How to Turn Your Book Into a TV Series

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Original TV content is enticing consumers to sign up for streaming services instead of cable. With more streaming services entering the TV market, the need for original, quality content is increasing.

One way streaming services get material for their original shows is to turn popular books into TV series.

This is excellent news for authors since having your book turned into a TV show helps increase your brand awareness and helps establish you as an author.

But, as an author, how do you get your book into a TV series, especially if it’s not a best seller and you don’t have an agent?

You do some of the legwork to show them how your book will excel as a TV series.

1. Create an Attention-Grabbing Pitch of Your Book

Unless you’re on the best sellers list, you and your book is an unknown quantity. That’s okay! You’re also a writer. You’re going to use your talent to grab the attention of the right producers or executives for your story.

Start by writing a log line. This is a short 35 words or less sentence that explains who your story is about, their goal, and the obstacle. Think of it as an elevator pitch—you have only a few seconds to grab the attention of a TV producer. This needs to be catchy!

Next, prepare a synopsis—this a summary of your book that will make them want to read your book. You want the TV producer or executive reading your story to see how this will unfold as a TV series easily.

TV is a visual medium. So even if your story doesn’t evoke a lot of visuals, the adapted TV version will need to be visual. Keep this in mind, so you’ll be able to help producers see the potential of your story as a TV series from the beginning.

Lastly, create a pitch letter highlighting why and how your book will make a great TV series. Show how it can be adapted. This gives them less work to do.

You want your materials to help the producer see that your book is an excellent fit for TV.

2. Research TV Producers

Don’t send your story and materials to anyone who claims they’re a producer. You could get scammed, and you’ll be wasting your time. Not every project is a good fit for every story.

Take the time now to research which TV producers would be a good fit for your story and find out if they are accepting submissions.

Investigate what types of shows they have produced. Call and talk to the company they work for to find out if they are accepting submissions. Research them online.

3. Build Your Network

Building industry connections is vital. When you have connections, you have people who can provide you with trusted information and also help provide recommendations or introductions which can help get your book noticed.

To build your network, follow key industry professionals on their social media. Engage with them, but don’t pitch your idea first thing. Reply to their posts or tweets. Ask appropriate industry questions. You are building a relationship.

Attend film festivals or workshops. You’ll be learning about the industry and getting an in-person opportunity to build your network. The opportunity to naturally pitch your idea may come up in these conversations, or they might not. Regardless, you now have a chance to remind them that you’ve met before when you do pitch.

4. Submit Your Pitch and Be Patient

It’s time to submit your pitch to the industry professionals you think will be a great fit for your story. Be sure to follow their guidelines for what materials to send exactly. It shows you pay attention to details.

Make a spreadsheet of who you submitted your pitch to and when. This will make it easier to keep track.

Lastly, be patient. This is perhaps the hardest part. You’ve done all you can, and now it’s out of your control. This process can take time—months even.

So while you wait, start working on your next story.

Aaron Ayhan