Gamification

edited February 2013 in Off-topic
Did anyone read the article on gamification in WM dec issue? I struggled to see what it had to do with selling books. Seems like another buzzword being hung on disparate ideas and techniques.

Comments

  • If I did, then I've forgotten it already. :)
  • I can't have done, as the word is completely new to me, and a complete mystery.
  • Is it in the OED :)
  • And I thought I read that issue front to back... :-)
  • edited February 2013
    I haven't read the article, but there are a lot of writers, especially fantasy writers who use game-type planning for their stories. I don't know how it works because I don't play adult computer games, but from what I've heard, it's a very successful way of writing because so many recognise how the story is panning out...lots of action and useful artifacts that have to be found etc.

    My children's book follows simple game-type planning, but then the character is actually in a game, so it has to!
  • edited February 2013
    Try looking up "Immersive Writing" Gamification is a poor choice and personally I think the article missed the point entirely. There are a lot of confusin buzz words around at the minute in this "field".

    In essence think of approaching your novel differently.
    Instead of what hits the character how does the character react. Start with the bigger picture. How does the world involve the character. How does the character react to that world. How will your reader react to your character to move them through your world. NOT your plot.
    At no point do you apply "Medium"(Radio,Screen,Prose) to this way of thinking. <- This is why fantasy writers/Specfic/Sci-fi tend to be aware of it. World First - then put people in it, people bring drama.

    I was thinking of approaching the mag with an article on the whole thing as THIS is what I am currently working on as part of the Immersive Writing Lab run with BBC Writers Room. Won a place at the lab last year - 50 of us there and a competition deadline TOMORROW (Why am I on here?)

    Who would I contact to put a proposal together for an article guys?
  • edited February 2013
    Contact Jonathan Telfer, SL. His email is on the "contact us" page. (Just click on the words 'Contact Jonathan' or something like that.)
  • Good luck, SL!!
  • Ta guys - and Thanks Dene for reminding me! :D
  • I missed that one. I'll have to go back and read it. It occurred to me that sections of The Hunger Games are written using that technique, when the characters are in the Game Arena, especially in Book Three (Mockingjay).
    It interests me because I face exactly this challenge, creating a world where technology has changed certain aspects of human society, so sometimes I have to step back and reconsider the environment the characters are reacting to, how it influences that particular scene and the actions and reactions.
    It seems perfectly valid to me.
    For example, if you are reading, say a contemporary chic lit, set in a social milieu, in a contemporary town or London, there are certain norms you can take for granted & you can refer to them perhaps in oblique ways that you know the reader will understand. If you are writing futuristic stuff, or true sci fi, or historical, you can't make those assumptions.
  • Exactly, pbw. Before you can write anything about anyone, they have to have a world to live in. Even the Rom-coms ;)
  • The article was about building sales and readership rather than a way to approach your writing.
  • It was Dene, yes, sorry.
    [quote=DeneBebbo]Seems like another buzzword being hung on disparate ideas and techniques. [/quote]

    Serves me right for spying in TB while in the middle of a project. I'll re-read the article, but if memory serves your assessment was the same as mine.
  • The more advice I read about author platforms (buzzword alert!), having a blog, having a Twitter account, having a FB page etc as a way to sell books the more confused I become. Is there any evidence that giving readers the opportunity to connect with you makes any difference to sales? Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy (though I'm under 50 and work in IT!) but I sometimes wonder if there's a degree of faddism going on and that many people assume that because there is technology such as Twitter that you therefore should be using it.

    When I read about books that have sold well it seems that it's because people want to read those books, and word has spread through "word of mouth" of readers and good old fashioned reviews. The gamification article left me even more confused, mainly because it wasn't clear about what gamification is and how it applies to selling books, or at least to making readers aware of your books.
  • Social Media isn't a collection of buzz words any longer - it's a means of communication - though there are lot of words that fit under that umbrella that haven't been thoroughly defined yet. Social Media (Twitter, Facebook and such) is a huge engine of contact. It is a status symbol, a popularity tool.
    If you work in IT you'll know that those that use and allow it to define them are younger. The younger you go the more complex tool these things become.

    You certainly don't NEED to use it, it depends on who you're marketing your book/work too. But it does open doors.
    There is the building of trust with your reader Dene. Familiarisation, if that makes sense.
    It takes your reader from the mental thought "This one has 5 stars..." to "I know this author, love his style online I know what I want. HIS BOOK!"

    Its slightly more involved. Think of it as customer care, in a local independent grocers you might pay more, but you know that the apples on sale come with some excellent chit-chat :D Unlike the manic pressure, surly checkout staff and trolley experiences at your nearest supermarket.
  • [quote=SilverLinings]You certainly don't NEED to use it, it depends on who you're marketing your book/work too. But it does open doors.
    There is the building of trust with your reader Dene. Familiarisation, if that makes sense.
    It takes your reader from the mental thought "This one has 5 stars..." to "I know this author, love his style online I know what I want. HIS BOOK!"[/quote]

    Maybe the problem is that I'm not familiar with how other people buy books. For me the decision to buy a book would have nothing to do with the author's presence on FB or Twitter, or whether they have a blog. It also seems like a chicken and egg situation: does someone buy your book because they find your online presence or do they find your online presence after they find or buy your book? Whatever the case, I've not yet found any hard evidence about whether an author platform has more than a marginal impact on sales.

    I wonder if there are readers who do spend time following the online presence of many authors?
  • [quote=DeneBebbo]I wonder if there are readers who do spend time following the online presence of many authors? [/quote]

    Have a think on how you think of other authors. Respected? Trustworthy? Famous?

    The younger generations that spend more time in their phones, tablets, phablets, internet tvs/fridges/toasters... often put authors on pedestals. So will follow you on twitter and facebook to be closer to you. Bragging rights with their mates.
    Should you actually communicate with one of the hundreds of followers, even better for them!
    Chicken and egg?
    Book and sales.

    Without your online presence you are limiting your influence to that of word of mouth,reviews, what your agent does or doesn't do for you, and how much publisher/you spend on advertising.
    You have a book out there - can it lay those eggs ?
  • [quote=SilverLinings]The younger generations that spend more time in their phones, tablets, phablets, internet tvs/fridges/toasters... often put authors on pedestals. So will follow you on twitter and facebook to be closer to you. Bragging rights with their mates. [/quote]

    So being reclusive and mysterious like Harper Lee and J.D.Salinger while still selling books doesn't work these days? :-)
  • [quote=DeneBebbo]a book would have nothing to do with the author's presence on FB or Twitter, or whether they have a blog.[/quote]
    No, but having a presence on these applications increases the chances of a potential reader finding your book. It's about promotion. It's the new in-store display, which your paper publisher (if you are fortunate to have one) would have done in the past.

    It's all about customers being able to find your book, instead of it being "number 14,993 in science fiction" = sunk without a trace. My book FAR OUT is, in KOBO, for example "No. 181 in YA Sci Fi & Fantasy". Useless, because nobody scrolls through past the first ten, or the first fifty if you're lucky. :)
  • [quote=DeneBebbo]So being reclusive and mysterious like Harper Lee and J.D.Salinger while still selling books doesn't work these days? [/quote]

    Probably not unless your lucky enough to have an award winning book that's used in schools and universities throughout the world as an example of writing style. :D

    My take on "getting your book out there" isn't pro digital, agent or off your own back. I just think that for someone to know you have something... you have to talk to them. One way, or another.

    Though most of you guys have something to promote. I'm a long way from that yet - I have less than 10,000 words of a novel, and tens of short stories that are waiting to become novels. With regard to selling books, mine is naught but opinion.
  • It's the 'any publicity is good' syndrome.

    Observe the enthusiasm expressed about the offer of submitting two hundred words for a chance to be read by Jeffrey Archer.
    Despite his reputation and proven record of plagiarism, public perception continues to favour his attention.
  • [quote=SilverLinings]Though most of you guys have something to promote. I'm a long way from that yet - I have less than 10,000 words of a novel, and tens of short stories that are waiting to become novels. With regard to selling books, mine is naught but opinion.[/quote]

    I've already got a basic website for my fiction and non-fiction work and I'm working on a horror novelette to be sold as an ebook. The 6 million dollar question for me is whether starting up a Blog, FB page, Twitter account etc is likely to be time well spent. The obvious ways to get a book known by the horror reading public would be getting reviews, and maybe mentioning my book on horror forums. When I've done some research on Google, opinion seems rather mixed about the benefits of spending a lot of time on so-called author platforms.
  • [quote=DeneBebbo]Blog, FB page, Twitter account etc is likely to be time well spent.[/quote]
    It's hugely time consuming to do it properly. It takes hours and hours, and then you only need one glitch or one bug and your life is no longer your own.
    Writing time? Fuggeddabbahdit! You can't write big stuff and do social media and book promotion properly.
  • I think gamification application is a complete load of superflous shite. Social media isn't gamification, it's communication. Anybody who spends time playing serious games will laugh at the word 'gamification' now being applied to everything bar having a widdle. It isn't a technique either. It's a word applied, post-gaming culture, to something that might be used by other applications or organisations wanting to jump on the buzzword zeitgeist. Office workers can 'level' up through achievements and such, like you would level up in a game, that kind of thing. What utter codswallop.
  • [quote=Red]I think gamification application is a complete load of superflous shite.[/quote]

    You make a fair point, Red. After all, if you're writing fiction, the darn thing still has to be plotted, in the good old-fashioned sense, gamed-up or levelled-up or not.
  • [quote=Red]I think gamification application is a complete load of superflous shite. [/quote]

    Exactly. Realistically, how many ordinary people in the street would think about the word gamification before buying a book? Before this thread, I had never even heard of it, and had to look up the meaning. I thought at first it had something to do with having a gammy leg.
  • I've now read this article properly, instead of skim reading it and I have to say, I think the author is spot on. If you want to exploit the web to increase book sales and gain more readers, then the application of game theory is a good idea, and it's part of the zeitgeist. The younger generations think like that, and the designers of the SMART (forgive the pun) apps know how to tune in to them.

    Previously it might have gone under more old-fashioned labels, like promotion or incentives, and perhaps not been as sophisticated, but if you can find a way to get a buzz going on your blog/site/social media or whatever, it will attract readers.

    Just thought I'd throw in my two pennyworth.

    I did read a novel based on Game Theory once, and it was absolutely riveting.

    The human mind loves a game of chance.
  • [quote=pbw]the application of game theory is a good idea, and it's part of the zeitgeist. [/quote]

    *bewildered*
  • [quote=pbw] If you want to exploit the web to increase book sales and gain more readers, then the application of game theory is a good idea, and it's part of the zeitgeist.[/quote]

    Game Theory is something else to gamification:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

    [quote=pbw]Previously it might have gone under more old-fashioned labels, like promotion or incentives, and perhaps not been as sophisticated, but if you can find a way to get a buzz going on your blog/site/social media or whatever, it will attract readers.[/quote]

    But what has that to do with games?
  • [quote=DeneBebbo]But what has that to do with games? [/quote]

    It's the psychology of it, waking people up to the idea of competition. Win or lose, participate or lose out.

    Yes I realise Game Theory is different to Gamification but some of the thought processes are the same.

    Maybe it's the term "Gamification" that puts people off.
  • RedRed
    edited February 2013
    [quote=pbw]I've now read this article properly, instead of skim reading it and I have to say, I think the author is spot on. If you want to exploit the web to increase book sales and gain more readers, then the application of game theory is a good idea, and it's part of the zeitgeist. The younger generations think like that, and the designers of the SMART (forgive the pun) apps know how to tune in to them.[/quote]

    They might well think like that but as a serious and avid gamer myself, I really don't see any worthwhile link. I truly don't. I really do think that people who come up with this crap have more time on their hands than is necessary. Gamers don't give a sh*t about writers and writers don't care one bit about gamers, and trying to marry the two applications together is like trying to make a souffle from horsesh*t. The two mediums are entirely unconnected, and with good reason. There is NOTHING in the gaming world that would apply uniquely to writing. I love game playing, but it bears not one stitch to the world of the written word.

    [quote=pbw]It's the psychology of it, waking people up to the idea of competition. Win or lose, participate or lose out.[/quote]

    But that's life, not games. It's a moot point. The above cannot be applied, since competition exists in every aspect of our lives, therefore is that argument not void?
  • Even if this gamifiwotsit did have anything to do with writing, I wouldn't get it because I don't play games at all, with the only exception being Scrabble on Facebook. As Red says above, I just don't see the connection. Writers have written for a long long time before gaming was invented in the context meant here.
  • [quote=Red]I really don't see any worthwhile link[/quote]
    [quote=JohnWho63]Even if this gamifiwotsit did have anything to do with writing, I wouldn't get it because I don't play games at all, with the only exception being Scrabble on Facebook. [/quote]

    Welcome to the "new" world of marketing. Powered by the "I'm better than you because" mentality.
    [quote=Red] There is NOTHING in the gaming world that would apply uniquely to writing.[/quote] This I can not agree with. Though I understand where you are coming from. A gamer myself, a writer myself. There is A LOT that applies to both. Starting with concept.
    Someone has to write these games before they are games.
    Someone has to define the plot, the action, the drama. Be it Skyrim, Fable, Call of Duty, they all have lead characters, subplots.
  • [quote=SilverLinings]Someone has to write these games before they are games.
    Someone has to define the plot, the action, the drama. Be it Skyrim, Fable, Call of Duty, they all have lead characters, subplots. [/quote]

    I agree that the games have to have a story, and characters, but that is where the commonality stops. Playing games is primarily about 3D visuals, actions and reactions. Writing, however, isn't. It's much deeper. Other than someone coming up with a concept and story, and some characters, for a game (usually very weak and flawed anyway, and 'borrowed', as is the norm for gaming), there is still nothing in gaming that could be applied to the art of creative writing. I do get fed up of seeing the same old characters in the same old situations in the same old shoot-em-ups. Look closely and you'll see most of the games are regurgitated ideas.

    I play COD, the MOH collections, all the GTAs, as well as strategy games on the PC. I don't see commonality between the two mediums (other than a story in the first place, but that is just a minute part of gaming - actual gameplay takes up the rest). They don't really bear relation to the deep thought processes involved with writing, the inputting of words and making it all fit in 90,000 words or so. And a big difference is that I just love playing my games. But writing a novel? That can be a royal pain in the arse!
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