Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mutant Chronicles is Out

(Cross-posted from Matt Forbeck's blog)

Today’s the big day. My novelization of the Mutant Chronicles film is officially on sale! Run on down to your friendly local bookseller and pick up a copy of your very own—or download an eBook version from your favorite online purveyor of such marvels.

As I’ve said here before, I had a wonderful time working on this book. Fred Malmberg, Jay Zetterberg Leslie Buhler, Leigh Stone, and Thommy Wojciechowski at Paradox were, as ever, a true pleasure to work with, and the same goes for Keith Clayton and Sue Moe, my excellent editors at Del Rey.

The film’s not out here in North America yet, so this is your best chance to get your hands on the story and picture it in your head instead. If you’re still on the fence, check out this short excerpt for a free taste of the whole dish.

Can I Send You My Monk Novel?

(Cross posted from Lee Goldberg's blog)

This email is so stupid, that I have to wonder if it was sent as a prank:

I realise you will get this quite a lot and are probably sick to death of people asking but I have completed a novel about Adrian Monk and wondered if I could send you the synopsis. I wouldn't presume to step on your toes but I have four great plots and have worked them into what I believe is an entertaining thriller.

I know this isn't the usual protocol of approaching people about a manuscript and I should probably go through an agent so I appreciate that I may not recieve a reply. You may also have the sole rights to the Monk novels either way thank you for your time reading this and if you do take a chance and want me to send the synopsis I am sure you will not be disapointed.

Although I have my doubts that the email is legit, I answered it as if it was. Here is what I said...

Why on earth would I, the author of the MONK novels, be interested in reading your MONK novel? Would you send a spec Spenser novel to Robert B. Parker? A spec Inspector Rebus novel to Ian Rankin? A Harry Bosch novel to Michael Connelly? Not that I am comparing myself to Parker, Rankin or Connelly, I am not in their league...I am just trying to make a point about how idiotic your request is. I can't imagine how you could have thought that it was a good idea.

Then again, I can't imagine why you would write an entire novel on spec about a character you didn't create and don't own. I didn't create MONK, either...nor did I write a MONK novel on spec. I was hired by the creator of MONK and Penguin/Putnam to write MONK novels for them ..and now I have a multi-book deal that makes me the exclusive author of the books for several years to come.

I recommend that you write original novels that are NOT based on any pre-existing movie or television property. Tie-ins novels are assignments given to established writers by publishers who have licensed the characters from the studios...you don't simply send in a spec HOUSE or THE CLOSER novel to a publisher and hope for a sale.

On top of that, why would you send a novel to another author in the hopes of getting a job (not just any job, but his job)? Authors don't hire authors, publishers and editors do.


Here's a sneak peek at the cover for A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO READ by William Rabkin, the first in a new series of original novels based on the TV series PSYCH. The book comes out in January from Obsidian, the fine folks who publish the MONK. MURDER SHE WROTE, CRIMINAL MINDS, and BURN NOTICE tie-ins.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Del Rey and LucasBooks Announce Extension of Star Wars Publishing Contract and New Multi-Book Series

(From the Official Star Wars Site:)

Maintaining a relationship that began more than 30 years ago, LucasBooks and Del Rey are slated to publish another 45 Star Wars titles from 2009 through the end of 2013. The titles will include 35 novels and 10 nonfiction books.

Since 1976, when Judy-Lynn del Rey took a chance on an unknown movie called Star Wars and published the tie-in novel to unprecedented bestsellerdom, Del Rey Books has published a wide range of Star Wars titles, including movie and video game tie-in novels; original series and stand-alone novels; as well as character guides and non-fiction film books. Every hardcover Star Wars novel from Del Rey/LucasBooks has been an instant New York Times bestseller, and 2008 saw Star Wars in the #1 spot twice on the New York Times list with Revelation, the eighth book in the recent Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series, and with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the tie-in to the upcoming video game from LucasArts. In 2007 alone, the total number of Star Wars books printed under the Del Rey/LucasBooks imprint was over 1.5 million copies.

"Our relationship with Lucasfilm is treasured," said Gina Centrello, President and Publisher of the Random House Publishing Group. "We are extremely proud of our Star Wars publishing program, which is the cornerstone of the Del Rey list."

Howard Roffman, President of Lucas Licensing, said "The legacy of Star Wars publishing began with Del Rey. "For more than 30 years they have been a superb partner with an unflinching commitment to keep Star Wars fans informed, entertained and enthralled."

Among the titles launching in 2009 are the first three in a new Star Wars multi-book, multi-author story arc following directly in the footsteps of the Legacy of the Force series. The nine-book, three-author series, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, will break new ground by being the first multi-book Star Wars series to be published all in hardcover. The series, which will be published over the space of three years, will launch in April 2009 with Outcast, by Aaron Allston; the other two authors planning and penning the nine novels will be Christie Golden and Troy Denning. Also to come is The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, to be released in 2010 in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of that film, along with a continuation of the hugely successful series of Star Wars Essential Guides.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Surprisingly, my in-box has recently been filling up with e-mails from people who think they would like to try writing media tie-in books and want to know how one gets started in the field. I've had the question once or twice in the past, but since it's suddenly becoming more common, I thought I would post my response to one of them here--so that I can simply point at it in the future, rather than writing it out every time.

If any other tie-in writers have additional tips, please put them comments to this post, or in a separate post of their own.

The key fact to keep in mind about writing official tie-in fiction is that it's licensed. That means that (for a price) a publisher has licensed the rights to publish the novels from the (in the case of TV shows--the process is essentially the same for books based on comics, games, movies, etc.) TV production company or network that owns the original show, or the "property."

Once a publisher gets the license, then an editor working for that publishing company looks for writers to write the novels. The writers are approached and offered a contract before even beginning to write the novel--it's the reverse of the usual novel-writing approach of writing a book and then looking for a publisher. This means that for the most part, tie-in writing jobs go to writers of whom the editor is aware.

When a writer has reached a deal with the publisher, the first step is a detailed outline, which the publisher then gets approved by the licensor (the TV network or production company). If the outline is approved then the writer can get busy writing the book. When it's done, the whole thing goes in for approval, and then is eventually published.

What this means for new writers is that the first thing you need to do is to become known to editors. This can best be done by developing a track record of professional publications, either with original novels, short stories, games, comic books, or some combination thereof. Then you can go to editors with a proven history of being able to write publishable material.

There are occasional opportunities in tie-in work for new writers. I believe there's an annual Star Trek short fiction anthology, for example, that accepts the work of previously unpublished writers. There might be more such anthologies around. And the occasional novel line that will accept proposals from new writers, too. It can't hurt to figure out who the editors for the novel lines that most interest you are and dropping them a note asking if they're accepting proposals--the worst they can do is say no, and then you've started the process of making yourself known to them, so that when you come back later with some professional credits under your belt, they'll remember you.

Finding out who edits what can be a challenge, but you can start by checking acknowledgments and dedications in the published books, and of course those ever-handy search engines. As a last resort, you can call or write to a publishing company and ask whoever answers.