The online ramblings of [Joseph] Jay Franco, purveyor of books and other fine things.
A conversation about tie-in fiction
The Angry Robot blog just posted a link to a conversation between Mark Charan Newton and Dan Abnett, which took place on Jeff Vandermeer's blog. The topic of conversation is the tie-in novel. It is a fascinating read if you're at all interested in this part of sf/f related books.
I'm one of those people interested in such things.
Not only because for many years I was responsible for acquiring tie-in books while an editor for the SFBC, and had the pleasure of finding many great reads over the years, which serviced many a fan base of the respective tie-in properties. But also because I'll soon be involved with developing tie-in fiction, which I'm psyched about.
Unfortunately there is a stigma associated with this type of writing. Some of it rings true of course, as with any work-for-hire work can be "hacked out" by a writer looking for little more than a pay check. But I feel that can be true of any segment of publishing whether it be other categories of fiction, or writing in general. My experience has been that certain authors take this work very seriously and fans of the tie-in property can spot a writer not giving his all.
Dan Abnett, having made his bones writing both comics and fiction on both sides of the pond, makes an interesting point how writing as work-for-hire for big comics companies is something everyone aspires to, and how this is the complete opposite with most tie-in novel work. There is a long history of it being looked down on. And that is sad, because if you're a fan of, say, Star Wars, there are so many more adventures waiting for you in the pages of the tie-ins.
I really enjoyed the post, and comments section, and I'm glad to see people in the field discussing this important part of SF-related writing.
I'll end with one of my favorite tie-in novels, in this case a comics tie-in by the man who wrote the original story in the comics, the legendary, Marv Wolfman. I read and bought for SFBC the Crisis on Infinite Earths novel tie-in published by ibooks, and found it to be amazing.
As a fan, it was incredible to see the story through the Flash's perspective, and the detail really added to the legacy of that infamous DC storyline. I'm sure several fans may have missed this book simply because it was a novel tie-in, but I thought it was brilliant.
As a publishing professional who is about to step back into the ring with tie-in novels, and be involved in their development, there is no greater conversation for me to see taking place right now.