Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thursday, July 8 "Screenwriter to Novelist"

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Charlotte Cook & Jon James Miller

"Adapting Sideways: The Not-So-Straightforward Transition from Screenwriter to Novelist"

Thursday, July 8, 7 pm*
*Come early to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other, and network with local talent. The speaker presentation will start around 7:30pm
Downtown Borders (Upstairs)
900 State Street
FREE and open to everyone!

Jon James Miller and Charlotte Cook will show how adaptation is a two-way street, doubling your odds of selling your story. Novelization is a realistic strategy extending the life of your script and publishers want well-conceived novels by committed writers. Story drives the process. These experienced novelists/screenwriters teach basic structure transitions and world building for a publishable novel.

Charlotte Cook is president and story editor of KOMENAR Publishing as well as a popular presenter at writers conferences and events, and a successful teacher and workshop facilitator. She has an MFA in Creative Writing as well as practical business experience in the book industry. As an acquisition and story editor, she brought to publication far more books, articles and stories than the six award-winning novels she published for KOMENAR. As a result, Writers Digest interviewed Charlotte about her career and publishing company in February 2008.

Jon James Miller worked for several years in cable documentaries for A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel while writing original feature length screenplays in LA. He’s had three screenplays optioned; two historical dramas and one dark comedy about the film industry. In 2008, Jon’s original screenplay “Garbo’s Last Stand” won Grand Prize of the AAA Screenplay Contest sponsored by Creative Screenwriting Magazine and was featured in the May/June issue. In 2009, the same script won The Golden Brad Award for Drama sponsored by the Movie Script Contest. Jon will be a juror at the 2010 Big Bear International Film Festival and a panelist at the 2010 CreativeScreenwriting Expo in LA. He is currently adapting his award-winning script “Garbo’s Last Stand” into a novel with an interested publisher.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

“The Four Trends Roiling Publishing” June 10 Meeting Minutes

Marcia pointed out that there has been an incredible amount of change in the publishing business over a relatively short period of time. She used her own long and varied career as an example. She started out as a newspaper reporter fresh out of college when newspapers were just moving from hard copy to computers. Reporters started having to not only write their stories, but also news summaries and sometimes even headlines. Then along came the Internet, and the 24-hour news cycle was born. Reporters suddenly found they also had to be, in some cases, videographers. Today, the printed news industry seems to be in the death throes. Marcia left newspapers in mid-1990s, and now not only writes books like Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World but she blogs for several online news magazines, as well as her own website and occasionally for The Huffington Post. She refers to herself today as a “content provider.”

But she is quick to point out that change also means opportunity. Writers just have to figure out how to take advantage of today’s market and be prepared for tomorrow’s as well. She said there are four trends today affecting the way writers work and get published:

  • Technology is Constantly Advancing
  • Big Publishing Houses Are Continuing to Cut Back
  • Smaller Publishers Are Starting to Step Up and Take On More Clients
  • Self-Publishing is Becoming the Choice For Many Writers

Publishers will continue to publish celebrity books and books by well known, popular authors, but they are also looking at new ways to survive themselves. They know that innovations like the iPad, e-Books and interactive books are becoming more and more commonplace. Penguin views the iPad platform as an opportunity to create an entirely new kind of book with streaming video, audio and gaming built in. For writers this means a greater emphasis on content and packaging. According to the people at Authorlink, the printed book is part of a total package that can be adapted into other formats.

This also means content should be shorter so it works in smaller chunks. As writers we should start thinking in terms of shorter chapters and quicker pacing while still telling a great story. Also in terms of what works online as more and more publishing will be done online.

Big publishers are in trouble and they will continue to decline. People are still reading but more and more online. This means an increase in interest in print on demand (POD) and self-publishing. Marcia shared some startling statistics: While the number of fiction titles dropped by 11% in 2008, self-published books increased 132%! 2009 figures were even more astounding. This will leave many mid-list writers unable to get published by the big publishers. However, great new opportunities exist with small, regional, and specialty presses.

The most significant trend for writers today is the increasing number of self-publishing options. There are many services like iUniverse and Lulu that allow authors to make and sell their own books and keep more profit than ever before, though they will have to do their own marketing, record-keeping, and selling utilizing their own websites, blogging, and social media.

Marcia’s new book Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World. Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders includes many more examples and tips on how writers can take advantage of today’s changing and challenging world of publishing.
- By Ernie Witham

Marcia Meier: Author and Journalist from dolphingal805 on Vimeo.