In his Los Angeles Times essay on Sunday, My brother Tod touched on the enormous popularity of tie-in novels. I've just learned from International Association of Media Tie-in Writers' member Sean Williams that his STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED has hit #1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. I suspect his tie-in won't be the only one on that list on 9/7. This week, Eric Van Lustbader's tie-in ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE BOURNE SANCTION is #2 and IAMTW member Karen Traviss' STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS is #19.
6 thoughts on “Tie-ing up the NY Times Bestseller List”
Wow. I need to get in on that tie-in action. By the way, Lee, your brother’s essay on the Burn Notice experience made me want to try the show (rented from Netflix) and I’ve enjoyed it so I’ll go get his book. Tell him the royalty is on the way! –Brian
Which brings up a good question. DO tie-in writers get royalties nowadays?
And so do many other authors of tie-ins that I know.
That said, I also know lots of authors of tie-in work who get a work-for-hire fee and no royalties.
It really depends on the media property and the clout of the author.
Have you found that being known for writing tie-in novels has hampered the selling of your original fiction?
Wow, it all sounds wonderful — Sales, Royalties, Success, Book Signings, Panal Discussions at Conferences, Good Barbecue, and it looks like The Party is Going to Last. Congratulations to all the hard-working writers who are making it happen! I’ve been waiting and waiting for “Mr. Monk Goes to Germany” and as soon as it comes to Guelph, Ontario, Canada, the humidity capital of the Universe, I’ll see if I can snap up a copy!
“Have you found that being known for writing tie-in novels has hampered the selling of your original fiction?”
First off, I don’t think I am known primarily as an author of tie-in novels. I may be wrong, but I think that I established my reputation (such as it is) in the mystery and bookselling community as “a TV writer/producer who writes books” long before I was writing tie-ins. I believe that is probably how I am still known outside of the TV business. If anything, the tie-ins just reinforced that pre-existing image.
The only novel that I’ve had published since I began writing tie-ins was THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE, which was actually written and sold before my first DIAGNOSIS MURDER came out.
The reason that I mention BADGE is that my tie-in work didn’t prevent the novel from being taken seriously by the mystery community, earning wide critical acclaim (a starred review in Kirkus, a rave in PW, etc.) and a Shamus Award nomination for Best Novel.
I haven’t tried to sell an original novel since then, I have simply been too busy to write one. But I doubt the tie-ins will hurt me. Quite the opposite. My agent believes the success of the MONK books (and especially the very successful transition from paperback originals to hardcover) will help her sell a new novel.
In fact, I have been noodling with a new novel and might actually get started on it before the year is out.
I know the tie-ins haven’t hurt Max Allan Collins, Kevin J. Anderson, and many other IAMTW members from selling their original work.