Category Archives: Transmedia

Wiki Matter: Clues, Context and Reader Empathy

Why Connect to Wiki  Matter?

While nonfiction or scholarly writers may want to steer clear of using wiki sources, fictional writers have fantastic incentives to link to Wiki matter:

  • Leave clues for your readers with wiki material.  Add to the suspense and level of intrigue by offering wiki matter for your readers to investigate.  Asking them to pay particular attention to a notable object or political controversy will have them curious as to how it will effect the story.
  • Offer context and insight.  Including historical background through wiki matter will educate the reader on essentials to the plot or character.  Rather than solely deciphering how the protagonist feels, readers are presented with an additional opportunity to consider how they would feel as well.
  • Enhance reader empathy for the characters.  If one of your characters is relating their personal experience surviving a real global disaster, offering your readers a second, outside viewpoint will increase their understanding of the situation, and its effect on that particular character.

Examples

Consider adding wiki matter to enhance plot, theme, or character defining moments in your novel, such as:

  • Historically or culturally significant locations that relate to the setting of your story.
  • Famous (or infamous) politicians, activists or entertainment figures who have had a profound effect on your main character.
  • Laws or regulations that play a role in defining your plot, or plot twists.
  • Plants, animals or objects that are vital to the storyline.

Helpful Hints

  • Check the wiki page before you connect it to your book on Sumbola.  Ensure that the page portrays the information you want to share accurately.
  • Link components of your book to wiki matter selectively.  Choose significant items that not only occur in your story, but that pull the story along.

Surveys: Gathering Reader Feedback

boss survey
Who Indeed.

Why add surveys to my book?  Surveys are a heavily relied upon way of gathering feedback in just about every industry.  By adding a survey to your book, you can garnish reader specific data such as:

  • What your readers love (or love the least) about your publication.
  • What your readers pay most attention to in your writing, or what they’re missing out on.
  • What your readers are interested in gaining from reading your work(s), be it specific character development, political understanding, a history of the Knights of the Templar, etc.

Examples:

  • If you’re writing a novel, you can reach out to readers at the end of your story to see what they enjoyed or related to, what surprised them, etc.
  • You can add survey’s between chapters to gain an understanding of your reader’s thought process during the novel.
  • If you’re writing a series, you can ask questions about what the readers would like to know more about, or see happen next.
  • If you’re writing a non-fiction creation, you can consider asking between chapters questions that recap the information given.

Little Reminders:

  • Keep your questions clear and concise.  Confusing your readers with leading or double barrelled questions could mean a shortage of accurate responses.
  • Read between the lines.  Not only is the most commonly picked answer worth considering, but so is the least selected option.

Listen Up: Adding Audio, Music and Sound Effects

credit: Sheila Scarborough

Why add audio to my book?

Adding sound to your novel or non fiction publication is a  new way to enhance your work.  The benefits for adding audio are varied, but let’s focus on three:

  • Set the mood.  Including sound effects or or music to express the theme of the story is an essential part of story telling when it comes to movies.  Well-executed, it can serve the same purpose for a written story.
  • Offer context.  If you’re referring to a historical speech, you can include a clip of it to share with your readers.
  • Increase Accessibility.  Offering audio segments with your written work could benefit readers with poor or strained vision, or those learning a new language.

Examples:

  • Add a soundtrack to the your story.
  • Include audio interviews you conducted as part of your research.
  • Add novel commentary (where you got specific ideas, what you struggled with, etc.)
  • Sound effects such as traffic, creeping up the stairs,or farm animals have particular appeal for young readers, but they are certainly not restricted.
  • Attach your audio book copy of your story to your Sumbola publication.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you’re recording anything yourself, ensure background noise is as minimized as possible.  Heavy breathing, fans running, and rush hour traffic will distract from your intended sound bytes.
  • Keep in mind copyright.  Always ask for permission and always give credit where credit is due.

What are your ideas for adding audio?  Let us know in the comments or tweet us @sumbolacosi.

Transmedia: Picture This

image credit: allenran 917
image credit: allenran 917

Why connect images to my book?

Images are the most common form of transmedia integrated into books.  Authors of all genres, fiction and non fiction have experimented with the many reasons to do so, including:

  • To entertain.  Most commonly, this reason is applied to early reader books, but it certainly does not have to be.  David Sedaris will often include sketches inside of his collected fables, which are most certainly not for children.
  • To enlighten or clarify.  In fiction, an author should usually try to paint the picture of the setting, characters, objects, etc. with words, however some will choose to reward readers with visual images to reward readers who correctly assume what the characters look like.  And what about non fiction?  The more images for reference, the better.
  • To inspire.  A seemingly unrelated image to the story can place emphasis on the theme of the story, or draw on relations to current affairs, invoking emotion or thought.

If you’re considering adding images to your book, here are 4 examples of popular pictures:

  • Character sketches.  Drawing out your scenes, characters, important objects ins a fun way to engage the audience.
  • Maps.  These could be real maps, or fictional.  Think back to how often you examine the map of Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings.  Practical, and entertaining.
  • Infographics.  People are loving infographics, and why wouldn’t they?  Visually pleasing and easily digestable, they are a great way to recap on information in a reference chapter.
  • Candid photos.  For memoirs and biographies, candid photos are treasured insights into the lives of the star(s) of the story.

Helpful Hints

  • Ask permission.  Always, always, always ensure you have the rights to the images you use.  If you are using images with people in them, even if its your own Aunt Molly, extend a request to publish it.
  • If you are using images you’ve created yourself, ask yourself: does this look professional? There is nothing wrong with outsourcing image creation to other talented individuals; images are there to enhance your story, not take away from it.
  •   Consider the purpose.  As stated above, images should enhance your story, not take away from it.  If you are including an image, make sure there is a reason for it that the audience will understand.