How does Fringe the TV series attract cult followers? a marketing experiment

Pushing the boundaries of storytelling

Writing in the urban fantasy, paranormal fiction genre gives me an opportunity to experiment different ways to connect with fans which I could not do with my first book.  After reading many marketing “experts” and blog topics about how to grow your fanbase, I grew bored with the strategies that they were pitching.

The TV series Fringe pushes the boundaries of story telling where the writers and creators of the show manage to make the unbelievable seem possible.  Unconventional story telling, multiple story lines, time travel, alternate universes and paranormal events mixed with conventional FBI criminal drama is a combination which could spell disaster for the producers if not done well.  J.J. Abrams and his writing and production team were able to mix the right amount of fantasy and reality to produce intelligent and creative episodes with multiple story arcs that has attracted a cult following from all over the world.  If J.J. Abrams did not have the courage to push the boundaries of reality, there would be no shows like Fringe (which would be a pity for people like me who enjoy a good urban fantasy thriller).

 Early critical reception of the first season was lukewarm but became more favorable in subsequent seasons, when the series began to explore its mythology, including parallel universes and alternate timelines. The show, as well as the cast and crew, has been nominated for many major awards. Despite its move to the “Friday night death slot” and low ratings, the series has received a cult following. The series has also spawned two six-part comic book series and an alternate reality game. —Wikipedia

Like JJ Abrams,  creators just want to tell a story and entertain people. So why only focus in one way of telling it?

Give readers another way to connect with your story.  Entertainment does not need to be contained in one medium. Think about telling your story in many mediums.

How do we do this?  One way is to entice readers  to participate in the experience of the story as it is being written.

Putting Theory to the Test

This is my plan for fan recruiting for Doubt, the first book of the Among Us Trilogy:

  • Design website for the book series using the theme of the story
    (Theme: Truth seekers who are online gamers use the internet to communicate with each other and also hack into global networks to save the world from catastrophic events caused by an unknown entity.)
  • Entice beta readers to read drafts of the chapters as I write them but only awarding the first 10 who register
  • Assign characters from the novel to each beta reader.
  • Provide the beta reader with their assigned character’s strengths, weaknesses, personality traits and physical characteristics.
  • As more chapters in the book are written, the ten beta readers will be asked to provide input with the incentive that what they write may be included in the next chapter. They will not know until the next chapter is released.
  • Release each new chapter to the first ten fans as an award for having joined early.
  • As more beta readers register to the site, ask them to create their own character and post the character’s 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses and 3 physical characteristics on the website.
  • Entice additional beta readers to complete simple mission assignments related to the story with the incentive that their character may be chosen to be written into the Book 2 and Book 3 of the series.
  • Give beta readers a Thank you credit on a Thank You page on the site and also on the credit page when the book is published.
  • When the beta readers pass a mission assignment, a chapter will be released to them.

Your turn

Now it’s time for you to join in this experiment. Click here to get started.


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