Thursday, February 9, 2023

Dear O'Abby: Is this a real thing?

 Dear O'Abby,

I was recently sent an email from a film production company asking about optioning my book for a film.  Obviously, I was very excited by this, but something about the way the email looked and was worded made me think it might not be 100% genuine.  

Do you know anything about this kind of thing?  I don't want to pass up an amazing opportunity if it's real, but I also don't want to get caught out by a scam.

Yours Truly,


Dear Unscammable,

Firstly, good for you, reaching out when it felt a bit off.  Too many writers don't question these things and there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there preying on writers' dreams.

Basically, any out-of-the-blue offer like this should be treated carefully.  Agents and production companies and publishers don't tend to approach writers for content.  Firstly, they tend to have far too much to deal with already without soliciting, and secondly, if a producer really wanted to option your book, they would first approach your publisher.  Of course, if you are self-published, that might be you, but it's still probably not real.

I suggest you take a look at Writer Beware as Victoria Strauss has been investigating scams that sound a lot like this one (as well as several others).  If your email looks different, it might be worth sending it to her as she will be able to tell you if it's genuine or not.  I've done that myself and she replies very promptly.

It's sad that it's the case, but a good rule of thumb is to always treat these kinds of emails as fake until you can get uncontestable proof that they're real.

Hope that helps!

X O'Abby

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