Episode 121 – Pokemon GO, Doomsday Scenarios, and Movie Scripts (with Honoree Corder)

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Question of the Week: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in publishing and why?

Honoree Corder joined the show in Jim’s absence this week, as she and Bryan talked tips, news, and breakfast. After thanking this week’s patron (S.J. Pajonas and her book Removed http://bit.ly/sjremove ), they shared tips about Scrivener for iOS, MFAs, and Kwill Publication’s new book-to-script program. News stories included a DRM court case, reasons for the rise of audio, new KU additions, doomsday trad pub scenarios, and why Pokemon GO could kill Facebook. This week’s Question of the Week: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in publishing and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • More about Amazon’s upcoming special breakfast
  • How a new service helps authors turn their books into screenplays
  • What new features Apple users can expect from Scrivener for iOS
  • Why three reasons for getting an MFA in Creative Writing are myths
  • Why a lawsuit is trying to overturn the ban on breaking DRM
  • How changing technology and behaviors popularized audiobooks
  • What new ways readers can access classic literature and iconic articles
  • What five scenarios could be the downfall of traditional publishing
  • Why Facebook shouldn’t fear Pokémon GO
Links:
Question of the Week: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in publishing and why?

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  • I dont’ see the need to pay someone to turn your book into a pitch. If your book is successful on a mass scale, they will come to you and pay you the right to option it. I’d rather spend that money on marketing and maybe even creating a nice concept art mini book for show at places like comiccon and meet ups. At least then, you don’t have to have a middle man between you and your contacts. Especially if they don’t have contacts and your story requires a decent budget to create (3 million vs 200 million to make).

    • We’re not doing a pitch – it’s a screenplay.

  • Phil Kassel

    Regarding the service that charges an author $4,000 to $9,000 to adapt their book into a screenplay I have this advice: Run! Run away as far and as fast as you can. I am a writer-director turned novelist and after forty years working professionally in Hollywood, and the entertainment industry I can state without hesitation that the odds of your screenplay even being optioned (let alone produced) is extremely slim. Of course, there are always exceptions and miracles do happen, but you might want to try your odds on a Powerball ticket. Your money will be better spent.

    • A D Davies

      For that price, they’re in breach of union rules too. No writer should pen a script for less than – what is it these days? 50K? A little more, I think. No professional writer would pen a feature script for that amount.

      • Phil Kassel

        You make a good point, although many WGA member writers will take on writing projects that the guild would frown upon. It’s a tough business so getting a paycheck is important. But this “service” to turn an author’s book into a script just screamed “scam” to me.

        • Hi, I run Kwill Books. Given we knew this response was inevitable, this is in our FAQs:

          “Unfortunately, there are certain critics who like to use the word “scam”
          about everything new. There is nothing fraudulent or dishonest about a
          service that delivers what it says it will for the price given before
          purchase.”

          The price is expensive but this is because it needs to be worth the writer’s time to draft a readable screenplay. We can’t charge $50K b/c that’s unfair to the author. So this is a middle ground.

          There is no doubt that it’s tough to break into Hollywood. This isn’t guaranteeing a movie deal, and nowhere do we make that claim. It’s to create a professional screenplay. However, a spec script is more likely to get into someone’s hands than a book with few sales. It’s easier to sell a story than a property with no track record – though obviously it’s hard to break in no matter what.

          Again, this package is mainly to produce a screenplay with a fair wage for the screenwriter. It’s not promising Hollywood success.

          • Phil Kassel

            I appreciate your post, Henry. Whether my use of the word “scam” is too harsh or not remains to be seen; I still don’t know a lot about your company or your service. But you made an effort to respond to your critics; that shows you care about your company and want potential customers to fully understand your service. It says a lot.

            Thinking about your service from a perspective that comes from working in Hollywood for many, many years, I first wonder what caliber of screenwriter will be taking on these adaptations. Are they top rate, just okay, starving hacks?

            I also wonder, since you’ve written that all you promise is a script and not Hollywood success, what kind of author is going to be drawn to what you have to offer? Since your fee is not “pocket change” the average writer, and since the chance of having the script actually produced is slim to none, it seems that the author’s ego rush of seeing their story in script form is the motivation to spending the money. Of course, that isn’t your problem, especially if you offer full disclosure up front.

            At any rate, I wish you well and hope that the authors contracting your services will be blessed with great success.

        • Why are we a scam? The definition of “scam” is not getting what you pay for – our clients DO. This is bordering on slander. Please refrain from any more comments. This is very rude and nasty. And by the way, anyone with half a brain would know non-WGA jobs are perfectly fine. It means you are not supported by the Union is all.

      • The answer is simple – they are not WGA gigs. These are not films in production. If some of our writers want to charge WGA fees they will. We have all our paperwork in order, thank you for your concern.

    • I love it when people just negate my 2 years of hard work setting up this incredibly in-demand service! We’re not offering a movie, we’re offering the screenplay. It’s a transaction between the author and the screenwriter, and if YOU don’t want it, fine. Some people do, and many of my clients have a sense of fun and adventure, and the creation process is something they enjoy – it’s not all about being bitter and miserable, although I can see how 40 years in Hollywood could do that to you. Good luck with the Powerball.

      • Bryan

        Hey Cate. So sorry that our crowd frustrated you with their comments (it is the Internet after all ;)), but I think this can be a great learning moment with your service!

        If folks who listened to the show had these reactions, then you’re bound to have some folks who have the same reaction when they see your info on your site. Maybe you can take what folks are saying and see if there’s a way you can dispel those “buying barriers” when you pitch to new folks.

        Like I’ve never said (but should start saying), you can get angry, or you can get awesome :).

        Good luck with this!

  • Simon Goodson

    Will Pokemon Go kill off Facebook? One word… Farmville! Remember that, and how everyone was completely hooked on it? In the end it fragmented into a thousand games or more and everyone is still on facebook.

    Something may come along to replace facebook, but I don’t think it’ll be a game like that and I suspect Pokemon Go will be mostly another “I remember that” in a year or two. Or, having spent ten minutes driving a car with two fifteen year old boys in tonight, I really HOPE it will be!

    • Bryan

      Wasn’t Farmville on Facebook though?

  • Simon Goodson

    What will the next big thing be? Probably not the next, but at some point someone is going to make it much easier to read books from Amazon and other suppliers in a single app without any messing. It’s not so easy to do on the Kindle devices, but as more and more people move to smart devices it gets easier. Bookfunnel is already doing a good job here, and I’m sure it’s going to happen. Then if the same happens for audio then suddenly Audbile’s vice like grip will loosen.

  • Anyone remember Ingress, which came before Pokemon Go? It was (is?) nowhere near as popular, but it was also designed to get you out and about. It was more sci fi missions with some matrix and illuminati thrown in rather than gathering little cartoon dudes. It actually sounds fun.

    Pokemon Go uses the Ingress ‘engine’ to do it’s thing, btw.

  • A D Davies

    Re the movie thing – NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO! Please do not waste your money on this. The movie industry is ridiculously hard to break in to. Simply having a script and a pitch is no way to access it. You NEVER pay someone to do this. THEY pay YOU for the right to adapt your script. Anyone can become an IMDB accredited – write a five min script, film it on your iphone and release the movie on iTunes, and hey presto, you’re on IMDB. If you want to spend a bit of cash on MAYBE getting a movie deal, get yourself a professional paperback – Createspace or Lightening Source/Ingram – and gift it to producers who have made movies in that genre. If it’s got some juice in terms of sales, all the better. But that probably won’t work either, unless it’s REALLY good. Ultimately, this sounds about as promising as AuthorHouse.

    • Daniel Martone

      Absolutely correct… unless they truly believe in your project and are doing it on spec, there is zero chance of them utilizing any of their industry contacts. Coming from the film world, we know there are just as many scams as there are in the fiction world (Author Solutions). It’s easy to prey on people hoping to live the dream.

      • Not true. This is just you saying things out loud with no research or knowledge. Our writers DO share their work. Totally unfair to make things up and state it as fact without even looking into what we do. We are NOT “preying” on people! What a terrible thing to say!

    • Hi, I run Kwill Books. First about this:

      “You NEVER pay someone to do this. THEY pay YOU for the right to adapt your script.”

      This is the argument many people make against self-publishing: money should only flow to the writer. This is a service, like editing or book design. Not every author can write a screenplay, and the screenwriter needs to be paid for their time.

      Now this: “Anyone can become an IMDB accredited – write a five min script, film it
      on your iphone and release the movie on iTunes, and hey presto, you’re
      on IMDB.”

      This is specifically why we’ve looked for writers with legitimate credits – screenwriters who have had movies produced with notable actors (Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, others).

      • Lincoln James

        I was going to leave this, but it looks like too much of a sensible reply and I’d hate for a writer to be researching this “book to movie” service and be taken in by it.

        Let me be clear first: I believe this service WILL deliver what they say it will. You pay a fee, they deliver a movie script. They make no outright promise of success. Therefore you cannot definitively call it a “scam.”

        However, have been an indie publisher whose career has been a slow, steady climb without paying $4-9k for the privilege, and who has worked in TV and been close (twice) to selling original screenplays, I have some experience, and I do not believe it is value for money.

        I’ve just clicked on other areas of the site and noticed that Kwill books charges “from” $3999 to publish a novel is just awful. Meaning it could cost an author a lot more depending what extras are sold to them.

        Authors: THERE IS NO NEED TO PAY MONEY TO A COMPANY TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK.

        “This is a service, like editing or book design.”

        No, it’s offering false hope to authors. And there doesn’t appear to be any sort of quality requirement, meaning you don’t reject books. If an author’s book is trash, the script will likely be trash, and since there’s no mention of a selection process on the site based on the quality, saleability or past success of the novel (either for scripts or novel publishing) it suggests Kwill is just sucking money out of aspiring authors who haven’t done the research.

        No producer is going to buy a script based on you book if your book is not successful with a built-in audience already. Can anyone imagine Andy Weir doing this when The Martian was still a series of blog posts or unedited 0.99 ebook?

        Of course not.

        Also, despite not making any outright promises of success, the site does not mention the tiny, infinitesimal odds of getting that script even seen, let alone bought. The site should warn potential donors that they will, almost definitely, fail at selling that screenplay.

        Just having a script is no guarantee of even getting your work into the hands of agents let alone access to a producer. The only thing worth anything in Hollywood, once you have a decent script, is access. And it’s even harder to sell a script in that industry than it is to get a big five publisher to buy your book.

        You say Kwill works with “screenwriters who have had movies produced with notable actors (Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, others)”

        However, that doesn’t mean they’ve WRITTEN for those movies. The first of the writers I picked at random and looked on IMDB lists none of his “movies of note” states on the site. So he may have worked around that movie set but likely had no creative input. A runner, or someone’s assistant maybe. Others are “executive producers” or some have no credits at all. Sorry, but this doesn’t inspire any confidence.

        Look, here’s an idea – when you get ONE SINGLE sale of a script with this method, get in touch with the show here (heck, get in touch with ALL the indie podcasts) and you will have people snatching your hand off. I’m sure Jim and Bryan would love to chat with any successful venture, although of course I cannot speak for them. My guess is that you won’t be appearing, though.

        For now, the advice from me, and I’m sure all people with any experience, is to steer clear. This is not, in my opinion, no matter if you deliver what you say (as I am sure you will), a route to success.

        To get your book made into a movie, there are only TWO ways I can see:

        1) have a bestseller with an audience that also goes to the movies a lot. Producers will pay you, and if you get a decent agent to negotiate it, you may even get some back end too.
        2) spend four or five years learning to make movies yourself, then get funding, and make the whole movie yourself. Just like indie-publishing 🙂

        • “However, that doesn’t mean they’ve WRITTEN for those movies. The first
          of the writers I picked at random and looked on IMDB lists none of his
          “movies of note” states on the site. So he may have worked around that
          movie set but likely had no creative input.”

          This is just plainly wrong. The writers we’ve selected have legitimate credits, as well as connections.

          I have had books optioned as well. I also grew up in Hollywood – parents both working in Hollywood with long careers (producer Carol Baum, screenwriter Tom Baum, look them up). I’ve had agents, etc. I understand the inner workings of Hollywood very well, so I know it’s difficult. I also know that selling a book without sales is impossible. It’s MORE likely to sell a spec script if the script’s already written – if it’s a good story, it can be bought. We’re not talking about making a Ridley Scott blockbuster necessarily, but scripts do get bought all the time and developed without bestseller status.

          The selection process is not relevant. As long time reviewers of self-published books, we find that the bare bones story of a book is often very good, it’s just that the storytelling isn’t always up to par. A professional screenwriter can turn such a book into entertaining script, as long as the author is open to some freedom with the adaptation (adding new dialogue, etc.).

          “It’s even harder to sell a script in that industry than it is to get a big five publisher to buy your book.”

          This is also wrong. Not saying it’s easy, but there is a significant difference between the movie industry and publishing. In Hollywood, people buy the rights to a property to develop it, and it may never get made. In publishing, this never happens – if a publisher buys a book, a book’s going to come out, so they’re more selective. It’s hard to get a movie made, less hard to get a script sold.

          “The Martian” isn’t the only measure of the movie industry – that’s the VERY top of the industry. There are many, many other avenues to break in to the industry. Being a million seller isn’t the only way in.

          Again, this isn’t what we’re offering. We’re not offering a movie deal, but a step towards it. Given that we actually do have connections – and given that it’s in our best interest if a project does get bought – we will do what we can to make that happen, but we’re careful not to promise anything.

          You can call this “False Hope,” but the writers we’ve been working with already are enjoying the process, and don’t have stars in their eyes about winning an Oscar. The process is fun, and the possibility of something happening with the script may be a longshot, as they’re aware, but the hope is still worthwhile, as it is with publishing. It’s also a longshot to become a bestseller, but that doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t try.

      • Bryan

        Appreciating the calm discourse, all. It’s good to get everybody on the same page about what the service has to offer. Just make sure we all know we’re all trying to help authors here, so we’re on the same side. Thanks!

    • “Get yourself a professional paperback – Createspace or Lightening
      Source/Ingram – and gift it to producers who have made movies in that
      genre” – seriously? That’s the absolute worst thing to do! That’s the best way to look like a complete amateur with no knowledge of the way the film industry works! I did write a longer comment but given the lack of knowledge shown here, good luck to you, and this is not going to be for you. I can live with that.

  • Next Big Thing – I think it would be a kick in the nuts to trad publishers if Amazon partnered with Indy bookstores to sell books published on Amazon. It’s inevitable that they will, as the industry is shifting in that direction. This would depend on two things… Amazon’s plans for their own bookstores and Indy stores willing to partner with the “evil empire.”

    Screenplay Opportunity – That screenplay option has far too many vague terms in it. As mentioned on here already, being credited on IMDB means nothing. Having it viewed by production companies means nothing, because most of them don’t have any money. They just pitch that property to people who do. Having a script optioned can mean nothing. I’ve had screenplays options with friends for a $1 so they could say they own the rights when pitching it.

    Paying a writer to convert your story from novel to screenplay could be a possibility. I’ve been paid to turn ideas into screenplays before. You could probably get someone to do it for free (I’ve also done that). But, its not unheard of to pay a writer to write for you. $4k – $9k is excessive, however.

    Paying extra to have sole credit really doesn’t mean anything either, as the rules for credits on the final movie are defined by the Writers Guild and, since there are 1 million hurdles between a finished screenplay and a finished movie, there will be 1 million opportunities for other writers to obtain some or all of the writing credit of your film.

  • Y’all should change the name of the show to “the Sell More Crack Show”. I’m sure it’ll garner TONS of traffic ;P

    • Bryan

      GREAT IDEA! 🙂

  • Brian Brown

    It depends on what is meant by “big thing.” The needle comparing Amazon’s battle with the Big 5 for publishing dominance isn’t going to move much in the next couple of years unless one of them does something totally surprising. Buying one of the Big 5 or poaching their talent might qualify, but I don’t think we have any reason to think this is going to happen other than pure speculation at this point.

    What is going to radically change the landscape of publishing is Artificial Intelligence. Sure, laugh if you want to, but A.I. is currently progressing so rapidly, that it may be only a year or two before we see a NY Times bestseller written entirely by an algorithm. The next year it will be 5, then 100, etc. Whoever figures this out is going to dominate publishing for the next 5 10 20 years forever!

    Human writers will still exist, but they will be competing against something that can write a 10-novel series while you are sipping your first cup of coffee on Monday morning. And it will be absolutely tailored to the audience it’s trying to hit based on millions of points of data that our feeble human brains could never take into account. The A.I.’s books will have perfect character development, perfect story structure, and a climax that will fire off every endorphin in the book-reading section of our fun organ (that’s the brain you perverts).

    That’s the next big thing in publishing.

  • I suspect the next big thing will be B&N. Whether Nook goes under or someone steps in to give the division new life.

  • Crissy Moss

    Self publishing co-ops, or imprints seem to be catching on. That’s where several authors join together to help one another with covers, editing, marketing, etc. It’s a nice idea, and helps break the idea that it’s a “self published” book for those who are against self published books.

  • Laura Martone

    Excellent show, as always – it really helped us to pass the time between Chicago and northern Michigan! As a film fest co-director, I agree with others here that the novel-to-screenplay “offer” sounds like a scam to me – just another way to take advantage of eager writers. As for the next “big thing” in publishing, I wish I had an answer – but I’ve never excelled at predicting markets. If only!

  • I’ll turn your book into an epic poem for only $5k.

    It’s a much better investment than the movie script. Dozens of people will eventually buy the poem.

  • Thanks for featuring my book again! That was quite a surprise. 🙂 Agree with everyone else here that paying that much money to get your book turned into a screenplay is a ridiculous waste of money. Please just try to get your book optioned if seeing it on the big screen means that much to you. I come from a screenwriting background and THE REASON I’m writing novels now is because the screenwriting business is like 1000x worse to break into. You thought publishing was hard before self-publishing? Screenwriting is worse.

    The next big thing in publishing is totally going to be another shake-up in the Big 5 and even more authors coming to self-publishing because of it. That’s my prediction anyway.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for being a patron :). And for the thoughts and predictions!

  • Daniel Martone

    The next big thing… Well, I am hoping that the direct to reader market opens up. I think there is a real chance that authors will be able to side step the mighty Zon and sell direct to their peeps in a more efficient manner. Perhaps we’ll even see subscription type offerings. You can subscribe to an author (directly) and receive their work as soon as it is completed. This would truly cut out all gatekeepers.

  • Daniel Martone

    While I love audiobooks, and realize their sales are still rising, I don’t really see it taking over for reading. They said people would stop reading when films came out… then when TV hit the market… said that videogames would end reading… reading’s demise has been long foretold but there is something very powerful about the written word. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words… the fact is, words open the imagination like no other media. Maybe if you can literally plug yourself into a story ala The Matrix, that might dent it.

    • Daniel Martone

      Of course this doesn’t mean that I don’t hope to make a shit-ton of money peddling our audiobooks. 😉

      • Bryan

        🙂

  • jamiearpinricci

    One of the next trends in publishing that will help to balance the scales between trad and indie is the emergence of software and technology that allows indie authors/publishers to produce quality products quickly and through user-friendly interfaces. Software like Scrivner and/or Vellum are front-runners, but we will see more in the near future. The key will be cost accessibility and user-friendliness.