It’s safe to say that I’m not the world’s best Twilight saga fan because I didn’t even realize there was a scandal about leaked chapters of an upcoming book until recently. In fact, I didn’t even know there was going to be another book.
What I did know was there was a movie due out in December 2008. While waiting to see The Dark Knight, the trailer for Twilight came on and it looked interesting…
What looked even more interesting was that on the way out, while reading the poster, I noticed that it was based on a novel. That, folks, is how I was introduced to the Twilight saga. I read all four books in the series and I admit that I enjoyed it for exactly what it is: a fluffy angst-laden teenage romance story.
Every so often I come across the stray vexed letter to Meyer for not delivering the goods in Breaking Dawn (or Big Disappointment as some have dubbed it) and I can’t help but laugh. These people are planning mass bonfire parties to burn the books or calling for a tidal wave of book returns and I just want to say, “It’s a book, people! And sometimes books suck. That’s life. Get over it.” (Now, I’m not saying whether Breaking Dawn is here or there in my opinion, just pointing out a fact in general.)
Well, anyway, moving right along. Apparently there was some mass exodus after the Breaking Dawn incident and then all of a sudden they get a lucky break and the movie release date is bumped up to Thanksgiving and then leaked chapters of Midnight Sun–the Twilight book penned from Edward’s perspective–appeared out of thin air.
August 2, 2008 the final book in the series, Breaking Dawn (herein referred to as BD), was released and within days there was a massive uproar from disgruntled fans and readers.
August 15, 2008 it was announced that the release date of the Twilight movie moved up to November 21, 2008 instead of December 12, 2008.
August 28, 2008 (or thereabouts) the unfinished manuscript for Midnight Sun was leaked and, as a result, Meyer has postponed its completion and release indefinitely.
Frankly, the timing is too convenient which leads me to believe the attention is being deliberately funneled. Now, I’m not saying it was right for whomever leaked those unpolished chapters without Meyer’s permission if it did happen that way (it’s deplorable), but the whole scandal surrounding the real life Twilight saga reeks of a clever marketing ploy.
Let’s speculate for a moment (and this is just random conjecture, mind you). Things weren’t looking so hot for the Twilight franchise after BD. Some sources speculated that about 40% of the BD buyers hated it and forum threads, blog entries, and discussions about the downward spiral of the Twilight series were blossoming all over the ‘net.
While I’m sure many of the diehard Twilight fans would still see the movie, that backlash from BD’s release couldn’t have boded well for the movie or any future book sales for the series.
Then, through some miracle, the release of Harry Potter was shifted to a later date leaving the Thanksgiving slot wide open and Twilight just happened to snap it up. Hooray! It took a lot of people by surprise and it was enough to get everyone talking about Twilight again as opposed to the debacle that was BD. (Oh, how fickle people can be.)
Finally, the Midnight Sun manuscript was leaked, which provided Meyer and her publishers with a legitimate excuse to postpone (read: kill) the novel. Some sources had been predicting that the sales, due to the BD incident, would have been dismal and the bottom line simply wasn’t there. (And despite some folks’ idealistic views of writing and publishing, it really does come down to the bottom line.) So, rather than just killing the novel and letting it fade into the ether quietly, why not make a scandal out of it?
The scandal meant good things for two reasons: 1) the conversation keeps Twilight at the front of peoples’ minds; and 2) people will become sympathetic to Meyer and want to show their support however they can. With the Twilight movie right around the corner…. Let’s just say the bottom line for the movie just started looking a little better.
And the beauty of this plan is that the door is still wide open for a future book (or movie) release. Yep, you read that right. If Twilight the movie does well and Twilight fans are once again appeased, they’ll be salivating for another book (or movie) to prolong their euphoria.
This is just speculation, of course. I’m not entirely certain any marketing firm would be clever enough to come up with such a plan, though I’m not entirely certain one couldn’t.
The Twilight Saga at Amazon.com: