Thursday 22 March 2018

The Story of Classic Crime - the paperback is coming...

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has been a lucky book for me. In fact my whole relationship with its publisher, the British Library, has been a very fortunate one as far as I'm concerned. And I'm pleased with the cover of the UK paperback scheduled for publication on 5 July, which has just been finalised - here it is.
When I first conceived the book, I was conscious that it might be, or might at least be perceived as, something of an anti-climax following The Golden Age of Murder, which truly was a once-in-a-lifetime book, shortlisted for six awards, winning four, and reaching readers around the world. This didn't concern me, because I've always written primarily because of the sheer satisfaction of writing, but I did want to make the book as interesting and as worthwhile for crime fans as I possibly could.

The British Library were hugely supportive, and to my delight the book was extremely well received. The first print run sold out quickly, and there were an amazing number of positive reviews. Some of those from the national press feature now on the paperback cover. It even earned a place in the Agatha award shortlist. I'm looking forward to promoting the paperback at various events, including pre-publication events such as Alibis in the Archive and Bodies from the Library.

On the subject of reviews, incidentally, I had an interesting conversation the other day with a well-known publisher who's been around the business for a long time and enjoyed a lot of success. He told me that at least as regards press reviews, he had no doubt that it's far better for a book to get bad reviews than no reviews. He said he'd always had trouble persuading his authors that was the case, but almost invariably he saw a strong correlation between a review in (say) Kirkus Reviews in the US, and sales, even if Kirkus didn't like the book one bit. I suppose this simply demonstrates the way that marketing works. And at least it's a consolation if someone gives your masterpiece a thumbs-down!

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