Making It On The Big Screen

books and tv

On this episode of “The Road to Publishing,” we’re going to talk about  the important things to know when it comes down to handing your rights over to make your book into a movie, a TV show, or even a Broadway show.

For film and television deals, it’s important to know your agent. There are a lot of literary agents who are very experienced and connected in the Hollywood scene. Even if your agent doesn’t have a ton of these connections, as long as they have a working knowledge of the film industry and the contracts/agreements that go along with it, then you will be in good hands when a deal comes your way (fingers crossed!). If yours doesn’t seem to have many connections, or the appropriate knowledge, then seeking out a film agent might be your best bet. You can query film agents like you would literary agents, they typically want to know (and are looking for) the same things. You could also take a  bold step and query right to a producer. This way will certainly get you a bigger buck for yourself, but unless you have your own connections, it’s also very likely that your query will never make it in front of their eyes.

No matter who your agent is, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you are getting the best care possible. First, you should never sell your film or television rights to an inexperienced producer or script writer. Your book should land in the hands of someone who has made a film or television show before (or has been an actor/actress with the appropriate connections). The less experience the licensee has, the less likely your movie or television show will come to fruition.

Another point to consider is where the producer is coming from. Are they a producer coming from a studio in Hollywood? Or are they a small-time producer from a reputable indie production company? This is crucial to know because it can determine the fate of your work, as well as your involvement in the project. When a major studio is involved, although very exciting, your chances of being involved in the process often become minimal. It’s also just as likely that you will never see your book on the big screen. Hollywood has a lot of money to throw around in order to find their perfect next block-buster, so producers can go out and buy 300 ideas (including yours) and scrap it in a month or two because they narrowed it down to two or three projects they hope to move onto production. If the producer is coming from an independent place, scope out their other work and ask to be involved in the production process. That way you can get the product the way you envisioned and can also be involved in finding a studio for it.

It’s also important to consider what you are looking for negotiation wise. Negotiating your movie and television rights deals is just like any other. If you have already been involved in print, e-book, audio, or translation deals then you already have a pretty good feel for what’s ahead. You will come across all sorts of deals/offers out there. Some of those deals are going to have a lower price tag than normal, especially if you go with a less experienced producer or a smaller production company. You need to decide what your target revenue stream is and at what point it just doesn’t make sense to relinquish those rights, no matter how enticing the idea of a movie is. A stipend is also usually given to the author while production is underway. It’s important to make sure you are being compensated for your hard work the way you should be.

Second to last, utilize your confidence. Remember when you first queried literary agent about your novel and how much you believed in the book and in yourself? During the film/television submission process channel that same energy once again. Make sure not to come off as desperate. This will turn anyone away from even picking your query letter up again because if you don’t believe in yourself, why should they? An experienced producer or agent will be able to tell the difference right away, so be sure the look things over (perhaps with multiple people) before you reach out.

FINALLY: Be patient! These sorts of deals don’t happen overnight! Agents/producers need to be found, deals need to be negotiated, and you need a moment to breathe as well.

Hispanic Heritage Month

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From September 15th to October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month takes over. A general inclusion of staple Hispanic foods, music, and basic history are taught to children and events based on different Hispanic cultures fill up community boards (although pride parades happen throughout the rest of the year). One part of Hispanic Heritage Month we would like to focus on here at HRM are some Latinx writers who have made their mark on the publishing industry.

Thanks to the Library of Congress and the interviews conducted with each author included on this list, we hope you can indulge in the works of these talented individuals not only this month but throughout the entire year:

  • Gina Franco
  • William Archila
  • Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Laurie Ann Guerrero
  • Tim Z. Hernandez
  • Diana Garcia
  • Brenda Cardenas
  • Rigoberto Gonzalez
  • Valerie Martinez
  • Richard Blanco
  • Carmen Gimenez Smith
  • Eduardo C. Corral
  • Fred Arroyo
  • Maria Melendez

Can We Go Thrift Shopping?

Keep Calm.jpgIf you haven’t heard of Thriftbooks.com, then you’re missing out on one of the best ways to feed your book addiction. I recently did a little binge shopping and purchased three books I was hoping to read for a while now. With no shipping costs (on regular shipping- get your wallets ready for expedited shipping!), my check-out total was $10.00. That’s right, you read that correctly. For two paperbacks and a hardcover: $10.00.

But does this prove to be an issue for publishers and authors?

Publishers sell mass market books for a reason: to schools and libraries. Mass markets also come into play when there are new editions re-printed. Essentially, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Thriftbooks.com takes those titles which have already been utilized and re-sells them at a cheaper cost. The website even has collector items, such as first or second editions of classic novels, or even Game of Thrones items which you can’t find on Amazon anymore. So, publishers aren’t really missing out on anything. In fact, it’s another way for them to sell-off products that might be a hard sell for them anywhere else.

And authors? They’ll get more exposure this way. For example, you could read their first novel from 2006 through Thriftbooks and fall in love with their writing. You then might discover the author is releasing a new title in the Fall, therefore you can go ahead and pre-order it because you just can’t wait any longer than you need to- a new favorite author for you and a new reader for the author.). With paperbacks and hardcovers rising in price, cheaper prices are always appealing to book lovers. Newer authors won’t appear on Thriftbooks right away either, so you may be forced to take that $15 hit to the bank account for debut authors. At the end of the day, we should still really consider buying from bookstores and helping authors receive their well-deserved paychecks from their publishers. But, Thriftbooks.com just makes it easier to not feel guilty about large book binges, especially if you aren’t really sure if you are going to like the book or author in the first place.

Coming To A Bookshelf Near You!

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Let’s talk about movie trailers. They are utilized to get viewers to come and see a movie which has yet to be released. There is usually a tease of action or a jump scare here or there, a little bit of the plot is explained, and sometimes the main character(s) is introduced. It makes people want to watch the movie and anticipate its release.

That same idea can be put towards book trailers.

If you’re a self-published author, you should consider making your way into book trailers for anticipated books in your series, or maybe a new series for your readers. Just like the movies, book trailers entice potential readers to go out and buy your book. The art of creating a book trailer is a newer platform to use to market your book and there are many reasons you might want to consider giving it a try.

First, we are in a time where visuals have become much more appealing to people and video has a strong influence too. 92.6% reported that visuals are the most influential factor in their decision-making. If the trailer does its job, the viewer is more likely to buy your book.

Another great part about creating a book trailer for your novel is how shareable it becomes. This makes mass exposure more feasible. Even better: it’s easy to share on multiple platforms, so if you’re not tech-saavy – you only have to press a single button and write a quick blurb to share with hundreds of people.

Just like those 92.6% of people had reported earlier, the decision to buy the book or not is made in a matter of seconds if the trailer is captivating enough. A good trailer does the decision-making for you.

Here are some key ingredients to keep in mind when creating your book trailers:

  • Keep it short and sweet (60-75 seconds).
  • “Professional” quality is better than low quality.
  • Include the information about release and where to buy.
  • You don’t have to break the bank.

Go ahead now, be the next Stephen Spielberg of book trailers and get on it!

Enjoy this audiobook trailer from Audible UK for the thriller of the year: SILENT CHILD by Sarah A. Denzil!



 

Lifestyles Of The Rich & The Famous

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While browsing through the latest publishing news on Twitter, I came across Cara Delevingne’s cover reveal for her debut novel, Mirror Mirror. I do enjoy her work in modeling and the few films I have watched her act in, but the track record for celebrities and book-writing has always been iffy.

Just like Good Charlotte sang, “always see it on T.V. / or read in the magazines / celebrities want sympathy,” we are constantly shrouded with the latest celebrity gossip in some way, shape, or form. In more recent times, many celebrities have taken to writing novels, or hiring a ghost writer to fulfill their dream of writing a book. Unfortunately, some of those works don’t end up becoming literary moguls.

When reading an autobiography, like the late Carrie Fischer’s The Princess Diarist, there’s always a sense of closeness to the author which is what makes it appealing to consumers. Carrie took down walls, made me laugh, and even published her own diary entries to show how lovesick she was during the production of the famous “Star Wars” series. Or comedian Amy Schumer and her debut practically reiterating all her stand-up in word format. I imagined her standing on a stage in front of me, reading from her book and acting out the stories she told about how she came to be a successful comedian. You even have actors and actresses who executed creatively executed novel-writing, such as Steve Martin and B.J. Novak. Successful books like these, make us want more and get us excited for the next big celebrity book.

Then, you have the work that should not have made it past the editor’s desk…

We all know them, and in some cases, we might love them too.  The ones we need to be most wary of are the celebrities known for being TV personalities and singers who write a novel (or two). Fabio, Tyra Banks, David Duchovny, James Franco, Farrah Abraham, and even Snooki made it onto a list of “cringeworthy” novels written by themselves. And I must say: I agree. I didn’t get the chance to read the full-length novels, but reading the summaries made me cross my legs twice, eyes bulging out of my head with my jaw stuck to the ground.

Like most readers, I take pleasure in reading the creativity produced by authors. Sometimes, it becomes too much and in this case, it has become way too much. Most stories are fictional representations of the celebrity’s life, something we don’t care to know about since we already have probably watched multiple documentaries of their life on E!. Even with the use of a ghostwriter, celebrities have come out with crazy ideas for novels – most of them not making any sense. Just read the summary for Modelland by Tyra Banks and tell me what you think.

But who knows, maybe Cara Delevingne has produced a coming-of-age novel worth the read.

We will give her the benefit of the doubt for now.