Monday, January 7, 2013

Every Book Is Not Meant For TV Or Movie

I find it amusing sometimes when I think of the number of query letters that I receive where the author spends a couple of lines or a paragraph telling me how "I can clearly see how this book will make a great [insert movie, Halmark Channel movie or just plain TV show] and they are eager to move it to that level." Well yes, we would love to see this. But, in reality, the odds are really against many authors of this ever happening. So the question remains, why do we continually think this? The answer is actually pretty straightforward on two levels.

First, there is the simple issue that as an author, you are so close to that project, you want to see it do amazing things. This is simply our ego talking here. We love our stories. We love the characters we wrote and we believe the writing is the best dang thing out there. In fact, we will sometimes compare our own writing to truly outstanding authors and even say that they are pathetic compared to your literary masterpiece.

Don't get me wrong. We want you to think this way. It is this energy that keeps you going every day with your writing. Without feeling good about our stories, we would simply give up and see no point in trying. Still, this approach to our writing does tend to make us see our writing in, sometimes, an unrealist perspective.

Secondly, when we write our stories, we do watch it in our heads like a movie or tv. We see the characters move around the room, talk to each other and so forth. This is simply how our brains work. This works the same way that musicians can look at notes on a page and hear the music in their heads, or directors, as they read a potential script, can see the play in a full production level. But, like our first idea, this is not necessarily a realistic perception.

As an agent, I do look at each project that I submit and think about the potential of this book making it to "the big screen." This determines if we fight for the TV & movie rights, or leave those on the table. Besides, assuming the project is good enough to go to the TV/movie side of things, statistically, the financial return simply will not be where you think it might be. I have talked about this with several other agents and the number often thrown around is $2000 for someone to take your project and then we see nothing more of it in terms of production. Yes, $2000 is nice, but you still have the odds so far against you when it comes to seeing it with your favorite actor.

When it comes to queries, I would personally recommend not taking the time to throw this line in. Use those 25-50 words to enhance other elements of the query.

Scott

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