Case Study

Scott Cawthon

The creation of a #1 New York Times bestselling series — over a million copies sold

Scott's Story

When video game developer Scott Cawthon reached out to Kevin Anderson & Associates in March 2014, it was to explore the potential development of a young adult fiction series based on his massively popular game, Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Scott was in search of a ghostwriter to help him shape the voice and tone of the books and interviewed several writers to find the best fit. He was looking for someone with a deep understanding of both YA and horror fiction.

Scott Cawton, Kevin Anderson and friend.

KAA Meeting with Scholastic, 2017

KAA provided several ghostwriter candidates–including multiple bestselling authors in the YA fiction genre–each presented with a personalized statement of interest and writing samples for Scott to review. Based on that information and one-on-one interviews, he hired Kira Breed-Wrisley to take the lead on the project. Although Kira was not a well-known author or ghostwriter, Scott felt the greatest connection to her and her writing. 

Kira traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Scott in person. During that time, they plotted the storyline based on the characters in the game. She then wrote the first book, The Silver Eyes, in less than six months.

Scholastic bought the book, which debuted in 2015, and it hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list the week it was released. It stayed there for 18 weeks. More than five years later, it is still listed in the top 10 bestselling YA fiction books.

Scott’s vision wasn’t just for one bestselling title, however; he wanted a bestselling series. As soon as the first title was finished, he began mapping out follow-up books. Kira was again the lead ghostwriter on the next few books, all  of which became bestsellers. 

As the franchise took off, Scott hoped to launch multiple projects, including short stories, graphic novels, and other iterations. To support the growing demand, KAA supplied Scott with additional writers for the Five Nights at Freddy’s team, including Andrea Waggener, Elley Cooper, and Kelly Parra. Each writer researched the existing content and then worked closely with Scott to understand his vision for the storyline and characters, ultimately producing drafts that matched his expectations.

To date, the Five Nights at Freddy’s series consists of eight bestselling books and has sold over a million copies, with KAA handling multiple side projects in support of the series. 

Subsequent titles, all published by Scholastic, have included The Twisted Ones, The Fourth Closet, Into the Pit, Fetch, 1:35 am, Fazbear Frights, and Bunny Call, among others.

What makes this partnership so successful is the combination of Scott’s incredible stories and creative genius with KAA’s talented ghostwriters, who continue to work alongside him to flesh out ideas, develop characters, and bring scenes to life, crafting stories that YA readers can’t get enough of.