GUEST POST on Sarah's Random Musings
With the release of our debut novel, THE FAMILIARS, fast approaching on September 7th, we have readied ourselves for a marathon, not a sprint to success. That is the nature of the book industry, or so we have been told. Especially children’s books and book series. It isn’t always the first book, or even the second, in a series that catches on. Sometimes it isn’t until the third book that things really take off. By then the cycle of hardcover to paperback has been given time to play out in bookstores, schools, and libraries, and audiences have been able to discover a series through word of mouth. Which brings me to Hollywood. Oh, how times have changed since the days of our childhood, when a movie like “Back to the Future” played at the local movie theater for what seemed like a year. Now, films live and die not just by their opening weekend, but by their opening day. Whether it’s the so-called Twitter effect or the nature of our viral world, if a movie doesn’t play on Friday night, it’s pretty much toast by Monday. (“The Growing Importance of Opening Weekend”: http://bit.ly/aqA1nK)
Of course, film studios are spending tens of millions of dollars blitzing the airwaves with advertisements for their summer blockbusters, while the publishing industry rarely has much of a marketing budget at all. But rather than lamenting the more grass roots, micro-budget push given to a book’s release, perhaps authors should be embracing it. In the book world, an author has the luxury of sitting back and waiting for their novel or series of novels to find an audience over months, or even years. In Hollywood, you’ve got maybe 24 hours to connect with a very fickle public being asked to shell out their hard earned dollars. We all want instant success, and the corporate entities bankrolling these products – be it a movie or a book – aren’t exactly known for patience. But as screenwriters looking forward to an unknown Friday in 2013 when The Familiars movie gets released, here’s a plea to Hollywood: take a page from the book industry and give a film time to find an audience. Maybe one day just isn’t enough.