This month's issue of Poets and Writers features a long chat with publishing vet Chuck Adams, who was one of the first people in publishing to see movie tie-in books as a never-ending source of income for houses. Does it help or hurt the rest of the genre to have subpar movie tie-ins flying off the shelves?Eventually working for many years under legendary editor Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster, Adams tells fellow editor Jofie Ferrari-Adle (at Grove/Atlantic) of his days coming up in the business:
I got a reputation for wanting to buy certain tie-ins and being told, "That's a terrible idea." For example, I was desperate to buy the tie-in to Cocoon. When I told them the plot, they practically laughed me out of the editorial meeting. Another was V. Another was The Last Starfighter. They all went on to be huge best-sellers.
Once Adams moved over to Dell, he pioneered the expansion of film tie-ins:
Dell was very much into movie tie-ins. As managing editor, I oversaw a lot of stuff, but there was an editor who did the acquiring of all the tie-ins. At some point they decided they weren't going to do that anymore. They fired that editor and said, "Chuck, you take over the tie-ins. It's basically just getting the artwork from the movie companies anyway." I said, "But if something comes my way, can I acquire it?" They said, "Sure."
And the deed was done, a decision that helped plenty of Adams' bottom lines over the years. Honestly, I'm not sure if we should thank tie-ins profusely for expanding SF sections in major bookstores, or burn them in a big pile. Nevertheless, the whole interview is a fascinating look behind the scenes of the industry. Agents & Editors: A Q&A With Chuck Adams [Poets & Writers]