Look at your feet. Look where you’re standing. Okay, do what I do. Lift your left foot over the edge and place it on the floor. Now lift your right foot over as well. Now. See there? That’s what it feels like to stand outside the box.
Actually. I’m on the wrong side. I tend to do that. Outside the box, but on the wrong side. Let me come around.
Now, follow me to this round table over here. We’ll call it the “Thinky” table. There are no bad ideas at the “Thinky” table. Let’s just be a little wild and crazy for a moment. Forget about that box over there. You can go back to it in a few minutes.
Let’s talk about multimedia. Music, video, art, sound fx. And let’s also talk a little about our society. We’ll start there.
Our society is not what it was. People have shorter attention spans and no discipline. They have microwaves and smart phones and GPS and cable internet and streaming movies and Pandora. They can have just about anything they want as fast as they want it. They can learn something new quicker than you can determine in what encyclopedia volume the information may be located. Two things characterize this trend in our society…speed and multisensory perception. In other words, they want things faster and to engage as many senses as possible. They want it realistic and they want it now.
Funny. But wouldn’t that just be…oh, I don’t know…LIFE??
Speed and realism spill over into our media. Action movies are hotter than ever, the ultimate sensory overload with tons of speed. Music is very rarely music alone because almost always there’s some music video online to go with it. Concerts, even orchestral concerts, now often feature large video screens for a multimedia experience. Everything’s going multimedia…
Let’s face it, the digital book age is here and it is here to stay. Yes, there’s something awesome about having a real book in your hands. Yes, they probably will never go away. But they will diminish. They will eventually become the minority of the book industry. (Wait, I think they may already have. Must check the facts.) And as the digital book age progresses, the technology will also progress.
It is time for us writers to embrace multimedia.
How can we do that? I see you looking at your box. Stop it and pay attention. Here are just some ideas…a few of which are already being done quite successfully by a number of authors.
Book trailers. I’m not talking about boring old picture stories. Remember, multimedia! There must be sound, music, text, and acting! Get your camera and your friends, kids friends, youth group, whatever you need, and be creative. Shoot a live action trailer. Video editing software is cheap and easy to use, so don’t be scared. Watch movie trailers for ideas. And keep it under two and a half minutes.
Audio books. With Acx.com (a service of Amazon) providing an easy way for authors and producers to connect with a royalty share program, there’s absolutely no excuse for any author not having an audio book made. Why not get a decent microphone and record it yourself? Make a video of it! Post some chapters to YouTube!
Don’t just blog…vlog. Any webcam can record a short one to two minute video of you ranting about something. Post it to YouTube. Don’t forget to add in music and your website links.
Are you musically inclined or know someone who is? Write an original soundtrack and put it on iTunes or YouTube. Can’t write original music? Then just make a track list of music you like that should be in your soundtrack. Encourage people to download your soundtrack and provide an audio cue guide so they can play certain tracks at certain points while they read your book to create mood and ambiance.
Book signing/Concert events. Partner with a local musician to have combination concerts and book signings. You’ll be the MC and will get to do a little “talk” about some major theme in your book…though not specifically just about your book. Set up your book table right beside the CD table.
And when technology catches up, we’ll embed short video, soundtrack music, pictures, and snippets of narration directly into the electronic manuscript so that readers need only tap a button to have a multimedia experience.
So there’s some of my ideas. What about the rest of you? Do you have any great ideas about bringing multimedia into the world of writing?
Oh. I see. Your brain hurts. Okay then, you may return to your box. I think I’ll stay here a little longer.
Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Supernatural Theology. He writes stories that portray the Supernatural and Paranormal with an accurate Biblical perspective. He is the author of Winter, a thriller published by Splashdown Darkwater. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA with his wife and their two children.