Friday, January 30, 2009

Based on the novel

I just want to take this opportunity to briefly speak to anyone out there who has ever said, “I really think my book should be made into a film.”


Okay, stop right there. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here, but after hearing this phrase for the 1 billionth time, we at P&P thought something should be said on the subject.


First off, if your goal is to one day have a film on the big screen based on a story you wrote, perhaps you should look into screenwriting. Cut out the middle man. I’m just sayin’....


Second, let’s look at the facts: I recently came across a great article on the Boston Globe’s site about just how many movies are actually made from books these days (fiction, specifically).


One publisher and literary agent interviewed notes that, in the 25 years she’s been in the business, most novels she’s worked with have been optioned for a film—but none made.


However, this isn’t the case for all. Some book rights are snapped up and made in no time. In fact, we’ve had some recent success with books making it into production, including Entering Hades, a true crime book about a serial killer.


Of course, here are also examples like recent Oscar buzz-worthy flick Revolutionary Road, a book that was written in 1961 and just made into a movie in 2008 (after much campaigning from star Kate Winslet and her husband, director Sam Mendes).


Another instance is novelist Elinor Lipman, who sold an option to her book Then She Found Me 19 years ago, only to have it made into a movie that went into limited release in April 2008.


And if the recent Watchmen fiasco is any indication, sometimes it may just be better not to have your book optioned at all.


In the end, it’s important to remember why you’re an author in the first place—hopefully because you feel a calling to share your story with readers and you’re passionate about what you do. The goal of your publicity campaign shouldn’t necessarily be to get your book made into a movie, but to establish your presence as an author.


And if you write that awesome book and Hollywood does come a knockin’...well, that’s just icing on the cake.

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