The Book Adaptation Business: Keys to Turning Your Book Into A Film Or Original Series

stack of books

The Keys to Turning your Book Into A Film – Part 1 Have you always dreamed of seeing your book (or concept for a book) on the big screen?

Bestsellers are being made into movies at a growing rate these days, but what if you haven’t written a bestseller? Producers and filmmakers are always looking for intellectual property to adapt for the big screen (or for television), but getting your work considered by producers is a much different process when you don’t have a bestseller.

Keep in mind that many bestsellers only become so AFTER they are made into movies. While top selling authors have big time producers knocking on their doors, most authors have to do the knocking themselves.

The point is — you need to have a solid strategy, and you need to be in the Adaptation Business.

Lets explore why bestsellers are so attractive to producers (and how you can add a similar appeal to your book). A bestseller usually comes with an audience. It has a lot of “Pre-Awareness” and a known story that audiences have already resonated with, which in a producer’s business-centric mind equates to an established market and predictable revenue. In many cases, it’s easy to envision how these stories would transform on the big screen.

A producer is acutely aware that they are the one responsible for bringing a project to the finish line. They are the ones that must push the figurative stone up the hill for two or three years in order to get a movie developed, financed, and made. So, when a bestseller shows up on a producer’s desk, they look at it immediately because so much of the work is already done for them.

A bestseller is halfway up the hill from the start, so the producer’s job is much easier (Example: “The Hunger Games” was already a stone perfectly poised at the top of the hill, just waiting for the eager producer to give it the poke it needed to go barreling down the hill and become one of the most successful movies ever made).

So, the key is (unless you’re writing super bestsellers): How can YOU do most of the work before your book reaches the desk of a producer?

You’re in the Adaptation Business

What if you’re not a bestselling author and don’t have a powerhouse agent backing your book in Hollywood, you ask? Then you (and your team) have to be in the business of partially pushing the figurative stone up the hill for your book – so that a producer doesn’t have to do all the work.

The first part of this is determining which market you should target for your book. Begin by researching the producers niche market and how your book will compliment it.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series to see how you can make the producers life easier by defining how relevant your adaptation is to their market.



  1. Thanks for the great article Nat. I hope you’re still going strong when I finally get my book done. I’ll be very interested in working with your team.

  2. Hello

    I have a novel written by me (Provenance) currently not doing a lot on Amazon. Because I am a New Zealander living in New Zealand, I think it could be difficult to get any producer, agent, script writer from the US or the UK to be even mildly interested in my work. Please tell me I’m wrong. It’s been impossible to even get any of the few agents there are in NZ, to even read my book.




  3. Great article. I can’t wait to read part 2 & 3. I self-published my memoir, HERE I STAND, in 2012, which tells of my upbringing as an African-American girl, raised by my white stepfather, who was a member of the Philadelphia Italian Mafia. Since then I’ve had four producers read the book and/or script, which I wrote, since I’m also a screenwriter. Now, I’m working on getting an agent, so I can get the best deal possible. Sly Stallone told me one time to hold on to my story for the best possible deal because it’s a personal story and I should feel right with who is going to produce and direct it. He told me not to sell my story straight out because Hollywood could produce it anyway they want. He said that’s what he did on Rocky, a very personal story for him. And he held out until he got what he wanted even when he wasn’t known in the business yet. I don’t want to “appear to be difficult, completely unrealistic or just be perceived as a total amateur,” as Nat stated in his article, but I’ve sold two other scripts so far in my career, and I had no problem doing that. But with my memoir, Sly is right, it’s too personal to just “sell” it, take the money and run. I hope to work with an agent who understands that when he or she decides to represent me.

  4. EXCELLENT ARTICLE! Thank you for your insight!

    • I’m impressed by your writing. Are you a professional or just very knblewdgeaole?

  5. Hello, I am Minister Jonathan Kithcart in the author of “Did the Apostle Paul teach tithing to the church “. My publisher is Redemption Press. My book and story will amaze and shock you if only the world knew.

  6. Hello, i am Emmanuel Burke,The author of “Her Three wishes” I am 11 years old and i enjoy writing.My mother tells me lots of stories and i find it amazing that the world is full of lots of fun and laughter, so i want to be part of making people smile.My publisher is “Author house” and they are amazing.I am not well known now but i pray that someday i will.Everyone who had the opportunity to read my book told me that it is wonderful and has a beautiful message.I will love for the word to see it on a big screen.You can find it on Barnes & noble or good read,anyway just google “Her three wishes by Emmanuel Burke”, and you will see it.Written 2015.God bless you and i look forward to getting more information. By the way Thanks for the wonderful information!

  7. My wife suffered from Alzheimer’s for approximately 20 years, yes,I said 20 years, and in that time I read everything I could find on the subject. I became a certified facilitator for the Alzheimer’s association and offered my aid and my expertise to groups of 10 or 15 other caregivers at a time. In that time I wrote a book which I had self published. It was well received and soon picked up by “Tate Publishing and Enterprises” They placed it in various book stores such as Barnes & Nobel.
    My book was intended to be instructive as I wrote about my personal experiences caring for my wife and although it certainly was very instructive, my readers chose instead to describe it as as a true love story, most touching and written from the heart.
    Besides being instructive, I had inadvertently and affectionately told my story with an abundance of good humor and sensitivity. The deep feelings of family and friends, and particularly my own emotions of helplessness and guilt were laid bare for all to behold. As I walked down memory lane I realized that there were also parts that might cause the reader to enjoy an occasional chuckle or perhaps even allow a tear or two to fall.
    I had told of the early fun years of my youth, the innocence of a youthful courtship and falling in love, the fun of playing with my children, and the blessing of a closely knit family. It also told how I learned to cope with the ordeals a caregiver must face and above all how I finally found happiness in my life again. Keep your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.


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