Taking Chances Part 4 of 4
“Adventures of the Ghillie Suit”
I’m sure you can think of a movie you love that was based on a book, but on the other hand, I’m sure you can name some movies that aren’t as good as the books. And even one or two you wish had never been made. It happens. I think THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris is a classic example of how to do it right.
Although somewhat different, but in the same train of thought, I thought it would interesting to take a new kind of chance. Why not try a video series promoting the Nathan McBride series?
Since Sheila English (Circle of Seven Productions) is a good friend and colleague, and together we came up with a plan to create an episodic web series as opposed to a traditional book trailer. Sheila’s worked with most of the publishers in New York and she’s produced a highly successful web series for #1 NY Times bestselling author Christine Feehan. But, my idea wasn’t to do a series touting my books, but to do something fun and humorous with the goal of introducing people to my website and social media pages.
The series is called, “The Adventures of the Ghillie Suit.” It’s a fun and whimsical story of a young man who’s reading the Nathan McBride series and comes up with a great idea. The audience was tasked with figuring out what he’s trying to do by analyzing clues contained in the video episodes.
I turned Sheila loose to write the script, direct the videos, and market the series. She masterfully created scenes in the videos that have elements from the books subtlety placed throughout the sets. She hired actor/model Scott Nova and his wife Lesley Verbus to star in the six-episodes. It was a significant financial investment, but I’d not seen anything done exactly like this, so it was worth taking the chance.
Once the episodes were completed, we shared them with my publisher. The marketing team at Thomas & Mercer was so impressed with the professional quality and overall entertainment value, the publishing team helped promote the series—exactly what I’d hoped would happen. Not only did it give the Nathan McBride series more exposure through Thomas & Mercer’s sphere of influence, but Circle of Seven also released it to its huge distribution base.
The video series was well received, but did it have a direct influence on sales? Yes. But increasing sales wasn’t the primary reason I had the series produced. It was produced to show my publisher that I’m willing to invest in my own career. I don’t expect APub to do all the heavy lifting. It was also a gift to my readers, a fun way for them to see a lighter side of an otherwise intense thriller series.
Seeing the video series led me to thinking about the silver screen, so I was amazed at the synchronicity when Scott Miller of the Trident Media Group called me. We talked about the viability of pursing a film rights deal for the Nathan McBride series. Scott and I had worked together in the past and I felt quite comfortable working with him again.
Scott approached Jon Cassir of CAA (Creative Artist Agency) the same agent who sold the book-to-film rights for THE MARTIAN. A few weeks later, I was thrilled to hear Jon loved the series and wanted to represent it.
Many people have expressed interest in seeing Nathan McBride on television or the silver screen, and with Jon Cassir representing the series, it’s a whole lot closer to becoming a reality. Whether or not one or more of the books becomes the basis for a TV series or a film, I feel the experience of working with Jon and Scott is invaluable. I’m a good listener, especially when the subject of the conversation is outside my comfort zone—and Hollywood fits the bill. I have no idea how Hollywood works and can’t devote the time it would take to learn Hollywood’s unique and celebrated culture. That’s Jon’s role, he’s firmly plugged in.
I hope this blog series has inspired you be unafraid and take chances. Without a doubt, your experiences are, or will be, different and I invite you to share them. Be sure to always calculate the pros and cons and be able to live with your worst case scenario. Don’t risk money you can’t afford. You should always be prepared for frustration, but you should be equally prepared for success!