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

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Old June 14 2014, 12:49 AM   #1
JD
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Who starts a book tie in contract?

The news about KRAD's Sleep Hollow book brought up a question that's been rattling around in my head. Who actually starts the tie-in contracts, the publisher making the books or the company producing the show/movie/whatever?
For example, if I was an editor at a publisher and I wanted to do books based on White Collar (one of my favorite shows, which I would love to read tie in based on), could I just call USA, or whoever produces the show, and say "I'm an editor at _____ books and I'm interested in publishing White Collar books"?
Or does do the producers just put the rights up for sale and then give them to whoever is interested?
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Old June 14 2014, 01:14 AM   #2
KRAD
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

As with most questions regarding writing and publishing the answer is, "It depends." Both scenarios you mentioned do happen. Sometimes publishers go after licenses. Sometimes studios aggressively try to sell licensed books. As a for-instance, back in the late 1990s, Tribune Entertainment was aggressively trying to find a publisher to do tie-in novels of Earth: Final Conflict while production for the show was ramping up. Several companies (including the book packager I was working for at the time) were in the running, though the books wound up with Tor.

In the case of Sleepy Hollow, I believe Fox has been trying to cash in on the runaway success of the show, but in all honesty I have no idea who initiated it. I only found out about it when I got an e-mail out of the blue from the editor who asked me to write the book.

(I'm having lunch with my editor and her assistant on Monday, actually. I'll ask her then....)
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Old June 14 2014, 01:32 AM   #3
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Cool, thanks for the info!
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Old June 14 2014, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Keith is right. Sometimes editors make inquiries. Sometimes the studios approach one or more publishers. (I remember chasing after the books rights to Stargate SG-1 for Tor, only to be outbid by Roc, as I recall.)

There are also trade shows and events, like the big Licensing Fair in Vegas, where editors and licensors can meet to discuss upcoming properties and compare notes. The Licensing Fair used to be held in NYC, which made it very convenient for book publishers. The new Vegas location, somewhat less so. . ..
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Old June 15 2014, 05:49 PM   #5
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I remember chasing after the books rights to Stargate SG-1 for Tor, only to be outbid by Roc, as I recall.
You recall correctly. Unfortunately the line didn't last very long - although the same holds true for Tor's other tie-in lines that I'm familiar with.
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Old June 15 2014, 06:47 PM   #6
KRAD
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

ATimson wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I remember chasing after the books rights to Stargate SG-1 for Tor, only to be outbid by Roc, as I recall.
You recall correctly. Unfortunately the line didn't last very long - although the same holds true for Tor's other tie-in lines that I'm familiar with.
Your definition of "didn't last very long" differs from mine -- but then, I consider any tie-in line that goes more than one book to have more staying power than most.

In fact, Roc's Stargate line included ten books -- six based on the movie (all by Bill McCay) and four based on the TV series (all by Ashley McConnell). Meanwhile, Tor's tie-in lines of note include three Farscape novels, four Battlestar Galactica novels, and six each of Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict.
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Old June 15 2014, 06:52 PM   #7
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

KRAD wrote: View Post
Meanwhile, Tor's tie-in lines of note include three Farscape novels, four Battlestar Galactica novels, and six each of Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict.
We've also done Halo, Dark Shadows, Zorro, Freddy Krueger, and about a zillion Conan novels!

And I'm currently editing a line of tie-in novels based on the Deadlands roleplaying game, which is in development as a TV series as well.

(Trek author Jeff Mariotte is writing one of them.)
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Old June 15 2014, 07:30 PM   #8
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

KRAD wrote: View Post
Your definition of "didn't last very long" differs from mine -- but then, I consider any tie-in line that goes more than one book to have more staying power than most.

In fact, Roc's Stargate line included ten books -- six based on the movie (all by Bill McCay) and four based on the TV series (all by Ashley McConnell).
I was thinking of strictly SG-1, per Greg's comment. Besides, it's not really fair to combine the two, seeing as how the sequel books to the movie and SG-1 are mutually exclusive.

While four books may be more staying power than most (much less six like some of the Tor ones I was thinking about that you cited), it's certainly not as much staying power as I'd like if the books are any good! (Especially compared to some of Roc's other tie-in lines: 92 BattleTech novels and 46 Shadowrun novels, by my count.)

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
We've also done Halo, Dark Shadows, Zorro, Freddy Krueger, and about a zillion Conan novels!
And I'm rather embarrassed that I forgot about the Halo novels now! (Ten books and hopefully counting.)
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Old June 15 2014, 09:33 PM   #9
Greg Cox
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

ATimson wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
Your definition of "didn't last very long" differs from mine -- but then, I consider any tie-in line that goes more than one book to have more staying power than most.

In fact, Roc's Stargate line included ten books -- six based on the movie (all by Bill McCay) and four based on the TV series (all by Ashley McConnell).
I was thinking of strictly SG-1, per Greg's comment. Besides, it's not really fair to combine the two, seeing as how the sequel books to the movie and SG-1 are mutually exclusive.

While four books may be more staying power than most (much less six like some of the Tor ones I was thinking about that you cited), it's certainly not as much staying power as I'd like if the books are any good! (Especially compared to some of Roc's other tie-in lines: 92 BattleTech novels and 46 Shadowrun novels, by my count.)

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
We've also done Halo, Dark Shadows, Zorro, Freddy Krueger, and about a zillion Conan novels!
And I'm rather embarrassed that I forgot about the Halo novels now! (Ten books and hopefully counting.)
Don't be embarrassed. It slipped my mind at first, too!
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Old June 15 2014, 10:23 PM   #10
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Personally I want somebody to do Da Vinci's Demons novels. And by "somebody" I mean "somebody who'll hire me to do it."
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Old June 16 2014, 01:47 AM   #11
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
Meanwhile, Tor's tie-in lines of note include three Farscape novels, four Battlestar Galactica novels, and six each of Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict.
We've also done Halo, Dark Shadows, Zorro, Freddy Krueger, and about a zillion Conan novels!

And I'm currently editing a line of tie-in novels based on the Deadlands roleplaying game, which is in development as a TV series as well.

(Trek author Jeff Mariotte is writing one of them.)
I didn't realize Tor published the Halo books, I thought it was Del Rey for some reason.
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Old June 16 2014, 02:32 AM   #12
KRAD
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

JD wrote: View Post
I didn't realize Tor published the Halo books, I thought it was Del Rey for some reason.
An honest mistake, as the first three HALO novels were indeed published by Del Rey (The Fall of Reach and First Strike by Eric Nylund and The Flood by Bill Dietz). All the books since then, starting with Nylund's Ghosts of Onyx, have been from Tor.
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Old June 16 2014, 04:03 AM   #13
Greg Cox
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

It can get confusing sometimes. At one point, Tor was publishing novelizations of the MORTAL KOMBAT movies, but another publisher (Ace?) published a novel based on the game. I remember having to explain this to the sales force.

Similarly, Pocket Books did the novelization of Mask of Zorro at the same time that Tor was publishing original Zorro novels based on "classic" version of the character.

And I once shamelessly reprinted an old AVENGERS novel (based on the original British TV series) around the same time that the remake with Uma Thurman came out. Somebody else did the official movie novelization.

Just to be super-sneaky, I used silhouettes of Steed and Emma on the cover, so you could imagine either the old actors or the new actors!
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Old June 16 2014, 04:14 PM   #14
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
And I once shamelessly reprinted an old AVENGERS novel (based on the original British TV series) around the same time that the remake with Uma Thurman came out. Somebody else did the official movie novelization.

Just to be super-sneaky, I used silhouettes of Steed and Emma on the cover, so you could imagine either the old actors or the new actors!
I think people picking up the reprint ended up with the better part of the deal.

Best one I ever saw was this dvd for the Adam West batman movie, which was rereleased on the heels of one of the Nolan films. It's a fun film, but I suspect a few unwary buyers would have been rather shocked.

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Old June 18 2014, 04:06 AM   #15
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Re: Who starts a book tie in contract?

Wow, that is not the kind of cover you would expect for the Adam West movie.
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