they can take.
This is where a bit of lateral thinking is handy.
Virtual worlds you enter with goggles, gloves and 'total immersion' still look a long way off, but there is a way that you can cross the divide... To take the world from your books and map them in the real world.
Authors can create an even stronger emotional experience between their books and readers by providing them with a way to interact with their story in the real world; by visiting your locations - seeing, hearing, smelling and experiencing it with their own senses.
And it's the people at Google who are making it possible. But first here's a bit of background about the the technology we're talking about.
Mapping the World from Your Book onto the Real World
If you haven't heard of Google Places before, you've probably seen it in action without realizing it the last time you used Google to search for a cafe or restaurant.
Google Places is a search optimisation feature that Google have created that combines their Google Maps and Google Local projects and displays in Google Search.
Google Places helps people searching for businesses to identify the ones local to them; it does this by displaying a Google Map on the search results page with map markers next to search results listings.
You may have noticed that sometimes when you search, a map is shown with a bunch of businesses listed with links, address details and phone numbers, next to a map with red markers. This is Google Places in action.
Google Places has a pretty prominent piece of search real estate - you'll see it towards the top of the first page of your Google search results.
To see Google Places in action for yourself, type in a suburb or location name followed by a type of business. For example, 'burbank cafe'.
Using Google Technology to Create Your Own Maps
Helpfully, the people at Google have created the Google Map technology so that you can create your very own custom maps and then put your own Places on the map.
For any authors of travel books and dramas (that are set in real world locations) this gives you a very handy way to engage people into the world of your writing.
Not only can you mark out places on your own custom Google Map with locations from your book(s), you can also add annotations (add descriptions, photos and videos such as illustrations or colour plates from your book) to the places you mark on your map.
The video below from Google will show you how easy it is to create your own Google Map and then put it into the page of your website that promotes your book (make sure your map is made 'Public' so that it can be seen by everyone).
By injecting something that your readers can engage with in the real world you create a closer bond, and just like people want to visit movie locations and film sets to strengthen their connection with a story that speaks to them, you can do the same with a simple map.
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