'Fang' Is a Book Character. And Even He Has a Blog
The virtual team put together a mix of radio, print and television advertising all tagged with the Web site's URL, MaximumRide.com. "What we set out to do was create a parallel universe where kids would be attracted by the story," Bowen says. On the Web site, one of the characters, Fang, even writes a Web log, or blog. Bowen says that this blog adds to character and plot development, and will help to keep readers interested in the story until the next book is released.
Bowen says there are also plans to add a quiz and a contest to the Web site. An instant-message capability, where readers send Fang a message and Fang replies, is also in the works. "We just felt that the Web represented an opportunity to capture their imagination around this story in a way that amplified this book rather than detracting from it," he says.
Book Concepts in a Hands-on Environment
It is not only authors and movie executives who focus on cross-media strategies. In the realm of nonfiction, Chicago-based Dearborn Trade Publishing, part of The Washington Post Co., is tapping customizable Web-based tools to try and "bring concepts in the book to life," says Eileen Johnson, vice president of business development at Dearborn.
Dearborn has partnered with WisdomTools Inc., in Bloomington, Ind. The goal is to take the content of the book and identify learning objectives. Characters are created and put into scenarios that cover issues from the book. "We've got whole profiles on these characters, and they are put into scenes in a workplace," Johnson says. The story-based platform, created by using graphics, video and audio, is designed to draw in the reader using discussions, quizzes and surveys.
The books being used in this model are not run-of-the-mill textbooks, where cross-media e-learning platforms are more common. Books include such business tales as "The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership" by Steve Farber. It is a business parable that starts on a sunny beach and ends with the main character learning concepts of "Extreme Leadership."