Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Sorry, Your Book May Not End Up On Netflix

In the past two weeks, at least a half-dozen authors that I work with received solicitations about turning their book into a film or television series. The authors were all excited that someone showed interest in their books, each having visions of seeing their words acted out on the silver screen and in movie theaters. Unfortunately, it is all bullshit.

Now. It is not that some books can’t be turned into films and shows. It happens to hundreds of books every year, maybe even as many as 2000 times. But that is out of tens of millions of books in circulation. Very low odds here of any book, let alone of a self-published, under-promoted, unknown author, of seeing a book turned into a movie or TV show.

So how does one know if they have a real deal on their hands?

When an offer to option the book is made. This means a legit studio pays the author for the rights to the story for a certain period of time— like three to five years.

What most authors experience is fake praise from bottom feeders who have few or no connections to legit studios, who promise to contact them on your behalf, but oh, just one small thing needs to be done. A marketing proposal or a treatment needs to be done. Gee, I wonder who pays for that?

The author may not know how to write a screenplay or create the materials that these fake Hollywood agents claim they need. The materials are created at a cost if thousands to the author. Even when no rights are sold or movies made, the agent makes money off of the author. Getting a deal done is rare and merely a bonus to the agent. They repeat and rinse this approach hundreds of times a year and each agent can rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually without selling a single book option to Hollywood.

So, what is an author to do?

Some have expendable cash to throw at this and think they may get lucky, so why not? Others are taken for a ride unless they stop letting their ego get the best of them. They let fame’s potential blind them to the realities of life.

If I am an author and realize that I hardly sold any copies of my book and it received little critical recognition — book reviews, awards, testimonials from successful people — I would not trust someone discovering me out of nowhere who says they believe in my story but just need some funds to create the package to send out to people they supposedly have connections with.

By contrast, legit literary agents don’t ask for a cent when representing an author — and the agent has to spend many hours crafting 50-page proposals after reading and editing the manuscript — until the book is sold to a publisher, printed, and sales are registered.

Why should TV and film be any different?

It isn’t.

If someone discovers your book and wants to help get you published or turned into a movie, great. Take all of the help you can get. But don’t pay them a cent until they actually bring in a money-making deal. Otherwise, ignore the fake flattery and dismiss the offer as nothing more than a money grab.

Need Book Marketing Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  

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