Guest Post: Mike Stewart on Adding a Dash of Transmedia to your Writing

Today on the blog I have my fellow Inkbot, Mike Stewart. The Inkbots are an online writing group from the people who made it to the later rounds of Angry Robot’s two Open Door months. Mike has just self-published his short YA novel, Assured Destruction, and it’s an ambitious experiment on transmedia. It’s a lot of work, and it’s really interesting to see all the various outlets he’s creating for people to interact with him, his characters, and his story, and I hope it pays off.  Here’s Mike!

MikesHeadDo you want to separate your writing from the pack? To rise above the noise? Why not employ a methodology used by major Hollywood Studios, from the creators of SUPERNATURALS to HEROES, to many major films and gaming franchises like Assassin’s Creed? It’s called transmedia!

So … Transmedia … WTF is it? The best definition I’ve ever seen is, Transmedia=Storyworld.

It’s every entry point for your readers to your story. I’m not talking where they can buy your book, or your Facebook fan page, those are marketing channels, not story … channels. Are your characters on twitter? Do they Facebook or create videos on Vimeo or YouTube? Maybe there’s a puzzle in your novel that readers can solve on an iPad app which unlocks back story? These are story extensions. Transmedia creates opportunities for readers to discover your book, to continue the story, and creates a feedback loop between fan and author.

Here’s an example, this is the Storyverse for my novel ASSURED DESTRUCTION.

The company in the book has a website, the protagonist has a blog, there’s a secret website to discover, a Facebook page and every character has a Twitter feed that reflects their personalities.

So, for example, if you follow @Heckleena, you’ll gain access to her graphic novel origin story. If you tweet at her, she’ll identify something about you to make fun of. She knows your location, whether you used an iPhone to tweet, what time of day you’re tweeting, where you live, and how many followers you have. All things she can mock, just like her character in the book. I also personally monitor all the Twitter feeds and respond where appropriate.

Transmedia is about collapsing the distance between the book and the reader. It also serves to reduce the distance to the author, so the writer can identify areas of particular interest and develop them further.

Wanna try it? Here are a few tips.

• Plan for it from the start. Should Moby Dick be a Facebook app? Should Shakespeare tweet? Maybe, but we can do better than gimmicks.
• Keep the book standalone. Don’t mess with the fictional dream. Have all content be additive to the overall experience, but not entirely necessary for a compelling story.
• Leverage existing platforms. Don’t make your readers have to find and sign into a new platform or forum. Develop content where the audience is (Hint: they’re on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube).
• This isn’t marketing, it’s storytelling.

If you want to learn more about transmedia and whether it’s working for me, like my Facebook page and you can keep track. Interested in ASSURED DESTRUCTION? See some reviews on Goodreads, or learn more on my website.

Have questions? Ask away!

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About Assured Destruction

You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive…Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They’re stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

“A fun, fast-paced thriller guaranteed to distract teens from Facebook for at least a little while.” –Kirkus Reviews

Find Mike elsewhere:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

About the Book:
Assured Destruction Series
Assured Destruction on Goodreads
Trailer

Get the Book:
Itunes, Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Mike Stewart on Adding a Dash of Transmedia to your Writing

  1. I adore this idea (I was one of those people who was sucked into the idea with Lost and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. How much time do you dedicate to keeping your transmedia outlets alive for others to engage with?

  2. Hi Roxanne, the real key is to set up the technology so that some operates on it’s own. I’m still refining this. So for instance, I have a system that ‘suggests’ tweets to me based on what’s trending on specific blogs. I also have automated responses for Heckleena and GumpsSays depending on the comment or the commenter. So far, it’s about a half hour a day, but there is a benefit to me in that I’m really getting to know my characters well.

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