How NOT to acquire film rights to my books – and possibly get sued in the process

A book and the sun, everything else just works out

I don’t know if people realize this, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck, and I usually have a pretty good nose for bullshit.

So that’s why scammers tend to make me furious.

Here’s the latest in a long line of idiots who thinks he can pull one over on me.

The email

Yesterday morning, I received the following email (in all its unedited glory):

SUBJECT: We are interested in all genres

MY name is Burt Solomon and our company is called Virtuous Entertainment .

We are a movie production company looking to work with a few book publishers.

Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman the creators of our company are the dynamic duo behind God’s not dead 1 and 2 and a long list of other movies. We are seeking material that’s compelling and worthy of becoming a movie or TV show. If you have something you think fits that description, feel free to contact us.

Yours Truly,
Burt Solomon
[AOL email address redacted]

To sum up: A Christian movie company is supposedly asking if I, publisher of smut, have any compelling material.

I sure do, boys. I sure do. Which one do you want, and for how much?

I wrote back to say that I didn’t think my stories were a fit for this company, given their god-fearing ways, and asked if they’d ever read a word of my work.

I received this reply:

Hi Laura,
We are open to all genres. The faith based movies we are doing now is but one segment of our company.
Please send me a one or two page synopsis on your works
Thanks,
Burt

So, again, to sum up: Now this dudebro wants me to do all the work for him, when he approached me.

I know I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to the way Hollywood works, but I do expect that if someone is going to ask to turn my books into movies, that they’d have actually read the damn things first. Otherwise, I’m really not sure why you are so on fire to contact me to begin with.

Except, you know, because you’re a scammer and a spammer.

I directed “Burt” to my Buy Books page, and shuffled his emails into my Black List folder/spam oubliette.

Now, in case any of the rest of you have been thinking about making my books into movies, let me lay out the way this conversation should have gone, so you can profit from this guy’s scamming mistakes.

How to properly secure film rights to one of my books

  1. Read one of my books. Pick one, any one!
  2. Think to yourself, “Hey, this would make a great movie!”
  3. Write me an email introducing yourself as a producer, director, Hollywood agent, actor, or whatever you may be. Give me a link to your IMDb page if you’ve got one. Or even a website where you talk shit about the movies you’ve been making. Whatever, just let me know you’re legit. (PRO TIP: Don’t use an AOL email address. It’s not 1991, and it’s not professional.)
  4. Tell me how much you enjoyed my book – because everyone loves a compliment!
  5. Say you are very interested in turning my book into a movie, and then show me the money. How much are you willing to spend in order to buy the film rights to this book? Because that’s basically the whole point of you contacting me. Don’t waste your time emailing me if you don’t have any idea how this deal is going to work. Don’t ask me to do your job for you. Because otherwise, the answer is definitely NO.
  6. Once we settle the details with some lawyers, let’s go out for a drink to celebrate. You can also include me on your mailing list while you’re making the movie, to keep me in the loop and invite me to the red carpet when it premieres.

I think that about covers it. The basic gist being: don’t contact me unless you have a fucking clue what you’re doing to start with, and don’t waste my time.

The zinger

Oh, and there’s another fun element to this story: Cary Solomon is on LinkedIn, and his email address is readily available!

He also lists his workplace as Believe Entertainment, which is clearly not the company referenced by the scammer in his original email.

So I emailed Mr. Solomon to let him know that some scammer is impersonating a member of his company, and soliciting material from erotica publishers. I think that might make him kind of mad, since his company is all about promoting Christian values, don’t you?

I really hope he presses charges against this jerk. Because getting caught in a lie is one thing, but getting caught impersonating someone famous is a whole different kettle of fish.

That ought to teach scammers to mess with me and Cary Solomon.

And finally…

In case you really do, legitimately, want to acquire the film rights to any of my books, here’s a good article on the subject from Filmmaker Magazine, called “How to Option a Book for Film Adaptation.”

And, if you’re a writer wondering how to get your books optioned, here’s a great article on the subject from Writer’s Digest, called “Selling Your Book’s Movie and TV Rights – What You Need to Know.”

3 Responses
  1. Beth W says:

    Good in you for being swift and proactive about this scam! It really, really pisses me off when people play on the hopes of others (and I can imagine they expect to take in new or lesser-experienced authors with this scheme). I hope the real gent sues the hell out of him.

  2. Me too, Beth! I got a message back from the real Cary Solomon, thanking me for alerting him about this scammer. I suspect “Burt” is in for some rough times ahead.

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