You Oughta Be in Pictures

Ever thought about your book becoming a movie? I’m blogging all about it over at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:

movie reelLet’s start with this assumption: if you’ve written a novel or memoir, chances are you’ve dreamed of it becoming a movie. Admit it! It’s visual… it’s dramatic… the story is even better than [insert name of box office hit].

And you may be right! Plenty of books could make great movies, if only someone were interested in making a movie out of them.

So today I’d like to shed a little light on film rights. Keep in mind that different agents have different ways of handling things, and there is no clear path to Hollywood, but these are some basics.

Hollywood Film Agent Required

Literary agents don’t typically sell in Hollywood. (We sell to publishers.) So we get our movie rights optioned or sold by partnering with a film agent. Large literary agencies have film departments whose full-time job is creating and maintaining relationships with Hollywood agencies, and trying to get film agents interested in their authors’ books. But many writers aren’t repped by these larger agencies; that means your agent, in addition selling books to publishers, may be simultaneously pitching books to film agents.

Without a film agent, the only other path to the movies is if you have a personal connection with a producer, actor, or director who has the power to get a movie made and is also interested in your book.

Click to read the post at Books & Such.


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Sandy on April 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    The novel that I am currently writing contains so many visuals that it has been suggested that it would make a great movie.
    I have seen the movie in my mind but didn’t know how to even proceed. In doing research, I discovered that only 2 or 3 out of 15 manuscripts purchased are ever made into movies. Since I am writing from my heart I would not want to sell my story just to have it sit and collect dust. So I decided to just complete the story as a novel for now.

  2. […] You Oughta Be in Pictures – Rachelle Gardner […]

  3. Daniel on March 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I doubt either of my novels would translate to film. At least not to a movie. Too much of the subtlety would have to be sacrificed to fit the action into a 2-hour film.

    Might be able to translated each novel into a 10-episode mini-series like Game of Thrones. But even then much would be lost.

  4. J. F. Smith on March 28, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    You also have to have a book that would make sense in movie format. At a John Irving forum in January, he commented that his books normally don’t make sense, from a film perspective, because of all of the time that elapses.