Friday, March 11, 2011

The Fishing Expedition

Was trading emails with my buddy Tom Piccirilli late last night about Hollywood. Most of the time, it's a real longshot proposition for writers, and if you develop any kind of career you end up getting lots of nibbles that don't go anywhere. Especially if you get a good review in a high-profile venue -- say a starred review in Publishers Weekly -- you're going to hear from people. Of course, most of the time nothing happens. It's just a fishing expedition, or (to mix my metaphors) Hollywood's way of checking your literary pulse.

Still, it's hard not to get excited. Or amused. I remember the first nibble I ever got, for my novel Slippin' Into Darkness. It came from Dick Clark Productions, and I'm sure the only reason they wrote me was because they figured they'd be able to clock a whole bunch of seventies hits into a movie with that title and ramp it up. But man, when I heard from them I slapped a copy of Slippin' in a FedEx envelope and sent it off double-quick. God knows what they made of it when they ripped open the envelope and took a look... though every once in awhile I like to imagine Mr. American Bandstand himself sitting there reading my tale of dead cheerleaders, grave-robbers, insomniac cops, and ghosts. Now there's a picture to contemplate.

Needless to say, I never heard another word from Dick. Oh, and the FedEx thing? That was a lesson learned too. Ed Gorman taught me that one. He told me: "Every time you hear from someone in Hollywood, they'll want you to FedEx them a book. Just tell them you'll be happy to do that, and ask for their account number. Or send 'em to Amazon. Even better."