1) Hollywood is not in the risk business
What was I thinking? I wrote an epic scale, special effects-laden science fiction action blockbuster. And nobody in Hollywood knew who the hell I was. How was I going to sell this screenplay?
MECHCRAFT (the screenplay) began life some four years ago, and when it was ready, I shopped the shit out of it. I pitched executives, associates, even assistants to assistants. I also entered contests and placed in the Quarterfinals in all three. Yet, the answer was always the same: they liked it, but no one was going to spend so much money on an IP no one’s ever heard of.
Then a friend in the business saved me from myself with the single best piece of advice I had received regarding Mechcraft: convert it to a novel, publish it, build your own fanbase, and Hollywood will come to you! MORE: 14 Things I Learned Pitching In Hollywood
2) Converting my script felt like growing pangs
I resisted as long as I could. I’d just spent a year in rewrite hell. Last thing I wanted to do was dive back into that process. But my friend was absolutely right. Another year later I had completely reworked the story, added four more chapters, three new characters, and a new finale! I thought the conversion was hard, but I had no idea what lay in store for me next. MORE: Check out all these adaptation case studies
3) Publishing holds more choices than I ever imagined
Self-publish? Traditional? Kindle Direct? Many choices when it comes to getting ones novel out to the world. But which would be right for Mechcraft?
Then I discovered Inkshares. A small startup out of San Francisco, Inkshares introduced a crowdfunding model to publishing. Authors sign up, create a page for their novel, and gather pre-orders for their manuscript. If the pre-order goal is met, Inkshares takes over and pays for professional editing, ebook distribution, hard copy printing, and even marketing campaigns.
I loved the hybrid of self-publishing and traditional, and I jumped in with the overconfidence of a naïve child!
4) Writers must market!
Writing is a business. Whether a screenwriter, novelist, poet, lyricist; we cannot forget that there is a business side that behooves us to master. There is no better trial by fire than marketing your work when you’re still unknown. Convincing hundreds of people to purchase your book when they can’t even read it yet is no easy task, but there are some very effective tools at your disposal to help. I can only go by what worked for me. My fellow Inkshares authors had various results.
- Inkshares has built a supportive, active community. I got involved. I recommended novels from my peers on social media. I participated in forum discussions. This has provided countless leads and positive reciprocation.
- Friends and family can be the most valuable resource; not only for pre-ordering your book, but also for spreading the word and championing your novel.
- Facebook ads yielded a decent return on investment (ROI). Keep it simple, a bit flashy, and create words with a strong Call-To-Action.
- Postcards and business cards! I cannot emphasize this enough! Have something to give to people when you discuss your novel or screenplay. You never know when a networking opportunity will arise.
I successfully surpassed the required threshold, and Inkshares is going to publish Mechcraft! However, I still don my marketing hat, seeking orders and interviews all I can. I’ve given interviews on podcasts, YouTube, and blogs. I’m locking in a deal for a one hour live radio interview next.
All these opportunities came from networking my arse off. Marketing may seem daunting, but once you find your skill set, it can be fun. No, really! MORE: How To Use Social Media To Market Your Novel
5) Persistence is painful!
As we all know, developing a writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. This business is built on those who hung in, dug in, and didn’t give up. Talent plays a part, but perseverance counts for so much more. Do not give up! You’re going to want to quit at some point. Push through, and stay with it! Dark times are temporary. MORE: 5 Rules For Novelising Your Screenplay
Mechcraft is on the cusp of publication. It was a long hard road to get here, but all the hard work has paid off. If you’re considering converting your screenplay to a novel, I hope my experience helps you.
And I’m happy to connect and discuss your battle plans. We’re in this together! Good luck!
BIO: Brian Fitzpatrick has written screenplays for over a decade, and a soon-to-be-published novelist. He works mainly on science fiction, action, and horror with a focus on franchises. He resides in Southern California, in the shadow of Disneyland. Follow him on Twitter as @TheWritingFitz.
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