Libraries are dying – but it’s not about the books

23 12 2016


3 Tips To Get Your Story to A Producer In Hollywood (and why you don’t need a lit agent to do it)

15 09 2015

by Nat Mundel, Founder and CEO of Voyage Media

When was the last time you were at the movies?

If it was sometime in the past 50 years of so (please tell me it was!), then chances are you caught a flick that was based on a book.

Book adaptations have always been a source of compelling content (think Jaws and the first Jurassic Park), but more recently, adaptations have become one of the fastest growing, most reliably profitable and attractive markets for producers in Hollywood (think Hunger Games and Harry Potter).

Authors everywhere are gaining more and more traction with producers looking for compelling stories to be adapted for film and television…

So where do you start?

Traditionally, authors begin by looking for a literary agent who would then connect them with producers and agents in the entertainment industry, and act as their calling card to success in Hollywood.

Well I’m here to tell you that is not [always] the case…

If you are a well-known author who already has a large following of fans and readers, then this traditional route will be effective for you because a lit agent has pull with producers.

A lit agent’s job is basically to make a producer’s life easier by acting as a middleman between writers and producers.

But… If you are an author who is just starting out or still working to figure out how to gain traction for yourself and your book(s), then going the lit agent route is not your best option.

Here’s why:

Literary agents are very focused on the projects that will provide an easy transaction with guaranteed profit. Which is great for those established writers with built in audiences and profitable material, but not so great for an author who isn’t quite as established (yet).

So here’s what you do….

Bypass the literary agent and go straight to the producer!

Producers by nature just have different priorities than a lit agent. It’s their job to stick with a project from start to finish, which means that 9 times out of 10, a producer supports the projects for which they feel passionate about.

Simply put: Agents are transaction focused; producers are passion focused. They need new and exciting material to keep their careers moving.

This is where your opportunity lies!

Now, your job as an author is to get producers on your side to support you and your story…

To help you do that, here are 3 tips for nabbing a producer to champion your project from start-to-finish:

  1. Be helpful and build good rapport!

By now you probably know how busy producers are. They literally have stacks and stacks of scripts and books to go over. So the more helpful you can be (by lessening their workload), the more likely they are to get behind your project.

One of the best and most effective ways to do this is to present producers with easy-to-read materials that speak their language. Hint, hint: producers are very busy people and very visual – if you can help them get a quick sense of your story, they’re more likely to go further and read the book.

Using materials like a look-book or a treatment to convey your project’s main ideas is the way to go because these types of materials involve less reading for the producer while simultaneously helping them to visualize how a project will look.

Another way to be helpful is to build a good rapport with producers…you can start by being open to feedback (accept what they have to say!) and being respectful of their time.

Producers will stick their necks out for projects (and people) they really believe in (and like), so it’s imperative that you bring them concise, compelling content that has high market value and the possibility to go big (AKA award-worthy and/or highly profitable) while also being kind and courteous.

Make their decision to take your script to the finish line a no-brainer!

  1. Know your market!

This tip requires you to do your homework! If you ask a producer what one of the most annoying/off-putting things that happens to them on a regular basis, they will most likely say: “Pitches that have nothing to do with me or my market!” (Followed by several grim tales of mishaps and gaffs).

If you’re a chef, you would never pitch to get a job as an astronaut.

Similarly, if your book is a thriller, you should never pitch to a producer who works exclusively in animation.

When you do land a meeting with a producer in your market, it is of the utmost importance that you are prepared with project options, ideas for how to market your story, and knowledge of current market trends.

  1. Be in it for the long haul…and be nice along the way!

Making a movie can take up to five to ten years! 12 YEARS A SLAVE took 12! If you’re not willing or able to invest energy into your project or time into its adaptation, why would a producer want to help you out?

They wouldn’t.

Also, you must endeavor to be easy to work with (and nice)!

There are a ton of stories out there about creators who let their arrogance get the best of them… take Troy Duffy for instance (yes, there’s a reason you don’t recognize his name).

Duffy was a bar-owner turned overnight Hollywood success story, until his ego got in the way.

He wrote the screenplay for THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, which was picked up by Harvey Weinstein and Miramax to the tune of a $450,000 contract, plus a $500,000 two-script deal with Paramount.

Not too shabby for the Chicago-native bar owner!

However, things quickly went south when Duffy began developing a reputation for being crass and rude to the producers and potential stars of the film (he insulted Ethan Hawke and Keanu Reeves who were in consideration for BOONDOCK and Jerry Bruckheimer who was a potential producer for the film).

As word of Duffy’s unprofessional/rude behavior got back to Weinstein, he was blacklisted and Miramax dropped the BOONDOCK contract.

The next thing Duffy knew, his calls were being refused, his deal was dropped and he lost all his contacts in Hollywood; he will likely never work again in Hollywood because of his horrible behavior, overblown ego, and tarnished reputation.

Let this be a lesson to you…

Don’t let your ego get in the way!


So the moral of the story is (1) you don’t necessarily need a literary agent to make it in Hollywood, (2) you can go straight to a producer to champion your project and (3) build good relationships with producers!

For a more thorough roadmap on how to adapt your story and bring it to the screen, click here to download Voyage’s FREE report: “How To Sell Your Book To Hollywood”

Nat Mundel is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker and producer of film, television and reality programming. He is the founder and CEO of Voyage Media, a first-of-its-kind entertainment marketplace that incubates and brings to market talent and I.P. Voyage has been instrumental in selling, producing and/or distributing over 2000 entertainment projects. Nat has a passion for helping storytellers connect with audiences and breaking down barriers that exist in the entrenched entertainment industry. This passion is embodied in the company’s aligning vision, the education and training it offers filmmakers, and in his book, “The Secret Handshake,” that pulls back the curtains on the inner workings of Hollywood and reveals how emerging creators can break through.


Press Release: Simon & Schuster and Team Up to Offer Bestselling Ebooks to Travelers

21 08 2015

What Craft Beer & Books Have in Common

11 05 2015

Interesting concept!


2 10 2014

Being a diehard ink on paper kinda gal, this is one of my all time favorite articles!


18 11 2013


2 01 2013

Re-post from Northern California Book Seller’s Association:

To hear the media and many in publishing tell it, 2012 was all about digital content. Seemed you couldn’t read a story about book publishing that didn’t talk about the new online future of bookselling.  And yet, one of the year’s biggest – and largely unreported – stories was the yearlong, double digit sales growth of independent bookstores. While some individual stores faced challenges related to the economy or weather disasters, the independent bookselling channel as a whole defied the “experts” by quietly posting month after month of increased sales – mostly of good old-fashioned printed books.

Why? Well, apparently, there are still readers who like to buy real books in real bookstores. And independents have been helped by several factors, three of which bear noting.

The Borders bankruptcy was felt by all bookselling outlets, and independents have received their share of that business. Also, the Shop Local movement continues to gain steam (helped, interestingly, by a still-struggling economy that has many folks wanting to hunker down closer to home). That’s good news for neighborhood- based indies that have long been touting the benefits of shopping with locally owned businesses. And Borders was a reminder of what can happen when customers choose to shop elsewhere for books.

Independent bookstores have also benefited from investments in their online presence, spending time and money that has led to more professional and sales-driven websites…and increased revenue.

One other factor that doesn’t get much attention but that is pivotal to the success of independent booksellers is their association with American Booksellers Association and their regional organization. Trust me when I tell you that no other category of retailers has access to the kind of education, advocacy, information, and overall support that independent bookstores do. Furthermore, the ABA’s influence in bettering publisher terms over the years has positively impacted the bottom line of every member bookstore.


13 07 2012

Partial re-post from Book Business:

It is in this spirit that we here at Book Business were completely agog upon discovering,Opens in a new window a simple Tumblr photoblog (with the attendant FacebookOpens in a new window, PinterestOpens in a new window and TwitterOpens in a new window presences) devoted to bookshelves. The brainchild of Anthony DeverOpens in a new window, it’s just the sort of site a bibliophile or an organizational fetishist could get lost in for an hour or a day.


28 06 2012

Book Numbers and Trends as Reported by Bowker:
2011 Estimates Show 4,198 New Book Titles and Editions Per Day!

Bowker, the global leader in bibliographic information, released its annual report on U. S. print book publishing for 2011, compiled from its Books In Print® database. Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that traditional print book output grew six percent in 2011, from 328,259 titles in 2010 to a projected 347,178 in 2011, driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market. This is the most significant expansion in more than four years for America’s traditional publishing sector, but removing self-publishing from the equation would show that the market is relatively flat from 2010.

They also reported that 2011 projected New Book Titles and Editions for non traditional books (defined largely as reprints, often public domain, and other titles printed on-demand) totaled 1,185,445! Combined with the 347,178 for traditionally printed books, the estimated total of New Book Titles and Editions for 2011 is 1,532,623. That is an average of 4,198 per day for the U.S. alone!

“Transformation of our industry has brought on a time of rich innovation in the publishing models we now have today. What was once relegated to the outskirts of our industry—and even took on demeaning names like ‘vanity press’ is now not only a viable alternative but what is driving the title growth of our industry today,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice-President, Bowker Market Research. “From that standpoint, self-publishing is a true legitimate power to be reckoned with. Coupled with the explosive growth of e-books and digital content – these two forces are moving the industry in dramatic ways.”

Genres that contributed to the robust growth in the Traditional sector include:

Education, 20%

Music 14%

Philosophy & Psychology 14%

Religion 12%

Juveniles 11%

Biography 11%

Business 11%

Fiction–the largest genre–turned around a multi-year decline with a notable 13% increase

Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, an affiliated business of ProQuest and the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories, is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey with additional operations in England and Australia.