You'll need to work hard on the pitch, because a novel is usually much too sprawling to be a movie as is. Your pitch, therefore, will be about the essence of the novel, and what it would look like pared down to movie-size. The upside of this is that it's a lot less work on spec for you -- you get to see if there's a market before you spend six months to a year honing the screenplay. The downside is, you probably wouldn't get to write the screenplay at all. If you sell the project or, technically, if a production company options it from you , they probably would be reluctant to give you the screenplay to write unless you have credits.
It's not impossible Nicholas Meyer started his career by refusing to sell the rights to his popular Sherlock Holmes novel, The Seven Percent Solution , unless he was allowed to write the screenplay , but it's hard. However, since you control the rights, they'd have to buy you out with a credit of some sort, probably producer or assistant producer.
How to get a great book contract in 5 steps - The Writer
So that's something to consider if you're looking for a foot in the door. If either you absolutely want a screenplay credit or the novel is "soft" -- long on character development, short on plot -- then, yes, you probably want to write the screenplay first.
This is a very long answer to your question, but you should figure out what you want before you sign the contract, so they're good points to ponder. There are several books that have boilerplate contracts in them, but I don't know which ones have exactly what you're looking for, so I suggest browsing through them first at a bookstore or library. Of course, an entertainment lawyer would have boilerplates of everything, and with all contracts I highly recommend that you consult a lawyer before signing anything. Most options are "free" options, where you pay the novelist one dollar up front, with a guarantee of a certain amount of money should the project be sold.
At 12 she had already begun to describe herself as a writer and by the end of high school she estimates she had written 50 short stories and started countless novels. The first that she actually completed, Dreams I Can't Remember, was written when she was She was very excited by the accomplishment, and printed it out for friends and family, as well as sending it to several publishers. I don't blame them — it wasn't very good," Hocking says.
Hocking went on to develop an intimate relationship with rejection letters. She has somewhere in her new house a shoebox full of them. Yet she would not give up. She wrote unpublished book after unpublished book. This time it was bound to work. In she went into overdrive. She was frantic to get her first book published by the time she was 26, the age Stephen King was first in print, and time was running out she's now Once she got going, she could write a complete novel in just two or three weeks.
By the start of , she had amassed a total of 17 unpublished novels, all gathering digital dust on the desktop of her laptop. She received her last rejection letter in February Hocking says she hasn't kept the letter, which is a crying shame because it would surely have been an invaluable piece of self-publishing memorabilia. As far as she can remember, the last "thanks-but-no-thanks" came from a literary agent in the UK.
If that agent is reading this article, please don't beat yourself up about this. We all make mistakes April 15 should also be noted by historians of literature. On that day, Hocking made her book available to Kindle readers on Amazon's website in her bid to raise the cash for the Muppets trip. Following tips she'd gleaned from the blog of JA Konrath , an internet self-publishing pioneer, she also uploaded to Smashwords to gain access to the Nook, Sony eReader and iBook markets.
It wasn't that difficult. A couple of hours of formatting, and it was done.
Within a few days, she was selling nine copies a day of My Blood Approves , a vampire novel set in Minneapolis. By May she had posted two further books in the series, Fate and Flutter , and sold copies. June saw sales rise to more than 4, and in July she posted Switched , her personal favourite among her novels that she wrote in barely more than a week. By January last year she was selling more than , a month.
Multiply that by a million — last November Hocking entered the hallowed halls of the Kindle Million Club , with more than 1m copies sold — and you are talking megabucks. The speed of her ascent has astonished Hocking more than anyone.
In internet-savvy circles she has been embraced as a figurehead of the digital publishing revolution that is seen as blowing up the traditional book world — or "legacy publishing" as its detractors call it — and replacing it with the ebook, where direct contact between author and reader, free of the mediation of agent and publishing house, is but a few clicks away.
There is certainly something to that argument.
The arrival of Hocking onto the Kindle bestseller lists in barely over a year is symptomatic of a profound shift in the book world that has happened contiguously. Her rise has occurred at precisely the moment that self-publishing itself turned from poor second cousin of the printed book into a serious multi-million dollar industry.
How to get a great book contract in 5 steps
Two years ago self-publishing was itself denigrated as "vanity publishing" — the last resort of the talentless. Not any more. A survey carried out last year by the book blog Novelr found that of the top 25 bestselling indie authors on Kindle, only six had ever previously enjoyed print deals with major book publishers. That's the kind of statistic that made Penguin's chief executive, John Makinson, say recently that he saw "dark clouds" gathering in But Hocking's new-found stature as self-publishing vanguardista is not something she welcomes. Self-publishing is great, but I don't want to be an icon for it, or anything else.
I would rather people talk about the books than how I publish them. She also resents how her abrupt success has been interpreted as a sign that digital self-publishing is a new way to get rich quick. Sure, Hocking has got rich, quickly. But what about the nine years before she began posting her books when she wrote 17 novels and had every one rejected? And what about the hours and hours that she's spent since April dealing with technical glitches on Kindle, creating her own book covers, editing her own copy, writing a blog , going on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, responding to emails and tweets from her army of readers?
Just the editing process alone has been a source of deep frustration, because although she has employed own freelance editors and invited her readers to alert her to spelling and grammatical errors, she thinks her ebooks are riddled with mistakes. It's exhausting, and hard to do. And it starts to wear on you emotionally. I know that sounds weird and whiny, but it's true.
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In the end, Hocking became so burned out by the stress of solo publishing that she has turned for help to the same traditional book world that previously rejected her and which she was seen as attacking. The deal kicks off this month with a paperback version of Switched. It's a fast-paced romance featuring changeling trolls called Trylle who are switched at birth with human babies.
The novel cannot be classed as literary, but then it makes no pretensions to be so. It is precision-targeted at a young-adult audience, and is surprisingly addictive. Once the Trylle trilogy is out, Hocking's new series of four novels, Watersong , revolving around two sisters who get caught up with sirens, will be released from August in hardback and ebook simultaneously. Hocking's editors on both sides of the Atlantic point to the deal as evidence that traditional and solo digital publishing can live in harmony. There's something peculiar about all this: one of the leading figures in the self-publishing revolution is now being vaunted by major book houses in London and New York as evidence that traditional publishing is alive and kicking.
Hocking is very aware of the paradox, which she observes with a wry writer's eye.
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And they want to use me to show it isn't. Switched, the first in the Trylle Series by Amanda Hocking, is out now in paperback and ebook formats, featuring previously unseen extra material.
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