Transmedia Story Stream: Don't just read a book–play it!

Karen Snyder writes for Bleeding Cool:

Transmedia Story Stream, the Zynga of ebooks, is a revolutionary platform which blends Facebook video game mechanics with ebooks to allow authors to build, distribute and engage fans in multi-media story worlds. Instead of downloading a static, dead ePub, readers can log onto story worlds that are alive with fans and friendship and earn rewards while reading. Don't just read a book – play it!

TSS_assured_destructionYou're lounging in bed reading the newest addition to the transmedia sci-fi story world, "Masters of the Hypernovas". At the top of the page, you notice a flag highlighting an exclusive collectable item, "Extremely Big and Powerful Sword of Doom", that is hidden within the text. Your eyes light up. Time to find a hidden object. And fast!

Your finger hunts around the text. Where is the dang link? Could it be hidden in the illustration?

You want to be the first to find that collectable item since you are only 50 points away from gaining your "Super Fantastic Cool Reader" badge which will allow you to be one of five story world fans to claim a personal phone call from an actor in the series. As your finger quickly scans through the text, your chat box pops up with a note from your girlfriend.

She notes: "Sweetie! I need 30 points to buy more diamonds. I need to finish this romance! I am so close to securing Lord Hollingberry's new perfume. Help me! Send over points now before all bottles are gone!"

You want to help. Really. What man doesn't want to be the hero and offer his beloved points from his extensive digital realm so that she can complete her ridiculous romance?

Alas, her timing could not be worse. Now is not the time to share points. You need them to gain your badge of immortal greatness! But yet, she is your honey-sweetie booboo. Perhaps the solution is at hand? If you can find the exclusive collectable item fast enough, then you might earn enough points for your badge AND helping your girl friend.

Licking your lips in concentration, you quickly tap all over your iPad screen using your "should be patented" Battleship hunt-and-peck strategy as you continue to search for the Sword of Doom.

Another text pops-up. "Only 3 bottles left with 40 seconds on the clock! Big Daddy, please send points now!"

Damn! Tension mounting in your chest, you toss all dignity aside and frantically swipe the screen. Amazingly, you find the Sword of Doom! With the clime of success ringing through your iPad's less-than-stellar speakers, you see that you not only have enough points to unlock your badge but enough to be the hero of the day! There is a God!

Hello. I am Karen Snyder, the CEO of Kazap, the producer of the world's first transmedia romance, and Lead Visionary and UI Designer for Transmedia Story Stream. The goal of Transmedia Story Stream is simple: Don't just read a book—play it!

TransmediaStoryStream_Build_Distribute_EngageInteractive TV's are now hitting the market, Nintendo is placing ebook titles on its 3DS console, and streaming providers such as BlinkBox are merging media as a distribution service all in an effort to capture consumers who continue to blend their entertainment options across media platforms. The future of storytelling is transmedia.

Instead of downloading a static book, Transmedia Story Stream allows readers to log into story worlds filled with fans, activities, and extended narrative that can include video, audio, casual video games or live gatherings. And just like in a video game, the book will award fans for participating in the story. Fans can earn points and badges, collect digital goodies to share, earn money for spreading word of mouth, participate in a live chat with an author or illustrator right in the book or win a phone call with a character in a story.

In October, as a finalist in GamesBeat's Who's Got Game Innovation Showdown, I announced a partnership with Pubsoft to create this new platform. Transmedia Story Stream is being built on top of Pubsoft's proven HTML5-secure streaming platform. Story worlds can be viewed on any connected device, mobile, or tablet.

The platform can be used for any genre. Fans will be able to share items between story worlds and so help one another while still reading, watching, and playing the type of genre they like best. No doubt you will notice the focus on romance in the software demo. There is a reason for this. Romance is a $1.4 billion market and the leader in ePub sales. Women also rule the casual video game market. Note that I did say CASUAL video games. Of course, the fandom communities surrounding comics are legendary and it would be an honor to have comic authors be a part of the platform.

My personal hope is that storytellers can be released to own their audience and create deeper worlds for fans to enjoy. Apple, Amazon, and GooglePlay do not allow an author direct engagement with fans once a sale has been completed. An ePub is dead upon download. Storytellers need a new tool and platform to engage their audiences.

The goal is to transform the future of storytelling. Join with me so that indie and established storytellers can be empowered to directly interact with their audience to create entertainment that is alive with fans, friendships, and rewards.

"As a rule, we tend to shy away from transmedia software endorsements, but after examining your product, it's clear that you are enhancing personal artistic expression, the storytelling itself. The platform is among the clearest and most user-friendly interfaces I've seen." Jeff Gomez, World Renowned Transmedia Producer & Co-Founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Colleen Gleason notes, "One reason I became a launch author on Transmedia Story Stream is that it gives me the ability to own and directly engage my audience. Amazon, Apple and GooglePlay do not allow me to reward my fans for their purchase or recommendation to friends. With Transmedia Story Stream, I am free to extend my story beyond text while offering my audience an amazing array of prizes for their participation."


$25. Get double the virtual currency that you can use in any story world to unlock goodies and a special Bleeding Cool Funding Contributor badge.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.