1) Tell us how you landed a film/TV deal with an independent production company?
This is a really fun story. I was told when I first started in social media to be responsive and receptive to any requests from friends and followers. I also did not want to be the author who was always shouting, “Buy My Book!” So, on occasion I post that cute picture of Puss-n-Boots from Shrek with his hat in his hand, giving the viewer the “Big Eyes,” and I ask, “Please Review My Book.” Hey, indie authors have to ask…Right?
Well, I posted that and a producer from an L.A.-based production company posted a tweet back and said, sure they would review my book. Which one did I want reviewed? I told them to pick one. I was open to whichever one they wanted to do. I was just thankful they would.
They chose “James & the Dragon.” They liked it so well that within a few days they posted a 5 Star review and asked if they could highlight the book on their website. I said sure. Free publicity is always a plus for an indie author.
Well, one thing led to another and soon they were contacting me in a DM and wanting to talk about doing a beta test for a Farloft film. If it worked out and we all liked it once it was finished, then we would draw up a contract for an industry standard split and try to sell it. I ended up signing a five-year agreement with them to work on that project. It is already proving to be an adventure and quite a roller coaster ride.
2) What are the most surprising things about signing an agreement with a production company for your work?
First off, that I even had the opportunity present itself. I have friends who say, ‘but you have worked so hard writing and marketing, you deserve it.’ There are tens of thousands of indie authors who work their tails off on their craft and don’t get this kind of chance. I was in the right place at the right time. What would have happened if I didn’t follow up on my tweets each day and missed that offer to review my book? What would have happened if I was shy and didn’t agree to talk to someone I didn’t know? What would have happened if I didn’t take the leap and sign the agreement in hopes that something might materialize out of it?
And the most exciting thing is the interest that is being generated for Farloft and his stories. We have some super people looking into the project. Farloft is creating a ground swell in Hollywood.
3) What's your best advice to new writers?
Don’t give up. At first the whole ‘marketing yourself’ seems so daunting. It is time consuming and we all want to write rather than market, but there were over 700,000 indie books published in 2015 and if you don’t market you are lost in the flood. Also, don’t pass up opportunities. You never know when doing that one interview, or that one blog post, or that one twitter response, will be the key to opening the gate for sales and the attention we all crave.
4) You're also involved in writing scripts for a potential TV series or film. What are the most difficult and most enjoyable aspects of translating your books into screenplays?
This is something that I am just starting to explore, and I don’t know that I will add this to my resume. It is still up in the air as to who will write the scripts.
However, I wanted to take a stab at writing the full-length movie script because I saw something that would have to be addressed in the movie version. You see, in “James & the Dragon,” the first volume in The Farloft Chronicles, there are only three characters and they are all male. In the second volume of The Chronicles I introduce three strong female characters and in book three yet another male and female character.
So, I knew if they made “James & the Dragon” as is, they would lose out on the female demographic aspect of the audience. Any good production company would not take on a project that would only address one part of a potential audience. I wanted to show how two of the female characters from the second book could be incorporated into the first film without disturbing the timeline of the full series.
As far as difficulty, I don’t have a program to format the scripts automatically, so remembering where to capitalize, and fade ins, and wipe outs, were a bear. I had to review and rereview the document to catch all of those.
As to the enjoyable part, I was pleased to find my books translate well to the screen. I love to write dialogue, so it was just a matter of transferring that and then if there was something that was inner voice for a character, trying to figure out how to voice that out loud for the audience. It was a challenge I enjoyed.
5) Tell us how you ended up getting a New York agent. Did you go through a traditional query process or handle things differently?
When I got involved with the producer, it just started getting more and more complicated. I had questions that I couldn’t find an answer to on the internet. So, I started shopping around for an agent to help me make the big decisions and to keep me from falling out of the car on this Hollywood roller coaster ride.
At first, I tried QueryTracker, which is a website for finding agents. It seemed like a good idea, but it moved kind of slow. I felt like I needed someone on hand in case they threw and contract at me and gave me just a few days t sign or miss out totally on the project.
Next, I thought to approach some of my author friends who were traditionally published to ask them if they could either ask their agent if they were interested in representing me or if they knew of someone who represented authors in book-to-film rights.
6) You're a very prolific author, in many different genres, from children's to supernatural to sci-fi. How do you manage to balance writing so many different books, in different genres?
I have a paranormal (Twin Cities Book) in 2nd draft being read by beta readers and another in my mind that will follow up for another trilogy in this series.
And I have two scifi books in 1st draft. One is the 3rd, and final, in my “In2Minds” trilogy with David Stevens as co-author, and the other is the start of a new series based on a character I have written about for years on my Serial Story Blog, the Star Trader, 3su.
7) What are your 3 best tips for promoting books?
1) Don’t overdo. Be subtle. Be clever. Have fun with your promotion of your books.
2) Use art other than just the cover. Graphics are the key. And keep them ever changing.
3) Secure interviews and guest blogs where possible and when someone is nice enough to do that for you, be sure to repay them by promoting that post over and over again on social media. Don’t just do it and walk away.
8) In addition to being an author, you're also a busy freelance editor working on several projects at once. As an editor, what are your three top tips for writers to improve their writing