"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Message in a Bottle" approach to Story Marketing

Instead of throwing a bottle into the sea and hoping someone will respond by mail, the Internet has transformed how people can communicate through chain objects in what has been dubbed "serial collaborations".

I am convinced of the marketing potential in these trends.

Have you heard of any of the following?--
Rather than dreaming of the places that your object has traveled, ID numbers are connected to the item before being "set free" so that when people find them, they can register it online.

My Dad and brother have GPS systems and so they occasionally geocache. Sometimes Mom goes along if the quest sounds exciting enough. I went once with my parents.

I was amazed to discover the different types of serial collaborations as shared by Lynne McNeill while at the "Metamorphoses: An International Colloquium on Narrative and Folklore" on the University of Utah campus held from October 2-5. She is a professor of English and Folklore from Utah State University and presented her paper "Message in a Bottle: The Unspoken Narrative of Serial Collaboration." She has also written "Portable Places: Serial Collaboration and the Creation of a New Sense of Place" published through Western Folklore in Summer 2007, which you can find here.

The intrigue lies in that the communication is blindly put out in the world in search of another like-minded individual. McNeill saw the interaction as "serendipitous and meaningful but not burdensome" as communicating with strangers does not require any maintenance of the friendship.

My mind raced as how storytellers could use these serial collaborations to promote the art, or even a specific program such as my "Family Famine: Hunger for Love."

As I gather more stories and decide what ones will be shared for my narrative production, I would like to publish a book. Whether it would be self-published or done through a publishing company is yet to be seen. However, if I were to "release" the book through BookCrossings, I could watch its travels around the world and receive comments as to the stories within.

I asked McNeill, "Wouldn't it be great if there were more books of folktale collections out there?" She nodded her head and could tell the direction I was going with it.

If we worry that kids or even adults are reading as much of these folktales as we would like, why not send some out through BookCrossings? If each storyteller put out at least one book and each book reaches at least 10 people, can you see the potential?

I would urge the same idea for any storyteller/author. Every time you publish a book, send at least one copy through BookCrossings. You could even "release" the books from different spots as you tour. People would comment after reading it and perhaps these comments could be used for marketing materials.

This idea has a fun factor that, if done by many storytellers, could transform into a phenomenon.

Now I challenge you to think of the other types of serial collaborations listed above and think how a storyteller could apply them.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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