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Tied In: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-In Writing [Kindle Edition]

Max Collins , Burl Barer , Tod Goldberg , Elizabeth Massie , Jeff Mariotte , Raymond Benson , William Rabkin , Greg Cox , Nancy Holder , Lee Goldberg
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

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 Donald Bain, Max Allan Collins, Tod Goldberg, Elizabeth Massie, William C. Dietz, Aaron Rosenberg, Paul Kupperberg, Jeff Mariotte, Raymond Benson, Robert Greenberger, David Spencer, Greg Cox, Burl Barer, Jeff Ayers, Nancy Holder, Brandie Tarvin, Alina Adams and William Rabkin.

This book is an official publication of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.


"If this is the Golden Age of anything in the popular fiction field, it may be the tie-in novel [...]There have always been formidable writers doing tie-ins, but they have generally been dismissed, not unreasonably, as quickies tossed off for a fast buck. That image has been improved somewhat by the quality work of editor Goldberg, the late Stuart Kaminsky, Max Allan Collins, and some of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers members contributing to this volume. [...]With it's helpful how-to tips and articles, the book is primarily directed towards other writers, and established pros at that. But many fans and scholars will enjoy the inside-the-business stuff." Jon Breen, Mystery Scene Magazine

"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.[...]David Spencer's wonderful “American TV Tie-Ins from the 50s through the early 70s, 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. [...] Other essays I found particularly interesting were “Learning on the Job, in which Nancy Holder discusses her experience writing her first tie-in novel, “This Time It's Personal, an account of how Max Allan Collins managed to write the novelization for a movie adapted from his own graphic novel, and “How to Novelize a Game, William C. Dietz's reflection on what goes into crafting a novel out of a computer/video game.[...]
TIED IN is a fascinating exploration of the media tie-in business." -- Television Obscurities Blog

"This is really interesting and entertaining stuff. I started with Tod Goldberg's essay on writing the Burn Notice books, moved on Jeff Mariotte's "Jack of All Trades," got really caught up in Max Allan Collins's "This Time It's Personal," kept right on going through the great round-table discussion, and read three or four more of the essays, including one that harks back to my era, David Spencer's "American TV Tie-Ins from the '50s to the Early '70s. I was genuinely surprised at how much fun I had reading this book, and I'm sure most of you would like it, too" -- Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine (

"I say this without a whit of exaggeration TIED-IN, edited by Lee Goldberg and written by the members of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, is the most fascinating, entertaining and honest book about the writing life I've ever read..." --Ed Gorman, author of GUILD, SLEEPING DOGS, and founder of Mystery Scene Magazine

Editorial Reviews


"If this is the Golden Age of anything in the popular fiction field, it may be the tie-in and scholars will enjoy the inside-the-business stuff." --Mystery Scene Magazine

I say this without a whit of exaggeration TIED-IN is the most fascinating, entertaining and honest book about the writing life I've ever read.. --Ed Gorman

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

 I was genuinely surprised at how much fun I had reading this book, and I'm sure most of you would like it, too --Bill Crider, bestselling author of "Outrage at Blanco"

Product Details

  • File Size: 355 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453716106
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (July 18, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003WEA1E6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,799 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Tied In: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-In Writing" features entertaining, informative essays by writers who regularly produce media tie-in books... you know, those books (often paperbacks, but increasingly appearing in hardback form, too) that adapt blockbuster movies and fan-favorite television series, as well as present original stories featuring the characters from those sources. I used to read a lot of these in my high school and college days, and- recognizing that a good book can come from anywhere- still pick one up here and there.

The contributing writers discuss the fun and challenge of producung these works, and their various approaches to the job. Some, for example, have great respect for a character's dialogue as conceived for the original movie or TV show they're adapting, and don't change it in their written version (aside from adding new dialogue to get their tale up to proper book length). Others happily change dialogue at will, believing that the visual and literary mediums have different needs, and what sounds good in a movie might not work in a book. All very interesting stuff.

There seems to be one area of agreement among the writers, however: that those working in the tie-in arena should have a passion for their material but not be outright in love with it. This is because the characters being written about- whether they're from "Star Trek", "CSI", "Bones", "Star Wars", "Murder, She Wrote", or any of the many other entertainment properties that regularly generate tie-in books- don't belong to the writer producing the tie-in book, and the publisher and licensor (usually a studio) can weigh in at will and make the writer change things. And usually do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
There's a lot that people don't know about tie-in writing. They don't know that it's not simply fan-fiction with authorization and better distribution. They don't know how it gets written, who writes it, what the deadlines are, what the limitations and expectations are, what the economics are for the publishers, writers, and tie-in rights providers, and how complicated it can be to fashion a good piece of fiction to a specific wordcount with sometimes multiple levels of non-writers not only looking over your shoulder, but sometimes tossing out whole pages and chapters. They don't understand the talent required of such writers and the sacrifices made by them in pursuing this niche, often along with other writing projects involving worlds of their own.

Rather than explain all of this in boring textbook style, Tied-In presents a series of essays by professional tie-in writers, describing their own experiences, frustrations, victories, and war-stories illustrating a variety of these central topics, while all along providing a bunch of interesting history about a lot of projects and media properties that give you a real insider's feel for how it is to work with Hollywood, game companies, comic book publishers, and others movers and shakers in the world of entertainment today. I promise that you will learn surprising tidbits that you won't be able to wait to tell your friends.

As an occasional tie-in writer (Dragonlance/Transformers) and member of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (though not a contributor to this project), I'm happy to say that I found the essays both enjoyable and instructive--easily well worth the price.

If you know someone who wants to write tie-in material, you need to get them this book. And if you ever read tie-in material about your favorite shows or movies, you'll want to read this book, yourself.

Donald J. Bingle
Writer on Demand TM
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Since I enjoy tie-in novels, I jumped at a chance to get a review copy of this collection of essays that attempt to explain just how these books come to be. And I found it just as fascinating as I thought I would.

Over the course of 19 chapters, we get a good feel for how the business works. Since many of the authors are telling their own stories, we get some repetition. But that also helps reinforce the point that writing tie-ins is hard work. But it is also a labor of love. I get the feeling that the authors contributing here love doing it, struggles and all.

We get a look at every kind of tie-in imaginable. There are the books based on TV series, as covered by Donald Bain (author of the Murder, She Wrote books), Tod Goldberg, and William Rabkin. Max Allen Collins discusses his two most frustrating novelizations of movies. Is writing for a YA crowd harder or easier? You'll get the answer from Aaron Rosenberg. Writing a novel based on an entire season of episodes, novels based on comic books, and writing novels set between movies are all discussed. Heck, I wasn't aware that some canceled soap operas have continued on-line, but now I know all about that.

My respect for tie-in writers has really grown as a result of reading this book. One of the repeated facts is their short deadline. We're talking weeks to complete a book. And that's with multiple people telling them how the book should be written. This isn't easy work.

Since there are so many different authors, the writing style varies. Most of the essays are conversational, but a couple get more scholarly in tone. Even then, I found the writing readable.
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