I haven’t done all that much in the way of tie-in writing – three Walker, Texas Ranger novels, a Kolchak the Night Stalker story, an upcoming Green Hornet story – but I’ve been a fan of the genre for decades, going back to those Lone Ranger novels I checked out of the Odessa Public Library and the Man From U.N.C.L.E. paperback I bought brand-new in 1964 off the paperback rack in Buddies Grocery Store. (Notice how smoothly I work in those bits of book nostalgia.) I’ve read many, many TV tie-in novels and movie novelizations over the years and still enjoy them.
Despite my somewhat limited professional experience in the genre, I’ve been a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers since it was founded several years ago by Lee Goldberg and Max Allan Collins. The IAMTW has just published a new non-fiction book on the subject of tie-ins, and it’s an excellent work that offers something for just about everybody.
If you’re an author interested in writing tie-ins, TIED IN offers advice from the top names in the business, ranging from the general guidelines of a round table discussion of the business and craft of writing tie-ins to specific subjects such as writing tie-in novels for the YA market (from Aaron Rosenberg), novelizing video games (from William C. Dietz), writing soap opera-based tie-ins (from Alina Adams), and writing movie spin-off novels (from Greg Cox). If you’re a fan of certain TV series, such as STAR TREK, PSYCH, MURDER SHE WROTE, and BURN NOTICE, you can get all the behind-the-scenes stories on how the novels based on those series came to be written.
For someone like me, who’s very interested in the history of popular fiction, the highlight of TIED IN is David Spencer’s “American TV Tie-ins from the 50s Through the Early 70s”, which is almost a book in itself. It’s a fascinating historical discussion of how the TV tie-in novel originated and evolved over the years and touches on many of the books I was buying and reading when they were new. This article really brought back a lot of good memories for me. Along similar lines, also of great interest to me were fine articles by Paul Kupperberg about comic book and comic strip tie-in novels (I read a bunch of those, too) and Robert Greenberger about the connection between pulp magazines and tie-ins.
TIED IN is available as an e-book right now, with a print edition coming out soon. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong. It’s informative, entertaining, and a must-have if you have any interest in tie-in fiction. Highly recommended.