Books & Tie-Ins
It happens more often than you would think—and especially with first-time novelists. They negotiate hard with their contract about the movie and film rights to their novel. Why? They believe they can do something with them or believe they can have someone else do something with these rights. It’s a rare day for anyone in book publishing—especially book publishing where a novel becomes a movie. It’s something to keep in mind next time you are involved in one of these matters. Hundreds of novels are published each year (more all the time) and few of them become movies.
It’s even more rare for a nonfiction book to become a movie. It does happen. In the last few days, I completed Cinderella Man by Jeremy Schaaps. It’s an excellent sports book and I have little background in the area of boxing. It is a moving story about the life of James Braddock. The writing is crisp and the story moves with fascinating anecdotes. While the movie has received a lot of recent attention in the media (because of the director, Ron Howard, and the starring actors Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger), I found the book is the in-depth way to learn about the subject. Very little of the content of a book is able to be captured on the movie screen and it’s an excellent way to learn more information.
I was interested to read what Bob Miller, president of Hyperion Books said about tie-ins (in particular the article was about television tie-ins) in this week’s issue of Publisher’s Weekly. He said, “I wish there was a science to it—a way to predict the success of TV tie-ins, but you can’t, no matter how popular the show is…You have to look at the show, figure out what’s driving its popularity and come up with a book that offers something beyond what they might already know.”
So next time you think about squabbling on your contract negotiations to keep the film rights for your novel. I’d encourage you to consider whether you have the possibility of doing anything with those rights or not (rare), then make your plans.
And if you have no contracts to negotiate or film rights to consider? Keep writing. Persistence is the name of the game in this business. In the meantime, keep learning all that you can about the various aspects—including how books are connected to movies and TV tie-ins.