‘Peak Season’ goes video

It’s the latest rage: just as movies have trailers, books do, too. Here’s the video with voice-over for Peak Season, the first of the CW McCoy crime novels. Is it under the bar, over the top or does it hit the Goldilocks spot . . . just right?

Watch it here or visit my site on YouTube.

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Media extend reach through expanded tweets

Starting this week you can read snippets of articles or watch moments from TV shows like BET’s 106 & Park, all from inside a tweet, as the world’s leading micro-blogger attempts to monetize its service.

In a blog post Twitter said it is expanding the offering to help users discover new content. Chances are good that the goal is to expand the reach of media partners into the Twitterverse in a way that’s less intrusive than advertising. Twitter augmented the initiative with partners like Lifetime, Dailymotion, The New York Times, Der Spiegel online and audio provider Soundcloud. Twitter did not disclose details of compensation by its media partners.

When users expand a tweet containing a news article they’ll see a headline, introduction and sometimes the Twitter accounts of the publisher and writer. The feature basically works as a preview function similar to that found on Google search pages. Users can then read the article, follow the account, reply, favorite or retweet.

Twitter had offered expanded tweets from YouTube and Instagram. This week’s announcement brings bigger media players into the picture. Or the tweet.

— Jeff Widmer

The world according to writers

“You create characters you hope your audience will love and then visit upon them what you hope will never happen to you.” That’s how John Irving describes his writing process in a thoughtful interview with the BBC World Book Club, part of a series that brings the voices of writers to million of fans around the world.

Fortunately for us, what we’d like to have happen is not the worst scenario but the best—to bend the ear of famous writers, or at least listen to the story of how and why they create their work. BBC World Book Club gives us that opportunity every month.

The interviews are conducted before a live audience, with the authors fielding questions from a variety of sources, including text messages. In this installment, Irving discusses a book that launched him into the popular culture in America, the ironically dark coming of age novel The World According to Garp.

Other guests on the program have included Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children), Isabelle Allende (A House of Spirits), Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club), Doris Lessing (The Grass is Singing), Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Ian McEwan (Atonement). The current interview features Alaa Al Aswaany, author of The Yacoubian Building, the Arab-world’s No. 1 bestseller for five years running after it was published in 2002.

–Jeff Widmer