Your Book made into a Movie

From your book to a movie.
From your book to a movie.

I know the subject of turning your Story, Novel, or Concept into a major motion picture script sounds more like a topic suited for the most established authors or only the Hollywood A-List of the script writing elite but this article is about a Hollywood production company that works with both independent authors, and Hollywood to generate, cultivate, and create new motion picture and television entertainment. The truth is a good story usually leads to a good script, and whether you’re an independent publisher/author, or a Hollywood-insider, good scripts are just what Hollywood is looking for.

So let’s say you feel you have a good story, maybe even an already published novel, but have no idea how or where to start when it comes  to turning your good story into an award winning block buster movie script. That is where the Hollywood Writer’s Studio comes in. I’ll tell you more about them in a moment; let me just say that I started out writing television, and motion picture scripts before I got into writing book manuscripts so the screenplay writing process is a process I am familiar and comfortable with.

There is somewhat of a science to the process of screenplay writing vs manuscript-writing but if you are interested, and a little persistent, you can make it happen once you know the basics. There are several good script writing software programs on the market even a built in screenplay writing feature that comes automatically with the Windows 7 operating system, if you happen to have the Windows 7 O/S on your computer. The screenplay writing feature may have even made it into the Windows 08 O/S but upon the writing of this article I don’t have that knowledge. The motion picture scripts I grew up on folded three acts in to 120 pages to create roughly two hours of onscreen entertainment.

Even that rule can be broken and often has been if the story is epic enough. I heard that with George Lucas’ first version of the Star Wars the script was over 300 pages long. With a little help from people like Joseph Campbell working with Lucas on his story idea Lucas was eventually able to release the last epode of his epic film first, and I suppose the film’s success allowed George Lucas to go back and do episodes one and two; granted I was a little confused by the order of the episodes I enjoyed them all.

If at this point you’re still thinking gee Hank, thanks for the info, but I’d rather have some help transforming my novel or story ideas into a screenplay, this is where Hollywood Writer’s Studio might be worth checking into. Some of the services they offer are ghostwriting ; and even if you have already started a screenplay Hollywood Writer’s Studio offers script doctoring, and rewrites to fine tune, or tweak your script presentation.

Your participation in the writing process during the development and creation of your screenplay is welcomed so I see that as a plus. Hollywood Writer’s Studio claims to have nine screenplays currently in production in Hollywood and that all screenplays developed by the Hollywood Writer’s Studio are marketed to film studios and producers. Sending them an e-mail with details about what you want to adapt to a screenplay and they will send you a rate quote that depends on how long your adaptation might take, standard turnaround time was listed as 120 days, with payments made in installments.  I did read some pretty glowing unsolicited testimonials while I was on their site but only your can tell by contacting them if Hollywood Writer’s Studio is a good fit for you and your novel, story, or concept adaptation needs.

Book Signing Etiquette

92 year old high school grad, Eunie Mae
92 year old high school grad, Eunie Mae

One of the things on my mother’s bucket list was to write a book about her childhood growing up in a sharecropper family from Texas that included her transition to California and a new way of life, but after suffering a stroke that left her with blurred vision in one eye, and unable to write, that one single bucket list item became a source of depression for her. She felt bad for putting off writing about her life until she could no longer write.  When I learned about that fact from her I arranged to interview her and ghost wrote her memoir for her.

I learned during my interview process that one of her grandkids had asked about some of our Texas family members and when my mother told him she didn’t quite remember, he told her it was okay, adding that he would just go to the library and checkout a book about our family and learn that way. It was when she tried explaining to the three year old imagination that the book she was talking about didn’t exist, not at that time anyway, and depression came to visit her once more.

I took the information she shared with me and between family life, and my day job at Stanford University crafted her family tales into a biography for and about her. She had meant her book project to be an autobiography, but my publisher would only clear it as a biography in spite of me giving my mom all the writing credit. The stroke that left her unable to write also left her unable to sign any of her books; so I had a rubber stamp made of her signature at the local print shop, and watched her gleefully sign her book, titled Faye, with her rubber stamp at family gatherings and whenever an opportunity presented itself.

The reason I mention this is because back when her book was taking shape I did do some serious thinking about book signing etiquette, collecting whatever information I could find to help my mom sign like a pro once the book was finally in her hands, and her book writing project joyfully crossed off her to do list. Not long after that she relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas to live with my sister Dolores and working long distance I helped her cross yet another item off her bucket list, her High School Diploma though a correspondence course.

Now to be perfectly honest with you my mother didn’t use any of the book-signing information I gathered but if you’re a new author you might find it useful.

Number one: if you can still write and don’t require a signature stamp choose a good, comfortable, classy ink pen, preferably acid free and one that won’t bleed through the page. My mother’s health wouldn’t allow a major book signing tour so I always expected her book signing not to get outside the range of signing maybe one or two books at a time, but guess what?

Somehow news of my mother’s birthday celebration (at the age of 92) attracted Las Vegas television broadcast cameras. My mother ended up with a full page in a Vegas newspaper, that told about her newly acquired High School Diploma, she even appeared on a couple of the local television stations in the Vegas area and of course in addition to the news of her graduation High School that year, her book was mentioned. I heard that because of the media attention my mom must have signed (stamped) at least 10 copies of her book in one day.

Book signing tip number two: When it’s time to sign your book let anyone wanting a signed book know that you would be more than happy to personalize their copy of your book for them.

Book signing tip number three: Don’t sign the flyleaf or the inside cover; put your signature, or personal message, on the title page.

Book signing tip number fours is probably the most important tip of all, spell each name correctly. If you have a good pen, one that won’t stop writing in the middle of a signature because you left the cap off, and follow all of the above instructions to the letter, let me know if it works.

Help with Self Publishing

Pen of the Writer is a self-publishing organization based in Ohio that not only shares very valuable information about marketing your book, Pen of the Writer can help your realize your book publishing dream. Many experienced authors have benefited from the publishing and marketing information taught by Mrs. Valerie J. Lewis Coleman.

Valerie has authored several books of her own and helped more than ten-thousand students, clients, and writers just like you become a published author. Pen of the Writer also offers a set of optional DVDs titled, Self-Publishing Made Easy, that teaches you the ten best practices to launch your own Publishing company; useful information about writing, editing, even book cover design on the, DVD titled, Judging a book by its cover.

Other useful information like pricing your book, and applying for your ISBN number, with helpful hints like don’t leaving the last four digits of your ISBN number all zeros because those numbers represent the suggested retail price for your book.

There is even information on how when and to fill out an official copyright form along with some very valuable basic book marketing tips for becoming a best-selling published author yourself.

POD Publishing

Blog entry about POD publishing
Blog entry about POD publishing

In this article POD stands for, Print-On-Demand, and not the body snatcher variety POD that scared the heck out of me when I was a kid. This article is about publishers that operate a lot differently than the commercial publishing factories I grew up knowing about, yet they are still commercial. Printing your books on demand, usually in some agreed upon quantity, is exactly what POD publishers do. POD publishers have removed a large block of difficulty that used to stand between the writer and seeing her book on the book store shelf.

Usually all a POD publisher requires is a finished manuscript and enough of your personal funding to make your publishing dream come true. The accent here is on “finished” manuscript because if your manuscript wasn’t quite finished, or still in need of some work POD publishers are now set up to help you there too, for a fee of course. In fact some of their publishing packages include proofing, and editing services should you decide to place your, in need of repair, manuscript in their hands.

Providing the funds and making sure to crossing all of your “T’s” and dotting all of your “I’s” you can end up with a pretty professional looking soft, or hard cover book. The POD publisher I used was even ready with a marketing kit that included posters, copies of the book for book-signing-parties and other promotional opportunities; a process every ghostwriter is spared. At the end of this article you will find information about several POD publishers to explore and research so that if you feel that your book project is at the publishing point, you can connect with a publishing resource.

Feeling the need to perfect your manuscript in every way and sending out letter of enquiry to noted publishers may be a barrier most of us can go around these days, in a way, I feels makes the pressure to get it right feel even higher when it comes to putting the finishing touches on your manuscript. When you self-publish just about all of the publishing preparation duties falls on you, Mr. author; you could find yourself responsible for everything  from the book cover artwork, the proofing, the editing, and who knows what else your particular book project might involve. The good news is it can be done and depending on the POD publisher you select all or some of the help you may need will be available to you too.

Self-publisher shares the same goal of the major publisher’s house; to sell books and to recover the investment that went into completing the publishing process, along with any marketing, and other related expenses. Clear that hurdle and you can begin to see some profit. Things have changed a little, back in the early days, 1960 or 1970 BC (before computers) and, of course I’m talking personal computers, the marketing you did to promote your self-published book was mainly though publications ads, word of mouth, and other promotions.

The publishing houses help connect a particular author with their reading audience and that is exactly what every self-published author wants; to be connected with their book buying reading audience. Back in the BC-days connecting with book buyers, and book readers, was a lot harder and a lot more expensive for the self-published author. Now-days selling your book, in many cases, is a matter of connecting and spreading the word about your book to your Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or other social media audience. Whichever way you chose to market and sell your self-published book, it all starts with publishing that manuscript you have. When you’re ready for that perhaps one of these POD book publishers will do: Morris Publishing    48 Hour Books  and Instant Publisher

Will Murai Concept Artwork

I was impressed with Will Murai concept artwork, in particular, his image of the female writer pictured in a seemingly losing battle with the multi-limb-daemons of her characters, plot and, as I imagined, her self-imposed deadline. Will Mauri, is a concept artist from Sao Paulo Brazil whose work can be found online, and on his Pinterest page that is worth checking out if, like me, you are interested in learning how and what concept art can do for your writing project.

Will Murai artwork
Will Murai artwork

Depending on where you are in your book writing evolution, artwork may or may not be a concern. This subject was something I didn’t worry about until I was finished with my first ghostwriting manuscript; even though the idea of including black & white photographs somewhere in the book was discussed briefly during my short interview session with the person I was writing for.

So just how important is your involvement with the artwork for your writing project?  If you go the traditional route, with an established publisher and editors, you will probably have plenty of artwork help and assistance. If you take the self-publishing route you could find yourself responsible for every part of the book publishing process, up to and including providing the cover artwork and or pictures. In that case, understanding artwork resources could prove useful.

I started my search by typing in “free publishing artwork” and was taken to a page where several companies offered free publishing artwork and videos, some of there were actually free downloads, and other had small charges were way less than one dollar, that took them out of the “free” category but left them still within the for free to nearly free artwork. The only problem I found with this artwork was that somewhere in the future you might find that someone else used that same picture or video since much of the free artwork I saw was in the non-exclusive domain, meaning that unlike commissioned one-of-a-kind artwork, created exclusively for you or your project, this artwork seemed to be created non-exclusively or in other words for anyone.

Typing in paid publishing artwork also brought up several conceptual art companies willing to create original artwork for your project for a fee. Which route you choose to take will of course depends on your budget; I know established publishers have a larger artwork budget than most of us that don’t fall into the Bill Gates level of income. If you possess some line art, or drawing skills I guess you’re in luck when it comes to providing an image for your publication. I suppose even if you have a family member (as I do) who is good at artwork you come out on the lucky side too, even though I’m not sure of the legal ramifications, if any, would be for such a family related venture.

Just be aware that there are free places out there, and places that will charge you for your artwork needs; if you are willing, and able, to pay for your artwork needs. In that case you’re good to go in that area. Keep in mind that there are places out there who also offer free artwork choices with some limitations you might want to consider.

Travel can turn you into a story teller

Travel, when and where you can is sometimes the best inspiration for a story. It’s good to disconnect your body and mind from familiar surroundings and venture out on occasion; believe it or not you don’t need to venture far, sometimes a simple weekend getaway is enough for me to return with my creative batteries fully charged; my mind full of words ready for the page. In all honesty though, even when that kind of inspiration does not show itself right away, after a break from the familiar, I am still a happy camper.

Concept Artwork2

Zzanthia deviant art dot-com creates some of the clearest most alluring and eye catching Artwork I have seen. Sure I know there are plenty of others out there in the  art creating field and this artist is just one of the note worthy art creators I have come across in my artwork search that produces the kind of art I would use in many cases. Follow the link and let me know what you think.

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