Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Writing 101: Why Isn't Your Book on TV, Already?

"Game of Thrones" did it. So did "Pretty Little Liars." Don't forget about "Gossip Girl," "Perry Mason" and, yes, "Lassie" -- to name a few. There have been many successful TV series that were based on books...so how come your phone isn't ringing yet? Why isn't your book on TV? 

A Million Screens

Even back when there were just three channels on the TV, network execs couldn't figure out enough ways to fill the hours. Many television stations went off the air to show absolutely nothing during the late-night hours. Some stations still do this, but now they just show commercials. Today there are more TV channels than ever, so there's more opportunity than ever for a writer to create a story that can be turned into a TV show. Your phone should start ringing any day, now. 

Chances of it happening are fairly slim, of course. And even if you do get that call, don't expect things to work out. Before a television show ever makes it to your TV set (or your laptop, as the case may be), it's turned into a pilot. This is screened before a test audience, and may or may not be put on actual TV from there. Networks receive about 500 quick pitches for TV series every single year. They narrow that field down, and accept about 70 ideas. This field is shortened even more, and around 20 TV pilots are ordered. 

The few pilots that are accepted become TV shows. Most of them will only last for one season before being cancelled. Approximately 65 percent of all new shows are cancelled before getting to season two.

Your odds of writing a book that becomes a successful TV series are getting slimmer all the time. However, if it's something you really want there are ways to pursue it. Use social media and online advertising to find a television writer who can help you with the pilot script and your sales pitches. Learn how to make contact with networks in order to pitch your idea, and keep in mind that the odds aren't in your favor. 

But of course, it does happen for some authors...and maybe it will for you, too.

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