Simon & Schuster Lays Off Star Trek Book Editor – Promises No Change In Schedule | TrekMovie.com
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Simon & Schuster Lays Off Star Trek Book Editor – Promises No Change In Schedule August 27, 2009

by Robert Lyons , Filed under: Books , trackback

A round of layoffs this week at Simon and Schuster resulted in the departure of Star Trek books editor Margaret Clark. The move was a part of a workforce reduction by the publisher, driven by lagging profits in the publishing industry. Even though this is the second layoff of a Star Trek editor in the last year, Simon & Schuster says they are committed to Star Trek going forward. More details below, plus a preview of Spring 2010 Trek books.

 

Margaret Clark’s departure is the the second major impact on Star Trek publishing in the past year. Last December, an even more substantial downsizing at S&S cost editor Marco Palmieri his position.  Clark joined Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in 1996 after editing Star Trek comics at DC. Most recently she has helmed the Enterprise re-launch, as well as the post-Nemesis books in the Next Generation series. With Palmieri’s departure, Clark took over virtually all aspects of the Star Trek operation for Pocket, save for the New Frontier series.

However, even though Clark was overseeing Star Trek, Pocket Books remains committed to the line, including all of the recently announced titles for 2010. Jean Anne Rose, Pocket’s director of publicity, told TrekMovie:

Pocket will be going forward as planned with its current schedule and the editorial responsibilities will be announced shortly.

Star Trek was handled by Pocket’s New Media Group, which also handles licenses for several tie-in’s, including World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, as well as some Marvel tiles and CBS Television’s CSI. Clark was one of four editors from that group and the only one to be laid off, so potentially one or a combination of the other editors will be taking over the Trek responsibilities.

 

STAR TREK BOOKS SPRING PREVIEW
Pocket has made their Spring 2010 catalog available on their website, which contains more details and preliminary covers for five Trek releases in early 2010. This catalog is mainly used for the sales force and so the descriptions and covers are subject to change, but here they are.

January 26
Star Trek: Inception (Mass Market)
by S. D. Perry

Blending the best of both the Star Trek television show and the movie, the story of a younger less experienced Kirk and Spock—and the two great loves of their lives, Carol Marcus and Leila Kalomi.

As man expands beyond explored space, the need to find a way to make inhospitable planets habitable grows greater. One young biologist, Carol Marcus, has a project that she believes can reshape planets. A young committed scientist, she dares to dream of a Federation where there is never any hunger and every world is a paradise. Her dream is shared by James Kirk, a young Starfleet officer and her
lover. One of Carol’s more enthusiastic team members is botanist Leila Kalomi. Leila finds Carol’s passion contagious, and sparks the interest of the Enterprise’s science officer, Spock, who convinces her to join Project: Inception.


[pre-order at Amazon: $7.99]

February 23
Star Trek: New Frontier: Treason
(Mass Market reprint of 2009 Trade)
by Peter David

Now available in mass market, the exciting New  Frontier novel from New York Times bestselling and popular Star Trek author Peter David!

Jumping ahead three years from the events depicted in Stone and Anvil, tensions within the New Thallonian Protectorate are at a fever pitch following the murder of Prime Minister Si Cwan. The sudden power vacuum will have farreaching ramifications for Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, the crew of the USS Excalibur, and all of Sector 221-G itself….


[pre-order at Amazon: $7.99]

March 16
Star Trek: Seven Deadly Sins (Trade Anthology)
by Margaret Clark (editor)

An all-new collection of engaging novellas showcasing the seven archetypal adversaries of the Star Trek
universe.

Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride. These are the seven deadly sins of humanity…but humans are not the only creatures in the universe to surrender to their baser instincts. In the world of Star Trek, entire civilizations are driven by avarice, or anger, or insatiable hunger, or one of the other fundamental urges that have come to define these fascinating species. Now, this edgy collection of original novellas explores these empires from the inside, delving into the qualities that shape their cultures and their worldviews, through characters as compelling as they are provocative. These surprising and engaging tales feature all of Star Trek’s most prominent adversaries, including the Borg (gluttony), the Klingons (wrath), the Romulans (pride), the Cardassians (envy), the Ferengi (greed), the Pakleds (sloth), and the Mirror Universe (lust), and their adventures on the dark side of the Star Trek universe.  


[pre-order at Amazon: $11.55]

March 30
Star Trek: To Thine Own Self (Mass Market)
[formerly titled "The Children of Kings"]
by David Stern

When the Orion syndicate holds the Enterprise’s doctor for ransom, Captain Pike must discover why the Orions no longer fear Starfleet in this new novel set in the classic Star Trek era.

A thorn in the side of civilized space travel for more than a hundred years, the Orion syndicate has gotten bolder. They are harassing more ships and daring to even tangle with smaller Starfleet vessels. When one of the leading members begs Captain Christopher Pike to let his doctor treat one of their own, Pike agrees. But it’s a trap, and the Orions take the doctor hostage. Captain Pike is left to wonder why, since the Orions know that Starfleet does not negotiate. Spock thinks perhaps they no longer fear the consequences, and if so, they must discover what has changed the Orions’ instinctual nature


[pre-order at Amazon: $7.99]

April 27
Star Trek: Unspoken Truth (Mass Market)
by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Lieutenant Saavik—the compelling female Starfleet officer who is half-Vulcan, half- Romulan—struggles to discover where her loyalties lie.

A wild child, Saavik was left to die in a world so horrifying that it was dubbed Hellguard by those who dared to cling to life there. She was rescued by Spock who took the half-Vulcan half-Romulan child home to his parents, knowing only they could care for the troubled child. As an adult, Saavik followed Spock into Starfleet, but recent events have shaken her. When she comes home to Vulcan to find that other Hellguard survivors are being killed, she wonders if she can dare to call Vulcan home. And when forced to choose, can she embrace the pacifism of Vulcan or is the violence of Romulus her true nature?


[pre-order at Amazon: $7.99]

 

Comments

1. Locutus of Alberni - August 27, 2009

Great… both of the people primarily responsible for the quality of today’s TrekLit have been fired in a year. Nice work, Pocket.

2. Capttravis - August 27, 2009

Wish those covers were in color!

3. MC1 Doug - August 27, 2009

This is most troubling indeed.

4. Bill Hiro - August 27, 2009

How sad. I cannot imagine this bodes well for published Star Trek.
I hope Margaret lands on her feet. Its a tough time to be out of work.

5. Carlo A. Flores - August 27, 2009

#2

I think they’re in B&W purposefully in condolence to Margaret Clark’s layoff.

6. Ensign RedShirt - August 27, 2009

Very sad, and just when there is renewed interest in Trek…she will be missed.

7. Barking Alien - August 27, 2009

Marco is a personal friend, though we only really saw each other at cons over the last few years. I was very disappointed to see him go and personally I felt the quality suffered at first. Clark really stepped up and did a fantastic job and now she is gone too.

I understand that the publishing business is in a bad spot (’cause, you know, everyone else is doing so well… ~ _^ ) but is now really the time to switch up.

8. John in Canada, eh? - August 27, 2009

Always sad when a hard talented worker loses a job. I wish Ms. Clark the best of luck.

I have to say, though: it seems odd that more than a year will pass after the movie before we’ll see a sequel, or other tie-in book. Betcha that a novel with Chris Pine and Quinto on the cover would sell much more than the original TOS cast at this point. Seems like a missed opportunity.

9. BrF - August 27, 2009

It’s bad news and probably penny wise and pound foolish but it’s not particular to Trek. S&S has been laying off experienced editorial talent through the company for almost a year now in an effort to shave costs.

10. David J - August 27, 2009

8

Agreed. I haven’t read a Trek novel in YEARS, but I would definitely pick one up that explored the world the new movie is set in.

There are probably a LOT of people like me who are hungry for more stories with this crew, and don’t want to wait for the sequel to see them.

Just seems like really bad planning to me.

11. Anthony Pascale - August 27, 2009

RE: covers with Pine and Quinto
you will see those next summer with four books set in the JJ Abramsverse
http://trekmovie.com/2009/07/10/exclusive-pocket-books-announces-2010-star-trek-books/

RE: Margaret
I am also saddened by her departure and wish her the best. I certainly hope that Pocket finds a way to give the Trek line the attention it needs with the resources they have.

12. Matt Wright - August 27, 2009

Not good… from what I understand Margaret was a big advocate for ST even in the lean times when it had fallen out of Paramount’s favor.

13. AJ - August 27, 2009

Well, as one Board Chairman once told me, there is only so much cost saving out there, but if your top line isn’t there, it still won’t help.

This means sell books. Firing talent does not do that. It just means her former colleagues are now spending their time sending out resumes, and the increased workload will be treated as a secondary concern to getting the hell out.

14. Shane Zeranski - August 27, 2009

That is sad. I have been in contact with her regularly and it seemed what was being allowed content-wise was very marginal – even with the new movie tie in.
Any word who will be taking over the Trek line at S&S?

15. Spacehamster - August 27, 2009

Very sad to hear that that she is being let go. Any company that fires its top talent during the lean times might suffer when things get better and they’re suffering from a lack of top talent.

16. Jim Nightshade - August 27, 2009

Yah this sucks–and it will hurt future trek lit because the people left will have to take over-less manpower doing more but lower quality work-she is not alone-ive been outta work since april and its tough even finding jobs to apply for–Tacoma, like most of the country not doing good jobwise-sigh

17. Alex Rosenzweig - August 28, 2009

I’m really sorry to read about Margaret’s layoff, and my thoughts go out to her. I wonder who will take over, whether it’lll be Ed Schlesinger and Jennnifer Heddle, or someone new, or whether they’ll do more freelance editing, instead of having another salaried employee on board.

As for the books in general, well, next spring is looking pretty cool to me. But next summer, it looks like I’ll be taking about a 4-month break from Trek, as the Abramsverse holds little interest for me. I’ll be back for the Typhon Pact books, though.

18. Iowagirl - August 28, 2009

Sorry for Margaret. I hope she’ll be alright.

##8, 10
There are novels dealing with the original universe with Shatner, Nimoy et al. on cover, and there will be novels dealing with Abrams’ universe with Pine, Quinto et. al on cover. I do hope and think the new film has reinforced the interest in ST in general, and in TOS particularly, so it would be a “missed opportunity” to only concentrate on Abramsverse and to NOT put TOS novels on the market at this point. For the Abrams’ lovers, there’s the film, the novel, the tie-in comics, etc. And there will be novels in the near future. TOS is what has kept Trek alive, even in those leaner years, and it provided the roots for Abrams’ movie, so there’s no comprehensible reason to lose sight of it now.
__________________

“Inception” sounds interesting – it has lots of ingredients I definitely would like to read in a prequel.

19. greenacresusa - August 28, 2009

Big mistake letting Marco and Margaret go!! I had seen each of them at conventions and both were great!! They were the ones pushing Star Trek when it needed someone at the book publishers that “knew” Star Trek! Only later will the book publisher learn about their mistake and then it will be too late!! I hope only the best for Marco and Margaret, with talent like they have they will do well!!

20. Anthony Thompson - August 28, 2009

She made no plans for non-fiction books tied to the new film (and in fact was dismissive of the idea). That was a major error. She deserved to be fired. Good riddance!

21. captain_root - August 28, 2009

The same old story all over again:
Talented people say “YES,” the suits say “NO.”
Talented people say “NO,” the suits say “YES.”
Talented people listen to the fans, the suits ignore the fans.
Talented people get fired, the suits remain.
Repeat ad nauseam…

22. Anthony Pascale - August 28, 2009

Anthony Thompson

you do not know what you are talking about. What you wrote is 100% not true, Clark and Pocket Books have the license, but what got published relative to the Star Trek movie was not entirely up to them

and that was just rude

23. Tony Whitehead - August 28, 2009

In my experience, every time a corporation goes through a layoff, the statement follows: “no major changes, pinky promise…”

wait for it….

expect major changes.

24. bill hiro - August 28, 2009

Re: #20 – That was in breathtakingly bad taste. God forbid you lose your job, Mr. Thompson, and find out how much fun unemployment is not. You should be ashamed of yourself.

25. Anthony Thompson - August 28, 2009

22.

AP, in your interview with Clark dated 12/30/08, she stated: “Based on the sales on (non-fiction) in 2008, there is a reason why they are not in 2009″. That was ridiculously short-sighted comment. 2008 did not have a 150 million tentpole movie opening; 2009 did.

26. THX-1138 - August 28, 2009

Another unfortunate move for the book-line. I read Trek books as well as everything for all the same reasons: Because I enjoy them.

To have the leading advocates laid off only tells me that “business as usual” is not what is going to happen. I’ll believe it when I see these books on the shelves. “To Thine Own Self” and “Unspoken Truth” look to be interesting books.

As for the book tie-ins with the new movie, I feel the ball has been seriously dropped in that regard. They should have struck while the iron was hot. We geeky masses may snatch them up but the general public, whose interest is already starting to wane a bit (go to the toy store and see how many of toys from the new movie are either still on the shelves or are being removed) will not give it a sniff.

27. Dom - August 28, 2009

I’m amazed they haven’t phased out the various book lines and moved more in the ST09 direction. Can’t see the point in there being so many books per year.

The failure to release ‘Making of . . .’ and ‘Art of . . .’ books amidst the huge buzz there was for the new film and the window of opportunity provided by the later release date staggers me!

28. Orb of the Emissary - August 28, 2009

Pockets better not mess up anymore with the staff than they already have.

29. John Richard Scott - August 28, 2009

This is very sad news indeed. I was just getting into all the relaunches, especially the DS9 and enterprise ones, which we’re both fantastic to in large part to Margaret (and Marco before her’s) vision and oversite.

She will be sorely missed. I hope the quality doesn’t degrade, as that would be a real shame, especially since Trek is back on the radar now.

30. Spockish - August 28, 2009

Guess Sim&Shu is doing what all companies nust due today to not only survive but live afterwords, that kind of what the Gobal warming thing is. Things need to become more efficent, it’s the waste that kills things. Since 1995 I’ve viewed the problem as mislabeled, but like many things today, you mislabel something you can make better profits.

I’m not in the book biz, or ever wanted to be, so I have no idea about the problems at Sim&Shu, all I know is over time they have been a good publisher. Yes many Star Trek books, but they seem to have been good at most every kind of book.

I hope things work out for there betterment in Publishing. As for the people since I never was interested in publishing, I never got into knowing any of the people or what their life is like. All I know or really care about is that they still sell good Star Trek books.

31. Orb of the Emissary - August 28, 2009

#29- Couldn’t have said it better :-(

32. Anthony Pascale - August 28, 2009

Anthony Thompson

Firstly there is no defending the rudeness of your comment and for that you have been warned.

But on the facts, my prevoius statement is still valid. Clark may have been the editor, but she did not make all the decisions, especially about the Star Trek movie related books. In that interview she was not talking about ST09 non-fiction. She was talking about the 2008 non fic books which didn’t do well, and how buyers from the big retailers did not seem interested in more star trek nonfic, at least relative to the cost of putting it together. However, I do know that Margaret and Pocket/S&S wanted to do more things in 2009 relative to the ST09 movie than the single novelization.

you owe her an apology.

33. Son of a Maui Portagee - August 28, 2009

If I am not mistaken Simon and Schuster is owned by CBS and that probably complicates the negotiations w/Paramount with regards ST09’s story’s copyright.

34. spanishviolet - August 28, 2009

This saddens me. I haven’t bought as many ST books lately – after Palmieri was fired, the line moved in a direction I didn’t particularly enjoy – but I still got the impression that the people involved cared, and that they were trying their best. This move seems like a definite setback for quality ST fiction.

35. noirgwio - August 29, 2009

That sucks… I’ve been reading quite a few of the more recent Trek books, some older ones too… They’re so good! What will these layoffs do to the continued quality of them? And being a writer, it pains me greatly to see such talented people let go. That Orion/Pike one sounds interesting – especially since I’ve been on a Pike-book kick. I hope Romulan War and the next Vanguard book will release unharmed… Really anticipating them. NuTrek-fic? Not ready for that yet, though I loved the flick.

36. Third Remata'Klan - August 29, 2009

Crazy. Just crazy.

I wish Ms. Clark all the best.

Unrelated:

Man, I’ve been waiting for that Seven Deadly Sins anthology for a LOOONG frikkin’ time. Not too fussy about the cover, though….

37. Allyn Gibson - August 29, 2009

@27 Dom — There is a book on the art of the film coming out from Titan Books this fall. They did the making-of books for Watchmen, like Dave Gibbons’ Watching the Watchmen, which was almost like a DVD commentary for the graphic novel. While it’s not Pocket doing the Art of Star Trek book, we’re still in good hands with Titan.

38. Anthony Thompson - August 30, 2009

32. AP

You are correct; I was rude. And I do apologize.

My misinformed rant was due to the fact that I was frustrated and perplexed over the lack of any non-fiction related to the film. I transferred those feeling to Pocket Books because they have been the sole provider of Trek fiction and non-fiction titles for a long while (unless I’m mistaken).

39. Dom - August 30, 2009

37. Allyn Gibson

In fairness, I wasn’t being specific about a publisher there. I just think it was wrong-headed of whoever published the non-fiction material not to have the tie-in books ready for May!

And Pocket really ought to have liaised with the production team well in advance and had ‘new universe’ novels published by now. There was a long (pre-)production period and a six month delay in releasing the film, so the fact that the first tie-in novel isn’t due till a year after release seems bonkers when there are related comicbooks already going to trade paperback compilations!

40. Daoud - August 30, 2009

#39 True, but they held the film details tight until the last minute. Even ADF didn’t get a proper amount of time to prep the novelization (which sadly showed in the end product!)

The moral of the story is: George Lucas did it the right way by creating Lucasfilm. He can have his company coordinate everything with Star Wars. Star Trek has essentially two different owners, with countless contracts to other subdivisions that once were or weren’t part of Viacom (deeta deeta deet).

41. Anthony Pascale - August 30, 2009

people seem to be assuming that it is entirely up to Pocket books what gets published when. Star Trek is a license, the license holder is the real control. With the movie involved you have even more entities making decisions. As I have stated, but I will state again, Pocket wanted more ST09 books for 2009, but it isn’t always their call. To go after them, and especially a specific editor who was just laid off is callous.

And guess what, you don’t always get everything you want in life, but there is no need to get petulant about it.

42. Tara O'Shea - August 31, 2009

I’m really looking forward to Dave Stern’s Pike-era novel. There’s not enough with Pike, Number One, Boyce, Colt, Cait Barry, etc., and it’s always fun to read about young Lieutenant Spock.

43. Spacecraft Guy - August 31, 2009

I don’t wish ill will towards anyone, but I started buying Star Trek books in the late 1960s, and the reasons why I buy very few if any lately are due to decisions made by the editors for the Star Trek line at Pocket.

I haven’t bought any Star Trek fiction books lately for the reason that poster #34 stated – the fiction line moved into a direction that I didn’t enjoy. The editors made this choice. Others do like what they have done. That’s capitalism.

What is really sad are the decisions made by the editors, especially
Ms. Clark, regarding the Star Trek non fiction line of books.

I posted a request back when Ms. Clark had a Q & A column at the Simon and Schuster website about publishing the definitive reference book on the Starship Enterpise, while everyone who had contributed to the legend of NCC-1701 could have their stories told. Her response was “we really know what you fans want!” and went on to detail that they were working on such a project.

Time passed, with many more people asking how the project was progressing. Answer – working on it, still working on it, etc.

Finally, the project gets cancelled because “the numbers never worked out right,” despite the continued interest shown by their customer base that they really wanted to see this book in print, and that they would pay a premium price point for it if it were done well.

And very soon after the cancellation, Matt Jefferies passed on.

Anthony Pascale, in your post #32 you made mention of the 2008 non fic books that didn’t so well, and buyers from the big retailers weren’t interested in them. I’m not being rude or disrespectful here, I’m being honest. The reason why the books didn’t sell well is that they weren’t very good.

Star Trek 101 was a book that most Trek fans or their friends didn’t need to read – there was nothing in it that wasn’t in another reference book already on the Trek reader’s shelf.

Star Trek Star Charts was a rehash of “Worlds of the Federation” and “Star Trek Maps.”

There is no very compelling reason to buy the reprints of the Star Trek Compendium simply for the page or two added for whatever new movie that wasn’t in the the previous version. The compromises made to get The Deep Space Nine Companion printed (low quality paper, black and white pictures, etc.) made sure that I wasn’t going to buy it.

Star Trek Origami?

The editors in the Pocket Trek office produced a bunch of inferior non fic Trek books that their readers didn’t want, then then cite the fact that they didn’t sell as why they won’t publish the books that their readers do want.

Look at a copy of ” The Making of Star Wars” by Jonathan Rinzler. This book essentially redefined the “making of the movie” book genre, and “The Making of the Empire Strikes Back” is due next year. Lorne Petersen’s book, “Sculpting A Galaxy” features pictures of the models that he worked on in the ILM Model Shop and the stories behind them. There aren’t any Trek counterparts to these Star Wars books, and there should be – before more of the people who contributed to making Trek pass on and their stories are never told.

Again, I don’t wish ill will towards anyone, and good luck to Ms. Clark in her future endeavors. But the Star Trek nonfiction books that were published during her tenure didn’t sell not because the Internet is a better resource, or that the books weren’t popular with fans anymore – they are. Trek fans saw that they were being offered an inferior product and would not support it.

44. Benjamin Adams - August 31, 2009

#42 – I agree, Tara. Very much looking forward to that one. Also S.D. Perry’s Inception.

45. Anthony Thompson - September 1, 2009

Petulant. Where have I seen that word used recently? OK, I get it. I done you wrong and I especially done Ms. Clark wrong, for which I’m sorry. I’m human; I make mistakes. And I learn from them.

(still in AP’s doghouse, back by the litterbox and snarling dog)

46. captain_neill - September 2, 2009

I would rather follow the novels in the Prime Universe as this is the universe I grew up loving. The new universe is a cool way to make Trek fresh yet not contradict wht has gone before.

I am glad that both universes are still being covered. Will the novels in the new universe clear up the contrivance of Kirk going from cadet to Captain in the new movie? A plot point that I found stupid

47. captain_neill - September 2, 2009

does everyonr want to forget TOS because of the new movie?

Shatner and Nimoy are Kirk and Spock so they should be on the book covers

Why is Abrams viewed as the second coming?

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