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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Random House Editorial Director on E-Books and Transmedia | Excerpt via Digital Book World

Jeremy Greenfield: Ten years ago when you started at Penguin, much of what you work on today – digital books, transmedia – didn’t really exist. How did you get into it?

Tricia Pasternak: I was always obsessed with books. More broadly, I was obsessed with storytelling. I love the opportunity to work with great creative.

The transition [to digital and transmedia] was really organic. It came from what’s happening in the broader culture. We’ve seen an enormous shift to e-books in the last two years. It’s gone from 0% of our business [at Del Rey] to 30% and it will probably be even greater next year. The growth has been 150% to 200% in the past couple of years. In the next couple of years, it’s going to continue to expand exponentially.

JG: Should all authors, agents and publishing houses be thinking about transmedia? Or, at this point, is this just a game for the big boys that can afford to put development- and marketing-muscle behind a massive, multi-platform franchise like Harry Potter?

TP: I think it’s for everyone. Not every transmedia project has to be a multi-billion dollar franchise. It’s going to take the independent creators and the small companies to come up with really innovative ways of doing things that we [at Random House] can learn from in the future.

JG: Why is so much transmedia genre? You don’t see a lot of transmedia literary fiction.

TP: I think a lot of it is how devoted how that audience is. The sci-fi and fantasy audience are the people that will follow all of the worlds we create. They were thinking transmedia before we were. They were the ones doing fan fiction. They were thinking about what happens in the world of Star Trek when the show ends. [J.R.R.] Tolkien [the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and many other books] and [Gene] Roddenberry [the creator of Star Trek] were thinking of this way back when.

Literary fiction is around the corner. It will begin with the right writer having a great idea and the vision of it. Increasingly there will be a generation shift where literary novelists will be less reluctant to think about this as a way to do things.

JG: How do you know a story is right for multiple platforms? How do you figure out which platforms are best?

TP: Not every story is suited for this kind of development. It’s really when you see more than a story…you see a world.

JG: What’s more important, the story or the platforms and distribution methods?

TP: The story absolutely has to come first. If the story isn’t compelling, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your Facebook campaign or your Twitter campaign is. It has to connect with your audience and get people to follow through with that story through platforms.

JG: What’s the business model? Is the multi-platform, transmedia approach just a value-add? Marketing for the main product (presumably the book)? Or are there transmedia experiences that are being or will be monetized in a more direct way?

TP: That’s literally the billion-dollar question. Sometimes our business development people are more creative than our writers.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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