RARA-AVIS: Re: The vanishing PI

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 20 Feb 2006


Re your comments below:

"Fortunately, there is a publishing niche for PI writers at places like Quiet Storm, UglyTown, and Back Alley. If you are devoted to the genre, and really want to write it, there are places to get published. You just have to be willing to give up niceties like large advances, widespread distribution, and print runs in the tens of thousands. You should also probably forget about making a significant amount of money. Writing the PI series these days is very much a labor of love."

Very few first-time novelists of ANY kind of mystery get large advances, widespread distribution, or print runs in the tens of thousands.

That said, it is misleading to suggest that ONLY small publishers take PI fiction. St. Martin's continues to be supportive of the PI genre, and Five Star, a division of Gale that publishes genre hardcovers primarily for library sales (taking up where Doubleday left off after shutting down its "Crime Club" and "Doulbe D Western" lines) has, in very recent times instriduced such traditional PI's as Michael Black's Ron Shade, Tom Keevers's Mike Duncavan, and our own Charles Ardai's Edgar-nominated John Blake.

And at least one recent PI debut that did get the fantasy trifecta of large print runs, large advances, and great distribution was John Connelly's first Charlie Parker novel.

The traditional PI novel isn't dead. It's not even slumbering. It's certainly much more ubiquitous and much more healthy now than it was in the early '80's when Bob Randisi founded PWA primarily to get the PI novel noticed again. At that time, virtually no one was getting hardpvers published except Pronzini, Block, and Michael Collins. Suffice it to say that there are a lot more now.


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