Thursday, April 20, 2017

Page to Screen - Pitching Tips for Book to Movie

Are you an author? A screenwriter? Have you ever pitched your work to a producer or a studio in hopes of seeing your book on the big screen?

Now you can.
In Spokane, Washington. The link to Connecting Writers with Hollywood is at the end of this blog, if you think you have something that would adapt well.

I've written blogs and magazine articles on my experiences pitching to producers, studio heads, screenwriters etc but today I want to offer something more hands-on, practical, to anyone who is headed somewhere with the intention of pitching their book to anyone who might adapt it to a big screen (or a little screen!)

First, remember that you have a product to sell and you're not taking up someone's time if their job is to acquire material (product) for their company. You don't need to feel beholden to the person you pitch to. They are looking for people like you and should be eager to listen to your pitch.

Do your homework. Prepare until you are sick of the sound of your own self-promoty voice.
Here are some questions that will help you prepare your pitch so that you come off as the confident sales person you are.

Book or Screenplay?:
Genre: (High Action War Movie. Romantic Comedy, Dystopian Young Adult etc)
Logline: (One sentence crux of your story- see below blog)
Short Pitch (in about 200 impact-filled words - Each section must drive the action and build the suspense of what’s coming next. The conclusion should be tight and must tie up all loose ends.)
Why will your project make an AMAZING movie?
-Location/Setting (See your setting through a movie camera lens)
-Story line (Touch on Goal, Motivation, Conflict)
-Action (make a list of all the action scenes in your story)
-Characters (Make them come to life in description)
What is the Essence of your story? (Describe the soul of the book in one sentence)
What actors could play the leads (Use well-known, current, successful, popular in that genre stereotypes, not your favorite, little-known actor who usually doesn't play this type of role)
Film or TV Series (Imagine how your project would look as a Feature Film, an Indie Film, or on an HBO limited series, or a sit-com on Network TV)
LOGLINES: Very important! Take time to write a great one. 
If it doesn't take you at least an hour to write the perfect logline for the movie of the adaptation, go back to fine-tune it. A meandering log line or pitch suggests a poorly written story.
Here are example log lines from movies:
A Pennsylvania steel-town ambitious and hot headed high school coach tries to spoil a football hero’s scholarship dream. 
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.
A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. 
A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.
 A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.
Now go write a log line.
Just before you pitch, gather all the enthusiasm you can muster (think of the time someone asked you if you love your newborn baby) and pitch like this is the best idea EVER and the person in front of you will benefit greatly from your genius. Pretend you are telling a campfire story, not rattling off sentences.
You only get one chance to pitch and then it's GONE!
Join us in Spokane!
Connecting Writers with Hollywood - Spokane Washington, May 25 - 27th
(Don't be fooled by 2016 - This is the site for the 2017 Conference where I'll be teaching on the Thursday afternoon - just before Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote The Fight Club!)

Kim Hornsby is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Keywords Are Key!

Are you published on KDP? 

I am, and have often wondered about keywords. Fretted is a better verb. 

How important are they? What do I choose to lead people to my book? If I use the absolute best keywords possible, will I shoot to super-stardom in the author world? 

Recently, I got one of those helpful, informative emails from Amazon Publishing and clicked on a few links only to discover that I could be using my keyword feature more effectively. Take a look at what they say below. I've highlighted the passages I found MOST helpful.

Best practices with keywords

Combine keywords in the most logical order. Customers will search for military science fiction, but probably not for fiction science military. 

Use up to seven keywords or short phrases. Keep an eye on the character limit in the text field. 

Experiment. Before you publish, search for your book's title and keywords on Amazon. If you get irrelevant results, or results you dislike, consider making some changes—your book will ultimately appear among similar results. When you search, look at the suggestions that appear in the Search field drop down.

Think like your customer. Think about how you would search for your book if you were a customer, and ask others to suggest keywords they would use.

Useful keyword types

  • Setting (Colonial America)
  • Character types (single dad, veteran)
  • Character roles (strong female lead)
  • Plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness)
  • Story tone (dystopian, feel-good)
For suggestions on search keywords based on browse category, read more here.

Do NOT include the following in keywords

  • Information covered elsewhere in your book's metadata—title, contributor(s)
  • Subjective claims about quality (e.g. "best")
  • Statements that are only temporarily true ("new," "on sale," "available now")
  • Information common to most items in the category ("book")
  • Common misspellings
  • Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (both "80GB" and "80 GB", "computer" and "computers", etc.). The only exception is for words translated in more than one way, like "Mao Zedong" and "Mao Tse-tung," or "Hanukkah" and "Chanukah."
  • Anything misrepresentative, such as the name of an author that is not associated with your book. This type of information can create a confusing customer experience and Kindle Direct Publishing has a zero tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead.
  • Quotation marks in search terms: Single words work better than phrases—and specific words work better than general words. If you enter "complex suspenseful whodunit," only people who type all of those words will find your book. You'll get better results if you enter this: complex suspenseful whodunit. Customers can search on any of those words and find your book.
  • Amazon program names, such as "Kindle Unlimited" or "KDP Select"
Note: This list is not exhaustive and all keywords must comply with our Terms and Conditions.

Other metadata tips

  • Customers are more likely to skim past long titles (over 60 characters)
  • Focus your book's description on the book's content
  • Your keywords can capture useful, relevant information that won't fit in your title and description (setting, character, plot, theme, etc.)
  • You can change keywords and descriptions as often as you like
  • If your book is available in different formats (physical, audio) keep your keywords and description consistent across formats
  • Suspense Crime, Supernatural Suspense
  • Make sure your book's metadata adheres to KDP's Metadata Guidelines

Good Luck Authors! And now I'm going to select the keywords for this blog...

Kim Hornsby is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.