Ever since my brother Tod's terrific LA Times article on writing the BURN NOTICE tie-in was published, me and other members of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers have been bombarded with queries from people who want to write tie-ins. In response, author Jeff Mariotte has posted his advice on the IAMTW blog. He wrotes, in part:
that it's licensed. That means that (for a price) a publisher has
licensed the rights to publish the novels from the (in the case of TV
shows–the process is essentially the same for books based on comics,
games, movies, etc.) TV production company or network that owns the
original show, or the "property."
Once a publisher gets the
license, then an editor working for that publishing company looks for
writers to write the novels. The writers are approached and offered a
contract before even beginning to write the novel–it's the reverse of
the usual novel-writing approach of writing a book and then looking for
a publisher. This means that for the most part, tie-in writing jobs go
to writers of whom the editor is aware.