'Fang' Is a Book Character. And Even He Has a Blog
The cross-media initiative for "The Black Belt Club" also includes the Web site TheBlackBeltClub.com, where kids can learn more about the ancient art form of karate. In addition to a quiz to test their knowledge, kids can put together different karate moves and then see the moves animated.
Barnes, who is a third-degree black belt and founder of the Karate Kids chain of children's karate schools, is currently working on book three. As an author, she is following a path that is becoming increasingly popular. She says that the only way to reach readers, especially children, is by using a cross-media strategy. "Children basically are getting information on culture and philosophy while they're enjoying an action adventure tale," she says.
Cross-Media for "Maximum" Success
James Patterson, the best-selling author known for his string of books featuring detective/psychologist Alex Cross in "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls," is using his own money for a cross-media strategy to promote his latest book series "Maximum Ride." The young-adult trilogy—with one book already out and the second expected on the market next year—is about six genetically-engineered kids that have wings and can fly around the country.
Warner Bros. Entertainment—part of Time Warner Inc. in New York, which publishes "Maximum Ride" under its Little, Brown and Co. imprint—acquired the movie rights to the young-adult thriller earlier this year. This is not Patterson's first foray into film. Paramount Pictures adapted both "Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came a Spider" into feature films starring Morgan Freeman.
But the feature film is only part of his cross-media strategy. Patterson hired his former colleague Steve Bowen as a consultant to launch the initiative. The two previously worked together in the advertising world at J. Walter Thompson in New York in the '90s; Patterson was chairman, and Bowen was president. Bowen has now put together what he describes as a "virtual team," including a small ad agency, a public relations firm and a Web designer, among others. "He really believes that books need to compete with all other forms of entertainment," Bowen says.