- Author James Patterson is promoting his next thriller "The Chef" with an interactive experience on Facebook Messenger, according to a Facebook blog post. The book is available on Messenger in advance of its hardcover release on Feb. 18.
- The campaign features video and audio throughout the story, a Facebook discussion group, Facebook Live Q&A sessions with Patterson and an Instagram profile for the novel's main character.
- "Ten years ago, if you told me I'd see one of my novels come to life through scrolling chat bubbles, I would have laughed. But exploring new ways to connect with fans is important to me and Messenger's experience for 'The Chef' not only makes the story more accessible to readers across new generations, but offers an enticing and thrilling read like never before," Patterson said in the blog post.
James Patterson's partnership with Facebook to promote his latest novel's release could help the author reach a new generation of readers who consume more media on mobile devices than previous generations. The immersive content aims to engage readers who can interact with a chatbot that prompts them to review clues such as security footage, a police interview and phone recordings. The additional features will likely deepen connections readers have with the storyline more than traditional books. Facebook also seeks to create an online gathering place for fans to discuss the book and share comments with fellow readers. The main character Caleb Rooney has an Instagram account that adds to the narrative and could help readers glean clues about the story.
This is the first novel released via Messenger. However, the New York Public Library in August partnered with ad agency Mother to bring digital novels and classic literature to Facebook-owned Instagram to actively reach out to a younger, social media-savvy demographic.
While the interactive experience for "The Chef" focuses on teasing the book, Facebook has hosted other experiences that urge users to solve a murder mystery. Two years ago, UKTV's Alibi channel and Social Life created an interactive escape room murder mystery called "Framed" on Facebook Live. The story racked up 14,000 views, according to its Facebook page, and demonstrated creative ways to use social media and mobile tech to round out engaging content.
Chat-based fiction has become a more popular genre with apps that urge readers to engage with the storyline on their smartphones and tablets. Startup Hooked last month partnered with Snapchat to release its first long-form story on the image-messaging app. "Dark Matter," a five-chapter sci-fi mystery set in Silicon Valley, premiered on Oct. 26 and released daily chapters through Oct. 30 ahead of Halloween.