About Literary Film Agents

Literary Film Agents

Don’t be afraid to ask your agent what her plan is re sending your book out to the movie business — even though she’ll sigh just a bit.

Here’s what you need to know about literary film agents (assuming you’ve gotten your audio rights covered). There are three good times for an agent to get your books into the hands of literary film agents:

* When an agent has just taken on a book and is really, really excited about it. The idea is high-concept; the agent thinks it will go for a lot of money. Hollywood loves the chase. So the agent sends the book to suitable literary film agents. An agent takes on the book. And the literary agent and the film agent go out to publishers and producers simultaneously.

* When the book has just been acquired by a publisher. The announcement appears in Publishers Marketplace. Assistants to producers and studios and film agents want to read it. But if the idea isn’t high-concept and cinematic and sexy…well, this can also be a place and time where film dreams disappear.

* Just as the reviews are being published.

But the fact is that most books are discovered by film people almost accidentally, and for some reason these accidents seem to disproportionately involve airplanes or children or college roommates. A producer slips into first class and asks his seatmate what she’s reading. A producer falls in love with a middle-grade series when he reads it to his nine-year-old daughter. The college roommate of the author is now working at a studio. Yes, yes, of course it doesn’t happen this way all the time, but what your agents wants you to know is that this is the most unpredictable aspect of the publishing business and that she has very little control over whether Hollywood or Netflix will decide whether to acquire your novel.