George R. R. Martin has commented on his blog in response to a question about his level of involvement with Game of Thrones. He also gives some history as to how this project all started.
My own experience in TV and film certainly helps. The fact that I understand the process somewhat undoubtedly made David & Dan and HBO more willing to have me involved on a meaningful basis.
A lot of this comes down to negotiation, however. What you want, what you’re willing to take, what you’re willing to give up to get it.
Most SF and fantasy writers do not make a whole lot of money from their books. So when some producer comes along and offers them an option, they see visions of Big Hollywood Bucks and jump at the offer. Which is fine, if all you want is the check.
The proper approach, the way I see it, is to meet with the producer/ screenwriter/ studio and whatever, get a feel for them, hear what they want to do, how they mean to approach the material… and accept or reject the offer, depending on the answers.
That was certainly my approach with ICE & FIRE. I met with Dan and David before I signed a thing. I liked them, liked their own work, liked everything they had to say about the books. We began from a basis of mutual respect, and it’s all been good.
Winter Is Coming: The sit-down with Benioff and Weiss may be old news to those who’ve been following this project since the very beginning (and when I say very, I mean starting back in 2007). But for some of you it may be new info. Plus it is always good to hear that this adaptation, from the start, has been handled with respect to the source material foremost in everyone’s mind. This makes it different from a lot of other adaptations out there (*cough*legendoftheseeker*cough*), and just proves that HBO, and David & Dan especially, know what they are doing.