New opportunities for authors

by | Apr 28, 2019 | Karna Small Bodman, The Writer's Life | 6 comments

Submitted by Karna Small Bodman

The industry magazine, Publishers Weekly, just announced that Netflix is on a book acquisition spree — developing dozens of  screen adaptations of novels, short story collections and graphic novels, thus offering a greatly expanded opportunity for authors who aspire to see their creations on TV as well as in bookstores.  And with 139 million subscribers watching and streaming for hours on end, many talented authors are truly becoming household names.  One example is fellow member of International Thriller Writers, Harlan Coben — who will be the recipient of the organization‘s “Silver Bullet” award at our annual conference, ThrillerFest, at the Grand Hyatt in New York July 9-13. 

Author Harlan Coben

 It turns out that Netflix has inked an exclusive multiyear deal with Coben, developing FOURTEEN of his stories into series and features.  Right now, his novel The Stranger is being filmed for a series about Adam Price, played by Richard Armitage, who appears to be living the perfect life with a great wife and two sons.  All seems on track until one night in a bar, a stranger comes  over to reveal a

shocking secret about his wife. Harlan is such a prolific writer, with some 70 million books in print, I’m sure you’ll also want to check out his new book, Run Away.

Other brand new Netflix features include Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, and Frank Miller and TomWheeler’s illustrated novel, Cursed.”  Netflix’ VP of Original Series, Matt Thunell says, “There’s just no other substitute for the amount of work and creativity that goes into a book.” How true.  Another Netflix VP, Kelly Luegebiehl, says, “We have development teams who are reading all night and every weekend.”

We know that Netflix has been adapting books to films for many years, turning out popular programs such as Lemony Snickets’ A Series of Unfortunate Events, often described as a “Feel good movie,” — this one starring Jim Carrey, Liam Aikon, and Emily Browning. Then, in

Sandra Bullock in BIRD BOX

complete contrast we have what has been described as a “terrifying masterpiece of suspense” — the adaptation of Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, Sara Paulson, Rosa Salazar and John Malkovish.  This offering was viewed in over 80 million households during its first four weeks on the service. 

Proving that the chiefs at Netflix have an appetite for a wide variety of stories, they acquired the literary phenomenon, The Guernsey Literary and potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer — which was a bestselling book on every continent! This one, starring Lily James is about a London writer who creates a bond with the colorful residents of Guernsey and the book club they formed during WWII occupation of their town.

Even popular children’s books are getting the Netflix treatment with word that the company has  announced plans for a “slate of premium animated event series and specials” based on a long list of books by Raold Dahl, the multi-talented, multi-faceted man who has served as a spy, an ace fighter, a a medical inventor, even a chocolate historian — as we all saw when he wrote the famous story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (We Rogues especially favor the spy connection though).

Roald Dahl

The whole point is that there are ever expanding opportunities for authors of all genres to snag a contract now — with the growing appetite for stories that can be adapted for that big screen in your living room.  As for what you as a writer can do to enhance the chances that you will be offered a deal by one of the acquisition editors, you might check out these tips offered recently on our Rogue site — read it  here 

I’m sure we all have read books we wish would be turned into a feature film.  One that comes to mind is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles — a book that has appeared on bestseller lists now for over two years…an amazing feat! 

What books would YOU like to see adapted to a movie or series? Do leave a comment below or on our Facebook page (click the icon at the top left).  Now thanks for visiting us here on Rogue Women Writers.

…Karna Small Bodman

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  1. Gayle Lynds

    What a wonderful blog, Karna. It's so thrilling to see novels as the basis for movies, rather than the many, many remakes and series of the past. As you say, it's a golden time for us book writers. Fingers crossed one or more of us has our books made into great movies, too!

  2. Rogue Women Writers

    I'm pulling for one (or more) of the Rogue thrillers to be adapted for film or TV…the time certainly is right!!! Fingers crossed as, hopefully, our various agents take advantage of this new Netflix opportunity. Also, the WALL STREET JOURNAL just reported that one reason Netflix is trying to acquire more original material is that some of the other content provides (AT&T etc.) are going to be streaming shows themselves and are taking back many popular old sitcoms among others….Karna Bodman

  3. Lisa Black

    It’s wonderful to see the recognition that books are valuable properties, that can lead to great TV!

  4. Robin Burcell

    Well, if I had to pick… (raises her hand, points to her bookshelf!). It's exciting to think that this could happen to one of us. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

  5. Jamie Freveletti

    I agree with Robin and the rest (waving my hand). Love that books are being adapted and hope the trend continues!

  6. Chris Goff

    Well, I would love to see my books in film, but I'm excited to see the adaptation of The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne. I just finished it, and it's very visual. Helena, her main character, is a rogue if I've ever seen one–and Karen's a bit of a rogue, too. Great write up, Karna!