For the authors, how did you break into the Trek novel industry?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by star trek, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. star trek

    star trek Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Jun 4, 2011
    What was the process like?

    Did you write a trek novel, find an agent, and then pitched it to pocket books?

    If I were to write a stand alone Trek novel, how hard would it be to get it published, say for an unpublished writer?
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    It almost never works that way for tie-in fiction. Editors commission authors to develop novels for them, and the novel outlines have to be approved by the studio before the author can proceed with the manuscript. If you already have an agent, or some other professional connection/experience that can bring you to the editor's attention, then you can request an opportunity to pitch; and I believe there's a submission process where one can submit an outline and sample chapters (through an agent), but that's more of an audition to show your ability to write and to follow instructions, and you probably wouldn't be asked to write that actual novel, but instead the editor would work with you to develop a different one.

    There have been other options in the past. The Strange New Worlds contest for new Trek authors brought in a number of writers who went on to do novels, including Dayton Ward and William Leisner. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers e-book series was often a testing ground for new writers that editor Keith DeCandido was willing to take a chance on; that's how I broke in after Keith became aware of me through this very BBS (although I was already a published writer with two original novelettes to my name). But those avenues are no longer available.

    The best way to break into writing is to focus on original writing, since there are far more markets you can submit that to.
  3. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Yeah. In the past it was much more likely, but now... there was only one author new to Trek that published a novel in the past two years combined, Tony Daniel, who already had several published original novels to his name.

    EDIT: Actually, it goes back further than that - Marco Palmieri edited the novels up until 2008, and he made it a priority to bring in new voices, but since he's left the only new writers to enter Trek have been projects he had already commissioned before leaving, former Trek novel editors, or Tony Daniel who I mentioned above. So in 5 years, none of the editors have reached out to new authors, with only one exception. Your chances are not high!
  4. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 8, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    Actually, one might argue that the longer the current circle of authors stays on, the more likely it becomes the editors might look for new voices to keep the line feeling fresh.
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    May 12, 2004
    Oxford, PA
    In general, it's a bad idea to write any sort of media tie-in novel on spec. Because everything needs to be approved by the licensor first.

    Here's how it usually works: A publisher buys the rights to publish SPACE VIXENS novels, then goes looking for freelance writers to write them. No surprise, they usually go with people who have experience writing books based on similar movies and TV shows. It's just easier that way.

    The prospective writer writes a proposal or outline which is submitted to the TV people for approval. Typically, there are various stages of revision until you reach a plot that everyone body agrees on. Then and only then, does the writer start working on the book.

    I don't wake up in the morning and think, "Hey, I'm going to write an 80,000-word WAREHOUSE 13 novel and then try to sell it." Instead I usually get a phone call from an editor I've known for years, asking me if I'm available to write a WH13 novel.

    Ditto for Star Trek.

    As with any career, the hard part is getting your foot in the door, but it helps to have some general experience in science writing and/or editing.

    (I started out as a full-time science fiction editor at Tor Books, who had also written for various sf magazines and anthologies, including a handful of BATMAN stories, before John Ordover tapped me to do a DS9 book.)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013