We are coming up on the time of year when heart-warming Hallmark movies roll on repeat. Comforting, cozy, and inspiring, these movies are perfect for curling up with hot cocoa on a rainy day. If you’ve ever seen a Hallmark movie, then you know it has a very specific brand and formula. Hallmark is like Disney Channel, but for adults. Wholesome, happy endings is what Hallmark is all about, even with their mystery/thrillers. If you’re an accommodating writer who dreams of seeing your story hit their screen, then follow these steps to help you get there.
The first thing you should address in your quest to hit write for the Hallmark Channel is to determine your genre. Your novel shouldn’t have dark themes, like abusive relationships, murders, addiction, death, etc. If your novel is a mystery, then the murder must take place “off page,” and it can’t be anything disturbing. You should write your mystery in third or first person. Hallmark also searches for sweet romances set in the United States. A sparkling romance with a happily ever after is the kind of seasonal gold that Hallmark viewers expect. Friendship, family, and community are also important elements to include in your novel. Combining these essentials help create the Hallmark image we all know and love.
If you are self-published, and your book applies to Hallmark’s set criteria, then submit your novel in February 2019. That is the first open call for submissions. Future open calls can be found on their website and social media pages. If you are looking for a publisher, it is helpful to find one that regularly seeks movie deals. Hallmark finds a lot of their books from Christian publishers, and there are many to choose from. Hallmark is not looking for novels that are particularly religious, but those that are considered “clean.” You won’t find a novel about a romance that blossomed from a one-night-stand from a Christian publishing company. Think wholesome and you’re on the road to Hallmark.
Do your research on Hallmark movies. The dramatic content, although somewhat unrealistic, is what makes them interesting. Many of them begin with a theatrical premise. For example, A Princess for Christmas enchants the viewer straight out of the gate. The main character receives an invitation from an estranged relative to travel to Europe for Christmas. Once there, she falls for a charming prince. This movie follows the sweet romance guideline and features a holiday setting. Environment is an important aspect for any novel, but especially a Hallmark one. They love small towns and seasonal settings. It helps bring a homey feel to their movies and maintains their brand.
These steps are just the beginning for a movie-to-book process. Many books may receive an option for a movie, meaning a production company reserves the right to make your book a movie. However, not all books that get an option turn into a movie. That’s why it is important to follow the given criteria for your best shot! Write what inspires you, but also keep in mind what Hallmark and other companies may be looking for. With that knowledge under your belt, you’re on your way to seeing your story come alive on screen!