Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Applause for Author!Screenwriter!

Foolishly I put off reading this book too long. Read this review and then click your way over to Amazon to order. (When you're ready to send a query to Peter Miller's Agency, mention you've read his book. Every writer appreciates acknowledgement!)

How's a Writer Like an Ex-con?
By Eben Reilly

When David, a felon twice convicted, approached me, he looked embarrassed. “Before this class I didn’t know what a resume was.” “Well,” I said, “You don’t know what you don’t know until somebody who does know, tells you.”
Then I read Author!Screenwriter! by Peter Miller, and like my ex-con student I felt humbled by what I hadn’t known, but grateful for the inside information that just might get me as a writer off the streets. Having written children literature for over ten years, freelancing stories, poems and publishing two YA novels with a quirky, independent British publisher, I thought I knew about being a writer: but you don’t know, what you don’t know until somebody who does know tells you.
And Peter Miller knows. The President of PMA Literary and Film Management, Inc. and Literary Lion, Inc, Peter has successfully managed over 1,000 books worldwide, including eleven New York Times bestsellers, and hundreds of film and television properties. Despite the stress on his agency that receives over 300 queries a week, a business that spans the desks of film producers in Los Angeles and publishers in New York City, a bridge he’s helped many authors cross, Peter Miller has time, interest and enthusiasm for writers.
Besides being informative Author!Screenwriter! reads well. Not one of these pedantic authors who list the do’s and don’ts of publishing like a guide to professional etiquette, Peter has great stories to tell to back up his advice.
Before reading his savvy guide on “How to Succeed as a Writer in New York and Hollywood”, I had never heard of an elevator pitch. That’s a description so brief and so compelling that if fate has been kind enough to toss you into an elevator with an editor or agent of note, you’ve sold them on your book by the time the doors part on the ground floor.
An elevator pitch sold Peter on the Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo. Mario cornered him on the way upstairs at a Rocky Mountain Writers Conference in Colorado with a pitch so convincing that within three weeks Peter had the manuscript on his desk in New York City, and within another week he brokered a three book deal with Harper Collins.
Not all of Peter’s stories, however, are fairy tales.
Another new concept for me was the literary auction. That’s when an agent designates a date and a time for the end of the sale of a manuscript. Peter submitted a manuscript to 14 publishers to respond in two weeks with a ground floor offer of 50,000. There were no offers. But another lesson to be learned at the hand of the master: tenacity pays. The author went back, fine-tuned the manuscript, and Peter found the right match for the book with a British based publisher.
Similarly, each section of Author!Screenwriter! : Get Published; Get Produced and Proposals That Get the Deal Done offers writers not more stagnant advice, but direction. A knowing guide Peter invites writers to cross a bridge: for prose writers to think about screenplays and for screenplay writers to think in prose. And like a knowing guide, Peter gives the information that will help you look less like a greenhorn and more like a seasoned professional when you get there.

5 Comments:

At 7:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good review and I will keep his name in mind. Thanks.
Love, Mel

 
At 7:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up on the book. I tend to stay away from the how-to succeed as a writer genre, but this one sounds interesting.
Will check it out.


angelique from BC

 
At 9:01 PM , Blogger Sheela Wolford said...

Thank you so much for my copy of his book! I am really getting a lot out of it. I especially like your review, too! Good stuff, cowgirl!

 
At 12:16 PM , Blogger Eben Reilly said...

Sheela--

If anyone can put Peter's book to good use, you can!

Congrats again on the sabbatical--
no greater gift than time! There's little envy,but having a summer to write without distraction, I am a bit jealous.

Look fwd. to being your first reader...

 
At 9:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again... just read your review of Peter's book. I think I might give
it a look. It sounds interesting and useful. Incidentally, is this
someone we could actually get a screenplay to? If so, we might have
something for him. We've got a few things going, but one incredible
script that we've been talking about trying to shop around. It would
need a budget-- not something we'd want to just do on our own. Let me
know what you think. I could send you what we've got so far if it might
give you a better idea of what Peter might be able to do with it.

Take care,
J

 

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