Imagine’s “Transmedia Storytelling” Deal
“Studios gobbled up pre-branded properties like Asteroids and Battleship, but as an exec I would hear pitches from writers and see nobody coming with visuals, and there was nobody at the studio managing intellectual properties over all divisions,” Kadison said.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
I really hate the term “transmedia.” I hope we’re not stuck with that. I also hated “multimedia” too, by the way (and strange it was never applied to comic books first — or at all!). People think a new buzzterm is like a magic wand that can automagically create something.
In a prior blog I did a few posts about what I was calling “Writer 2.0.”
Well, the Axis of eCrap (formerly Axis of E) — eInk, ePub, eBook — is coming to its deserved end. And so is Writer 2.0.
In its place will be digital books. And Writer 3.0.
If you do only words, you better start hooking up with people who can do visuals.
Because let me tell you this right now: You absolutely positively do not want a publisher to “enhance” your words. They are already crying about how they are “owed” something for salaried business services — can you imagine how much they think they’ll be “owed” for “enhancing” your words?
And at some point you will want your rights reverted.
What a nightmare that will be: You can have your words back for free. Do you want the “enhancements” your former publisher did too? That’s going to cost you.
In other words, if your “enhanced” work — with publisher “enhancements” — becomes a best-seller, it will always be locked-in to that one publisher. Because that will be seen as the “definitive” version in everyone’s mind. And future rights-reverted editions with your enhancements will be seen as “something else.”
You better get visual fast. You better go beyond words fast. Or get people who will help you do that and sort out the issues of rights on your own.
Anything else will leave you open to grief.
Good points about the viability of any “enhanced” book looking years into the future. For the record, the rights are already an issue for any kind of illustrations in print books, also cover art – these are licensed separately from the text of a book, with the uncommon exception of cases where everything is by the same creator. I imagine future “enhancements” as falling into 3 categories: licensed material, linked material, or new material. Licensing would raise the same issues that exist today, links would raise questions of permanence over time, new material…could well belong to the publisher, or packager, as you point out. For books where enhancements are things like author interviews or other publicity-type material that the publisher has always created, I don’t see that as a problem because I can’t imagine the author considering those essential parts of the book. The exciting thing to contemplate is authors who come up with genuinely multimedia (sorry) books from the beginning, in which case they have more control over rights. (With one caveat: unless, as is happening in the YA world, it’s the publisher or packager that puts together all the different creators to make an enhanced book, see The Amanda Project. The publisher would almost always control rights in those cases, not least because it’s the only way the book could be sold into other countries for translation. Or for film adaptation.)
[…] I’d like to focus on digital books, which following Mike Cane, I will distinguish from ebooks. In particular, I’m interested in understanding if and how […]