Thursday, October 25, 2018

Demise of Mystery Novel Publishers

The publishing industry is nothing if not dynamic. For ten years I worked with Five Star but approximately three years ago they announced they would no longer publish mystery novels. I had one final novel, Court Trouble, under contract with them and it was released in July 2016. I had another mystery novel in the pipeline with Five Star; it had been approved by the acquiring editor but was not under contract, consequently this was never published by Five Star. Fortunately, I found another publisher, Encircle Publications, who published this novel, Death of a Scam Artist, as well as republishing seven books that Five Star had reverted rights for. In total Five Star published six books in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series and three standalone mysteries before they exited the mystery line. Five Star’s primary market was libraries so I benefited from the increase in readership from hundreds of each of my books being in libraries across the country.

Recently, Midnight Ink announced they would no longer publish mystery novels after 2019. This was another blow to a large number of fine authors who became orphaned.

Oak Tree Press who had published one of my books, The V V Agency, also went out of business a month ago.

Because of acquisitions, mergers and closing lines of business, sources for traditional publication of mystery novels has declined. Self publishing and existing publishers still remain options. All part of the world of publishing.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Research for a Professional Organizer Mystery Novel

My recently released mystery novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, features a 68-year-old protagonist Millicent Hargrove who becomes a professional organizer. I’ve never been a professional organizer, but I did research by getting to know a number of professional organizers and being an unpaid assistant on some of their projects.

Watching then in action helped me craft my main character and the situations she finds herself in. Millicent has a mantra she uses in her organizing work. GRR—group, reduce, reorganize. The professional organizers I met and my wife have helped me become a better organizer as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Series vs. Standalone Novels

I have a six book series, The Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, and nine other published books. I have under contract two books to come out next year that will be sequels to two of these other books (The Back Wing and Court Trouble). In the future I may add additional books to the Paul Jacobson series or sequels to other books I’ve written.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of series or standalones?

Many mystery readers enjoy series because they like following a particular protagonist. But series also run the risk of going stale. I’ve heard readers comment on how they followed a series for a while but then became disenchanted. Some authors have also said they became tired of their protagonist.

I have written a variety of books because I’m interested in exploring different situations with unique characters. Paul Jacobson and I spent many happy years together, but I also wanted to try my hand at a non-fiction book (The Best Chicken Thief in All of Europe), a paranormal mystery (The V V Agency), a historical mystery (Murder on the Switzerland Trail), a theater mystery (Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse), a thriller (The Tesla Legacy), and most recently a professional organizer mystery (Unstuff Your Stuff).

When I started the first book in the Paul Jacobson series (Retirement Homes Are Murder) I wasn’t thinking about a series but only telling a specific story. But as I got into it, I discovered that it could bridge into additional stories. All of my other novels lend themselves to becoming series, but I also want to continue to pursue different characters and writing challenges.

That’s the beauty of writing. There’s no one way to do it.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Promotional Activity for Book Launch of Unstuff Your Stuff

My latest mystery novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, is now officially available. I have speaking events planned including six Rotary Clubs, an Optimist Club, a men’s group, my bookstore launch at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA, on Oct. 21 and the Men of Mystery Conference in Long Beach, CA, in November.

I have sent over 200 postcards to my mailing list and several thousand emails to my email list. The email list is always interesting because I get bounce backs for a number of email addresses that are no longer valid. This particularly happens for bookstores and library contacts.