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View Full Version : Read the book, solve the puzzle, win $500,000 in gold



juniper
10-13-2014, 10:21 PM
I saw this (annoying) video the other day and was waiting to see if anyone else here was going to mention this scheme. No? Ok, I guess I'll start.

Link to (annoying) video. https://screen.yahoo.com/broken-news-daily/read-book-solve-puzzle-win-000000312.html

The book is "Endgame: The Calling" written by James Frey (of "A Million Little Pieces" infamy) and it's published by HarperCollins. Apparently it's the first of a trilogy. http://www.amazon.com/Endgame-Calling-James-Frey/dp/0062332589/ref=la_B001IZTHWS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413224098&sr=1-1

According to the blurb on Amazon,

"Google Niantic is building a mobile location-based augmented reality videogame inextricably tied to the books and mythology, a major prize will be tied to a puzzle in each book, and Twentieth Century Fox has bought the movie rights."

The (annoying) video says the prizes escalate to $1 million and then $1.5 million for the remainder of the trilogy.

My question - who's putting up the money?

I imagine this will attract a lot of buyers. Is this a new trend? Releasing a book that's already linked to a video game and movie rights?

Maybe I'm just out of touch, but this seems - different *** - to me.

*** I was going to say OTT or odd, but then decided I probably am just out of touch and maybe this isn't so unusual. ???

DreamWeaver
10-13-2014, 10:28 PM
There was a middle-grade series that came out tied in with collectible game cards and a (non-video? but internet-based?) game. It seemed to gain some traction after the third volume and about three years, but didn't ever seem to be the instant cash cow it was obviously designed to be.

I read an ARC that had internet tie-ins for each chapter. After about chapter three I just started ignoring the prompts to go to the internet.

Those are the ones I've seen, but then I'm only a reader, not a video gamer.

heza
10-13-2014, 11:19 PM
I saw this today and looked at it a bit. I visited this site, which has descriptions of the ancient bloodlines that (I'm assuming) appear in the book and few "challenge" puzzles...

http://www.ancientsocieties.com/


I can't say I actually understand what all's going on, here. It seems complicated, with all these social networking accounts and stuff. And I'm thrown by the references to "the game"... the game in the book? The real game online? The alternate reality game? I don't know what they're referencing.

Anyway.

Hapax Legomenon
10-13-2014, 11:33 PM
ARGs are fun, but attaching a huge prize to solving a puzzle in a book sounds like you're actually severely limiting it. The prize is a huge investment on your part if it really is that much, and once the prizes are given out, what value is the book anymore?

DreamWeaver
10-13-2014, 11:41 PM
Could be like the scandal at the Florida lottery...the prizes for some scratch-off games were already won, but they didn't tell people and kept selling tickets :evil

frimble3
10-14-2014, 12:46 AM
"New trend"? Well, the video, the videogame, the movie and the social media stuff is new, but in 1979 Kit Williams did a treasure hunt based on the story in his picture book 'Masquerade'. The illustrations held all the clues, and it was a big deal at the time. (Oh, and there was a scandal about the finder of that one, too.)
But at least when the hunt was over and the treasure found, you still had an attractive picture book. With this, you get what? Three volumes of James Frey?

This seems to be an awful lot of money invested in something that has no audience yet. What do they do if it doesn't catch on? No matter what the backers may want, you can't force people to buy a book, or see a movie.

annapalooza
10-14-2014, 01:37 AM
"New trend"? Well, the video, the videogame, the movie and the social media stuff is new, but in 1979 Kit Williams did a treasure hunt based on the story in his picture book 'Masquerade'. The illustrations held all the clues, and it was a big deal at the time. (Oh, and there was a scandal about the finder of that one, too.)
But at least when the hunt was over and the treasure found, you still had an attractive picture book. With this, you get what? Three volumes of James Frey?

This seems to be an awful lot of money invested in something that has no audience yet. What do they do if it doesn't catch on? No matter what the backers may want, you can't force people to buy a book, or see a movie.

I think I read somewhere that Frey's inspiration was the Kit Williams gig. It seems a bit extravagant a prize though, which does lead to questions as to where the heck is that cash coming from? And do they really believe in the product THAT much? I guess they must.

I've also struggled to take Frey seriously after the whole 'memoir that wasn't really a memoir' business. It's probably unfair, but, first impressions and all that.

Hapax Legomenon
10-14-2014, 02:06 AM
"New trend"? Well, the video, the videogame, the movie and the social media stuff is new, but in 1979 Kit Williams did a treasure hunt based on the story in his picture book 'Masquerade'. The illustrations held all the clues, and it was a big deal at the time. (Oh, and there was a scandal about the finder of that one, too.)
But at least when the hunt was over and the treasure found, you still had an attractive picture book. With this, you get what? Three volumes of James Frey?

This seems to be an awful lot of money invested in something that has no audience yet. What do they do if it doesn't catch on? No matter what the backers may want, you can't force people to buy a book, or see a movie.

Yes. I mean it's one thing to have a prize associated with a book but you still need a good book so that it will still be worth something after the prize is gone. Something like this, it sounds like the books may not be worth anything once that million dollars is gone.



I've also struggled to take Frey seriously after the whole 'memoir that wasn't really a memoir' business. It's probably unfair, but, first impressions and all that.

Have you ever heard of Full Fathom Five book packaging?

BenPanced
10-14-2014, 03:14 AM
"New trend"? Well, the video, the videogame, the movie and the social media stuff is new, but in 1979 Kit Williams did a treasure hunt based on the story in his picture book 'Masquerade'. The illustrations held all the clues, and it was a big deal at the time. (Oh, and there was a scandal about the finder of that one, too.)
I remember trying to solve that one. They kept touting "it's so simple, even a CHILD can solve it!" Well, I was 15 at the time it was released and couldn't figure out what I was supposed to look for. There were too many red herrings, I recall, I couldn't understand what they needed. Even after looking it up on Wikipedia a couple years ago, I still didn't get it.

And here is the BR&BC thread on Full Fathom Five. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=196528)

annapalooza
10-14-2014, 03:57 AM
Have you ever heard of Full Fathom Five book packaging?

I had not, and then I googled it and found an article called "James Frey's Fiction Factory" and now all I can think is that my judgement is completely justified and this dude is a monster.

@BenPanced And now I see too late that you provided a helpful link where I could have saved myself google effort. So thank you for that!

Buffysquirrel
10-14-2014, 04:13 AM
The Masquerade prize had a little more thought put into it than a bundle of cash. I also found the clues incomprehensible, but the book did spawn a funny episode of Chance in a Million, which probably nobody remembers but me.

I don't think I wish to give Frey any of my money *waits to be told she's depriving him of his livelihood*.

BenPanced
10-14-2014, 04:20 AM
I had not, and then I googled it and found an article called "James Frey's Fiction Factory" and now all I can think is that my judgement is completely justified and this dude is a monster.

@BenPanced And now I see too late that you provided a helpful link where I could have saved myself google effort. So thank you for that!
No problem. :hi:

And I've just tried to read the sample on Amazon. It has choppy sentences. Short sentences. Sentences that are staccato. And jerky. The sentences are jerky. And choppy. Have I mentioned? Short. Sentences are short. Short sentences are short. And in present tense. Which makes me tense. Short present tense sentences are jerky. I want beef jerky. Mmm. Beef jerky.

Filigree
10-14-2014, 04:44 AM
Prose a la Patterson, eh?

I have the Kit Williams books; the first one spawned a generation of treasure-hunt books. Some more fun than others.

This one has Frey attached, so I'm not interested at all.

Hapax Legomenon
10-14-2014, 05:05 AM
No problem. :hi:

And I've just tried to read the sample on Amazon. It has choppy sentences. Short sentences. Sentences that are staccato. And jerky. The sentences are jerky. And choppy. Have I mentioned? Short. Sentences are short. Short sentences are short. And in present tense. Which makes me tense. Short present tense sentences are jerky. I want beef jerky. Mmm. Beef jerky.

Am I the only one who read this in the voice of Mojo Jojo?

jeffo20
10-14-2014, 05:27 AM
And I've just tried to read the sample on Amazon. It has choppy sentences. Short sentences. Sentences that are staccato. And jerky. The sentences are jerky. And choppy. Have I mentioned? Short. Sentences are short. Short sentences are short. And in present tense. Which makes me tense. Short present tense sentences are jerky. I want beef jerky. Mmm. Beef jerky.And repetitive?

annapalooza
10-14-2014, 07:16 AM
Am I the only one who read this in the voice of Mojo Jojo?

I didn't the first time round, but I went back for the explicit purpose of doing so, and now I have an internal Mojo Jojo narrating my activities. I have never been more pleased.

Filigree
10-14-2014, 07:25 AM
A great earworm.

Liosse de Velishaf
10-14-2014, 12:51 PM
Reading it in Mojo Jojo's voice made it even better. Does Frey count as a writer? Do we have to respect him? 'Cause he's kinda scuzzy.

Phaeal
10-14-2014, 06:43 PM
I think the industry has reach a new low. The only thing lower is my interest in the endeavor and my once more downgraded estimation of human intelligence.

Not that I'm feeling at all curmudgeonly today. Nope. La la lalala and bluebirds.

No, wait. The Frey thing isn't as bad as the Oprah self-realization-seminar-and-buy-my-overpriced-merchandise-including-$199-subscription-to-mag-which-includes-BIRTHDAY-CARD-FROM-ME-REALLY-ME thing I read about in the NYT yesterday.

But bluebirds! And kittens! And kittens playing with bluebirds without even the least thought of eating them!

Hapax Legomenon
10-14-2014, 07:24 PM
Reading it in Mojo Jojo's voice made it even better. Does Frey count as a writer? Do we have to respect him? 'Cause he's kinda scuzzy.

People seemed free to say pretty vile things about Frey, but that was in his capacity as a book packager and not a writer.

Buffysquirrel
10-14-2014, 07:34 PM
Even kittens are not cheering me up today. Not after he broke a perfectly good plate. I think he must finally be asleep because there are no claws in my leg and no teeth in my USB pen.

Phaeal
10-14-2014, 11:05 PM
Bad kitten! Go eat some bluebirds, or at least gnaw on James Frey's leg!

BenPanced
10-15-2014, 05:23 AM
Reading it in Mojo Jojo's voice made it even better. Does Frey count as a writer? Do we have to respect him? 'Cause he's kinda scuzzy.
I don't really consider him that much of an author, so I respect him only so much.

Oh! Was that out loud! Bad shaved bunny! No leafy greens for me tonight!

Jamesaritchie
10-15-2014, 09:20 PM
People seemed free to say pretty vile things about Frey, but that was in his capacity as a book packager and not a writer.


People say pretty vile things about him as a writer, too. Primarily, he's called a liar.

juniper
10-15-2014, 10:34 PM
People seemed free to say pretty vile things about Frey, but that was in his capacity as a book packager and not a writer.


People say pretty vile things about him as a writer, too. Primarily, he's called a liar.

Said in many places around the internet, not just AW - so how is that HarperCollins places such trust in him to fulfill this deal?

Or maybe they're not the ones putting up the money - maybe it's the video game people or the movie people - with the others involved, maybe it's not such a commitment.

Jamesaritchie
10-16-2014, 12:11 AM
Said in many places around the internet, not just AW - so how is that HarperCollins places such trust in him to fulfill this deal?

Or maybe they're not the ones putting up the money - maybe it's the video game people or the movie people - with the others involved, maybe it's not such a commitment.

I suspect you're right is saying their trust is placed somewhere else.

Arpeggio
10-17-2014, 05:26 PM
I have heard of something like this that was done pre-internet (70's?). The prize was something like 20,000. The book sales added to more than 20,000 profit and the winning sleuth reader got 20,000.

Oh my I just watched the clip and the $500,000 is in Casino chips? Either way it's for Ceasars Palace so it works as a promotion for them too. It would be too much of a risk for a publisher to gamble on more than $500,000 profit from book sales.

juniper
10-24-2014, 01:49 AM
Heard an interview with James Frey on BBC Radio (on US NPR) this afternoon - here's the link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0297z8n

Said he was inspired by a book he read at age 10 called "Masquerade" by Kip Williams.

At about 1:50 he says he put the prize money up himself. Wow. That "memoir" must have paid off well for him.



Oh my I just watched the clip and the $500,000 is in Casino chips?

Dunno - the interview said "$500,00 in gold" in a case on the floor of Caesar's Palace - not in chips.