The Los Angeles Times has an interesting piece on the shrewd way that Hyperion has handled publication and cross-promotion of their CASTLE tie-in novels. They said, in part:
Publisher Hyperion, which had success with similar projects connected to sister company ABC’s soaps “One Life to Live” and ” All My Children,” decided to bypass a traditional TV tie-in and instead go with a Richard Castle-authored book after seeing the greenlit pilot. Castle’s name alone appears on the books, without any nod to a real-life scribe. “The main character’s a writer! How perfect is that?” says Gretchen Young, an executive editor at Hyperion and its editorial director for ABC Synergy.
[…] The show plays with fiction and reality: On it, Castle has talked about his upcoming publication commitments with his agent (yes, Hyperion will be publishing two more) and played poker with real-life mystery writers James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell, who died in late September.
In an upcoming episode, “Heat Wave” — a novel written by a fictional television character — has been optioned by Hollywood. “It gets very meta in the show,” Marlowe admits, laughing.
And in person. As part of Hyperion’s release last year of “Heat Wave,” Fillion appeared as Castle at two Southern California bookstores.
It’s not a new idea. The MURDER SHE WROTE books are written by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain, and she was a mystery novelist, too. But the producers didn’t integrate the tie-ins into the TV series as cleverly as the CASTLE folks have (or at all, if memory serves). But now that HEAT WAVE has become a bestseller, you can expect more TV tie-ins to follow their example…
4 thoughts on “Tie-In Synergy”
This sounds like a really good idea. I recall watching “Knot’s Landing” in the ’80’s and loving the Sumner/Paige storyline and I would have loved to have read a book “written by” either character. Same with Rocky and Bulwinkle, Rockford, and many others.
It occurs to me that this is a way for fan-fic to go legit. A fan writes one of these novels and submits it to the TV show producer for consideration for publication as a tie-in. How can the producer lose? If the novel is really good, he profits, and they only accept, obviously, the really good ones. As well, if they publish 60 of them, the producer still gets a big financial reward, and the fans get a lot of stories by their fav characters.
So the model is: create a TV show with a character that can write books; have the books written by the fans and for the fans and have it as a contest with the top ten getting something special; publish the books and profit; have TV movies and features made out of them; have action figure dolls sold in McD’s; and make straight-to-video DVD’s from the novels that are held back and not published (and which are good); have a video-game written and released; have pop singers write and sing the sound track, which is released as a download from the Apple iPod store.
See? Life is getting better with digital!
It’s a neat idea. I read the sample chapters of Heat Wave and enjoyed it. Have yet to buy the book, however.
There’s been a lot of banter on forums about who is the actual author. Any ideas?
But does anyone know who is actually writing these books? I’d be more likely to pick up this type of tie-in if the genuine author is one I already know & like.
I read on a website that it was Stephen J. Cannell, but I am not certain that is right.