Last week a writer posted that he was just about to send out his query and wanted to know the “good” agents who were aggressive in film rights because his novel “would make an excellent movie.”
I just shook my head.
He’s only in the query stage. Who knows if he’ll get requests for sample pages or requests for his full manuscript—I hope he does but who knows. Then he would need to be offered representation and finally, once represented his book needs to actually sell to a publisher.
And he’s worried about film rights for a book that, for all practical purposes, isn’t even in existence in published form yet.
Obviously he’s never seen one of the fifty page movie option/purchase contracts from any of the big studios. Otherwise he might be not so fired up to sell his soul to the devil—oops, I mean Hollywood (more on that later).
Not to mention, it’s hard enough to cut a book-to-film deal for a published work. An unpublished work is almost an impossibility—almost because anything can happen.
But the truth is this: his concern for film rights is more than just premature; it’s the wrong goal or focus for any writer.
Why? Because Hollywood wants to look at everything but the reality is that they option very little and even fewer titles actually go into production to be seen in a movie theater near you.
As a writer, your focus should be on your writing and the selling of the print rights (including translation rights). All else is such a long shot, it’s a moot point.
So (and can you tell I’ve been leading up to this) starting your query letter with “and this would make an excellent movie,” just doesn’t impress me much.
Every writer believes his/her book would make a wildly successful movie. Hollywood rarely agrees.