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Canadian publishing today and a mystery review

Canadian publishing today and a mystery review

2000 has been a critical year for authors and their publishers.  Promotion of new books is almost at a stand-still—opportunities for readers to meet and hear those who write for them simply didn’t happen. Zoom happens but for me I need to meet the author.

As I prepared to review a  collection of 35 stories of murder and malaise, “A Graves Diagnosis: the 3rd Carrick Crime Anthology with editor, Donna Carrick, I took the opportunity of asking Donna about the state of play for Canada’s publishers.

Don:  “What’s the difference between self-published, vanity press, indie publishing?

Donna:  Pure “vanity” is just that, publication with no eye toward quality control. Self published work may be edited and otherwise worked on depending on what steps the author takes.

Don: and “Indie?”

Donna: “ A fish of another species. Most Indie publishers take great pride in straddling between what the author wants and what will be accepted in the industry as a quality product. At Carrick we use a hybrid approach; we do not accept work inferior in quality—a partnership between publisher and author. Our fee is for our work with no claim on royalty from sales. We do not accept “material with a cheque attached.”

Don:  What about a traditional publisher?

Donna:  A traditional publisher accepts material through an agent or through a carefully structured “ask for new manuscripts” often with a genre requirement. The publisher gets the book out, distributes it, pays the author a percentage, maintain the royalty for a period of time and, over the past 10 plus years has required strong promotion support from the author.

Review: A Grave Dianosis

Don: To the review: “A Grave Diagnosis” is a humorous yet sensitive collection of 35 stores from seasoned, award winning Canadian writers and new authors finding their way.  A partial list of writers:  Campbell, Astolfo,  Soles, O’callaghan, Aubert, Greenwood, Thornton to name a few, including a rookie from Hamilton, Blake Stirling.

I asked my grandson to do the honours and pick out a few authors.  Melodie Campbell’s “Two Crooks Walk into a Store” is a fast paced story about a crook with an ace up her sleeve.”  Donna Carrick’s  “A Grave Diagnosis” is a compassionate, yet dark page turner. Kevin Thornton’s “Hypochondriacs Never Get This” gives the reader a giggle from the first word to the end, a mixed-up, funny police procedural. And last, I picked the rookie, Blake Stirling’s “The Poison-Pill Cure”. It’s a neatly plotted police procedure meets amateur detective, a good story with hints of what’s to come. And that’s the clue to a winning Crime Anthology: read a few, go on to another book, then return for a few more. An anthology lasts as long as the reader can dip into it for one more tale. “Grave Diagnosis” is more than a good dipper.

We’ll see what 2021 arrives at my door. This column is undergoing a mild renovation: checking in with the Burlington Public Library for international mystery authors, more interviews and some non-mystery fiction. Feel Free to review. Stay safe and and stay tuned.

Don Graves.

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