Today, Stephen Jay Schwartz, author of BOULEVARD and BEAT, was kind enough to answer one of my questions about his experience with getting published.
A bit of background: Stephen was the Director of Development for film director Wolfgang Petersen. He's also written screenplays, and worked as a "script doctor," along with many other accomplishments in film.
I asked Stephen: "Did your background in film help you land an agent and/or book deal?"
SJS: "My background in film helped only in that I took a rather aggressive approach to finding an agent. The film business is a bit dog-eat-dog, in case you haven't heard, and it's good prep for almost anything else you do in life. However, I didn't know any book agents and I had to begin at the beginning. I did a ton of research to determine who the great agents were and I went out to pursue them, sending my query letter and the first fifty or so pages of my manuscript. My experience in film did help validate me on paper–it let the agents know right away that I had a history working with story. So, it probably helped to get them to start reading my material. By the way, I've circled back a bit now. I've got a screenwriting assignment for an action feature. So, I hope to write the screenplay and two novels in 2011."
Good to know, Stephen! Thanks!