Monday 19 March 2012

CAUTION: Spoiler Alert!

Today is publication day for Caroline Smailes's new novel, 99 Reasons Why. The book's already attracted a lot of attention due to its unusual presentation - it's available as an ebook only, and has a total of eleven different endings. Nine of them are included with the book, and which one you reach is determined either by a set of seemingly random questions (on the Kindle version) or via a Wheel of Fortune style spinner (on the iPad version). Of the two remaining endings, the very final one will be a special, one-off, handwritten document auctioned off for charity, but the one before that is ... HERE.

It's an interesting idea, making the ending of a book available as part of the publicity drive for a new title. But, obviously, in this case, this isn't the ending, just one of several possible outcomes, so it shouldn't really spoil anything. I think it could work very well - as a reader I'm already thinking, "How have the characters come to be in this situation?" and "Are the other endings anything like this?", and so on. It generates a lot of questions, and I hope that helps boost Caroline's sales as people give in to temptation and pop over to Amazon or the iBooks store.

It's great to see a publisher approach a book and its promotion in such an imaginative way. I guess this might be a sign of things to come - with more and more writers seemingly just self-publishing their work directly onto Kindle and the like, perhaps the publishers who survive will be the ones who can find new ways to capture people's attention and take the art of book promotion well beyond just a poster or two and getting a few copies on the front tables at Waterstones. Interesting times ahead, methinks.

Anyway, enough of all that. Well done, Caroline, and the very best of luck with 99 Reasons Why.


Patsy said...

It's certainly an interesting idea. I'm a bit of a traditionalist and prefer there to be just one ending but I'm sure there are plenty of people who'll love this new approach.

Dan Purdue said...

I guess if you wanted to take the traditional approach, you could just read one ending and tell yourself that was THE ending. I guess the typical reader will want to read them all, though, and choose their favourite.

I must admit, when e-readers were becoming so well established, I wondered whether they would herald the return of the "Choose your own adventure" books I read so many of when I was young. Maybe this is the first step towards that?