Transmedia Novel Experience and the Mobile Market

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By Nina Lassam, Marketing Evangelist, Wattpad  | @nlassam

Interactive eReading apps are some of the most popular apps in the mobile marketplace. Many of the most successful ones ­invite readers to experience a portion of enhanced content on their mobile devices with an additional element of gamification or imagery that builds on what is found in the paper book. As fiction continue to move onto screens, their possibilities expand beyond the source text to create a new market for publishers and entertainment producers.

At Wattpad, we recently launched a new transmedia eReading project with beActive Entertainment that invites readers to become gamers, creators and observers in a 360-degree story experience hosted on an eReading environment. In other words, rather than interactive elements that enhance the original narrative, the story itself is designed to be told across multiple interconnected formats.

Readers will find the YA novel Aisling’s Diary on the same screen as the story’s webseries adaptation. Each chapter of the novel and corresponding video will be syndicated weekly, similar to how a traditional cable television program would be aired. As viewer behavior shifts to incorporate social media and additional formats, the audience for transmedia projects continues to expand. Our goal with this project is to incorporate popular story sharing formats (text, film and social media) onto one platform.

Often, publishers who want to create a transmedia experience require external partners, such as the recent partnership between Random House and Blacklight Transmedia. In this scenario, beActive already has an established history of creating projects that build on interactive, online communities. Previous projects include “Flatmates”, “350 South” and “Sofia’s Diary,” which incorporated blogs and other forms of social media in addition to webisodes, diary entries and online chat rooms to create more complete story worlds. Created in 2003, “Sofia’s Diary” has been produced and localized in ten territories mixing TV, internet, mobile and other media.

Aisling’s Diary was originally created as a television series in Ireland with an accompanying novel published by Penguin. For this International release, beActive and Wattpad are expanding the transmedia elements for a new mobile audience. The recent successful film adaptations of popular novels, particularly in the broad YA market, is an additional motivation for this project. By expanding the number of mediums the story is told on, our aim is to increase the audience for Aisling’s Diary.

The story centers on American teenager, Aisling, who returns with her family to Ireland and attempts to fit into a new high school and culture. As her family struggle to adjust to their new life, Aisling begins to fall for her neighbor next door. The diary format story is being adapted to our current calendar so the new audience can watch and read the story in real time and to encourage live participation.

During the syndication of Aisling’s Diary on Wattpad, users will be able to interact with other readers on Wattpad itself, but also the narrator and protagonist of the novel, Aisling, who will answer questions and respond to comments. This interaction will create personal avenues into the story for users who will be able to experience additional points of view and contribute to the story world.

The additional number of access points is designed to engage readers and television viewers simultaneously and to create entertainment that adapts to some of the new ways people, particularly in the YA market, are consuming entertainment, not just novels, on mobile devices.

Nina Lassam works for Wattpad, the way to discover and share stories, available online and through 1,000+ mobile apps. She has written extensively on the changing landscape of eBooks for The Huffington Post, Girls in Tech, Electric Literature and is a contributor to an upcoming book edited by Derrick de Kerckhove. Nina received her MA from the University of Toronto, where she studied at the Marshall McLuhan Institute. You can find her on Twitter @nlassam

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