Question of the day: My husband self-published a book -- and it is his first novel. It is selling extremely well and has gotten excellent reviews on Amazon and from other readers. We live in a small Connecticut town so his outlets locally are limited to advance this writing, but I am absolutely certain it would make an outstanding TV movie . . . better than most I have seen lately. I have encouraged him to send a copy to a producer but wonder if an agent would be the best route?
In my opinion, a film agent is always a better, smarter choice than not - just as a literary agent is always a better choice then winging it on your own. So, if he has the option, of course I would recommend going with a film agent. That said, landing a film agent is very, very, very, very, very difficult - harder than landing a literary agent, if you can believe that, as film agents are even pickier about the projects they take on than lit agents are. And then, of course, even if a film agent does take it one, the odds of selling it aren't 100%, and then, once sold, the odds of it getting made are slimmer - probably about 5-10%.
I'll also add - not to be discouraging but because it's honest - that I suspect it will be very tough to snag the interest of a film agent with a self-pubbed novel. Which isn't a crack at self-pubbling, rather an frank assessment of the marketplace: film agents are SWAMPED with submissions from some seriously big-time books, many of which they say no to or can't sell to producers/Hollywood. The odds of one of them plucking up a smaller, self-pubbed book, well, they're just not high. And again, I'm being honest - and hope that doesn't sound unkind - because that's not at all how I mean it. From your email, it sounds like you may have a producer connection, and if that's the case, then I say you work it for all you can. THAT's the smart route to take here.
Look, every writer (or nearly every writer) dreams of having his or her book adapted to the big screen. It is the big KAHUNA. And I promise you that each of those writers thinks his or her book is also perfect for the movies/TV. And maybe they are. But Hollywood is soooooooo tough to crack and soooooo strange and difficult to understand, I'm truly just trying to save you some heartache here. Pursue the leads you can - I think that's the most viable option you have.
I'd love to hear from others: has anyone has success selling a project to a reputable studio and/or producer without a film agent? Am I being too pessimistic here?