Tips for Selling Your Story to Hollywood - article

One thing that is very important for authors to understand about Hollywood is that Hollywood does not read books. Of course, there are many individual people in Hollywood who read, but as a rule, when it comes to deciding which projects to produce, Hollywood execs only care about loglines. They only care about a two- or three-sentence synopsis.

While that can be horrifying to an author, it’s really important to understand that if you send a book to a creative exec at Paramount, that person is going to be just a tiny part of a massive global marketing campaign if the movie ever gets made. Hollywood is in the business of selling audiences on a movie based on a trailer or a poster or the two lines that you see next to the name of the film in your local cinema listings. And as a result, every exec in Hollywood thinks in terms of those two lines from the get-go.

So as an author, if you want to grab my attention and get me to sign on to represent your project, you need to put in your cover letter not only the things you would normally include in a letter to a literary agent but also how you picture your book as a movie in two lines.

I get quite a few queries each day, and the ones I respond to show that the author has thought about the marketplace. I’m going to form my own opinion about how good your writing is by reading your work, so I don’t need you to tell me what so-and-so said about it or that it was a finalist at such-and-such a competition. But I do need to know that, as a content creator, you are aware of the marketplace and have sat down and thought about how your project fits into that wider context without being derivative.

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