You are browsing topics in the Business category
I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but I’ve already started planning the marketing campaign for my first novel, Love, Simon. I don’t have an agent, and the book certainly doesn’t have a publisher, but I can’t help thinking about how it’s going to be presented to the world. How will everyone know what I’ve written?
The fact of the matter is that most publishing houses no longer have the resources to promote every book they release. It’s unfortunate, but in this climate we have to be grateful just being published.
This means that the brunt of the marketing will fall onto my shoulders. I don’t begrudge my future publisher this; I take on the mantle willingly! Besides, I’ve got a slight ace in the hole… my degree in Marketing.
Not that that’s going to help me IMMENSELY. I mean, the world is filled with a many and varied people. But hopefully it’ll give me an edge.
There are plenty of options for the marketing savvy. You have to have persistence, a little cash (for some things, unfortunately), and a lot of imagination. Not only can your book get lost in the bookstore with all the new releases coming out each year, but your voice can get drowned out in a sea of other writers in the same boat as you are, all trying to find those readers who’ll get them on the bestseller lists and on to their next book.
That’s where the imagination comes in.
The internet is the newest frontier in marketing. It’s called Viral Marketing. Websites, blogs, Facebook/Twitter pages. Everyone’s got one or all of these. I do. And you’d be stupid not to. Facebook is one of the most visited sites on the internet, and Twitter is growing rapidly (MySpace is SO 2000). In fact, my website blog, my FB page, and Twitter account are all linked. Whenever I post a Tweet, it updates my FB status. And the moment I hit SUBMIT on this Journal entry, it’ll be sent to both my Twitter AND FB accounts. This way, people can follow me in a number of ways, whichever way they’re most comfortable with. Twitter, FB, RSS feeds, and by email. I’m everywhere I can possibly be to get to more potential readers.
Right now it’s mostly friends, other writers, and family members who follow me, but I know one day I’ll have readers, and I’m building up my archives of content for when they come.
Make friends with other writers, both bestsellers and beginners. The more connections you make, the better you’ll be. Share your friends and your resources with one another. When one of you sells a book, do guest posts on the other’s blog. If you help your friends, they’ll help you in return. We’re all in this together!
Find ways to keep your readers involved. Hold contests (everyone likes freebies! Especially if they’re books!), answer questions, let them know you appreciate them. You can’t just post to your blog and not respond. They’ll keep coming back because they’ll feel involved, and you need to keep your name fresh in their mind over the year(s) it takes you to get out your next book.
But you have to think out of the box as well. Now, I’m not going to give out all of my ideas (sorry!), but you have to do things in ways that no one else has thought of yet, or at least in ways that haven’t been oversaturated yet. People remember interesting and new.
Finally, I’m going to say… THINK FREE.
Talk to your publishers about giving out free e-versions of your book. I’ve downloaded a number of these and, the ones I like (I usually only read a chapter or two), I buy. I’m not about to sit and read 80-100k word books on my computer, but it’s enough to get me hooked. AND, I can send it to my friends to try and get THEM hooked. Some people will be satisfied reading an entire book on their computer, but the majority that like it will buy it, and they’ll be more willing to spend money on it when they remember you tried to give it to them for free in the first place.
So, if you haven’t started thinking about your marketing plan, maybe it’s about time you did. It wouldn’t hurt to have some ideas in mind when you sit down with your future publisher. And it’s never too early to start recruiting readers.
And I’ll try to follow my own advice and keep the fresh content coming!
Kyle W. Kerr
Members of WGA Vote by 92.5% to Lift Strike
To Our Fellow Members:
On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.
Writing can resume immediately. If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday. If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so. Questions concerning return-to-work issues should be directed to [...].
The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.
We hope to build upon the extraordinary energy, ingenuity, and solidarity that were generated by your hard work during the strike.
Over the next weeks and months, we will be in touch with you to discuss and develop ways we can use our unprecedented unity to make our two guilds stronger and more effective than ever.
Now that the strike has ended, there remains the vote to ratify the new contract. Ballots and information on the new deal, both pro and con, will be mailed to you shortly. You will be able to return those ballots via mail or at a membership meeting to be held Monday, February 25th, 2008, at times and locations to be determined.
Thank you for making it possible. As ever, we are all in this together.
Writers Guild of America, East
Patric M. Verrone
Writers Guild of America, West
Thank GOD that’s finally over and done with! Writers prevail!
Kyle W. Kerr
According to an article from CNBC.com, a deal has finally been reached between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
According to Disney CEO Michael Eisner: “A deal had been made, and [the writers] will be back to work very soon. I know a deal’s been made. I know it’s over.”
The proposed deal will be revealed to WGA members on Saturday, with both coasts holding conferences for their regional members: one in NYC, and the other in LA.
If the deal is approved over the weekend, the writers may be back to work as early as Monday.
What does this mean for us?
New episodes of all of our favorite TV shows, and a less likely chance that the Fall 2008 TV season and 2009 movie season will be affected! This is GREAT news.
And, according to sources, the two groups were able to come to amicable terms over such hot button issues as New Media and online advertising revenue royalties! This means more money for the writers, who, as we’ve seen, are the backbone of the industry!
Kyle W. Kerr
12/7/07 | Business, The Industry | 0 Comments
TO: Nick Counter, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
FROM: Kyle Kerr, concerned citizen and future WGA member
SUBJECT: The AMPTP should agree to the Writers Guild of America’s contract terms
For the past four weeks, over 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike because their contracts expired. You have been in negotiations with the WGA since July of this year, yet no agreement on new contract terms has been made.
As you know, the writers are seeking two things: higher residuals for DVD sales and payment for movies and TV shows sold and aired over the internet. The WGA is seeking to double residuals for DVD sales from $0.04 to $0.08 per DVD, which have an average retail price of $19.99-34.99. Writers are also not currently compensated for sales and revenue generated from New Media (which refers to newer ways of displaying video, such as the internet, cell phones and mobile devices like iPods).
In 2007, consumers are expected to spend about $16.4 billion on DVDs, and studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows online. In such a volatile industry, where there is often no job security and where writers can go through months of unemployment between projects, residuals are an extremely important part of their income. There is no other cushion for them.
By agreeing to the WGA contract terms quickly and amicably, you will be able to 1) avoid a potential industry loss in the billions, and 2) retain a strong public image.
1. Reduce the chances of a potential billion dollar industry loss
The last writers strike lasted for months, and cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in only that short amount of time. Think of what a similar loss would equate to in today’s economy. It will not be millions, or even hundreds of millions of dollars; it will be in the billions, especially if the strike were to last longer than its predecessor. The majority of losses will be in the form of advertising dollars companies will no longer want to spend on shows that have entered into reruns, though, in the future, box office receipts and DVD sales will be affected as well.
1.1 Learn from the past
The last WGA strike was in 1988 and lasted 22 weeks (just over five months), resulting in a staggering $500 million loss for the entertainment industry. Considering inflation, a similar strike in 2007 could result in over $1 billion in economic losses, according to Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser. These losses would be the result of television shows being forced into reruns, which, for many networks, will happen in early 2008 (power hitters such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and NBC’s Heroes have already aired all possible episodes without the return or their writers). Talk-shows such as Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart, which rely heavily on current news events, were affected immediately and have already gone into reruns.
As viewership begins to decline due to the use of reruns, companies will be less and less willing to spend any significant portion of their advertising dollars on these shows, which is where the majority of the industry losses will stem from. If an agreement is not reached within the next few months, TV shows will not complete their current seasons and pilots for the 2008 fall season will not be shot, resulting in a complete lack in new programming for the entire 2008 year—save for reality television shows, which have a strong hit-or-miss relationship with fickle viewers.
1.2 What you are missing
The first paragraph of the official 2007 strike rules, a document you are surely familiar with, states that all WGA members…
…must immediately stop writing for any and all struck companies. [Members] may not continue to write or complete writing started before the strike for a struck company. [Members] may not start writing on a new project during a strike. [Members] may not perform writing services even if [s/he] work[s] at home or at [his/her] own office rather than at the company’s premises. This Rule also prohibits [members] from attending meetings, or engaging in conversations, as a writer concerning new, pending or future projects or writing assignments with producers, directors or other representatives of any struck company. [Members] may not attend pitch meetings or communicate with a company representative to receive notes on literary material even if [s/he] intend[s] to wait until the strike ends to make any requested changes.
Meaning that, until the matter is resolved, no WGA member is to work—or even make contact with—one of the above mentioned “struck companies” in any way. These companies comprise all of Hollywood’s major studios, including the Big Five: News Corp. (Fox), Universal (NBC), Viacom (Paramount, CBS), Time Warner (WB, New Line Cinema, CW) and Disney (Pixar, ABC). This amounts to an entire industry shutdown in the very near future if negotiations are not successful. Not only will the talk-shows be affected, but regular television programming, and, eventually, major motion pictures.
2. Begin to mend an already broken public image
Everyone is being affected by the continuation of this strike. Without writers, production on all late-night talk-shows and a number of prime-time television shows has been suspended, and their non-WGA member employees along with them. Some have been entirely laid-off, while others were lucky enough to get suspended with a 50% pay cut. This is no longer about writers and producers; not only are the above mentioned staff members being affected, but your viewers as well. The audiences—the very people who provide the ratings from which you are able to charge advertising dollars for—are unhappy and siding with the writers.
2.1 The innocence at stake
Since the talk-shows have gone off the air over a month ago, nearly all of the non-WGA members staffed by production companies and television studios have been laid off (anywhere from 50-80 staff members per show). Because most of the talk-show hosts are also card-carrying WGA members (including Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Craig Ferguson), they are not allowed to cross the picket lines, so their shows have not resumed production. Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien are paying these staff members out of their own pockets.
Also suspended (for five weeks with a 50% pay cut) because of the writers strike are the NBC and Sci-Fi Channel regular casts of 30 Rock, The Office, Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica. Sony Pictures TV has suspended regulars of ‘Til Death and Rules of Engagement without pay. Warner Bros. TV has warned that layoffs are in the future if the strike continues.
2.2 Audience patience is beginning to wane
We all remember the ratings slump that welcomed NBC’s Heroes after its six-week extended “spring break” during the show’s first season. The writers strike has been in effect for four weeks to date, with all late-night talk-shows already in reruns and most prime-time television shows not far behind; how long do you think it will take for fans to start losing interest in these shows?
A recent poll, conducted by the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University, states that 63% of Americans are in favor of the striking writers, with only 4% in favor of networks and studios. 33% said that they were unsure. Another poll, carried out by SurveyUSA in Los Angeles, reported that 69% of adults familiar with the strike supported the writers.
There has also been an online petition created in support of the WGA strike. As of December 6, 2007, there have been over 61,350 signatures collected. The petition states: “We, the undersigned, fully support the strike of the Writers Guild of America, and agree with the WGA’s stated goals of obtaining just and fair compensation regarding revenues generated through ‘new media’. Sincerely, The Undersigned.”
Not only are viewers upset about the hoards of industry employees being laid off, but about their loss of programming as well. Besides the above mentioned affected television shows, a number of studios have announced the delay of several major motion pictures. One victim of such delays is the much anticipated prequel to the 2006 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, staring Tom Hanks and Naomi Watts, and helmed by Da Vinci director Ron Howard. Release of the picture has been pushed from winter 2008 to summer 2009. Also postponed is Columbia Picture’s Edwin A. Salt, a spy thriller featuring Tom Cruise. NBC has also cancelled its planned Heroes spin-off series, Heroes: Origins, which was supposed to air for six episodes starting in April 2008.
I think you can agree that this strike has gone on long enough, and we can only hope that an end is very near in sight. If you agree to the WGA’s terms for fair compensation, then you and the rest of the industry will be able to avoid the catastrophic consequences I have outlined above. Your producers and studios will benefit from an increase in advertising revenue and a higher public image; writers guild members will benefit from a fair and just compensation package; actors, directors and non-union workers will benefit from reinstated production of their programs; and, most importantly, the audience will benefit from an increase in new programming. All you have to do is give a little in order to do a lot of good. Please feel free to get in contact with me at any time for further encouragement.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and I hope that the AMPTP and WGA will be able to find a solution soon.
Kyle W. Kerr
11/20/07 | Business, Movies, The Industry | 0 Comments
The following is an article from IMDb Pro:
“‘Angels’ wings clipped
19 Nov 2007 11:25am EST - By Borys Kit and Leslie Simmons
Sony has postponed production on Columbia Pictures’ Angels and Demons, the latest major film project to be derailed by the writers strike.
Tom Hanks is set to reprise his role as symbologist Robert Langdon in Angels, a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, with Ron Howard again directing. The studio said Friday the screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, an adaptation of the Dan Brown novel, was not ready to go before the cameras.
But Angels isn’t alone. Several other projects are in limbo and might be heading towards postponement, even with the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers returning to the table next week. The shifting schedules are causing some directors to leave projects and others to pick up projects as the labor drama plays out.
Columbia’s Edwin A. Salt, a spy thriller with Tom Cruise attached, has been pushed back due to director Terry George is stepping off the project. Michael Mann wants to pick up the directing reins but only will step in if there’s a rewrite, which can’t be done while the strike is on. Visit HollywoodReporter.com for more ...”
That makes me sad. Settle with the WGA already! They’re not asking for much…!
Kyle W. Kerr
Something has been going on this week that will affect my future (at some point). The Writers Guild of America is on strike. I had to put together some information on this topic for one of my classes, so I’m going to put that here now (so you’ll know the facts):
As of 12:01AM on November 5th, 2007, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike for the first time in almost 20 years. Writers had been in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP, which represents studios) since July of the same year, though terms for a new three-year contract were unable to be reached. The WGA ordered all of its 12,000 members to put down their pens and take up their picket signs.
Two of the biggest issues are as follows: higher residuals for DVD and New Media sales. The WGA is seeking to double residuals for DVD sales, which are currently at $0.04 per DVD (average retail price $19.99-34.99). Also under negotiation is the percentage of revenue from New Media, which refers to newer ways of displaying video, such as the internet, cell phones and mobile (iPods). The current residual for New Media is 1.2% of revenue, which the WGA is looking to increase to 2.5%.
“It’s an extremely volatile industry,” said Diana Son, a writer for “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”. “There’s no job security. Residuals are an important part of our income. There’s no cushion.” The battle also has big repercussions for the way Hollywood does business, since whatever deal is struck by writers will likely be used as a template for talks with actors and directors (whose contracts expire June 2008), one of the reasons why the AMPTP is being so cautious.
In 2007, consumers are expected to spend about $16.4 billion on DVDs, and studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows online.
According to several sources, the AMPTP does not want to agree to the increase in New Media residuals because the market is untested, and they unsure how profitable or unprofitable the new ventures will be. Producers say that they want “the economic flexibility to experiment as consumer habits change in reaction to technology,” which they would not be able to do with the added burden of increased residuals.
The first paragraph of the official 2007 strike rules, as laid out by the WGAe (east region), states that all members “…must immediately stop writing for any and all struck companies. [Members] may not continue to write or complete writing started before the strike for a struck company. [Members] may not start writing on a new project during a strike. [Members] may not perform writing services even if [s/he] work[s] at home or at [his/her] own office rather than at the company’s premises. This Rule also prohibits [members] from attending meetings, or engaging in conversations, as a writer concerning new, pending or future projects or writing assignments with producers, directors or other representatives of any struck company. [Members] may not attend pitch meetings or communicate with a company representative to receive notes on literary material even if [s/he] intend[s] to wait until the strike ends to make any requested changes.”
The above mentioned “struck companies” include all of Hollywood’s major studios, including the “Big Five”: News Corp (Fox), Universal (NBC), Viacom (Paramount, CBS), Time Warner (WB, New Line Cinema) and Disney (Pixar, ABC). The strike will not immediately impact production of movies or prime-time TV programs. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.
The last WGA strike was in 1988 and lasted 22 weeks (five months), resulting in a reported $500 million loss for the entertainment industry. A similar strike in 2007, according to Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser, could result in over $1 billion in economic losses. These losses would be the result of television shows being forced into reruns, which, for many networks, will happen in early 2008. Talk shows (such as Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart), which rely on current news events, will be affected immediately [and they were, all are off the air as of now]. Losses will be in the form of advertising dollars, which will shrink due to declining viewership due to the reruns.
Here’s a short video to explain all that to you:
As of right now, five days after the strike started, negotiations have not restarted. Bill Clinton has even offered to mediate the process to try and resolve the issue.
People seen on the picket line with the writers: Robin Williams, Jay Leno, the casts of Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and Desperate Housewives, Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, Tim Robbins, David Duchovny, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria and Julia Louis Dreyfous. Jon Stewart is paying his writers for the next two weeks… out of his own pocket.
Said Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York: “I support the Writers Guild’s pursuit of a fair contract that pay them for their work in all mediums. I hope the producers and writers will return to the bargaining table.”
“I stand with the writers,” Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said from his campaign headquarters in Chicago. “The guild’s demand is a test of whether media corporations are going to give writers a fair share of the wealth their work creates or continue concentrating profits in the hands of their executives… I urge the producers to work with the writers so that everyone can get back to work.”
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards also backs the strikers.
“These writers deserve to be compensated fairly for their work, and I commend their courage in standing up to big media conglomerates,” he said. “As someone who has walked picket lines with workers all across America and as a strong believer in collective bargaining, I hope that both sides are able to quickly reach a just settlement.”
I completely agree. It is ridiculous that studios are not paying writers adequately for their work. Did you know that they are not compensated for episodes of TV shows aired online? The same goes for the actors and directors of the shows as well, not just the writers. Studios are screwing everyone. It’s disgusting, it’s amoral, and it’s about time that it stopped.
If it were feasible, I would be on the line with them. As many of you know, it is one of my dreams to write screenplays as well as books. This is my future at stake here, too.
I wish all of you the best of luck, and hope that the studios will see sense. Stay brave and stay strong.
Kyle W. Kerr