Monday, July 28, 2014

My Top Secret Codeword Marketing Plan


Copyright 2011 John Klawitter
Originally published by 1st Turning Point

Those of you who are regular consumers of the offerings of this Author’s Only website know that we, your loyal and struggling columnists and marketing gurus, are devoted to unearthing gems of marketing wisdom that we fling in your wandering creative paths like dust or dandelion seeds, to hopefully enable those who follow our carefully researched suggestions to find fame and fortune…or at least to garner a few thousand more readers than you have today.
But what if I told you that, while I faithfully ferret out for you such marketing ploys as galloping Google Adwords, bolder and better book blogging, vigorous and virtuous virtual touring, tasty and teasing book trailers and the like—what if I revealed that I myself have a secret, hidden agenda for my own growing pile of published novels that I have never revealed to you before?
It’s true. I do have such a carefully constructed plan. It is complex, artfully designed and absolutely unique. It is also difficult—though not impossible—to imitate. And now, on June 9, 2011, I am going to share it with you:
First off, you have to know that, when any reader compliments me on something I’ve written, I am the world’s biggest fool. My chest swells enormously and buttons burst off my shirt (and pants. Oh, wait, that’s something else.). But I’ve learned to control these impulses with hard slaps and cold baths. The Nordics do the opposite; they take hot showers and then run around naked in blizzards, but I believe it has the same effect. However, the idea here is—yes, there actually is a point to this—happy readers are not my end goal. I want happy viewers. And, being a lowly but somewhat connected Hollywood Hyphenate, I at least know the sad fundaments of show biz and the terrible odds stacked against writers who wish to crash the fanatically guarded gates of Paramount, Warner Bros. and Disney. Why, today it’s as bad as getting your books published was before the great e-book revolution threw off the shackles of the East-Of-The-Hudson Literary Mob and set us free.
What to do? What to do? In this, the 2nd decade of the third millennium, film producers, ego-driven directors and studio execs are as absolutely in total control of your success or failure as the big time publishers were a decade or two ago. And worse—Hollywood people are not exceptional, decent or even average readers! They hire kids just out of college to scan the New York best seller lists, looking for hot prospects. The big time moguls don’t even read scripts that get past the first pawns of rejection (imagine, too busy to speed read 118 pages, mostly double-spaced). They have more young lackeys scan them, blat out mass rejections and toss the stacks and piles of hopeful offerings in the blue ecology-minded recycle bins. And that’s just as well; almost all movie biz people are not natural storytellers anyway, they are business executives and they wouldn’t know if a story worked or not.
Sadly, producing movies, like publishing best sellers, is a business. Studios are film factories with schedules, budgets, new models, slots to fill, and distributors to keep happy. They don’t really want fresh and new, those words mean untested and dangerous. Hence, movie goers get Spiderman VIII, Batman XVI and other comic book retreads. Have you noticed today’s show biz is now down to the lowest tier of comic book and graphic novel super-heroes? X-Men? Wolverine? Lord, give me Bugs Bunny and a breath of fresh air!
But I’m just blathering on about the situation of folks like us who dream of seeing our names on the Big Silver Screen.. My hither-to top secret marketing formula is as follows: 1) Write the best genre novel you can, thinking screenplay as you write it. Of course it will be good enough that somebody will publish it. 2) Learn how to adapt your novel into screenplay format 3) Then, actually adapt your novel into a screenplay.
Holy Moley, you exclaim in outraged exasperation. All that crap just to do EXACTLY WHAT??!!
Right. Using my foolproof method (well, fool-something method) you have done three times the work any other author has done and you’re exactly nowhere with the film crowd. Well, not exactly…let’s say you are at the starting line. You don’t have a Hollywood agent, you don’t have an option, and you don’t have a deal. But you do have one major advantage over the rest of the estimated 350,000 screenplays scribblers submit every year…you have that novel. They probably won’t read it. I already told you, they don’t read anything longer than a one sentence pitch line, and if that grabs them, maybe a two paragraph summary. Doesn’t matter; you are a novelist, somebody from the lofty lands of Gone With The Wind, Forever Amber and Lolita.
Approaching Hollywood is like playing a game of cards. No name? Trumped before you start. No agent? .Nobody takes your call. No screenplay? Idea rejected with a legal letter. Screenplay but no agent? Ignored. Agent but no track record? Rejected. Genre screenplay? Easy to replicate with our own writers. But not you—you’re a novelist.
If you send your pitch line with your summary with your screenplay—and your published novel, you’ll get a response. I’ve optioned a half dozen screenplays since launching this mad plan five years ago, including The Heart of Desire, Hollywood Havoc and my latest, The Freight Train of Love.
The odds being what they are, if you play the cards my way, one in a hundred Hollywood players you contact will express interest, one in ten of those will actually pay you for an option, and one in ten of those may lead to an actual produced and distributed motion picture.

Yes, you can see it is clearly a mad, crazy, foolish, ridiculous plan for promoting my own work to The Biz. But that’s what I do. And now that you know my secret, you are free to follow in my reckless footsteps. You’re already a published or nearly-published author, so you’re already one-in-a-million. Care to go for one-in-a-billion?

John Klawitter is a Hollywood writer, producer and director who writes fiction and non-fiction books. He often adapts his novels to screenplays that he then peddles around town. (So far, a few fat options, but no brass ring.) His novels are based on his years surviving as a creative person in the ad biz and in show biz. It is an interesting life.
He has worked as the Creative Director of Disney Studios in Burbank, and as an independent creative resource for Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Paramount and the Disney Channel, as well as for many indy production companies including Hanna Barbera, Franke Films, Pink Planet Productions, Eyeline Films and Zoiyu Productions. His films and television specials have appeared on NBC, the BBC, and the Disney Channel, and he has written many memorable song lyrics, advertising jingles and television show openings, including “Disney’s Wonderful World”, “Now & Then”, and “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show”.








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