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Brendan Deneen knows a thing or two about getting a book made into a Hollywood film. He’s not only an author and former literary agent, Deneen is executive editor for Macmillan Entertainment, for which he shops TV and film rights for authors, whether the material is existing or created in house.

In the latest installment of Mediabisto’s So What Do You Do series, we talked to Deneen about the optioning process, why Hollywood so often relies on published bestsellers for content and the best way for an author to break into the movie business (no, you don’t have to be a big name like John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or Nicholas Sparks). Deneen also had plenty of advice to share with struggling authors:

Patience is key. I’m 41 and I wrote my first book when I was 18, and I sold my novel this year. It took me forever. And that doesn’t mean you have to not be putting yourself out there and working your ass off; it just means you may get rejected over and over again like I did when I was 18. It should be a badge of honor. It means you’re getting stuff out there. You need to be constantly writing. If you’re a screenwriter, you should be writing a new screenplay every three or four months. If you’re an author, honestly, you should have a new book every year if you’re serious about it — two years at the most.

To hear more from Deneen, including what he’d like his legacy to be, read: So What Do You Do, Brendan Deneen, Executive Editor Of MacMillan Entertainment?