Some of you may have recently seen my Facebook post regarding an email I received from an agent who specializes in movie and TV representation. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing, and it’s by NO means a sure fire thing, but it still felt pretty cool to be contacted. While waiting to hear back from her regarding her interest or lack thereof in CAGED, I started thinking (and most of you know what happens when I get to doing that)…
Do I really want to sell the rights to my novels?
To be perfectly honest, the thought of selling my babies off gives me anxiety. What would they do to them? Would they put them on a shelf, never to see the light of day? Would they butcher the story until it’s no longer recognizable to those that love it? Would they change the characters personalities/appearance to suit THEIR vision? Cue the tightening in my chest.
Once I calmed down a bit, I started to evaluate the situation more rationally. An author friend of mine, when posed with the question of whether or not she’d sell the rights to hers, said emphatically that she would because you only live once. I admire her spunk and grounding on the issue. I seem to lack both. To override my shortcomings, I thought I’d write down the pros and cons regarding the matter. Here they are:
- Money: Let’s be honest, everybody has a bottom line, and I’m sure that if I was offered the right amount of green, saying “no” to an offer would be nearly impossible.
- Exposure: If done well, on screen presence could do amazing things for the novels and my writing career.
- Marketing: Trying to get media coverage as an Indie author can be nearly impossible. I think that Good Morning America wouldn’t mind giving me a few minutes if I spawned a new movie or TV show.
- Cool factor: Come on…really? I shouldn’t have to explain this one 🙂
- Epic fail: We’ve all seen movies that were made from books we loved and were left thinking, “What was that?” I would never want that to happen to Ruby and company.
- No dice: Just because someone has the rights to your material doesn’t mean they’ll ever do anything with it. I don’t love feeling like Ruby would waste away on a shelf, waiting to hopefully be found and developed into something.
- Casting: This is a dead horse I’m willing to beat. If you screw up casting, you lose your audience. It’s fact. If the character shown isn’t the character written…well, let the hate-mail fly.
- No control: Hello, my name is Amber, and I’m a control freak. It’s a flaw, but it’s mine and I own it. Not having ANY say in what was done with the material that I spent years on would be close to asking me to saw my own leg off. Not quite as bad, but almost. I’m not a big enough deal to throw around any clout, so the reality for me is that I’m on the wrong end of the negotiation when it comes to what I could control. It’s not a position I’m tremendously fond of, and, frankly, it’s why I own my own business.
Now, after all that processing, I’m still no closer to an answer. I feel like the whole situation would depend on who I was dealing with. If I trusted the people around me, I would likely go for it. If not…you’ll have to just settle for seeing Ruby in the cinema of your mind. There are worse fates than that for sure.
I would love for the series to become a film or tv series. Even if it isn’t how I picture it when I read the books, it would be wonderful to see how they try to do it. But it is not my choice, I would just love to see it. I love the novels.
I could understand your weariness on what you should do. Sometimes letting the rights be turned into a movie or t.v. series can be a big hit, like Twilight, or they can epically fail, like Eragon.
If I was in your position, I believe it might be good to see if the people who offered to buy the rights would be willing to meet for lunch or have a type of conference, or something of the sort. This way you could tell them how you feel, like you told us a pros and cons list, and how your fans feel.
Myself personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a television show or movie made out of the series. As long as either was very similar to the books.
I hope that you don’t stress this too much and good luck!
Thanks, Kayla! I’m not too stressed at this point. I haven’t made it far enough into the process yet for that to happen. I agree that it’s a 50/50 split as to whether or not the on screen representation is good or bad. I should be hearing back from the agent soon and will keep you all posted 🙂
Don’t sell the rights. Or if someone really wants to make a tv or movie series, make sure that you have it written that you keep creative control of some type. I have seen movies where authors who wrote the book and also the screen play for the movie.
Look what happened to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series on HBO’s True Blood. Seems like only the names are the same. Your books are way to good to see slandered by someone else’s interpretation on screen.
Aw 🙂 An Amber watching out for another Amber! I totally agree with you, but the reality for a little nobody like me is that I have NO weight to throw around in negotiations. If I were to sell, then I would likely have to sell and walk away from the outcome. That’s what I struggle with in this whole crazy thing. I didn’t read the Sookie books, but I know that the series is nothing like it. I’m flattered that you think my books are too good to slaughter onscreen…I kinda like them too 😉
I just want to start off by saying that I was a bit hesitant to start a new series after the Twilight Saga, Hunger Games, Fever Series and 50 Shades of Grey series. Amazon had recommended the Caged Series for me based on what I’ve downloaded and I’m glad they did! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the books and I cant wait for the rest of them to be finished! !
If you decide to sell the rights to the book for TV or film, I’d personally go with the movie. With TV not only do you have to compete with hundreds of other shows, it can be cancelled at any moment. Also with TV they definitely screw up the whole story and cast people who are nothing like the book! I loved the Twilight Saga books and couldn’t wait for the movies but I ended up being so disappointed! Being in my early 30’s my girlfriends and I would join the tweens for the midnight showing and end up wanting to slap ourselves afterwards for thinking “this one will be better”. Most of the casting was just a downright shame and the lead actress Kristen Stewart is a horrendous with the all her awkwardness. Summit made most of their money from the Twilight movies but they couldn’t dish out the extra bucks to make the movies longer?
You could probably put into the contract that you have to be involved with the casting or even the final say in the lead characters at least! I think the film company who bought the rights to the Hunger Games along with the director did an amazing job with the movie! The director wanted to stay true to the books because he knows the wrath of the readers lol.
So in conclusion, if you decide to do a movie, make sure its with a company who actually cares about staying true to the books and ensuring the fans of the books (who will watch the movies) will be happy with the outcome. Or if it ends up being nothing like you had hoped at least the exposure of the movie will bring more business in the book selling business 🙂
Michelle, I’m super glad amazon recommended Caged for you too! Thanks for you input on the movie/TV debate. I’m waiting to hear back from the agent regarding my unreleased series, UNBORN, at the moment. She passed on Caged for fear that it was too much like things already on the market, and I can see that argument to a point, but she was interested in seeing what else I had to offer. Hopefully there will be good news from her soon!
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and even more so your support of Caged. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Scarred!
I would LOVE to see this made into something. I would prefer a tv show simply because there is so much that happens in these books that a movie (even a series of them) could not do it justice. However even if they want to make it into a movie and it turns out not so good, it will still be great for you. Look what happened with Twilight. Those movies are awful but the books were pretty good and I for one would prob have never read the books if not for the movie being so huge. Same for Hunger Games, although I didnt see that movie yet.
I’m glad you think so, Lisa! We’ll see how this all plays out…
Omg! That’s extremely excitin for you… Though I’ll have to tell you I’m perfectly fine watching Ruby’s tale the the flips of my iPod! It would be absolutely amazing if it would turn out right on screen, but I’ll have to be honest… Every movie and some shows I’ve watched based on books really sucked ass and were EXCEEDINGLY disappointing! 🙂 do what you wanna do… It was created out of your genius… I LOVE the books so far… Absolutely can NOT wait to read the next one, and I keep recommending to my friends and coworkers to start reading on them!!!
Happy tales to you! Can’t wait to read the next book and of you do decide to sale em they’re too good to go stale on a shelf!!!
Thanks for the support, Jamie! I hear you about the on screen versions not quite living up. It’s all part of my internal debate. This agent in particular passed on Caged, but wanted to see what other projects I was working on because she enjoyed Caged so much. We’ll see what happens when she gets a preview of Unborn 🙂
Can you be involved at all? You know like they’d at least get your input?
Maybe you could have an active role in production. I know they did this with the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series (only did 1st year). Alexander McCall Smith was on site in Africa every step of the way. (by the way, if you don’t know about the series, you should check it out. They did a fAB job).
I think also you’d have to feel really good about the producer(s), directors, etc. and have some level of trust after talking with them. I think you’d get either a good sense or not. Trust your instincts!!
Good luck. This could be a Fabulous opportunity. Don’t over think it if possible !!!