Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Stuff Dreams are Made Of vs. Reality

Book tours, replete with signings. Media blitzes. A dozen film producers calling, each begging to have the rights to my novel. And finally, a walk down the red carpet to the preview ... oh, excuse me, was I daydreaming again?

Who among writers doesn't dream of having great things happen to one's words? I can't be counted in that small number, I am sure. In addition to dreaming about my debut novel, well, debuting, I've dreamed about the characters leaping off the page and onto the big screen. I write visually, thinking of each chapter or cluster of chapters in terms of scenes. In fact, I had a brush with hopefulness a few weeks ago. Thanks to a dear old friend, I was connected to two people -- one an actor, the other a screenwriter/producer. The actor read The Pirate's Bastard, and loved it, saying he could definitely see it as a movie. I was flying high for a few days, until the screenwriter/producer brought my feet back down to earth with realistic and helpful advice: sell a half a million copies, and producers will be calling you. Okay. I get it.

So in an effort to sell half a million books, I'm starting to set up events. I've arranged for half a dozen local events so far, and all it took was a question and a smile. I've got a long, long list of bloggers who write about books. And I'm excited. That should count for something. These are just my first steps.

Do you know of Nicolas Sparks' first steps? He sent his manuscript for The Notebook out to loads of agents, and got one call back from an agent who was filling in for someone who was sick at her office. The story goes that Nicolas asked her how long she'd been an agent, to which she answered six months. Since she was the only one who called, he gave her the deal. She called back shortly to say she had a deal -- a good deal -- for him. A million-dollar book contract, and oh, by the way, movie rights for a few dollars more. Eighteen books later, most of his books have been turned into movies, and he writes the screenplays for each.

The kindly screenwriter/producer I talked with pointed out that agents aren't required to make such a deal. He also told me how to reach producers when I had some sales under my belt. He did caution that although the story might appeal to some, it would probably be cost prohibitive to produce as there's an old ship, a battle at sea, and it's a period piece. Helpful and realistic, again. And I'm so grateful for his advice and time. But it did cause me to wonder more about this topic, and with a little research, I found a novelist/screenwriter -- a somewhat rare combintation, I gather -- who has an excellent blog for both types of writers. She offers nuggets of gold daily, and I am enjoying learning what it takes to get noticed in the grand world of novels-turned-movies. Check Alex out here if this is a topic of interest. If nothing else, she's putting it all out there, just like the kind screenwriter/producer I talked with, and keeping it real.

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