FINDING NEW VOICES
DEFINING NEW GENRES
BOOK – noun – Portable written or printed treatise filling a number of sheets, fastened together, sewn, or pasted hinge wise. (Oxford Dictionary)
When is a book just a book? By definition, a book is no longer just a book – often books are no longer limited to the physically-bound pages of a spine. A book can now be a series of words and ideas that extend to all kinds of physical and digital places, making for non-linear story-telling, in the form of brand channels, and music playlists and movie collections. The last line of a book no longer has to be the final word, it can be much more open-ended, with the words taking the reader to brand new places and experiences.
As a publisher who wants to create and sell books, but also as an avid reader whose appetite for books never seems to diminish, I pondered how exactly a new book can have an impact in such a market. Does the book itself have resonance by itself? Is that enough? Or can the book become part of a seamless entertainment experience, that acts as both powerful PR tool for the publisher, but also a rich and rewarding content offering for the reader/consumer? And is this possible without it appearing contrived, or even worse a crass marketing exercise?
With Remember to Breathe, the launch title of Urbane Publications, I worked collaboratively with the author Simon Pont to tackle some of these ideas and see if we could develop a model that gives the reader not just a great book, but also a supporting package of ‘goodies’ that enhance and elaborate on the reading experience. A Spotify playlist, dedicated YouTube channel, LOVEFiLM playlist, an interactive questionnaire, even a website dedicated to the main protagonist, each and every additional piece of content is designed to give the reader a further insight into the book’s characters and world, but also engage the reader and provide a number of routes of interactivity with the book through a range of content forms, both digital and physical.
We’re even in the throes of creating a ‘movie trailer’ around the book’s central character, Samuel Grant, and this will go live next week (more on this at a later date). This is probably still the ultimate step for the words of any book – being translated and acted out in the fantasy world of movieland. The words, the content, of Remember to Breathe will appear in a range if guises and forms designed to entertain. Love books but also love films? Then this is for you. Love books but also love music? Read our book. Want to get to know the characters in more depth? Take the questionnaire. Perhaps you’d like to know more about the book’s cultural setting? Watch the YouTube clips that give a unique snapshot of that time…..
I know that many perhaps would just view this as marketing fluff, a way to enhance the book’s visibility in a very competitive market. And yes, of course I’d be thrilled if a customer who likes the LOVEFiLM playlist then buys the book. Yet it’s the book that still remains at the heart of all this, and the book’s content which is the driver for all the other offerings. For me the book will always be at the centre, the vital and valuable piece of content that drives my love of words and stories. But like all readers who crave more from a great read, perhaps my thirst for more of a character or a fictional world need not end with the book’s last word, but can be slaked by a further range of associated and relevant content.
Take a look yourself at the following offerings and let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org: