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Above the Clouds

Does Your Book Read Like a Film?

It's a long trip from the first idea for a novel (for example) to publishing the finished manuscript to getting a book made into a film. For most writers, the task of penning the novel itself requires discipline to write every day---no matter what, a time and place to write every day, the willingness to get stuck and stare a a blank page for the next chapter, the struggle to tell the story --- Present tense or Past? Linear story or mixed time? Getting the dialogue to balance the narration and keeping the character voices clear as the grow and change.

Then there is the task for getting fresh eyes to edit the book (ideally with the Author's involvement) not only for grammar inconsistencies, typos, and punctuation, but also for flow, logic and character value. Sometimes there's a character whose place in the story is weak. Cut that character out! But's that's a little bit like breaking up, or divorcing, or killing the character. So, the editor's job is to help the author find the strengths and weaknesses of the characters and the plot to make the flow non-stop, and define logic of the sequence of events to keep the characters off balance and moving forward, and to make sure the reader can "see" the story unfold --- to show, not tell the story.

Once the writing work is done and the book is published, then the hard work really begins. "How do I sell my book?" is a constant refrain with Authors. Some will pay big bucks for PR hoping a publicist can help them get the book into the right hands fast. Others will build a website and an ecommerce store for their books and use guerilla marketing techniques (this means creative, fun, and risk-taking marketing with lots of Social Media action) to get the word out. Others will ponder the problem and just get their book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, tell their friends and family to buy it, and then just wait for the money to roll in. But without the Author's constant face forward visibility, not much will happen after that. And there is no guarantee the book will ever make the Amazon Bestseller List (actually that's 5,000 copies for a novel, 1500 copies for non-fiction) in any given niche category. But if it does, you can put that fact on the cover, and publicize the heck out of it. That can help. Essentially, it's a lot of honest, hard work with a dash of good luck that makes an Author known far and wide.

Important distinction to understand: Publishers make the book sellable. Publicists make and execute the plan of how to sell the book. Never the twain shall meet. If you are a self-publisher (meaning you have formed a business you own to publish your books, you are responsible for the website store, you make all the profit, and you do all the marketing work), the process becomes a full-time plus over-time career. And the thing is, the Author is the BEST person to "sell" the book, and so, no matter how you go about it, you must be front and center to your reading public --- or nothing will happen!

Book-to-Film is another whole layer beyond the writing, publishing and selling part of the author's life. Remember that anything worth doing takes dedication, long hours, and a never-ever-quit attitude. If a book is destined to reach the silver screen, it's only because a team of people --- led by the Author --- has worked hard to make it happen.

And that's the truth!


More to come on the How-to's of Books-to-Film...

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