Sunday, September 23, 2012

Survey of the Film Market and Industry

The novel form, the video-game form, and the film or movie form of story telling are all on a convergent path of evolution.

The thing to grasp before you even consider writing a story for any of these delivery channels is a ratio:proportion like you used to struggle with in school.

It's cost:profit -- that simple.

What made the old "Dime Novel" a commercial phenomenon was the sudden availability of a really REALLY cheap paper, printing, and binding, plus a suddenly cheap (railroad golden spike connection between east and west coast changed everything) distribution network. 

The railroad came into being because lots of people moved far off across the continent and found STUFF (cattle, buffalo hide, wheat growing territory, gold and eventually oil) to send back to the denser populated East.

So people generated the distribution network for purposes other than entertainment, and bright entrepreneurs repurposed the railroad to serve as the Dime Novel distribution network.  Most ironic, the material written about in such cheap novels was the adventures of those settling the wild west.  The adventures were imported to the East and the novels were exported to the West where the adventures (purportedly) happened, and everyone was entertained and enriched.  People both east and west, bought the Dime Novel because that was the only source of the romanticized West. 

A very similar dynamic drove the explosion of the Movie Industry -- cheap real estate in Hollywood (really, it was cheap orange groves at first), easy export of product to dense population areas.

People went to theaters because that was the only place to have the EXPERIENCE uniquely delivered by The Movies. 

A very similar dynamic is driving the Smart Phone -- not invented by but popularized by Apple. 

The smartphone is the only place to go for the experience of taking your desktop with you -- well, the Tablets are doing that, too, but next step is to put a phone into the tablet so no matter where you go, you have full connectivity. 

The hardware development direction is to screens that replicate the proportions of movie screens, and TV's now have that.  iPhone 5 shows the only real major change is the screen proportion which now replicates the theater screen -- because people watch movies and TV on their phones.

I saw but lost track of an article confirming what many other articles and investment statistics are showing -- there is a growing trend away from DESKS and toward MOBILE.  Even in business, whatever you can do at a desk must be made mobile.

The gaming industry built around hooking a console to your TV and selling you cartridges or CD's with games on them -- struggling.  The gaming industry built on you downloading an app to your phone -- growing so fast nobody can count.

And game content is changing, too. 

Here is an article delineating where the profits have been made, and why that trend has peaked -- and showing you a new trend direction in film -- or what used to be called movies but now really needs to be called video.

We called them movies when the fact that a picture MOVED was a novelty and the prime characteristic of the entertainment offered.  Then we called them film when the medium upon which the images were deposited and distributed was literally a "film" which was a novelty -- a thin strip of celluloid, a process developed from the movies.  In the last 15 years or so, the digital technology has replaced all the other formats in imaging -- and so we call this video (seeable things). 

The underlying technology limits but also enables the storytelling. 

The golden spike in this development will be the link between ALL your "devices" -- and several companies are racing toward that goal.  Pick up any device, and seamlessly continue using your content.  

Read this article on the impact of digital imaging on "the movies" -- and where that storytelling technology could lead us next.  You may find your own niche here.  

Jacqueline Lichtenberg 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Graphic Novel Press Release To Study


Here below is a press release from Berkley -- it may seem "ho-hum" if you're not in the biz of publishing, or of futurology, but take two looks at this one.

This is one of the grandiose, big publishers conceding to the IMAGES market by entering the GRAPHIC NOVEL business -- a niche formerly derided as "kiddie stuff" -- comic books being nothing but Sunday Funnies bound with staples. 

I have always responded to that attitude with, "Excuse me?" 

Note particularly the authors and the kind of material they produce.  This is not kiddie stuff.

Also you may have seen elsewhere among my social networks (such as the FACEBOOK Sime~Gen Group) some mention of this new interest in creating a Sime~Gen RPG video game for handheld devices set in an era we have not yet published novels about -- The Space Age.  That is planned to be graphics based, have live-actor voices, and a story structured like a TV Series in episodes. 

I have emphasized in my writing craft posts on that all text-based novels need to take into account the prevalent market for "story in pictures" -- the image based fiction market.  The world has changed with the advent of video, YouTube, handheld video capability (smartphones). 

Consider this context and read the press release below twice -- and then study it for HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE. 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         


InkLit List to include #1 New York Times Bestselling Authors Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Laurell K, Hamilton

New York, NY, September 10, 2012- In October 2012, Penguin Group (USA)'s Berkley/NAL division will launch InkLit, a new graphic novel imprint, it was announced today by Kara Welsh, Vice President and Publisher of NAL.  Continuing Penguin's ongoing commitment to bring writers to readers in a variety of formats, this new imprint will include both original novels and series as well as adaptations of previously published works. 

"We are excited to expand our publishing program to include books in graphic novel format, both from established house authors as well as newcomers to our list." said Welsh.

InkLit will launch on October 2nd with the release of Alpha and Omega: Volume 1 by #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs with artwork by Todd Herman.  This graphic novel is an adaptation of Cry Wolf (Ace 2008), the first book in the Alpha and Omega series, a spin-off from Briggs's signature Mercy Thompson series.  Alpha and Omega was originally released as an eight-issue comic book series from Dynamite Entertainment.  The new InkLit hardcover will contain the first four comic books, with the remaining four published in Volume 2 in 2013.  

In 2013, InkLit will publish two graphic novels from Charlaine Harris, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series.  An adaptation of Grave Sight, the first book in the Harper Connelly Mystery Series, will debut in January.   Cemetery Girl will mark both Harris's and InkLit's first original graphic novel publication when it is released later in the year.  It is the start of a planned trilogy co-authored with award-winning writer Christopher Golden and illustrated by Don Kramer.

Laurell K. Hamilton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, will also join the InkLit list with two titles.  The Lunatic CafĂ©, book four of the Anita Blake series, will be adapted into graphic novel format.    And Hamilton will publish an-as-yet untitled original graphic novel set in the world of Anita Blake and featuring the character of Edward, a longtime fan favorite.

Under the direction of Richard Johnson, InkLit will publish both original and adapted works.  Before joining Berkley/NAL, Johnson co-founded Yen Press and held senior level positions at DC Comics.  Future InkLit titles include an adaptation of Martin Misunderstood by #1 New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter and an original graphic nove,l Starling from The Atlantic's editor and cartoonist Sage Stossel.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Craig Burke, Vice President, Director of Publicity
212-366-2606 or

Jodi Rosoff, Associate Director of Publicity

Berkley and New American Library (NAL) are imprints of Penguin Group (USA) that publish books in mass market, trade paperback, hardcover, and eBook editions.  Both lines have a long history of publishing bestselling authors, including such international superstars as Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell, Ken Follett, Harlan Coben, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward, Jim Butcher, and Patricia Briggs, among others.  For the last several years, Berkley/NAL has led the publishing industry in mass market New York Times bestsellers.  For more information, visit

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Plume, Puffin, Riverhead Books, The Penguin Press, and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company. For more information, visit
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Jacqueline Lichtenberg