This novel ends not in words, but in visuals. The visuals tell readers, at a glance, what happens next. Visuals are hotlinked to content “created by” the characters, extending the story world beyond the book. Posts and pictures and letters are in the voice of each character. The “epiblog” provides one more layer of insight into the characters, without jeopardizing a reader’s own psychic constructs of them–for instance, no profile pics.
Interactivity is a new tool in the storyteller’s arsenal, but the internet–though we take it for granted and have designed our lives around it for decades– turns out to be a shaky foundation upon which to build a book. I learned from talking to the publisher’s digital team that inserting links is tricky because every e-Reader is a different digital format. So links that work on an iPad may not work on a Nook. Links won’t work for readers who open the book on the subway or on Wi-Fi-less planes or anywhere off the grid, which includes more readers than you might think.
I learned that interactivity can’t be integral to story in an eBook, because it will frustrate readers unable to access it. I also learned that not every reader who can access interactivity, wants to interact with a book this way. “Ads kept popping up when I got to the end of your book,” a friend complained. Incredulous, I worried that online advertising had already weaseled its way onto eBooks.“For some sort of liquor.” Ah. she was referring to the website I’d created for the fictional meadery. To her, advertising was advertising and nothing she expected, or wanted, to see.
Incredulous, I worried that online advertising had already weaseled its way onto eBooks.