By Dennis Abrams
With the enormous success of both The 39 Clues and Infinity Ring, it’s safe to say that Scholastic knows a thing or two about launching a multiplatform series. And at this week’s Publishing Perspectives’ “Reaching Readers” conference, two of the masterminds behind those projects, Julie Amitie, Director of Brand Management, and Gavin Brown, Associate Director, Multiplatform, laid out nine “easy” steps to achieving multiplatform success
- Start with something good. The bottom line has to be a good story that has characters with depth and a storyline that draws readers in immediately.
- Get yourself a dream team of authors: with six authors each writing one book of a series, you have six times the leverage by engaging them both in the storytelling process as well as messaging later on during marketing.
- Social media is key. Again, using that dream team of writers creates a huge reach. Use both past and future writers of the series to tweet, FB, whatever it takes.
- The game site. Create games that draw players into the world created by the book. And, if possible, use the game as an education tool: because The 39 Clues is an around the world adventure, geographical and historical information is “snuck” into the game without the players even realizing it!
- Multiple Entries into the World of Storytelling.
- Books as Entry: Point of sale, covers, tv ads, can all be tools to entice readers. The point of display box can contain a code for use in the game. Banner ads can link to the website with a sample chapter that leads to a game. Hidden codes in the artwork of one volume can provide online clues as to where the next book in the series will take place.
- Games as Entry: Put the games out into the wild. Scholastic, for example, has made games available on Nickelodeon’s website and on IOS. Games sent out into the wild help bring kids back into the world you’ve created.
- Arm the gatekeepers. Don’t underestimate the importance of teachers and educators. If you create content that gets the attention of reluctant readers, you’ll get the teachers and librarians on your side. And those same teachers and librarians will then introduce those books to new kids each and every September.
- Online reading clubs can include downloadable activities, exclusives, and digital rewards that make kids feel like insiders and keep them coming back for more.
- The power of community: Exclusive message boards can create a safe space for kids to interact, talk about the games, ask questions of series authors, and post their own fan fiction.
- Make it a worldwide adventure: The 39 Clues has been published in 27 foreign languages in 191 countries. By making it a global community, kids are not only engaged with their own countrymen, they’re excited to know that the books they’re reading and the games they’re playing are being read and played around the world.
And that, perhaps, is the ultimate form of multiplatforming.