Amazon Studios has a program inviting script submissions for a chance to earn either $10 000 or $200 000 with a script.
Here is how it works. By submitting a script to the program, the writer grants Amazon Studios a free 45 days option on the script (down from 18 months, a steep reduction). If the script is deemed interesting by Amazon, they might then buy an 18 months option for $10 000. If they then decide to turn it into a movie, they buy the rights to a movie for $200 000. All money resulting from prizes won by the movie goes to the writer and if the movie makes over $60 million in US box office, the writer gets an additional $400 000.
Submissions can be private or public, and public submissions are opened to script revisions by script doctors. If a revised script is selected, the writer keeps the initial $10 000 or $200 000 fee for his script and shares any prize money with the reviser on a 50-50 basis.
For scripts passing the first hurdle, Amazon Studios will run tests with the public to find out it the script generates interest. Based on the feedback from the public, Amazon Studios will decide whether or not to turn it into a movie. The rational behind their system is to create a crowd base selection system for script as opposed to the current selection system through agents and production companies.
For a book writer, this means that they retain all rights on the book and are only selling the rights to the script. When looking for a publisher, being in a position to say that the script based on the book has been shortlisted by Amazon Studios is a sure way to move a manuscript to the top of the slush pile.
If the book is part of a series and the script is selected to be turned into a movie, the rights to subsequent scripts remain with the writer.
So any writers who can turn his book into a script has very little to loose and a lot to gain by submitting to Amazon Studios.