Just a hair over a year ago, I had the pleasure of reading (and writing about) a unique approach to getting your material noticed.  ADAPTING SIDEWAYS is a book that easily takes you through the process of adapting a screenplay into a book, and now the writer’s store has turned it into a webinar, taught by the authors.

I was particularly taken by this for a couple of reasons. One because I was in the middle of that exact process when the book came out, and two, I had read a screenplay by one of the co-authors in a competition, and I fought for it to advance even though the reader before me passed on it. Because it deserved the chance, and frankly the reader before me had no credible argument to the contrary, it was just how they ‘felt’.  I was very happy that the writer re-submitted to the same festival the following year and was a finalist.  Jon James Miller, wrote a very original and compelling screenplay with GARBO’S LAST STAND, and he is using that as the example for how he adapted it into a novel for this webinar.

It really is worthwhile to learn another way to give your material more selling power, so check it out!


4 thoughts

  1. This is a very interesting approach to selling screenplays. Thanks for sharing the links. Many of my screenwriting friends are using this strategy and they are hopeful of making a sale. Do you think self-publishing or e-book publishing works as well as say getting an adapted-screenplay-turned-novel published through a mainstream publisher?

  2. The buzz on the studio front is coming from e-books. Development staff are voraciously searching e-books. Although just digital versions of self-publishing, e-books have much more appeal because of the cost and the immediacy. But I caution not to just jump into get an e-book out there, there are a lot of opportunities within the realm to really make your story really stand out because they are digital. ‘Transmedia’ is the business opportunity of the decade, and will enable writers to incorporate visuals and interactive elements into their material, which exponentially increases the marketplace and value. Here’s another point of view from the winter SCBWI conference: http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/2012/01/ebooks-and-apps-rubin-pfeffers-breakout.html

  3. As the former-publisher partner of Adapting Sideways, may I add a consideration? E-books are a publishing form that can come from a traditional publisher or the author self-publishing.

    The question about self-publishing versus traditional is a super important consideration–please consider the differences! Chief among these is marketing and distribution–money invested in the success of the book– that a traditional publisher should provide that can take your novel to a far greater audience simply by having leverage in the market place via money and time in the marketplace writers generally can’t generate for a single book by themselves.

    I think the time element makes self-publishing attractive but quick turnaround is a big price to pay when a major publisher–big, little, medium, regional or even academic–can bring your novel to the market with so much more flexibility, resilence and impact. A publisher is validation, endorsement, vibrancy.

    I’d offer that it’s better to look for help getting to the right agent and publisher than to self-publish. These people are in business–the business of publishing–and constantly looking for properties that will win large audiences. And that audience is what makes the novel attractive to film industry professionals. A property is a property, but a property with an established and excited audience is the thing. Can self-publishing an e-book give you that?

    FYI: My partner Jon James Miller is now represented by one of the most prestigious of literary agents. Ask him if he’d rather have self-published first thing. I think his response will start with a glorious smile.

  4. Hi Charlotte –

    Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the discussion in an informative way. Your considerations are very important for any writer, of course. There’s no doubt that publishing houses still have the upper hand in the marketplace as a whole — but there is also no doubt that tides are changing and just like movies and music, the traditional venues for publishing better keep up. With newspapers gasping for their last breaths, libraries going completely digital and schools making the switch to e-textbooks many are already too far behind. Even though e-books are basically a digital form of the vanity press self-publishing houses that have been looked down upon for many years (and with good reason), in their efficacy, economics and interactive potential, they have opened a new door that a lot of ‘decision makers’ are going through.

    And yes, many publishing houses use e-books as an overall marketing strategy for their author’s printed material — when it comes to what is the best approach for a writer trying to land a sale is; taking the proactive approach cannot be discounted. Many authors that go the traditional route, still have to invest massive amounts of energy and funds to market their material.

    I totally agree that e-books should not be jumped into just for the sake of simplicity or fad. But the fact is, a well thought out independent e-book plan continually proves to make sense for some authors that just can’t find the agent or publisher to gel with. And writers that also write for the screen have a tremendous opportunity to not only flex their story-telling muscles but to also visually represent their story in a compelling way that can also lead to being picked up.

    This recent article points to the paradigm shift AND the stepping stone to success: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/story/2011-12-14/self-published-authors-ebooks/51851058/1

    The bottom line is, if someone is serious about seeing their material produced they need to do their due diligence in all aspects of all media. This is what makes the ADAPTING SIDEWAYS approach so appealing, it explores a much overlooked and logical approach to getting material noticed.

    No matter the form or format, of course story comes first,

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