OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Here are some key learnings from the interview.
· Cross-media is an up and coming theme in publishing. Cross-media means there is more to the story than just text. There are tangible artefacts associated with the book “Personal Effects: Dark Art” (credit cards, faxes, documents). There is also another story enhancing narrative online and in the “real” world. You can call the phone number and access voicemail, go to the associated blogs and websites, and follow the email. You can also see additional information related to the book, for example, pixelvixen707.com is the girlfriend of the “hero” of the book and is a live gaming blog.
· Technology will enable us to “leap beyond the pages of the book” and experience another part of the story in a media that is more resonant than words. The future of fiction will tear down the walls between media and use each as it helps the story. For example, instead of reading about surveillance footage, you can tap a button and view that footage. This is “hopscotch media” that tells a story in multiple ways.
· The line between author and audience is blurring. Your fans and your community can take your ideas and run with them, creating content with the ideas and adding to the storyline. With this book, the audience can commit themselves to The Brink and receive inmates papers to the psychiatric hospital featured in the book. By involving people in the story, they become broadcasters for your story and continue it apart from your book. For 7th Son Obsidian, J.C. asked fans to tell their own fictional story as if they were part of his catastrophic event. They created videos and posts about it and involved themselves in the narrative. Set your story free to your fans and see what happens!
· Persistence, passion and fearlessness will get you there. J.C. seems to have it all now. The book deal, the potential movie deal, the cross-media phenomenon ready to go, a legion of followers. But he was not always this successful and it has taken a lot of time and a lot of “sweat equity”. J.C. talked about not being able to get an agent and starting to podcast because he couldn’t get published. Only after several years of podcasting did the publishing world notice him. So it takes persistence and belief in your books to get you there.
· Build your platform first and the success will come. Similar to the Gary Vaynerchuk phenomenon, J.C. built his audience first and then found it was much easier to get published.
· Think “what if” and get creative with your marketing. J.C. talks about “doing crazy stuff” for promoting his products. He has an idea and “noodles” it around before acting on it. He does low budget, collaborative promotions, often using his fans through the Ministry of Propaganda. He learnt by doing and encourages authors to do the same thing. So just start doing it and over time it will have an effect. Be creative and enthusiastic in your marketing because your work needs an audience!
I have learnt a lot from J.C. in one interview and by reviewing his websites. I am now into the podcast of 7th Son and have joined the ranks of J.C. fans. It is just too much fun not to be involved!