Defining the Tie-In

Faithful readers know that over the summer I became a charter member of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. One of the interesting things that has happened since the organization’s founding is that I have a greater understand of the depth of contempt many contemporaries have for the category. It’s considered beneath their notice or they are offended that people would rather read a novelization or tie-in than their original work.

As a result, one of the organizations’ main goals is to advocate for the legitimacy of the form and to help make people more aware of how we’re surrounded by media tie-ins without always noticing them. This was brought to mind, again, in some comments my colleague Jeff Mariotte makes over at his blog. Rather than paraphrase, I’ll let you read these thoughts for yourself.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jeff – no surprise there. Honestly, a well-written book (or graphic novel or other) remains a well-written piece of work worthy of your attention. Be it a sequel to Casablanca or Firefly, it should stand on its own merits. Just as there’s a percentage of great works in every category, media tie-ins has its share of great and also its share of not-so-great.

One of the ways we want people to learn about the great is to recognize the best with awards. We’re still dickering over the categories and methodology but it will be done because no other award recognizes this subset.

Stay tuned.

4 comments

  • Scavenger

    I posted this on KRAD’s blog:

    I wonder how much can be attributed to the owner of the property, instead of the public.

    When Timothy Zahn’s first Star Wars novel came out, it was a big deal. (Not study in school big, but Time magzine, big displays, etc big). Same with the Shadows of the Empire book. Lucas made a big deal about these…I notice that doesn’t happen anymore.

    The Trek books are the bastard stepchild of Trekdom. Look at TrekBBS. The book section is lumped with Fan Fiction and fan art. It’s not at the big kids table with the TV shows and movies. The Video games! are in a more prominent spot!

    Has Newsarama interviewed yet about the Spider-Man book? Or Priest about the GL books? Or Marco about the JLA books? If Marvel or DC said, “We’d like to see some coverage of these”, how long do you think it’d take for to get an email from Matt Brady?

    Did you catch the commericial for the CSI novels that was durring last night’s show? Neither did I.

  • Jackie

    Some people are just ignorant or snobs when it comes to reading material. That’s their own problem. A well told story is a well told story whether it’s based on some type of previous media or entirely original.

    Jeff makes a good point though and I’ve noticed a trend the last few years with mystery novels that feature famous authors or historical characters as the detectives. For example Stephanie Barron has been very successful with her Jane Austin mysteries. I never really thought about it before but these could be considered media tie-ins too.

  • Tebble

    Hi Bob,
    I find this whole issue fascinating, I used to read a lot of Star Trek tie in work so I really appreciate the depth that can be added to a fan’s view of a fictional universe because of it.

    I’m writing an essay on this subject right now and I found iamtw.org to be greatly helpful but I need to prove that novelizations and expanded universe stuff’s really so disrespected and I can only find people slagging it off on message boards. Do you have any suggestions of the kind of criticism you guys are facing from colleagues or critics?

  • Bob Ahrens

    My first “media tie-in” experience was reading The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer,which I believe he eventually made as a film. Though he’s been around for a good bit o’ time, I’m pretty sure Nick Meyer was not extant when Sir Arthur wrote the original Holmes novels…. If you think about it, they were “tie-in’s” as well…. Doc Watson told the tales to Doyle, who wrote them down, right?