Lots of news today about the recent success of James Erwin, the writer who turned a series of comments on Reddit into a screenwriting job and deal with Warner Bros. for a feature film.
Erwin was just checking out Reddit during his lunch break when he happened across a question asking how a modern Marine battalion would fare in a fight against a Roman Legion. Specifically, the question was posed thus: “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit]?”
Fortunately, Erwin studied history at the University of Iowa and has a background in military history. He was (at the time) writing computer software manuals and living a quiet life in Iowa. Today he is dilligently working on a first draft revision of the screenplay he was commissioned to write, no doubt wondering who will play the lead roles in the forthcoming film based on his Reddit comments.
And probably wondering how his whole life could be turned upside down so quickly.
Now, before you start cruising Reddit, looking for questions which would make great books, consider this: Erwin had a background in military history, so he was prepared to write about the subject in question. Also, Ermin's was not the only response to the question. There were dozens of others, although his proved most popular.
The point I hope to make with all of you is that there are myriad ways of getting yourself (and your writing) noticed. This does not mean your next comment will become a feature film. It just means there are opportunities, if you know where to look. It is also important that you have knowledge of your subject, not just a notion of what might make a good story. And not every web site is going to bring the same amount of recognition.
Erwin got lucky, yes, but he also had the writing skills and knowledge to parlay that luck into something more. If you have the same skills and are presented with the same opportunity you might have a similar (or better) outcome.
My advice to you: Be ready for anything.