The First Review


Our first review for TIED IN has already come in… from the Television Obscurities blog(one of my favorites, btw)… and it's a rave.  They said, in part:

TIED IN doesn’t focus solely on television tie-ins. It also covers movie novelizations, comic book tie-ins and computer game tie ins. But that actually makes it even more valuable and more interesting.
[…]my favorite essays were those that did focus on television tie-ins, especially David Spencer’s wonderful “American TV Tie-Ins from the 50s through the early 70s,” which delves into the history of television tie-in novels and examines several of the writers from those decades, including William Johnston, Keith Laumer and Michael Avallone.

TIED IN is a fascinating exploration of the media tie-in business.

Sledgehammer & Whore

Screenwriter Josh Friedman has written the best blog post I have read all year…maybe in the last two years… maybe ever. I loved it. What's it about?  The intersection of life, writing, and TV procedurals. Kind of. I'm not doing it justice at all, so what are you waiting for? Just read it. Here's a peek: 

So I'm at a meeting with a producer the other day and he's pitching me a tv idea. As way of emphasizing why I need him and his idea, he brings forth a piece of paper. On it, my credits. He doesn't actually hand it over to me but he says this:

PRODUCER: I've been looking over your credits, pretty impressive.

ME: Thanks, we try.

PRODUCER: Seems to me you're just missing one thing from these credits. And I'm gonna tell you what it is.

ME: Please do.

At which point he turns the piece of paper towards me and I see he's written in bold black marker near the top, pointing to the list: BIG FUCKING HIT TV SHOW.

ME: Well, yes, I am missing that. Very true. I think about that a lot.

PRODUCER: That's all right. Because I'm here to change all that.

At which point he launches into his pitch for what may or not be "my big fucking hit tv show."

Now, I leave it to you to debate whether pointing out my shortcomings is a good or bad sales strategy (it rarely works for my dad but often for my wife), and I'll leave it to me to decide whether or not the idea he pitched me was the answer to my problems…

And that does not even hint at the strangeness that happens after he gets a late-night call from a hooker…

Mr. Monk and Romance

The folks over at the Love, Romances and More blog are in love with Mr. Monk. Here's part of what they had to say about MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT.

Lee Goldberg has become a genius in my book![…] As a reader, this novel delighted me in many ways. There was not a bad page in this book; each page is filled with humor, drama and emotion. While I cannot as a person understand Monk's obsessive compulsive disorder, I sympathized with the characters surrounding him. His problems were heartbreaking yet laugh out loud funny at the same time. Lee Goldberg has taken a serious disorder and turned it into one of the funniest drama's I have ever read – or seen.

TIED IN – The Book

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce the publication of TIED IN: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-In Writing, edited by Lee Goldberg.

Tie-in novels are books based on pre-existing media properties — like TV shows, movies and games — and they regularly top the national bestseller lists. But as popular as tie-ins books and novelizations are among readers, few people know how the books are written or the rich history behind the hugely successful and enduring genre.

This 75,000 word book is a ground-breaking collection of lively, informative, and provocative essays and interviews by some of the best-selling, and most acclaimed, writers in the tie-in business, offering an inside glimpse into what they do and how they do it.
Contributors include Alina Adams, Jeff Ayers, Donald Bain, Burl Barer, Raymond Benson, Max Allan Collins, Greg Cox, William C. Dietz, Tod Goldberg, Robert Greenberger, Nancy Holder, Paul Kupperberg, Jeff Mariotte, Elizabeth Massie, William Rabkin, Aaron Rosenberg, David Spencer, and Brandie Tarvin.

Our hope is that our organization, through efforts like this book, can enlighten readers about who we are and what we do, as well as explore the diversity of our work and the rich history behind it.  

TIED IN is currently available in an e-edition on Amazon and Smashwords (and soon on the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble). A trade paperback edition will be published later next month.

Mr. Monk Gets The Scoop

The folks at Gelati's Scoop like MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT a lot. They said, among other things:

Lee Goldberg’s gift of humor is, I think, the main ingredient in making this series of novels work at such a high level. Taking such every day mundane situations or objects (like a bottle of water), and weaving them into a well-crafted novel that is moving and insightful from start to finish is no small undertaking, but he succeeds novel after novel. Mr. Monk Gets Cleaned Out is a fun summer read. It took the pain of missing the series out for me right away

Curiosities, the Curious Book News blog, also liked the book. They said, in part:

This highly entertaining tale takes place in San Francisco before the events of the show's final season It adroitly explores the obsessive-compulsive behavioral problems of the brilliant but flawed detective.[…]This is great fun if you were addicted to the popular television show – you don't even have to read others in the series to enjoy it.

Thanks to both blogs for the great reviews!

Mr. Monk Gets Some Love

Bill Crider blogged today about MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT, a book that I am pleased to say that he enjoyed. He wrote, in part:

I keep thinking that Goldberg is going to run out of situations or new ways for Monk to react to the world, but he seems to be endlessly inventive. I found myself laughing out loud more than once in the course of the book.
Monk's relationship with Natalie advances, too. I'm not saying anything more about that, but the relationship between them gets more complex with each book. This is fine entertainment, and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

Thanks, Bill!

The Kindle Isn’t A Short Cut for Authors

There's a new interview with me up at the Kindle Author blog.  Here's an excerpt:

GOLDBERG_Iron_On_Badge_FINAL  DAVID WISEHART: You've had a successful TV writing career, and strong sales as a traditionally published mystery writer. Why publish on Kindle?

LEE GOLDBERG: I haven't published anything specifically for the Kindle yet—just my out-of-print work. So for me, it's a no-brainer. I'm making money on stuff I've already written and that wasn't earning for me any longer. But I have exhausted my back-list now…

Would I write something original for the Kindle? If I can't sell my next original novel to a major publisher, and it came down to a choice between going with a very small press or taking it to the Kindle myself, I would probably go with the Kindle, simply for financial reasons. I'm sure I could make a lot more money with Kindle publication over, say, the fine folks at Five Star, though it would mean losing some tangible benefits. Five Star books are respected, reviewed by major publications, stocked by libraries, and are eligible for all the big awards…while self-published books don't get much respect (often for very good reason), are not reviewed, are ineligible for major awards (something I understand and accept, having helped craft the eligibility rules for the Mystery Writers of America). All that said, I may test the Kindle waters with an original novella this fall.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time writer thinking of publishing on Kindle?

LEE GOLDBERG: Don't do it. I still think selling your book to a publisher, and getting wide distribution in brick-and-mortar stores, is the way to go…and will always be my first choice. You benefit from having an editor, a marketing team, a sales department, and nationwide visibility. I don't think self-publishing is a wise move for novice writers/aspiring novelists…for all kinds of reasons[…] Too many of them do it because they can't get their work published and, I hate to say it, in most cases there's a good reason for it—their books suck. They see self-publishing on the Kindle as a short-cut….or as a gold mine…and its neither. They look at success stories like Joe Konrath and Boyd Morrison and assume the same thing will happen to them. It probably won't.

I have sampled hundreds of self-published books on the Kindle… and 99.9% of them aren't just awful, they border on illiterate, as if they were written by people who never graduated high school. It's astonishing just how terrible the stuff is. Putting unprofessional, hideous crap on the Kindle *will* hurt your career. You only have one chance to make a first impression with readers, agents and publishers. That said, at least self-publishing on the Kindle doesn't cost you anything (if you don't count cover design, which you could do on your own, or hiring a professional editor) and cuts the vanity press scammers entirely out of the equation.

Taking a Walk

THE WALK is, by far, my best-selling book on the Kindle.  It out-sells the e-editions of all of my MONK novels and the e-editions of all of my previously out-of-print stuff.  Every month I sell more copies than the month before. And today, a little over 12 months since I put the book on the Kindle, I reached a milestone:  I sold my 7000th e-edition of THE WALK.

So today I am changing the cover.

What!? Am I insane? Why the hell would I mess with success? Because I think I can sell even more copies with a slicker, bolder, updated version of the same concept…and because it will tie in graphically with my other books on the Kindle.  Besides, one of the great things about the Kindle platform is that if the change flops, I can go back to the old cover in a few hours. So here's the old cover…

 And here's the new one, designed by Carl Graves.

I think Carl did an amazing job…and I predict my sales, which have gone up every month, will shoot up even more with this cover. What do you think? Am I sabotaging myself…or is this a smart move?

Bad TV Plotting

William Rabkin tipped me off to a blogger's hilarious example of  bad television plotting. Here's an excerpt:

I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called "World War II"[…] they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible…and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before – drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

…and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously.

Great stuff!