A McGonigal Game for Books

If you have never heard of Jane McGonigal, or even if you have, check this out:


McGonigal’s concept of alternate reality games is actually pretty fascinating.

Not long ago, I had the idea (way less interesting than hers) that it’d be a very cool thing to do to see what would happen if someone created a fictional book of fiction and then try to generate buzz for it.

This sort of almost happened when Sex and the City, the movie, came out there was a mention of a book in it. It was nonfiction, but nonetheless. (Read about it in the Times here.) And but so the mention of this book in the movie “caused real-life people to storm to their real-life online bookstores in search of” it. And it jumped from pretty much nowhere to very high on the Amazon sales list.

That book had a mention in a major motion picture, but what I’m thinking of would be way lower key. People just start talking about it. The _____ would be this great book that had everything, suspense, romance, horror, maybe some recipes for people who like that kind of stuff.

It would seem to me that there would be a web site for the book, with a cover, and blurbs, but no actual content except for the blurbs. Maybe there would be a synopsis, but it’d be better if there were not.

Someone way smarter than me would have to think up a way of tracking interest, so maybe people could “buy” the book, but in such a way as not to hurt them (i.e., they wouldn’t get charged anything and wouldn’t have to give a credit card number—maybe just a notify me when this is available kind of thing).