Friday, March 5, 2010

Book-to-Film: How Does it Work?

Lots of book-to-film deals were reported recently.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was bought by Dreamworks. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith will be produced by Tim Burton. Incarceron, a dystopian YA novel by Catherine Fisher, got snapped up by Fox 2000, and Ally Carter's Heist Society sold to Warner Brothers in a bidding war.

Considering that two of the four have only just been published, how did they grab films deals so quickly?

Well, they likely generated interest a long time ago. I don't know specifics about the above deals, but when I worked at a TV movie production company, my bosses subscribed to Publishers Weekly. They would skim the announcements and loglines for all the projects that had been sold to publishing houses, and then contact the Sub Rights (subsidiary rights) departments to find out if the film/TV rights were available. Often we would get emailed copies of the novels pre-publication, at which point I wrote coverage -- a detailed summary with comments -- on the stories.

I'm sure the authors' agents also worked very hard to get the novels in front of producers early on.


  1. It's so weird; I've done coverage on manuscripts that didn't even have book deals yet. Oh, Hollywood.

  2. I recently heard of a YA book getting movie attention before the publishing deal was even inked or announced. It's crazy!