Film and TV production companies are increasingly turning to self-published authors to pick up potential screen blockbusters.
The latest indie writer to get a call from Hollywood is best-selling thriller author Mark Dawson.
Advanced negotiations are taking place with a leading TV production company that wants to snap up his Beatrix Rose series, according to a report in The Guardian.
Mark Dawson is a prolific author of thrillers who has written four series of novels. The John Milton books feature a hitman while the Beatrix Rose series also has the leading character of an assassin. The Soho Noir novels are set in London from 1940 to 1970 and there’s also the Isabella Rose thriller series (she’s the daughter of Beatrix Rose).
The proceeds from Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose short story Phoenix will go to fund breast cancer treatment for superhero mother Emma Johns and her family.
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Andy Weir originally self-published his massively best-selling science fiction book The Martian. It became a very successful film in 2015 directed by Ridley Scott and has the rare distinction of being a film that’s almost as good as the book.
The film rights to Andy Weir’s new book Artemis (being published in November) have also been sold to 20th Century Fox and two of The Martian producers are developing the project.
Artemis is set in the first and only city on the Moon and features Jasmine Bashara who has the chance to commit the perfect crime but finds herself in the middle of a struggle for control of the city.
Other self-published authors (or originally self-published) have had their books bought to be made into films, with AG Riddle’s time traveller thriller Departure under development by 20th Century Fox.
Hugh Howey was one of the self-publishing pioneers and had a huge best-seller with the dystopian novel Wool which is still under development by Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox.
As well as writing a string of brilliant and very successful science fiction books, Hugh Howey also runs the Author Earnings website with ‘Data Guy’ taking a deep dive into ebook sales data to reveal the true market picture.
EL James originally self-published Fifty Shades of Grey which became a 2015 film directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and a film of the sequel Fifty Shades Darker was released this year.
The Guardian article points to one particularly interesting aspect of self-published work that attracts film and TV companies, which is the fact that ‘There’s a level of security that the story is original and not based on a pitch or idea from a writer in the room’ which could result in law suits.
However, the article warns that self-published authors should get an agent to deal with any film interest as contracts are long and complex.
Literary agent Andrew Lownie says, “As long as self-published authors take on an agent they should be fine. Otherwise they are mincemeat.”
Authors may not just be signing away the right to adapt a book but also repeat fees, merchandising, DVD rights, and even every character and storyline in the book or series.