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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old November 21 2012, 07:28 PM   #1
shanejayell
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Star Trek Author's black list?

So, was reading this:

http://www.thetrekcollective.com/201...-lit-bits.html

And this:
http://lonemagpie.livejournal.com/72...?nc=9#comments

And this:
http://lonemagpie.livejournal.com/72...?nc=8#comments

So... KRAD is in exile, presumably. And likely David A McIntee too.
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Old November 21 2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

I doubt there's anything as melodramatic as a blacklist. Preferences, yes, but not some sort of 1950s style thing
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Old November 21 2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Well, it's interesting to wonder. There are some pretty prolific Trek authors who seem to no longer be writing for Trek.
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Old November 21 2012, 08:36 PM   #4
KRAD
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

David is correct in that the thread title is way too melodramatic. Editors have authors they prefer to work with, and when editors leave, their replacements -- or the people who take over their workloads -- won't necessarily still want to work with the same people. When Marco Palmieri was laid off at the end of 2008, the folks who took over from him didn't have much interest in working with me, which is why I haven't had a new Trek novel since A Singular Destiny. This has happened before and will happen again.
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Old November 21 2012, 08:39 PM   #5
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

KRAD wrote: View Post
David is correct in that the thread title is way too melodramatic. Editors have authors they prefer to work with, and when editors leave, their replacements -- or the people who take over their workloads -- won't necessarily still want to work with the same people. When Marco Palmieri was laid off at the end of 2008, the folks who took over from him didn't have much interest in working with me, which is why I haven't had a new Trek novel since A Singular Destiny. This has happened before and will happen again.

Now, I don't get that. I mean, 'didn't have much interest in working with you'. It should be quite clear that your novels sell, people love them!! Seems like bad business, cutting of a part of your franchise that sells.
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Old November 21 2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Mage wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
David is correct in that the thread title is way too melodramatic. Editors have authors they prefer to work with, and when editors leave, their replacements -- or the people who take over their workloads -- won't necessarily still want to work with the same people. When Marco Palmieri was laid off at the end of 2008, the folks who took over from him didn't have much interest in working with me, which is why I haven't had a new Trek novel since A Singular Destiny. This has happened before and will happen again.

Now, I don't get that. I mean, 'didn't have much interest in working with you'. It should be quite clear that your novels sell, people love them!! Seems like bad business, cutting of a part of your franchise that sells.
It works that way in any business, though. People in charge tend to surround themselves with people they know they can work well with, because it makes the process go smoother and helps them ensure things will be done correctly. It's not a deliberate slight on the people left out; it's just doing the job the way you know how.

Peter David would seem to be an author the current editor(s) aren't interested in currently using either. He seems to be getting the same treatment of not being told he won't be used again, but not getting any work either. (Unless he's revealed to be one of the five authors working on The Fall, that is.)

It seems to me that the current editor(s) are more interested in pursuing the TV franchises than the original TrekLit franchises. The Typhon Pact series is pretty much TNG and DS9. We get the Aventine, but never starring in a book of its own. New Frontier seems unlikely to get another book at this point, and SCE, Gorkon and Stargazer have all ended their runs. We've still got Titan of course, but since that follows Riker and Troi it's more of a direct extension of TNG than any of the other TrekLit series were.

And to a certain extent, it makes sense-- part of the appeal of those lines were that with original crews, you could do things with them that you couldn't do with the TV characters, such as have them get married, have children, die, have their home worlds destroyed, etc. Now they can do the same thing in the Prime universe, so the "need" for those "TrekLit original" lines isn't as strong as it once was. Still, I grew rather fond of a lot of those characters (not to mention their authors).
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Last edited by Fer; November 21 2012 at 08:45 PM. Reason: typos
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Old November 21 2012, 08:48 PM   #7
KRAD
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Okay, here's the dirty little secret of the tie-in business:

It doesn't matter who writes the books.

I mean, it matters to some degree, in the sense that someone who doesn't know the franchise shouldn't write the books (Greg Cox and I can tell horror stories about the hiring of two writers who obviously did not know Farscape to write Farscape novels, to give one example), but not to the same extent as it would in non-tie-in fiction. Putting Picard or Spock on the cover is a decision that is far more likely to drive sales than the byline. The sales on my books are all over the map -- the Klingon books didn't sell so hot (the first two did okay, the third horribly, the fourth okay), all my TNG books sold really well (especially A Time for War, a Time for Peace, which made the USA Today bestseller list), Articles of the Federation was mediocre, but A Singular Destiny sold decently (riding the Destiny trilogy's coattails, no doubt).

For that matter, Tales of the Dominion War continues to sell well, but Tales from the Captain's Table hasn't performed as well. *shrug*

To folks on this board -- which is, unfortunately, a statistically irrelevant sample of the overall readership -- it matters a great deal. But to the readership at large, their decision is far more likely to be based on whether or not it's a TNG adventure versus a DS9 adventure, or some other plot/character-based criterion.

Having been a tie-in editor, it's better for everyone if the editor works with an author they're comfortable working with. For whatever reason, while I was lucky enough to work well with two previous editors, the current editorial regime aren't comfortable working with me. That's their perogative.
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Old November 21 2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

KRAD wrote: View Post
Having been a tie-in editor, it's better for everyone if the editor works with an author they're comfortable working with.
Though what tends to bug me is when you're out but they won't just be up front and say so, to prevent wasting everybody's time...

That's always the issue I have.
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Old November 21 2012, 09:04 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

KRAD wrote: View Post
Okay, here's the dirty little secret of the tie-in business:

It doesn't matter who writes the books.

I mean, it matters to some degree, in the sense that someone who doesn't know the franchise shouldn't write the books (Greg Cox and I can tell horror stories about the hiring of two writers who obviously did not know Farscape to write Farscape novels, to give one example), but not to the same extent as it would in non-tie-in fiction.
Yeah, I've read some awful tie in fiction, so I'd argue the author does matter actually. Thankfully Trek has mostly avoided that.

Speaking personally I DO shop as much based off the author as anything else. Just slapping 'Star Trek' on a book will not ensure I buy it.
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Old November 21 2012, 09:14 PM   #10
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

shanejayell wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
Okay, here's the dirty little secret of the tie-in business:

It doesn't matter who writes the books.
Yeah, I've read some awful tie in fiction, so I'd argue the author does matter actually. Thankfully Trek has mostly avoided that.

Speaking personally I DO shop as much based off the author as anything else. Just slapping 'Star Trek' on a book will not ensure I buy it.
I think you might be missing KRADS point though. You might be so discerning, but sales figures would apparently say something else. It's no coincidence that we constantly get Kirk, Spock, and Picard on book covers, even if they are relatively minor characters in any given book. It's the brand recognition that sells tie-in fiction to most people. So there wouldn't have been much point say, putting T'Ryssa Chen on the cover of The Struggle Within, because no one will recognise her - It's shooting yourself in your marketing foot.

Sure some authors make a difference, see the Laurell K Hamilton reprint a couple of years ago, or the Shatner books. But for the most part its the name Star Trek that drives the sale.

Heck, I'm guilty of it; I've bought recent Titan and Enterprise novels because I enjoy the series, and want to support the brand. Most definitely not because of the authorship!

The counter argument I suppose is that the brand recognition suffers if it is associated with a low quality product. But that's not really the case with Star Trek prose now is it? As much as I really want KRAD back in the club, I'm also really happy with almost all the current crop of regular authors.
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Old November 21 2012, 09:28 PM   #11
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Actually I have NOT bought the latest Titans or Enterprises because of authorship, so.... it has a effect. Heck, hire KRAD to do Titan. At least it'd have better characterization.
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Old November 21 2012, 10:18 PM   #12
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Put it this way -- if the byline was really that important, Dragon Precinct would have sold as well as my Trek novels. It didn't. Dave's The Calling should've sold in the same numbers as his Vanguard novels. It didn't.

If you guys like my writing -- or David's writing or Greg's writing or Christopher's writing or Dave's writing -- then prove it by supporting our original stuff. (You can order my work directly from my web site.)
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Old November 21 2012, 10:42 PM   #13
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

I'd say our best bet was regime change at S & S then.

Problem is, you don't know who might fall out of favour with the new management...
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Old November 21 2012, 10:42 PM   #14
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Sometimes the byline IS very important. Diane Duane's Trek works got me into her original stuff, and by now I've amassed a fairly large collection. The author's work has to grab me and be very distinctive for that to happen--and unfortunately I think the early years of Treklit were much more conducive to that, than later, since far more latitude was given to the authors to write what they wanted (and the comparative lack of official canon made this a very reasonable approach).

Look at how (IMHO) Intellivore suffered compared to earlier Duane works in Treklit such as The Wounded Sky. The restrictions on the numbered novels at that time definitely did not work in her favor. And while I think Duane relates better to the TOS characters than the TNG ones, as a rule, Dark Mirror proves she COULD do well with those characters when given the latitude to write the sort of strong, distinctive story that favors her talents.

(As far as Peter David...while I've checked out of official Treklit in general, I'd say he's had it coming for a long time. I want to read a novel, not a comic book and/or Monty Python spoof of Trek.)
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Old November 21 2012, 10:58 PM   #15
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Re: Star Trek Author's black list?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Sometimes the byline IS very important. Diane Duane's Trek works got me into her original stuff, and by now I've amassed a fairly large collection.
And that's a great thing, supporting your favorite Trek authors with their non-Trek stuff is definitely the thing to do. I've done it with both KRAD and PAD as well.

However we are still a minority inside a minority inside a minority. Your average consumer only watches Star Trek occasionally. That's the majority. Of that is the minority which is dedicated to Star Trek and watches every episode and movie. Out of that is the minority that buys Star Trek novels. And out of that is the minority that follows specific writers in both their Trek and non-Trek writings.

That's why KRAD's saying the author doesn't matter of a tie-in novel; it's all about grabbing that non-regular reader in the consumer majority. That's the way to expand your sales beyond the minority fanbase and have a big success.
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