Scott originally self-published his book, but not in the usual fashion. As an advertising executive, Scott knew that marketing was everything. He formed a LLC, NuCodex Publishing, which allowed him to display his book at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It generated a huge amount of interest, grabbing the attention of an agent - and Hollywood.
What is interesting about Scott's self-publishing story is that he planned on making a bestseller from the start. He did not spend time querying agents (which may have taken years). Instead he built success with careful planning.
First he chose to write a thriller (great for film adaptations), with a teenage main character (YA is very popular), using tried-and-true tropes from previously successful books/movies.
Then he drew on his own experience as a marketer to catapult his book into the limelight. And he began his plan when he had only written a few pages.
The moral to this story - think ahead.
YA Debut Gets Six-Figure Deal, Sold to 16 Territories and Jerry Bruckheimer
By Sue Corbett, Nov 24, 2015 Publishers Weekly
A six-figure deal for North American rights to The Cruelty is the latest in a string of good things that have happened to Scott Bergstrom’s debut novel in just the past month. The manuscript, self-published a year ago, caught fire in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair with sales, so far, into 16 territories. “Every morning I wake up to more exciting e-mails,” said his agent, Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.
The buzz that those foreign sales generated ignited interest from Hollywood. In late October, Paramount secured the film rights, with Jerry Bruckheimer attached. (Yes, that Jerry Bruckheimer – Pirates of the Caribbean, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop.)
And, now, Bergstrom has a U.S. publisher for his thriller, which Adams describes as a “YA Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Bourne Identity, with a dash of Homeland.” (Adams said she got one offer for the book based on nothing more than that description.) Jean Feiwel of Macmillan’s Feiwel and Friends won the book, plus a sequel, in a six-house auction. Publication is scheduled for winter 2017.