Announcing The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers — IAMTW

Max Allan Collins and me (or is it "I?" I really should learn how to WRITE) are pleased to announce the formation of The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers
Please forward the information below to anyone you think might be interested.

What is a Tie-In Writer?

We write science fiction, westerns, mysteries, romance and thrillers and sometimes all of the above. Our work embraces just about every genre you can think of, from STAR TREK to CSI, from GUNSMOKE to MURDER SHE WROTE, from DUNE to James Bond, from RESIDENT EVIL to Lizzie McGuire.

Our books are original tie-in novels, comic books and short stories based on existing characters from movie, TV series, books, games, and cartoons… or they are novelizations (books based on screenplays for movies and TV shows).

Tie-ins and novelizations are a licensed works… meaning they are written with the permission and supervision of the creators, studios, or other rights-holders of the original characters.

Well-known tie-in writers include Kingsley Amis, Kevin J. Anderson, Raymond Benson, Gregory Benford, Lawrence Block, Davd Brin, Greg Bear, Max Brand, Orson Scott Card, Leslie Charteris, Arthur C. Clarke,  Max Allan Collins, Peter David, Ian Fleming, Alan Dean Foster, John Gardner, Elizabeth Hand, Stuart Kaminsky, David Morrell, Robert B. Parker, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, and Jim Thompson to name just a few.

Our books are published by the major publishing companies, are available everywhere, sell tens of millions of copies worldwide and regularly appear on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists… but the actual craft of tie-in writing goes largely unrecognized and is
greatly misunderstood.

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers
will change all that.

Why the IAMTW?

Tie-writers and their work are often overlooked andunder-appreciated by existing organizations like the Mystery Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, and the Romance Writers of
America, even though some of their most respected members work in the field. Tie-ins represent a huge percentage of the books published each year,  they are enormously successful and are widely
enjoyed by readers. And yet we have no organization that represents our unique business and professional interests nor acknowledges excellence in our field.

Until now. Until the IAMTW. The name itself is a declaration of pride in what we do: I AM a Tie-in Writer. We say it with pride because we are very proud of what we do and the books we write.

The IAMTW is dedicated to enhancing the professional and public image of tie-in writers…to working with the media to review tie-in novels and publicize their authors…to educating people about who we are and what we do….and to providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another, and discuss issues relating to field (via a monthly e-newsletter, our website, and our active yahoo discussion group (
Our members include authors active in many other professional writer organizations (MWA, PWA, WGA, SFWA, etc.) and who bring those unique perspectives to their work for their fellow tie-in writers.

Every major industry has an award for excellence in their field…not just books, movies, records, and TV show. Awards are a demonstration that people take pride in their work and strive to constantly do better. Respect from ones peers is important…and, up until now, tie-in writers haven’t even been able to enjoy that, despite our impressive sales. Our Scribe Awards will celebrate excellence in our craft and, at the same time, draw attention to tie-in writers among publishers, booksellers and readers. 

Who Qualifies for Membership?

You do if you’ve written licensed fiction based on a TV show, motion picture, computer game, stage play, comic book (or strip), radio serial or other dramatic  work as long as you were paid for it and it has been published (or is about to be). The membership committee will determine, on a case-by-case basis, what qualifies as  "other dramatic work" (for instance, a series of books based on a toy or doll).

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve written forty novels or one short story, whether it was published last week or thirty years ago, you qualify for membership as long as you were paid for your licensed work and it was published (or is about to be).

Fanfiction does not qualifty.

The Scribe Awards and How You Can Enter

The IAMTW will present SIX AWARDS in THREE CATEGORIES for books (& comic books and graphic novels) published in 2005. We will also honor one “Grandmaster” for career achievement in the field.

SPECULATIVE FICTION (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror)

BEST NOVEL (adapted) – A novelization based on an existing screenplay, whether it’s a feature film,
episodic teleplay, video game script, or play.

BEST NOVEL (original) – An original novel using pre-existing characters from a movie, television series, video game, play, or an existing series of novels (ie new novels extending an existing literary franchise, ie DUNE, James Bond,  etc.)

SUSPENSE FICTION (Mysteries, Thrillers, Suspense)

BEST NOVEL (adapted)

BEST NOVEL (original)


BEST NOVEL (adapted)
BEST NOVEL (original)

GRANDMASTER (For Career Achievement)

Judging committees are made of up three your peers from within the organization, writers who know what tie-in writers face, because they are tie-in writers themselves. The judges will read all the submissions in their category and select both the nominees and the winners (a system patterned after
the Mystery Writers of America and the Private Eye Writers of America among others).

Books may be submitted by members and/or editors.  Authors are limited to one submission in each category, though they may enter as many categories as they wish.
A judge aware of a good book in that category cannot  nominate that book without submission, but
it’s fair for a committee member, through the award chairperson, to contact the appropriate author/editor and suggest/request submission. (Obviously, authors serving as judges can’t submit books in the categories they are judging)
Details on where, and how, to submit your work will be announced soon.

Current Officers

The IAMTW was co-founded by Max Allan Collins and Lee Goldberg, who serve as President and
Vice-President respectively.

MAX ALLAN COLLINS,  an MWA "Edgar" nominee in both fiction and non-fictioncategories,  has earned fourteen PWA "Shamus" nominations for his historical thrillers, winning for his Nathan Heller novels, True Detective (1983) and Stolen Away (1991).  His graphic novel Road to Perdition is the basis of the Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks; a prose sequel, Road to Purgatory, was published by Morrow in 2004.  His many comics credits include "Dick Tracy"; "Ms. Tree"; "Batman"; and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," based on the hit TV series for which he has also written video games, jigsaw puzzles, and a USA TODAY-bestselling series of novels.  An independent filmmaker in his native Iowa ("Mommy," "Shades of Noir"), he and his writer wife Barbara frequently collaborate, sometimes under the name Barbara Allan.

LEE GOLDBERG is a two-time “Edgar” nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits include Martial Law, Spenser: For Hire,, Diagnosis Murder, The Cosby Mysteries, Hunter, Nero Wolfe, Missing and Monk. He’s also the author of many books, including My Gun Has Bullets, Beyond the Beyond, Unsold TV Pilots, Successful Television Writing, The Walk, The Man With The Iron-On Badge, as well as the Diagnosis Murder and Monk series of paperback originals.

How To Contact the IAWTW

PO Box 8212
Calabasas, CA 91372. 

Website: (coming soon)

To Join:

Send a check for $35 for your annual dues, payable to “I.A.M.T.W,” to PO Box 8212, Calabasas, CA 91372.membership application will be posted on the website… as soon as its up-and-running. In the mean time, please include with you check a letter with your NAME, ADDRESS, EMAIL ADDRESS, PHONE
NUMBER and the TITLE, PUBLISHER and PUB DATES of some of your most recent licensed tie-in work.  You will receive a letter from the membership committee notifying you of your acceptance.


GunsmokeVariety reports that the Western Channel is going to be running a fifty-hour marathon of GUNSMOKE, one of my favorite shows, on August 26th in celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary. These are the black-and-white, hour-long episodes from 1962-1966…and although most of my favorites came before (in the half-hour episodes from 1955-1962) and after (the color episodes from 1967-1975, when John Mantley was running the show) the period they are airing, you still can’t beat James Arness as Matt Dillon when it comes to TV heroes.   They’ll also be running all five of the reunion movies from the late 80s, early 90s….the first  three of which are pretty darn good stuff..

The "Golden Bullets: Fifty Years of ‘Gunsmoke’ " marathon will include
"special vignettes, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage" with cast members,
said Mike Ruggiero, VP of scheduling and programming for Encore.

Episodes directed by Sam Peckinpah and Mark Rydell will be included, as well as hours scored by Bernard
Herrmann, Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith.

Looking for Mr. Goodwriter

I got this email today. It read, in part:

I am looking to license a script for a tv show and to be quite
honest I have no idea where to look for writers that are submitting there work
for licensing or purchase.

Can you be more specific? I have no idea what you mean. Are you interested in licensing
the script for a book? A Toy? A play? A song? Well, regardless of how you’re looking to use the script, most TV shows & movies are owned by studios, so you’d be
licensing the script/characters from them, not the writers, for whatever project
you have in mind.

I got this reply:

Basically I’m looking to find a writer to write a tv show for
me. I was thinking about it and most likely I won’t find someone with a script
that fits what I’m looking for. I’m not exactly sure. If I can find a writer
that has a script that is close to what I’m looking for then it will work. If
not then I need to find a writer that can write a tv show for me. Where can I go
to find available writers?

Walk into any Starbucks or  restaurant in L.A. and shout: "Is anybody here a writer?" Then stand back and try not to get trampled. Seriously, though, I guess a  lot depends on who you are (a production company? An investor? A toy company? Or just a guy with an idea and no idea how to sell it?),  what kind of show you’re trying to do (is it an infomercial? A reality show? A documentary? A game show? A sitcom?), and what you have to offer the writer in return.

In the absense of specifics, I’d say you have a number of options.

You could contact the major talent agencies and let them know a) who you are and b) that you are looking for a qualified writer to do X project. The agents would check you out and, if you passed inspection, they would recommend clients they felt could do the job for the money being offered.

You could take an advertisement out in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter: "Wanted: A writer to do X. Please send your qualifications and sample scripts to..bla bla bla."

You could contact the various film schools, letting them know you’re looking for a talented young writer to do X project for X dollars.

That’s the best advice I’ve got for you given the limited info you’ve given me.