Fictional websites: a book promotion idea from the world of Doctor Who

I recently discovered some of the ‘fictional’ websites from the Doctor Who series. I immediately thought, ‘What a great idea for a book promotion!’. So I’ll throw on my Tom Baker-style striped scarf, get comfy and give you the rundown. Who knows, you too might be inspired to do something different for your next book promotion!

There are quite a few of these websites that have been created for fake organisations¬†in the Doctor Who series. Some of them look simple, but if you spend a bit of time hunting around, you’ll find special pages.

Some of the websites contain quirky references to the TV series – so you’d need to be familiar with the show in order to ‘get it’.

Others have puzzles and games with a reward. The website, Who is Doctor Who, makes a good starting point. There’s a fun game, set in ‘Scribble World’ on the home page.

Here are a few of the more interesting websites:

The Torchwood House website could be the site for any heritage-listed building. To play the interactive game, click on ‘Observatory’ then ‘Scan for heavenly bodies’. The password is ‘victoria’. If you’re familiar with the characters from the more recent Doctor Who series, you’ll see also a surprise under ‘Weddings’.

The Leamington Spa Lifeboat Museum seems to be the website for a weird and yet banal exhibition. Hunt around and you’ll find the interactive game.

IMHO, the best of the lot is the Deffrey Vale High School website, featuring the magnificently-creepy Anthony Head. Take the ‘IQ’ test, found under ‘Are you smart enough?’. It’s truly brilliant. The site could almost be ‘real’ – it looks fantastic, it’s interactive and scarily engaging.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive rundown on the fictional websites, google ‘Doctor Who fictional websites’. There’s also a wikipedia page on them.

What I enjoy about these websites is that they allow places and characters from a TV show to ‘exist’ outside of the show. A book series that played with this idea of the realness of characters is the Lemony Snicket series. Here, the lines between reality and fiction were blurred: the author was fictional, and yet through his insistent and intrusive narration seemed to be alive.

Fictional websites would be outside the budget of many authors. However, interactivity is an idea not explored by most authors for their online promotions. Why not devise tests, polls or questionnaires that relate to the themes of your books? Get your readers involved and engaged Рencourage them to experience the world of your books. 

And finally, I should also mention YA author George Ivanoff’s new blog on the Doctor Who books. Read and enjoy at Boomerang Books online.