Category Archives: The Book Business

Three Ways an Author Central Page Can Spike Your Ranking on Amazon

Kim Staflund’s Author Central page can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Staflund/e/B0733M2PZV/

You may have been browsing Amazon.com’s bookstore recently, and you may have come across author pages that group together all of an author’s books in one place along with his or her photo(s) and biography. If you’re wondering how you can set up a page like this for yourself and how it can help to spike your overall ranking on Amazon, keep reading. Here’s what you need to know.

You Must Create Your Own Author Central Page and “Claim” Your Books to That Page

Whether you have a publisher (such as PPG) that is publishing your books worldwide for you or you’re self-publishing your own ebooks to Amazon’s Kindle by yourself, Amazon won’t automatically group all your books together—nor will Amazon allow your publisher to do it on your behalf because the company prefers to work directly with individual authors. What you must do is sign up to create your own Author Central Page; and, once that process is complete, you must contact them again to “claim” each of the books you want added to your page by sending them a list of the ISBNs (or ASINs) and titles of those books.

Your Author Ranking is Important to Your Overall Success Online

In many ways, online book sales and marketing works differently than traditional book sales and marketing does. In the traditional world, you’re trying to appeal to people (e.g., publicists, book reviewers, booksellers) to help you promote your book(s) to the masses. But, in the online world, you’re goal is to get your webpage indexed via computerized processes—algorithms. It’s all about effectively “pinging” a search engine’s algorithm in order to rank higher and higher in its search results which, much like a successful publicity campaign, will increase your page’s exposure. More exposure generally equates to more sales over time. It’s a numbers game.

Each one of your books on Amazon’s website has its own individual webpage ranking, and that ranking is based primarily on how many copies of the book have been sold. But there are other factors that can affect ranking such as publishing frequency, association with other bestselling books via the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section of the page, and one’s Author Central page … to name only three (algorithms are elusive creatures).

Three Ways an Author Central Page Can Spike Your Ranking on Amazon

Once your page is officially set up (which should only take a day or two … they’re pretty fast), the fun begins! Now you can create an author bio for yourself, upload author photos and promotional videos, include your upcoming events, and add the really simple syndication (RSS) feed from your WordPress blog to share teasers of your latest blog posts with an extended audience. Doing so can help to spike your ranking on Amazon in these three ways:

1. The very act of creating an Author Central page—and adding those first one or two books, author photos, events, and/or videos—automatically spikes your overall author ranking on Amazon. I found it to be quite a significant spike (400,000+ points on the author ranking scale!), so they’ve obviously built this into their algorithm to encourage more and more authors to do it.

2. Each subsequent update of any kind pings Amazon’s algorithm and increases your ranking again; albeit, in my experience, it’s not as significant a boost in ranking as the first time around. But here’s some great news: much like it is with all blogs and online publications, each time your RSS feed adds another entry to your author page, it not only pings Amazon. It also tells other search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu) that this particular Amazon page has received another relevant update which gets it re-indexed with all of them. (It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that an RSS backlink like this on a high-traffic website such as Amazon is also great for your blog’s SEO.)

3. Last but not least, a high-ranking Author Central page can help to boost the ranking of every book associated with it. If someone buys one of your books and really likes it, he or she won’t have to go far to find all the other books published by you. They will all be listed together, making it much easier to find and buy. The more books people buy and subsequently review for you on Amazon, the higher up your overall ranking will go.

The key is to maintain this pace. Keep it going. Keep updating your Author Central page in various ways … new books, new pictures, new events, new videos, new posts via your RSS feed. You can build on the last increase in your ranking by adding a new update quickly. But if you stop for extended periods of time, it will all slide back down again. Pretty soon, you’ll be so low on the totem pole that it will take a lot of work to climb back up to the top. So, be sure to keep your momentum going by continually updating your page at least once per week if not more. That’s the key to success in the world of algorithms and online selling.

Not All Amazon Regions Currently Offer Author Central Pages … and the Ones That Do Don’t Offer All the Same Features as Amazon.com

As of today’s date, there are only five regions in the world that offer Author Central pages and you must set up each one separately from the rest: the USA, UK, Germany, France, and Japan. I’ve also found that only the USA page allows for links to RSS feeds, but I’m hopeful the other regions will begin to see the benefit of this and add it to their platforms over time.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

“Rapid Release” Ebook Series Support

CLICK HERE TO VIEW EVEN MORE COVER SAMPLES

Very recently, I introduced you to a new mini ebook series that is being released online only that teaches authors how to sell more books using “rapid release” publishing—an online sales strategy that effectively “pings” Amazon’s algorithm in such a way that causes your books’ ranking(s) to rise up higher and higher in the search results. The higher your books’ search results are, the better your chances of a sale … of several sales!

Many authors around the world (e.g., the UKUSA, Australia) are now selling THOUSANDS of books each year by using these techniques. This ebook series will teach you, step-by-step, how to do exactly what they’re doing.

And now Polished Publishing Group (PPG) is offering even more support to help independent authors like you to produce your own “rapid release” ebook series. In partnership with NessGraphica, PPG will help you to produce four truly professional ebook covers (similar to the quality shown above), and we’ll convert your Word.doc manuscripts into .MOBI and .EPUB formats for you. Four ebooks will be designed and converted for you for the price of only one.

“Rapid Release” Ebook Series Support

Rapid Release Ebook Package 01 $850 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 01 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks up to 10,000 Words in Length Each

Rapid Release Ebook Package 02 $1,000 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 02 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks from 10,001 to 30,000 Words in Length Each

Rapid Release Ebook Package 03 $1,250 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 03 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks from 30,001 to 60,0000 Words in Length Each

(Editing, proofreading, and indexing services are not included in these packages. You upload your own ebooks online.)

Buy these ebooks to learn this “rapid release” publishing process. Decide if it’s for you. If the answer is “YES!” then contact PPG for support in creating your own “rapid release” ebook series by purchasing one of the above three packages. We look forward to working with you!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

What if you could sell 1,000 copies of your book every month?

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

What if you could sell 1,000 copies of your book every month? How about 3,000? Or even more?

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think the likelihood of this was quite low. But I’ve done some research, this past year, and I’ve come across quite a few teachers who have shown me just how possible this truly is. Now I’m going to share their teachings with you, and I’ll begin with this short excerpt from the first book of my new mini ebook series titled Book Publishing Shortcuts for Online Marketers | Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources:

…one evening, while I was researching bestselling strategies for authors, I came across an online Forbes article by J. McGregor (McGregor, J. 2017) titled “Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer.” That began to shift my thinking. It was an eye-opening piece about a highly successful UK author named Mark Dawson and how he sells massive quantities of books online. Following that, I attended a conference in Columbia, Missouri, where I met a US author named Liz Schulte who also earns a six-figure income selling her books online. A while later, I met an Aussie author named Timothy Ellis through an online Q&A site called Quora (Ellis, T. 2017, July), and he willingly shared his personal formula for selling a minimum of 3,000 books online every single month. (You can read more about these authors in this post from the PPG Publisher’s Blog.)

These three authors write fiction. So, I went in search of a non-fiction success story to confirm for myself that this strategy can work for everyone and every type of book—not only fictional novels. With a quick Google search, I easily found a post on The Creative Penn blog about a non-fiction author named Steve Scott (Penn, J. 2014). He, too, appears to be using this “rapid release” publishing method in conjunction with various other strategies, some of which will be discussed within this ebook series. (You can read more about Steve’s story in this post from the PPG Publisher’s Blog.)

Pre-order your copy today!

You may be wondering to yourself how they do it. What is the strategy? After quite a lot of research, I can tell you that, while they each have a unique relationship with their respective readers, there are two qualities they all share. And these are the two qualities that allow them all to sell the equivalent of thousands of books per month.

If you’re interested in learning more, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of each mini ebook within my new series titled Book Publishing Shortcuts for Online Marketers | Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources. Inside these books, I talk in detail about the two techniques each of these authors use to sell their books … plus a few more I’ve learned along the way while studying how Amazon’s and Google’s algorithms work.

The first book in the series is available for sale now. The remaining three are all available for back order. Order them today. Read them in full. Learn these strategies because they may just help you to improve your own sales in ways you never dreamed were possible before.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

WEEK SIX: LAUNCH YOUR BOOK | Pre-order the Fourth Installment Today!

WEEK SIX: LAUNCH YOUR BOOK | PUBLICATION DATE NOVEMBER 28, 2017

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

Now online marketers can learn the method today’s most successful authors are using to sell THOUSANDS of books online per year!

* * *

More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment. These are the people (e.g., the online marketers) who would rather utilize algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only. A perfect example of this type of author is today’s email marketer who is producing an “information product” (their lingo for “ebook”) as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Today’s most successful online marketers know that ebooks, emailing marketing, and affiliate marketing are just as legitimate sources of passive income as real estate investment trusts and high dividend stocks are. They also know that the best way to grow one’s readership (e.g., subscribers list, followers, online fan base of any kind) is to provide genuine and consistent value that is highly useful to those readers.

Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.

 

Coming soon! Watch for it in the fall of 2017.

T-Shaped Marketing for Authors. The New Way to Sell Books.

Online marketing provides today’s authors with a vehicle to reach a worldwide audience where, in the past, they were pretty much limited to their own backyards. But to make any kind of real headway in this crowded space full of millions of people doing the same thing as you’re doing online, you’ve got to be Internet savvy to a degree. You’ve got to figure out a way to stand out among the rest by combining analytical and creative skills together. I’m talking about T-shaped marketing.

Co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin (2013), provides this succinct description of T-shaped marketing on his company’s blog:

“T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad
array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).”

In other words, your deep knowledge/ability—the stem of the T—is the content you’ve written about in your book(s). The flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the Internet in selling your book(s).

Some of today’s most recognized companies used their own unique T-shaped marketing strategies (also referred to as “growth hacking”) to build their businesses quickly when little or no venture capital was available to them: Airbnb used some shrewd background coding to hack the Craigslist platform to boost its own site’s user experience; PayPal grew quickly by paying early users for referrals; and Dropbox used a strategy similar to PayPal’s by giving early users extra storage for referrals. These tactics piggybacked their other online efforts (e.g., SEO, PPC) to supercharge each company’s scalability, hence the term “growth hacking.”

Authors can do the same. They can use T-shaped marketing to their advantage, and many of today’s most successful online authors already do. Each ebook in this series will focus on one particular T-shaped marketing avenue so authors can learn to utilize several customized strategies:

* Online (paid) and Offline (unpaid) Book Reviews | Advertising vs. Publicity
* Email Marketing
* Advertorials and Blogging
* Content Syndication and Guest blogging
* HTML Coding for Beginners
* Mobile Marketing
* Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
* Search engine optimization SEO
* Social Marketing
* Video Marketing
* And the list goes on!

Authors are entrepreneurs, and T-shaped marketing is every entrepreneur’s friend. The top authors move more books by getting in front of their customers and communicating with them in a clear and consistent manner; and they do this by virtue of social media marketing, blogging, book reviews, email marketing, publicity/media tours, and all the other T-shaped marketing strategies we’ll be discussing. They do what’s necessary to make themselves stand out among all the rest for their particular genres, just as business people do with traditional companies.

The good news is it’s possible! There are examples right before your eyes—right inside these mini ebooks—of successful authors who have used T-shaped marketing to sell THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of books. You can use T-shaped marketing like a pro, too. I’ll show you how.

WEEK FIVE: REFINE YOUR BOOK | Pre-order the Third Installment Today!

WEEK FIVE: REFINE YOUR BOOK | PUBLICATION DATE OCTOBER 24, 2017

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

Now online marketers can learn the method today’s most successful authors are using to sell THOUSANDS of books online per year!

* * *

More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment. These are the people (e.g., the online marketers) who would rather utilize algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only. A perfect example of this type of author is today’s email marketer who is producing an “information product” (their lingo for “ebook”) as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Today’s most successful online marketers know that ebooks, emailing marketing, and affiliate marketing are just as legitimate sources of passive income as real estate investment trusts and high dividend stocks are. They also know that the best way to grow one’s readership (e.g., subscribers list, followers, online fan base of any kind) is to provide genuine and consistent value that is highly useful to those readers.

Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.

 

WEEKS TWO TO FOUR: WRITE YOUR BOOK | Pre-order the Second Installment Today!

WEEKS TWO TO FOUR: WRITE YOUR BOOK | PUBLICATION DATE SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

Now online marketers can learn the method today’s most successful authors are using to sell THOUSANDS of books online per year!

* * *

More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment. These are the people (e.g., the online marketers) who would rather utilize algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only. A perfect example of this type of author is today’s email marketer who is producing an “information product” (their lingo for “ebook”) as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Today’s most successful online marketers know that ebooks, emailing marketing, and affiliate marketing are just as legitimate sources of passive income as real estate investment trusts and high dividend stocks are. They also know that the best way to grow one’s readership (e.g., subscribers list, followers, online fan base of any kind) is to provide genuine and consistent value that is highly useful to those readers.

Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.

 

WEEK ONE: OUTLINE YOUR BOOK | Pre-order the First Installment Today!

WEEK ONE: OUTLINE YOUR BOOK | PUBLICATION DATE AUGUST 1, 2017

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

Now online marketers can learn the method today’s most successful authors are using to sell THOUSANDS of books online per year!

* * *

More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment. These are the people (e.g., the online marketers) who would rather utilize algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only. A perfect example of this type of author is today’s email marketer who is producing an “information product” (their lingo for “ebook”) as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Today’s most successful online marketers know that ebooks, emailing marketing, and affiliate marketing are just as legitimate sources of passive income as real estate investment trusts and high dividend stocks are. They also know that the best way to grow one’s readership (e.g., subscribers list, followers, online fan base of any kind) is to provide genuine and consistent value that is highly useful to those readers.

Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.

 

Adaptation: From Novel to Screenplay to Film

Judy Sandra – Writer, Director, Producer

These days it’s almost a given that a film will be based on a novel or book of non-fiction.  While I also write original screenplays, I decided to adapt a novel I wrote into a screenplay for a film that I will also direct. The following thoughts on adaptation come from my personal experience of adapting the novel The Metal Girl into the film project “Metal Girl.”

From Novel to Screenplay to Film

Novels and films are such different species that it can feel unnatural to marry them.  After the adaptation, the only thing they will share will be a story, the setting, and the characters. A novel is a completed art form.   One author writes the book, and one reader reads the book one at a time.  If it’s a successful book, many people, even millions of people will read that same book. While each reader will see the story through their own imagination and personal interpretation, the printed words will never change.

A screenplay is the blueprint for a film.  Very few people will ever read the original screenplay.  From the screenplay, the film will be created through the collaborative efforts of the director, cinematographer, actors, and all the creative professionals that contribute to the making of the movie.

The screenplay will evolve over the duration of the actual shooting of the film, with input and collaborations between the director and actors, and it will continue to evolve during the post-production process of the film—through the editing and finishing processes. The screenplay is a fluid and ever changing document.

I emphasize this to call attention to the fact that a screenplay is not a work of art. The film is the work. The screenplay is part of the work, a very significant part, but one that remains mostly invisible. The screenplay is the beginning of a process of the making of a film.

While this may seem an obvious point, it becomes a very important one when thinking about adapting a novel to the screen.  To me the screenwriter, the novel I have in front of me is a piece of writing that I am now going to bend to the medium of film.  The first thing to consider is adapting prose to dramatic writing and the limitations of the screenplay format.

From prose to screenplay format

To adapt the prose into a screenplay, I have to think about the story differently, as a series of scenes in three dimensions.  Also, to accommodate the average length of a film–one hour and forty-five minutes–most working screenplays are between approximately 90 and 105 pages. The narrative of an average 300-500 page novel simply won’t fit. Something—a lot—has to go.

How does one tell a novel length story in a 105 page script?

Efficiently, using the language of film.

What actually happens in an adaptation is that the story of the book gets retold in the language of film. In essence, you will be writing the original story again, but this time, it’s going to be a movie. That’s how it felt when I adapted The Metal Girl.  I was re-writing the novel, telling the same story in the same situations, but this time I was telling it using pictures, music, sound, and color. How would I tell that story, what would it look like, and how would those characters come to life on the screen?

Planning the adaptation: Structure

What elements of the story would stay and which could I cut out? Which characters, events, locations? What parts could I eliminate and what parts did I have to keep to portray the theme of the story and the main character’s journey?

What would change, and what would stay the same? This is not always evident at first. Through all the versions of the script, some events, situations, characters in the novel will be lost, but at the same time, other elements that were not in the original story might be added for dramatic effect. Further changes will occur over the course of the shooting and editing of the film.

The old adage of filmmaking is true: “There is the film you write, the film you shoot, and the film you edit”.  A film is an evolving creative process, but that’s one of the things that for me makes filmmaking so exciting: you never really know what a film will be or look like until the end.

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Beginning, Middle, End

The first consideration is the structure of the film story, which may have to differ from the structure of the novel. Deciding on the best timeline for the events of the story in the film is the first thing to adapt. In film one wants to build the narrative and keep the audience guessing. Surprise is an important element of screenwriting—the twists and turns of the plot—and one of the devices that holds the attention of the viewer.

A novel also has to move forward, but doesn’t have to build on emotion in the same way as a film.  A film takes the audience on an emotional journey. The film must hold you in your seat in rapt attention for one sitting of 90 to 105 minutes. So the screenplay must be structured in such a way as to build towards a dramatic, emotional climax that is resolved by the end. The words on the page don’t need to do that. The book can be of interest and engaging but we can put it down and come back to it later.

For example, in The Metal Girl, one very important event in the development of the main character Charlotte happened in the early part of the novel. But in the screenplay “Metal Girl”, for dramatic purposes, I put off that moment, building up to that point later in the story. When the moment occurs in the film, the audience is ready for Charlotte’s emotional response, and it becomes a turning point for the development of her character and the arc of the story.

Characters—Subtracting and Adding

In the same way that the narrative structure may have to change, in the screenplay you may have to make changes with characters in the story, especially if there are a lot or there are many incidental characters.  For the reasons of character development, the story arc, and the time constraints of a film, incidental characters need to be kept to a minimum.  Some characters in the novel fell away because I didn’t need them as they weren’t a crucial part of the story.  In the novel they may have added another color in the development of the main character or to the texture of the story, but in the film they were unnecessary extra details.

One reason that some new characters may appear in the script is to move the narrative forward, as the film will have a different story arc than the novel. Also, one might add characters and scenes that don’t appear in the novel in order to translate internal thoughts into dialogue. For example, the novel The Metal Girl is written in the first person.  In fact, in the novel, the narrator doesn’t even have a name. Because the entire story is coming from her mind and also describes her feelings about situations that occur, I sometimes chose to create a character that didn’t exist in the book for her to interact with in order to turn her thoughts into dialogue and her internal emotional state into her responses to other people.

Keeping what works 

In spite of what I said above, sometimes what is written in the novel works perfectly well on screen. After all the film is based on the novel and you want to keep as much of the flavor of the original story as possible. In “Metal Girl” some of the dialogue in the screenplay comes directly from the  novel. Parts of the first person narrative in the book were used as voiceover in the screenplay. In the beginning of the film, we hear the main character Charlotte telling us about what we are seeing on screen as we watch the opening scenes unfold before she actually speaks in the film. Other scenes in the film were lifted directly as they were written in the novel. If it works, use it.

The End

The process of making a film, from pre- to post-production, typically takes one to two years. During that time the story has been guided by the director, writer, and producer with the collaborative efforts of the cinematographer and the entire creative team. Shooting every day is magical: how things come together on camera, what the performances will be. Putting the film together in post production—the editing and finishing process—is the final adventure.

Filmmaking is an unpredictable controlled chaos of creativity. At the end of this exciting, creative, and arduous process, you will have a film. The adapted screenplay will not be a replica of the novel, but hopefully will become a  film that is as special as the novel that inspired it.

Judy Sandra – Bio:

Judy Sandra is a director, writer, producer, and author. The screenplay “Metal Girl” is an adaptation of her coming-of-age novel The Metal Girl.  Judy has received four best screenplay award nominations for “Metal Girl”, including being honored as one of the three screenwriting finalists at the 2016 Nottingham International Film Festival, Nottingham, UK.

In 2016, she made her directorial debut with the comedy/fantasy short film  ”Angelito in Your Eye”.  Judy has received six international film award nominations for the short from international awards festivals, including for Best Comedy Short Film, Best Genre Film, and Best Actor.

LINKS:

Judy Sandra – Writer, Director, Producer
website: http://judysandra.com

The Metal Girl on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Metal-Girl-Judy-Sandra/dp/0578038781/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264541453&sr=1-5

Follow Judy and on Social Media:

Facebook:
Judy Sandra Director: https://www.facebook.com/JudySandraDirector
Metal Girl – Movie: https://www.facebook.com/MetalGirlMovie
The Metal Girl – Novel: https://www.facebook.com/TheMetalGirl

Twitter:
@judy_sandra

Instagram:
@judysandra7

 

© Judy Sandra 2017

New Book Series Coming Soon! Book Publishing Shortcuts for Online Marketers

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

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* * *

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Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.