Hollywood producers love books, especially if they come with a built-in audience. Even a book with modest success in its category can capture the attention of a producer, and every author has dreamed of having their novel made into a movie. 

But what happens when a producer buys the rights to a book? During an ‘option’ period, the producer hires a screenwriter to adapt the book into a screenplay, which is a format suitable for the medium known as motion picture. It’s a highly specialized form of writing that few authors can master. In fact, authors usually find a distaste for the final ‘movie’ product because it doesn’t capture the story, characters and places with the intrigue of a novel. After all, our senses our limited to what we see and hear in a motion picture, but in a book, we can experience the story’s world in its entirety.

Frankly, screenwriting is more a technical style of writing than a visceral experience, and only screenwriters with a mastery skill level can achieve an emotional experience within the confines of writing that’s limited to what a camera can see and hear. And considering the average book runs 300+ pages and a motion picture screenplay’s maximum page count is 120, although most average between 90-110 pages, it takes a professional screenwriter to know what to adapt from the book, what to leave out, and what areas require story and/or character changes to adhere to the structure of a motion picture. Wherein, the novelist believes every word, scene, sequence, chapter and moment is vital, the screenwriter understands what works and doesn’t work in a movie. 

With this said, couldn’t an author simply allow the producer to handle the book’s adaptation? Yes, but there are important reasons why an author should consider adapting the material, via a professional screenwriter, working as a ghostwriter-for-hire, prior to marketing the book to a producer: 


Author has more control over the creative choices for the movie. 

An author owns the book rights and the screenplay (motion picture rights) entitling the author to a much larger payout.

An author who hires a screenplay ghostwriter retains 100% of the rights to the screenplay and sole motion picture credit, full purchase price and royalties. The royalties alone could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions.

Doesn’t it cost tens of thousands of dollars to hire a screenwriter? Depends on who the author hires. At Extreme Screenwriting, we know that the average paid for a motion picture screenplay is around a low, six-figure amount ($100K+), but can be substantially less or substantially more, depending on many factors, like book sales/audience, motion picture budget, genre, actors interested in playing roles, etc. There is also the risk of never selling the screenplay, because like books, there’s no guarantee of a sale. 

With that in mind, Extreme Screenwriting offers to ghostwrite screenplays adapted from existing books (or unpublished manuscripts) for 5% of the average payout, which will cost the author $5K, a mere fraction of what the author could make from a motion picture screenplay sale, not to mention royalties. Extreme Screenwriting offers special discount rates and an optional payment plan as follows: 1) 10% discount when paid up front, in full 2) payment plan - $3K up front and $2K balance upon completion 3) Author can opt to put the discounted amount on a credit card and defer payment.

Barb Doyon, the owner/founder of Extreme Screenwriting, is the screenwriter who adapts books for motion picture. She has adapted 44 books during her career in the business as a ghostwriter, working for producers and authors. She’s a produced screenwriter, award winning documentary writer and TV writer, who worked as a Story Analyst at Walt Disney Studios before forming a screenplay and television pilot coverage service in 1991. 

If you’re interested in hiring Barb, please fill out the contact form below to arrange a brief call to discuss your book. She only does a limited number of novel adaptations per year, on a first come, first serve basis. In the contact form, please include your full name, email, best contact phone, and under the message section, put the book or manuscript’s title, page length, genre and indicated the best days/times for a quick call. Ms. Doyon resides in Los Angeles, California, which is Pacific Standard Time (PST) with the office hours of 9a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday, although a weekend call can be arranged.