A new article about the current blockbuster novels has spurred some intriguing discussion. Coupled with the general air of resentment aimed at remakes of iconic films–looking at you, horrific and unnecessary nightmare of a Dirty Dancing remake–has people asking the question, “Books are published literally every single day…why are only a handful of titles getting the star treatment?”
In this case, “star treatment” refers to it all: media tours, ideal placement in bookstores, film adaptations and streaming service original series, and yes, the money that goes along with it. Why is Hollywood investing money in the fall-too-short remakes while blindly overlooking the glut of content from indie authors?
Sadly, there have actually been quite a few blockbuster film adaptations of self-published books, although that little detail tends to be swept under the rug. EL James’ Twilight fan fiction turned erotica multi-part series is perhaps one of the best known, but that doesn’t mean that The Martian, Still Alice, and (eventually) Hugh Howey’s Wool deserve any less accolade for starting life as self-pubbed works.
Each of those books had something else in common, though, and that’s the fact that the middle step between self-publication and box office notoriety was the interference of a traditional publisher. Once those bigger names gave it their stamp of approval–and the publicity department’s magic touch–the movie deals came along.
A new article in the Wall Street Journal highlights a different problem, one that is both ageless and inevitable. This year’s “breakout” books are by seasoned (and reliable) veterans of the publishing industry, the Stephen Kings and John Grishams who churn out great reads that will not only net their publishers a nice payday, but will also be a safe investment on the part of the industry. Between the same old-same old of industry mainstays and the glut of movie remakes, it’s a wonder indie authors are still able to get any recognition.