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Turn your book into a script and get $200 000?

Turn your book into a script and earn $200 000?


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.

Filed under: Book Promotion, Contests · Tags: ,

7 Responses to "Turn your book into a script and get $200 000?"

  1. ilanasou says:

    Is this *only* if you have a novel version as well, or for anyone with a screenplay ready to go? I have one that’s just a screenplay, one that’s both and one screenplay I’m still in the midst of ‘novelising’. There’s more to it than just POV switchups too, but it’s a great challenge for any writer to try their hands at both.
    At any rate, it sounds like an exciting opportunity!

  2. josh stern says:


    I just discovered you and want to keep it all to myself- Thanks much for the heads up. I’ve been toying with the challenge of making the book into a screenplay…any cliff notes on how to do that would be so greatly appreciated that I will name my first she-goat child after you

  3. I agree with Phyllis. A screenplay comes with a whole different set of “writing rules”, completely different from writing a novel. The more you study this format before you write your screenplay, the better chance you have of producing something saleable. Kudos to Amazon for creating this new opportunity for authors to market their screenplays.

  4. David Thomas says:

    Well done Amazon. This is both a great idea and opportunity. I currently have a book on Amazon (UNSETTLING) and only recently began the process of trying to turn it into a screenplay. Yes, it’s not the same as writing a book, far from it, but that’s no reason not to give it a go.

    If you had the gumption to write the book, then you’ve almost certainly got it in you to write the script. I know it’ll take me about six months to complete the first draft, but that’s fine. It took five years to write the book! The thought that I might at least stand a chance, albeit small, of it becoming a movie, it’s enough to keep me at it.
    Tony Lockhart (pen name David Thomas)

  5. Betsy —

    If I understand your question correctly there is no answer. Books to screenplays do not work that way. These are two completely different medium.

    If you have never seen the formatting for a screenplay, I recommend you do some research and study this formatting. This will help you to understand why it is not a simple matter of converting a book’s words to a screenplay.

  6. Betsy Knappp says:

    What is the ratio of books (word count?) turned into movie scripts?

  7. Amazon Studios is a terrific opportunity for screenwriters — and it can be a terrific opportunity for authors who turn their books into screenplays.

    But writing a good screenplay is not the same as writing a good novel. One of the hardest difficulties for an author to overcome is adjusting to the fact that there is no POV in screenplays — no way for interior thoughts.

    While I have several screenplays on Amazon Studios, only one was adapted from one of my novels — MRS. LIEUTENANT. And I studied screenwriting for many years while writing these screenplays.

    You can scroll down to see all my screenplays on Amazon Studios by going to this bio page —

    Phyllis Zimbler Miller

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