Monday, 5 October 2015

Silent Nights - selling like hot cakes!



I'm delighted to say that my third anthology of Golden Age crime fiction, Silent Nights, has just been published by the British Library in its Crime Classics series. And I'm absolutely thrilled to say that, even before publication, the first print run had sold out, and there was a large scale reprint making the book - already - the most commercially successful of the many anthologies that I've edited.

The book is a collection of Christmas mysteries, and of course our hope is that, like Mystery in White last year, this book will become a popular stocking-filler. From my point of view, it is fascinating to see that the British Library has, in the course of this year, successfully challenged the received wisdom of the publishing world that "short story collections don't sell". The danger of taking such a view is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You would not, perhaps, believe how difficult I've found it at times to interest publishers in contemporary anthologies with a range of stellar authors contributing quite splendid original stories. But  I am sure that many readers love short stories just as much as I do, and I'm enormously grateful that the British Library phenomenon has proved that it is perfectly possible to enthuse a large number of readers about an anthology.

Is this just a Christmas-present buying phenomenon? The answer is an emphatic no, because Capital Crimes and Resorting to Murder have been selling exceptionally well throughout the summer, and now into the autumn. I've had a huge amount of very positive feedback about both collections, and I hope that Silent Nights will also offer a bit of something for everyone who likes an engaging crime story with a seasonal flavouring.

As usual, I've tried to blend major authors, and stories that have been anthologised before, with some mysteries that will be unfamiliar to almost everyone. One story in particular stands out in my mind. It's a very obscure story called "Parlour Tricks" by the equally obscure Ralph Plummer. About a year ago, Bob Adey drew it to my attention, sending me a copy from his own amazing collection. He and I had been discussing holiday mysteries in the context of my research for Resorting to Murder, but the story gave me the idea for a Yuletide anthology. Sadly, Bob died before he could see the book, but I like to think that he would have enjoyed it.

8 comments:

R.T. said...

Bravo! I am hot on the trail for my copy. But -- as a digression -- I have a question: what is the origin of the "selling like hot cakes" phrase? Hmmmm.

Val said...

Just tried to buy it ..and temp foiled ...we have to wait for the Nov 3rd release ..may I ask do you know if it's going to be released as an ebook?

I love short stories ....and crime and mysteries ...and the cover ..so what is there not to like? :o)

Short stories fit well into a busy life...they're a nice read late at night when the penalty for reading to the end (I can't put it down) of a longer story can cause mischief in the morning...can I confess to a fondness for old books of essays for similar reasons ...concise but often very rewarding.

Many Thanks for this new collection (I have a kind brother who likes to buy Christmas gifts and even kinder he sends a gift voucher so you may choose in advance... for me this looks quite perfect :o))

Nan said...

I'm going to get all three of 'em!! Hooray!

Martin Edwards said...

R.T. - good question, to which I'm afraid I don't know the answer! Come to think of it, I prefer my cakes not too hot!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Val - yes, it will be released as an ebook, though I'm not sure quite when. I very much share your enthusiasm for short stories, and I was pleased to track down one or two rarities for each of the British Library collections.

Martin Edwards said...

You said it, Nan - hooray!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Martin! And what a wonderfully striking and atmospheric cover. I agree with you - there is a huge market for short stories. I spent a lot of years making a living out of writing them, and it became very clear to me that many people like collections of short stories for many reasons, from enjoying filling in odd quarter of an hour, to being abale to take away with them a complete idea and story arc to walk away with and think about, to simply being too busy to read a novel and hold enough of it in their head from day to day, to older people who simply like to read one thing complete over morning coffee or a lunch break or whatever. There are many people who love the self contained world of a short story. How NICE you are proving this to be true and making it so. More power to your elbow, our lad! Ibwards and upwards! Liz Gilbey

aguja said...

Brilliant, Martin! Well done. It sounds as if you chose exactly the right mix of stories. And, I think that the short story is on the 'up'. I admire a good short story as, I feel, they are really hard to write.