James Patterson is one of the biggest authors in the world. He was the first author to sell a million ebooks, while also selling more than 375 million copies of his works overall. Now, he’s trying a new medium: Facebook Messenger. Tomorrow, Facebook will debut a “digital novel experience” based on his forthcoming book The Chef.
The Chef will be formally published as a hardcover novel next February, and it follows New Orleans celebrity food truck chef and police detective Caleb Rooney after he’s accused of committing a murder while in the line of duty. While trying to prove his innocence, he discovers that his city is under the threat of a terrorist attack, and he has to clear his name and save New Orleans before Mardi Gras.
Facebook has partnered with the author to adapt the novel for its Messenger platform. Beginning on October 30th, users can search for “The Chef” in the app, which will bring up the story. From there, they can begin reading, while also interacting with the characters and locations with videos and sound clips that tie into the story. Facebook will also supplement the story with live Q&A sessions with Patterson, and it will launch Instagram profiles for the main characters.
Patterson notes that “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.”
Ebooks and audiobooks have become commonplace in the last decade, but there have been some (dare I say) novel attempts in recent years to adapt the traditional paper-and-ink reading experience to small screens. Just last week, Snap announced that it was partnering with Hooked to debut a “chat fiction” story, while startup Serial Box has been experimenting with long-form serialized genre stories and super short stories sent to users via push notifications. Facebook’s venture is a neat experiment that adds in a bit more interactivity for readers, allowing them to interact with the characters and clues.