Monday, August 24, 2009

Castle: King of Marketing

Have you seen CASTLE? Oh, it's brilliant. Of course, I might be a bit biased, considering it starts Nathan Fillion, who I like to look at with indecent thoughts. It stars a thriller-mystery writer, Richard Castle (Nathan Lusteyes Fillion), whose writing life is ludicrously unrealistic. He follows a real-life cop and helps solve crimes as he "researches" his next series.

I highly recommend it. First for the simple fact that Fillion is a gorgeous piece of man who has sexy eyebrows (YES. Eyebrows. Sexy everything else, too, but I'm rather impressed with the eyebrows.)

But there's also the clever writing--there's real wit in the dialog that will absolutely leave you envious as a fellow writer. And there's the fantasy of it--I highly doubt any writer lives the lifestyle of Richard Castle.

But look beyond the television show. This is a show that's marketing to its target audience: writers.

First you have twitter. Richard Castle, fictional writer of the series, has his own Twitter account (@WriteRCastle). While this may sound lame--and let's be honest, with the exception of K. Duey, most Twitters run by people who aren't real people ARE lame--it's actually quite brilliant.

See, there's a story being told on Twitter. In real-time, with an established character. The fictional Richard Castle is completing a mystery on Twitter! And his Twitter followers can contribute (to an extent).

And, y'all--this is elaborate. This is a mystery with as many twists and turns in it as you'd expect from Agatha Christie.

And it's something really new--not only is a story being told, it's being told in an entirely new way (even apart from Duey's Russet book). The Twitter version of Richard Castle is as funny and womanizing and reckless as the one on the show.

And it's incredibly realistic--not just in the voice of the character, but also in the details. There's notes from other characters--just little asides, but they add to the realism. There's pointless tweets that are perfectly inline with the character (i.e. comments about beautiful women nearby). And then there's things like this: "real" photographs from the "actual" mystery the character is currently solving. (PS: You can read the whole mystery--so far--on the Facebook fanpage.)

Now, there's not only these elaborate details just to make a Twitter account for the fans of the show, there's also something else.

Yup. "Richard Castle," fictional author, is writing a real-life book.

One you can buy

The premise of the first season (currently in re-runs on ABC) is that Richard Castle has writer's block, but is inspired by the hot female cop to write a new series ostentatiously based on her. Got your head wrapped around that?

Well, the show's taken this to the next level. Now the book's real--really written, really available from Amazon. The author's credit is "Richard Castle," and the plot is the one the character sketched out during the show's season. (You can read the first two chapters online here.)

From Amazon:
Product Description

A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

About the Author

Richard Castle is the author of numerous bestsellers, including the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm series. His first novel, In a Hail of Bullets, published while he was still in college, received the Nom DePlume Society's prestigious Tom Straw Award for Mystery Literature. Castle currently lives in Manhattan with his daughter and mother, both of whom infuse his life with humor and inspiration.

So, what do you think? Personally, as a fan of the show, I'm loving this. It's the ultimate--between interacting with the "author" on Twitter and reading the novel, it really immerses the reader in the world of CASTLE. this effective marketing in YOUR opinion? Is this what shows/books/media *should* do...or is it a gimmick that will never succeed?
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