While not as well-known as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), or Mystery Writers of America (MWA), the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers is filled with many recognizable names who are members of those other organizations.
Media tie-in writing has been around for ages. Within the past 35 years, it has expanded beyond adapting movies and plays to include games (both tabletop RPGs and video games) and expanding the original universes of movies.
At one time several decades ago, if an author accepted a contract to adapt an original movie to book format, it was looked upon by many professionals in the field as an unrecoverable mistake. Once an author wrote a tie-in work, they were considered hacks and looked down upon.
These days, there is a more welcoming aura where media tie-in writers are concerned. Some of the old guard may still have issues, but with the way the writing industry is flailing around, a solid book contract is a positive thing. Movies, books, games, and even music albums are being converted to other forms of entertainment. A good example is the drummer of the band Rush, Neil Peart. He wrote the lyrics for the Clockwork Angels album and collaborated with science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson to write a book and a graphic novel based on the concepts.
Writing media tie-in works is tougher than writing a novel from scratch. If one writes a book beyond a movie adaption, such as Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, one has to take a lot of restrictions into account before plotting and writing the work. Those restrictions may include making sure the established characters act properly and that your story line does not impact upcoming installments of future movies. Keeping the expanded universe straight is a tough gig, especially after years of multiple authors writing novels. If you make a mistake, the otaku-type fans will be the first to let you know.
Eventually, there were enough professionals writing tie-in works that authors Lee Goldberg and Max Allan Collins founded IAMTW. The organization consists of writing pros who have been contracted to write licensed tie-in works for a professional rate. Fan fiction does not count towards membership.
Benefits of membership include articles and contact information of interest to authors looking to write more tie-in works. IAMTW also hosts the Scribe Awards, which acknowledge and celebrate excellence in licensed tie-in writing—novels based on TV shows, movies, and games. Award categories include best original novel, best speculative fiction novel, best adaption, best audio play, best short fiction, and best YA novel. The awards are determined by a juried committee and anyone can submit their work.
For more information about IAMTW, visit their website at http://iamtw.org.