Posts Tagged ‘enchanted inc’

Milestones

I’ve hit a big personal milestone this week, plus it’s the anniversary of another milestone.

I paid off my mortgage yesterday (though the payment actually went through today because we just missed the cutoff time yesterday afternoon at the bank). That’s about 9 and a half years early. I’ve been paying extra on it each month, and I realized that if I kept up that pace this year, I’d pay it off by the end of the year. Since I had the funds in savings, I figured I might as well do it now, especially since the mortgage interest rate was so much higher than the interest I had in savings. Now my living expenses will be a lot lower, and I have no debt (aside from the credit cards that I pay off each month), but I need to rebuild my savings. That’s more incentive to write!

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of me first sending the book that became Enchanted, Inc. out into the world. On that day in 2004, I sent the initial query to an agent, pitching that book. A few days later I got a response asking for the first 50 pages. I eventually ended up signing with that agent, who still represents me.

The publishing world has changed a lot since then, and my career has gone in directions I couldn’t have imagined at that time. To be honest, I expected that book to be a bigger deal than it ended up being. It’s sold really well over the years, and people who do read it tend to love it. But I thought it was ideally positioned to be a hit if it was handled properly, and it sort of fell between the cracks. As successful as it’s been lurking in relative obscurity, I can’t help but imagine what it could have done if it had been given any kind of push. But that’s water under the bridge, and the publisher has continued supporting the series even after all this time. Better to do better than they expected and sell steadily over more than a decade than to be a flash in the pan. I can’t change the past, so I can only move on to the future.

My mortgage celebration will have to wait until next weekend, when I’m done with this book and letting myself have a little break. And then I’ll probably have confirmation from the mortgage company so it will be official (I just have the confirmation from my bank that the transfer went through).

My Books

From Book to Screen

One of the comments/questions I receive most often is along the lines of “Enchanted, Inc. would make a good movie or TV series” or “Why isn’t Enchanted, Inc. a TV series or movie?” Sometimes it’s “Why don’t you make Enchanted, Inc. into a TV series or movie?” I love hearing that question because it means people love my books and want to see them come to life, but it’s really not so simple as just deciding to make it happen.

I’m not the one who can make a movie or TV series happen. I could stop it, since no one can make that show or movie without my permission, but making a movie or TV series takes a lot of money. I’d have to have JK Rowling kind of clout to just decide I want it done and make it happen — and even there, it’s mostly because they know that movies made from her books are successful, so they want to be a part of it.

For a book to be made into a TV series or movie, it takes both love and money. Someone in a position to make things happen has to fall in love with the story enough to go through everything it takes to get a project through the whole process, and someone has to put up the millions of dollars it takes to get made. The person who falls in love may be someone at the network, production company, or movie studio. It might be a writer, producer, or director, who then has to get someone who can fund the project on board. It might be an actor who loves the book or sees a potentially powerful role who then finds someone who can fund the project.

Enchanted, Inc. has had a fair amount of interest in movie/TV series. There have been writers and actors who wanted the project but couldn’t get the funding (apparently, at one time Anna Faris was trying to get something done with it). It was actually optioned for film and a screenplay was written (by the guy who went on to write I, Tonya), but the project didn’t make it past that point. There was a team with a showrunner (from shows you’d have heard of) and head writer who put together a really good TV series pitch, but they didn’t manage to get any production companies to put up the money for them to put together a pilot to then be able to get network interest.

Mostly it comes down to whether the production companies, studios, or networks think that enough people will be interested in a TV show or movie for it to make money. The main reason they think a show or movie based on a book will make money for them is if the book is already a huge bestseller with a built-in audience. Most of the books made into shows or movies are already bestsellers — the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris were already big before the series, the Song of Ice and Fire books were already bestsellers before Game of Thrones was a hit on HBO, the Harry Potter books were a phenomenon long before the movies. They all became bigger after the shows/movies because more people see TV shows or watch movies than buy books, but there was a significant audience who knew about these things before they made it to the screen. Alas, while my books have sold reasonably well, they are nowhere near bestseller status, and if everyone who’d bought the books watched a movie or TV show, it wouldn’t even make a blip in the ratings or box office.

For non bestsellers, buzz can help — that sense that even if it’s not a big enough mainstream hit to be a bestseller, it does have a kind of cult following, so that the people who are into it are really, really into it. And that’s not really happening with the Enchanted, Inc. books. I know there are a lot of fans of those books, but there isn’t really a “fandom” (at least, not that I’m aware of). There’s nothing really to indicate to producers that there are people out there who would help raise the profile of a movie or TV series by helping generate buzz. There aren’t tumblr communities, memes, discussion groups, conventions. The last Google alert I got on the term “Enchanted, Inc.” was for a liquor distribution company that uses that name. The first book came out in 2005, so it’s pretty much old news, and people aren’t really talking about it anymore. I’m a fairly obscure author. I barely have 600 Twitter followers and there aren’t many more followers than that on my Facebook page (and only a fraction of those people actually see anything I post). That’s not the sort of thing that makes Hollywood executives sit up and take notice.

The other possibility is that it’s a kind of story or subject matter that tends to be successful, and that depends on trends. Right now, it seems like most of the fantasy stuff is dark. I can’t think of anything along the lines of the Enchanted, Inc. series that’s currently a hit. I do think maybe the time is right for a fun romantic comedy with a touch of magic, but someone at a network/streaming service/studio has to decide to make that leap and go against the current trend toward dark and gritty.

What can fans do if they want to see their favorite book on the screen? This applies to any book you would like to see made into a movie or TV show, not just mine. For one thing, buy the books and tell others about the books so they’ll buy them. Bestseller status does get attention. Leave reviews on the bookseller sites, on Goodreads, on Book Bub. Raise the level of buzz by talking about the books on social media. Make and share memes and reviews. Talk about how you think they’d make good movies or TV series. I don’t know if tagging the networks/streaming services in tweets suggesting books for them to make into shows would help, but it might not hurt (I do know that when a Netflix-related account asked for suggestions, Enchanted, Inc. wasn’t mentioned — as I said, there’s not a lot of buzz).

Basically, the books that get made into movies or TV shows are the books that are being talked about publicly. Telling the author doesn’t do a lot of good. The author is just going, “I know, right?” You have to tell the world.

It may also help to support movies and shows like the books you’d like to see hit the screen. If something like that is successful, it raises the chances of more like it being made. Then you can also use that as a discussion point for your buzz — if you like this series, you should read these books, and they’d make a good series, too.

So, long answer. The short version is yeah, I’d love to see it happen, but it’s not something I can do a lot about, and my books may have good potential but don’t have the awareness to really push a project like that through.

My Books

15 Years of Enchantment

I realized yesterday that it was around this time fifteen years ago that I started writing the first Enchanted, Inc. book. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I know it was early October.

I’d had the first spark of idea in early 2002 but didn’t do anything with it because I was focused on some other projects and wasn’t sure there was a market for it because I’d never seen anything like it. I hadn’t seen much fantasy in a contemporary setting, and the early bits of “urban fantasy” that had come out were much darker and more serious. “Chick lit” was a hot market, but I hadn’t yet seen any with fantasy or paranormal elements.

Then I had a conversation with an editor at a conference in the summer of 2003, and she was enthusiastic about the idea. I had something else to work on first that I’d promised to another editor (that ended up going nowhere).

In early September, I started doing research, and I added a side trip to New York to a trip I was taking in late September so I could do location research. After I got home, I spent a few days doing a bit more development of the plot and characters, and then in early October, I started writing.

That means I’ve been living in that “universe” off and on for more than 15 years. I’ve known Katie and Owen longer than I have most of my current friends (whom I met after that first book was published).

And yet, the characters have barely made it through two years. I’ve been trying to stay on the same timeline with them, so I’m at the point where those books almost count as historical fiction.

The ninth book went off to the copyeditor this week. I’m not going to say “never” since I never know when an idea will strike me, but I think that’s going to be the last full-length book in this series. I may do some short pieces set in that universe. If I get another idea, I will probably make it the start of a new series and do a big time jump. But I think nine books and fifteen years is a good run for a series, and I’d rather not get to a point where I’m bored with it.

Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’ll probably get hit with an idea that will distract me from the book I’m supposed to be writing.

My Books

Back to the Beginning

I’d have to look at a calendar to find the exact day, but we’re approaching the 15-year anniversary of when I started actually working on the first Enchanted, Inc. book.

Enchanted, Inc.I’d had the idea about a year and a half earlier, but I really wasn’t sure what to do with it because there was nothing quite like it in the market. It was “girlier” than most fantasy and was in a contemporary setting, which was quite rare at the time, but it wasn’t really romance. Every so often I’d play with the idea and add to it, but I was focusing on writing other things.

Then at some point in July, I was at a conference, and there was a party to launch a new fantasy imprint from Harlequin that was going to be more female-focused. The pre-launch guidelines said they were looking for traditional fantasy, which meant that even if it might be a good fit for the “girly” side of my book, they probably wouldn’t be interested.

But at the party, one of the editors wandered over to me and asked if I had any questions. I asked if they’d ever consider contemporary settings. She said they might and asked if I had something. I started telling her about this idea I had. She seemed quite interested (one of my friends who was nearby said her nostrils flared) and kept asking me questions. By this time, I’d run out of what I’d already developed and was making things up on the spot. She handed me her business card and said she’d love to see it. I told her that I’d just told her all I had. I hadn’t written any of it yet. She said, “Then why are you standing around here? Go write!”

And that was why I decided to try writing that crazy idea I had.

That editor actually ended up rejecting it, but I might not have started writing it if she hadn’t shown interest.

I never did really find the right market for it. It ended up being published as “chick lit” because that was what was really hot in the market at the time. It was up between two publishers, one that was going to publish it as chick lit/women’s fiction and a fantasy publisher, but the fantasy publisher couldn’t get the auction bid together. The chick lit market utterly tanked a couple of years later, and the books being promoted as women’s fiction and sometimes paranormal romance meant that fantasy readers didn’t really find them unless they heard word of mouth. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if the other publisher had been able to pull things together, since female-focused urban fantasy became huge not long after that. I’d have been on the leading edge of a trend instead of the trailing edge.

But that’s water under the bridge, and that book has done well for me. It’s still selling steadily and most of my income comes from that series. I’m thinking book 9 will be the end, aside from shorter pieces, because nine books is a pretty long series and I’m ready to try other things. But I also love those characters, so you never know.

My Books

New Story!

Now that I’ve survived music and art camp, it’s back to my normal schedule, more or less. Today was a late start because I got up early and it was cool and rainy, and then the rain passed, so I decided to take a walk and take advantage of the cool. So, yeah, I managed to get a late start by getting up early.

If you’ve been missing the universe of the Enchanted, Inc. books, I’ve got a treat in store. There’s a new novelette (longer than a short story, shorter than a novella) set in that universe coming out tomorrow, “Criminal Enchantment.” This is another Sam the Gargoyle case, but the fun thing about this one is that it’s a prequel to Enchanted, Inc. It sets up the events at the opening of the first book, including showing how they happened to notice a certain person who seemed to be immune to magic.

Criminal Enchantment

“Criminal Enchantment” will be coming as an e-book tomorrow, for only 99 cents (in the US). At this time, there’s no print or audio, but what I’m planning to do is write a few more stories like this, and then when I have enough to put into a book, I’ll do a collection, and that will get put into print and possibly into audio and some foreign translations.

The page for this story has more info and the links to buy at various retailers.