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Transmedia: Extending Storyworlds in ASSURED DESTRUCTION

Woven Myst was kind enough to host me as a guest blogger. You can check out the full post there but for now, here is an excerpt.

One in every seven minutes online is spent on Facebook. Eighty percent of people watching television do so while multitasking on a second screen.

More than ever it’s difficult to engage an audience; content is everywhere. The solution for television has been to go where the audience is. To provide value added content on the second screen to keep an audience within the story, companion websites, in-show shopping, fan interaction, etc.

Why can’t this be done for books? Is reading too solitary? Too standalone a medium? Should a story’s characters have Facebook accounts? Is it too much effort?

As an author, more and more of my young adult audience is on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, so it behooves me to put the story there too. Right? And I’m not talking about marketing on the platforms. Story. But will it work? Books are different. People don’t like to be pulled away from their novels to view video. CSI creator Anthony Zuiker did this with LEVEL 26 by adding high quality video interstitials. Let’s just say he didn’t pull it off, and I think this had a lot to do with requiring the user to switch media formats within the story in order to get the story.

Another example we can learn from is the AMANDA PROJECT by HarperTeen. This was probably ahead of its time. It was a book series with a massive blog/forum where new material was shared with fans and the audience maintained between novels. It didn’t really catch on, and again, perhaps because the market it targeted wasn’t ready for the social components. Or maybe they were thinking too big. Should transmedia help sell millions of books or just thousands? I think it also made one critical mistake. The social elements were not on Facebook or Twitter, but a blog community. This increased the marketing challenge dramatically. It required fans to sign up, worse—to find them.

So what are we doing?

It’s called ASSURED DESTRUCTION.

It’s an experiment. A pretty big one. We’re creating a storyworld that will stretch across four books, seven Twitter feeds, one blog, two websites, and Facebook.

In the book, Jan Rose doesn’t destroy all the hard drives that she’s supposed to while working for her mom’s computer recycling company. Instead, she creates virtual identities using the data she scours from the hard drives, complete with Twitter accounts, avatars, and blogs.

If you want to read the rest of the post check it out at Woven Myst!

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