I used to be a huge reviewer/promoter of pulp horror/crime news--just look at my archived horror news website: A Slice of Horror. Since than I've stopped focusing so much on promotions and news for other people and decided to work more on writing content of my own. It is what I'm most passionate about and what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember.
However, when news about Hard Case Crime or similar publishers comes up, I can't help but shout out that news, and when that news involves comics as well . . . let's just say you've got me licked.
If you've followed my blog before or read some of my previous posts you will know I am a huge fan of Hard Case Crime novels. While I enjoy crime fiction in general I simply feel that Hard Case Crime is the best there is when it come to crime and pulp fiction. Between their authors, their style, and those pulp style covers, I just can't get enough of them.
Well, I was very excited to recently read that my favorite publisher is now teaming up with Titan comics to put out a new line of comic books in the pulp crime genre. I couldn't be more thrilled about this match up.
"We are so excited to be steering the Hard Case Crime series into a new frontier," Manager of Titan Direct Sales & Marketing, Ricky Claydon, said during the announcement. "We aim to bring to comics that same grit and gristle that Hard Case Crime is famous for!"
The first two comic series we can expect to see from this new imprint are "Peepland" from writers Christa Faust & Gary Phillips and artist Andrea Camerini and "Triggerman" from writer Walter Hill and artist Matz. Additionally, there are plans for an adaption of Max Collins "Quarry" series in the works for 2017.
Look for the first comic release during October this year. You can view previews of all the new cover art at CBR.
Last week I wrote an article highlighting the fact that Penguin Random House and its many imprints (including Berkley Prime Crime, Signet Mysteries, and Obsidian Mysteries lines) is currently working on downsizing its offerings of cozy mysteries. I also explained how YOU as a reader, and a fan of mystery fiction, can help out in the efforts to save these cozy mystery series that may be disappearing. The answer was this: Buy Your Books Brand New!
By purchasing your mystery novels brand new you are "voting with your dollar" and showing the publisher which books and authors you're willing to support! Well, now is your chance to show your colors and help out two specific authors in keeping their book series' alive!
The Cookbook Nook Mystery Series
The first series that is being considered for cancellation is the Cookbook Nook Mystery series by author Daryl Wood Gerber.
Gerber was recently told that if the sales of her latest two books weren't up then she the publisher wouldn't be able to renew for another book in the series.
The Cookbook Nook Mystery series currently has 4 books out and a fifth available for pre-order. Right now, before the end of March, is the crucial time for sales on these books.
Specifically, the publisher will be looking at pre-orders of book 5, Grilling the Subject, as well as sales for the 4th book in the series, Fudging the Books.
The series follows Jenna Hart, a former advertiser who nows owns a culinary bookshop and cafe. Thanks to her observation skills, Jenna also has a keen eye for mystery!
If this series interests you at all, now is the time to save it. Head over to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com, and pre-order the latest book! Then, make sure to purchase previous books in the series!
The Deveraux Dime Store Mystery series
The second cozy mystery series that is being considered for cancellation is author Denise Swanson's Deveraux Dime Store Mystery series.
Similar to Gerber, Swanson was informed that unless her newest book had higher sales numbers for the month of March, the series would be dropped from production.
The Deveraux Dime Store Mystery series currently has 5 installments. This last week of March is similarly a crucial time for sales on these books. Specifically of the latest book in the series, Between a Book and a Hard Place.
The series follows Dev Sinclair. Dev Sinclair is the happy owner of the old-fashioned shop in her small Missouri town. But her life is constantly made more complicated by the mysteries and murders happening around her.
If Dev and her mysterious adventures interest you, now is the time to act! Head over to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, or your local bookseller and buy the latest book! Then, make sure to purchase previous books in the series as well!
Both of these books are dependent on sales in the month of March! So get your orders in as soon as possible and show your love and support for the cozy mystery genre, and make Penguin Random House aware of your opinion in saving cozy mysteries!
I recently heard a rumor that Penguin Random House, as well as its many imprints, are considering cutting down on their cozy mystery lines. This includes the Berkley Prime Crime, Signet Mysteries, and Obsidian Mysteries lines.
You may ask right away, "Why do you care about that, Noah? You're not a mystery writer." Well, let me tell you.
Despite being twenty-something male, despite working in the indie horror community for the past four-and-a-half years, despite being an avid horror blogger/reviewer/publicist, and despite being a writer of dark fiction/horror stories myself . . . my favorite genre to read is the cozy mystery!
This may come as a surprise to many of you who have either read my work, followed my blog, or followed my micro-publishing company. While I do have a great passion for horror, my roots in the genre began long ago with the mystery genre--specifically the cozy mystery.
I grew up watching Poirot, Miss Marple, and Murder, She Wrote. And I myself still have plans to one day finish a cozy mystery novel of my own--(an official title has been in the works for about a year now).
So, needless to say at this point, I was very disappointed and disheartened when I heard that one of the leading publishers of cozy fiction, Penguin, was cutting back on the genre.
But WHY are they cutting back? Now there is the rub.
Vote with your Dollar
In the world of corporate publishing (and indie publishing for that matter) the main qualifier in whether an author, book series, or genre continues to receive support is determined by book sales. The term "vote with your dollar" is pertinent more than ever here.
What publishers most care about, especially corporate publishers, is the dollar. After all, publishing is a business. While many of us working in publishing, either corporate of independent, may love art, entertainment, and literature, we have to make a living off our work.
So, ultimately, any given publisher is looking at the sales numbers to see if any specific product, or type of product, is worth keeping. Every single book that is put out by a publisher has money behind it. Each new author is an investment for the publishing company. Ultimately, if it seems that an investment isn't paying off, the publisher drops it.
Such is the way of the publishing world.
So, how can you as a reader change this? How do you keep your favorite genres alive, your favorite series running, and your favorite authors writing?
You BUY their books BRAND NEW!
This applies not only to cozies but to all genres and authors currently on the market. The more sales a title, author, or series has the more likely the publishing company is to sign the author on for a new title. Corporate publishers actually weigh in on pre-orders as well. If there is enough purchases and excitement before the book even comes out, the publisher sees it as a good sign. They will even sometimes sign on an author for another book based on pre-orders alone.
If you love a genre, make sure to buy your books brand new. Buying a new book in your favorite genre regularly, even once a month, speaks wonders for a genre. If you want to keep a specific author or book series going, pre-order their books or buy them brand new from the store the same month they are released.
Ultimately, the dollar speaks in publishing.
Request Brand New Books for your Local Library
Of course, there are times where you as the reader may not have the extra cash to spend on a brand new book. Sometimes, money is tight and keeping a book buying habit is a privilege you just don't quite have the means for.
Well, there is another option to show your support. All local and public libraries have a system set up where you as the reader and library patron can request new books! If a library sees enough demand for a book they will order a BRAND NEW copy to keep for the library! This means, the book is still getting purchased, and the publishing company is still seeing income from the book.
Additionally, you are supporting your local library and making the book available to many new readers who may have never heard of or read the series otherwise. Many library patrons will try out a new author or book series before choosing to invest in buying the books. So, in a way, you are helping to advertise the author by making he/she available to a new audience.
Leave a Review
Of course, in the world of publishing just buying a book may not be enough. Many readers do extensive research before purchasing a new book. This research is almost always includes looking up and reading reviews by other readers.
Leaving your review helps others choose to buy a new book. It acts as free endorsement and advertising for the author.
Some of the main arenas where book reviews appear are on Barnes and Noble.com, GoodReads, and--probably most important of all--Amazon.com. The more reviews a book has on Amazon, the higher the book will appear in book rankings. This means it is more likely to appear in the "suggested purchases" for other readers.
All of this means potential sales for the book and author, and therefore, more money to the publisher to continue producing your favorite books.
E-mail the Publisher
Finally--in addition to your support through purchasing and reviewing your favorite books, authors, and genre--you may also choose to write to the publisher themselves.
All publishers should have a contact form or contact e-mail address available to the public. While the larger corporate publishers don't always respond to e-mails from readers, you should still consider making your voice heard!
In addition to "voting with your dollar" you can send in your opinion. Like a petition, the more e-mails and notices a publisher gets about a specific author or genre the more likely they are to reconsider discontinuing a series. But keep in mind, this is only a secondary or "supportive" tactic in addition to actually purchasing the books in question.
For Penguin Random House you can actually find answers to questions and contact them concerning your favorite books or authors at the Penguin Random House contact page. If you are a fan of cozy mysteries then go ahead and send them your thoughts by sending them an e-mail.
Summing it Up
Ultimately, it is up to us, the readers, to send in our support and keep our favorite authors and book series' afloat. While it may be disappointing to hear that specific authors have been dropped or book series' canceled we as the reader must take responsibility by contacting the publisher, leaving reviews, requesting books for out local libraries, and--most important of all--actually buying our favorite books brand new!
N.C. Patterson is a writer of mystery and horror fiction. He has been an active publicist, journalist, and blogger in the indie horror community for over five years.