The notion began some years back, when Hugo winner Maureen McHugh invented the term “Mike’s Writer Children” to describe the couple of dozen young writers I’d helped, collaborated with, and assigned stories for my anthologies (eight of whom eventually made the Campbell Ballot as Best New Writer). When the publisher of Arc Manor Books asked me to create a brand new line for him, I thought back to that term, and realized that I couldn’t be the only established writer who helped newcomers. And that led to the Stellar Guild line of trade paperbacks. Each is a team-up of an estabished star and a protege of his or her own choosing. The star writes a novella, and the protege adds a novelette set in the same universe.
These are busy writers, these stars, and while we’re paying them a higher-than-average rate, they can do much better in the novel market…but the second I mentioned the format, that they could assign the novelette to a protege and share cover credit, every one of them said a rousing “Yes!”
The first two books, featuring superstars Kevin J. Anderson and Mercedes Lackey, are on the stands now, and we’ve got Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, Eric Flint, and myself under contract. I think when word gets out, we’re going to have to fight the established stars off with a stick, because in this most generous of fields, everyone happily pays forward, and Stellar Guild gives them the perfect vehicle for doing so.