FragmentWhat’s the best way to hype your product? A contest? A viral ad campaign? How about a web series?

Random House, through its Bantam Dell imprint have put together a web series of their own to bring the web-buzz to Fragment, a thriller by Warren Fahy about a mysterious place where prehistoric animals thrive called Hender’s Island.

The web series, which is divided into three parts and shares the same name, is a prequel to the novel and tells the story of a scientist who comes into possession of one of those animals.The creature resembles those face-suckers seen in the Alien Quadrilogy so naturally chaos ensues.

The idea of drawing readers in with a web series is relatively new. We covered a similar attempt by Alloy Marketing, which put together a web series based on the teen-mystery novels, Private. That series is set to launch sometime this month. And last summer saw the arduous Foreign Body prequel to Robin Cook’s novel. But what about Fragment?

While the novel has received some positive reviews (the author has been hailed as the next Michael Crichton), the series suffers from poor acting and cheesy dialogue. Nevertheless, I did click through to the book. Mission accomplished. The attempt deserves a lot of applause because it beats a traditional ad and provides a new outlet for web series writers to pitch their stories.

The web series adds value to the novel where a traditional ad doesn’t. It provides more back-story and acts as a dual advertising mechanism, drawing in new readers and viewers with its content while opening up more back-story for fans. This not only ups the number of book buyers like a traditional book ad, but builds upon a well-established fan-base. If there is one thing fans love, it’s more background info on their beloved characters.

Finally, publishing houses that follow this route could be an excellent resource for those looking to break into the wild west of web entertainment while making some decent dough. Certainly, there are plenty of book series’ that could use a video element to bridge the gap between releases or add detail to minor characters whose stories remain untold.

Hopefully, publishing houses will continue to realize the potential a web series has to impact the bottom line because, from one novel addict to another, this web series just convinced me to put Fragment on my Amazon wish list.

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