An article in today’s Guardian highlights the fact that many self-published authors are being courted by Hollywood producers. One is Mark Dawson, the author of the Beatrix Rose and John Milton thrillers. I’ve been keeping up with the story of how a top Hollywood producer has lined up a well known director to film Mark’s Beatrix Rose books for television, as I follow the weekly podcast that he and James Blatch make available at SelfPublishingFormula.com. Mark is keeping the exact details of the deal close to his chest at the moment, but expect an announcement in the next few days.
Several self-published books have trodden this path before. The Martian, a highly successful film that took over £600m at the box office, was first published by Andy Weir as a $0.99 self-published book, and there can’t be many people who haven’t heard of 50 Shades of Grey, first published as a blog and then a self-published book.
What’s the attraction?
The reasons are twofold. In common with any successful published book, Hollywood loves a large pre-existing audience, think The Girl on a Train and Me Before You. Despite their names not appearing on any book chart being published by a national newspaper, many self-published authors, the likes of Mark Dawson, Adam Croft, Rachel Abbott and Russell Blake have sold millions of books.
The second reason is due to the film world being so litigious. Self-published books are regarded as having original stories and not based on something overheard in a Los Angeles cafe frequented by wannabe screenwriters.
While many dismiss self-published books as badly written and poorly edited, and I agree that many of them are, others are written by serious authors who intend making a success out of self publishing. They edit and re-edit their work, employ proof readers, editors and engage a professional book cover designer. Those with Mark Dawson’s level of success, spend hundreds of pounds a week on Facebook and Amazon advertising and now with Hollywood knocking at the door, he must feel it was all worth it.