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News & Press: SinC Links

August 2020 SincLinks

Monday, August 31, 2020  
Posted by: Deb Forsten
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Like Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America welcomes people from all backgrounds, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. They do not tolerate discrimination or abuse of any kind, including any form of sexual harassment.  In the light of recent events, MWA has revised its anti-harassment policy.   

As much of the retail world faces crisis, book publishing is positioned to grow in terms of unit sales when compared to 2019. In fact, 2020 may prove to be one of the strongest sales years in recent memory. According to Jane Friedman, US book publishing remains resilient: print and Ebook sales are growing.

Book sales jumped this spring at big-box stores, which stayed open and stocked essentials while other shops closed.  Elizabeth Harris offers this suggestion for how we might sell books in 2020: put them near the toilet paper!

In publishing today, everything is up for change, even at the highest levels. Now the industry is experiencing a rare moment of transformation that promises to influence the books put out into the world.

No one wants to make the Great White Male Novelist extinct—they just want more diversity in publishing.

What role does publishing play in the commodification of black pain?  The recent laser-like focus on the “right” books sends a clear message to Black authors, Black readers, and Black people as a whole: your stories aren’t worth much if you don’t bleed on the page for us. 

‘A Conflicted Cultural Force’: What It’s Like to Be Black in Publishing:  An author, literary agent, marketer, publicist, editors and booksellers talk about how race affects their careers — and the books you read.

Each book a publisher launches is its own miniature, stand-alone start-up. Every book is a gamble. So, how do publishers decide what books to bet on?

While publishers, bookstore owners and authors agree that in-person events are preferable, virtual tours have added a new dimension to book promotion and brought in new readers—and buyers. Online platforms such as Zoom, Crowdcast and Facebook Live, among others, are now a part of the publishing vocabulary.  Syndicated book reviewer, Oline Cogdill, offers a three-part series on virtual book tours:


In a recent brief filed in NY district court, the Internet Archive fired back in response to a lawsuit brought against it by five of the world’s largest publishers to shut down their so-called Covid-19 Emergency Library.  “The Internet Archive does what libraries have always done: buy, collect, preserve, and share our common culture,” the brief said. “Contrary to the publishers’ accusations, [they] are not pirates or thieves [just] librarians, striving to serve their patrons online just as they have done for centuries in the brick-and-mortar world.” It’ll be up to the courts to decide.

The mystery community mourned along with author Jeff Abbott when his house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  Jeff, his family and their pets escaped safely, but he lost his library of 2,500 books.  What happens to a mystery author when your crime library goes up in smoke?

With an eclectic mix of new releases, this summer is a great time to be a true crime enthusiast. If you’re looking to fill out your true crime diet of podcasts and Netflix documentaries, here are some of the best true crime books arriving this summer! 

While I’ll Be Gone in The Dark and Unsolved Mysteries make for compelling TV, it’s time for true crime to move past white middlebrow comfort food.  In the wake of Black Lives Matter, Sarah Weinman argues that the future of true crime has to be different.

Many writers say they can actually hear the voices of their characters.  A survey of authors taken in 2014 and 2018 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival might explain why.

The name “Karen” is having a moment, and that’s not a good thing, especially for Karens.  Statistically, here are alternative names to use for women of the same age, generation, and White privilege—the Karens of the future.  (P.S. and the “Davids”, too.)

Women are all soft thighs and red lips. Men, strong muscles and rough hands.  Do authors really mention particular body parts more for men than for women? Are women’s bodies described using different adjectives than those attributed to men? Erin Davis decided to find out.

CrimeReads offers this list of quaint English village murder mysteries with a million seasons, all for you binge-watching pleasure during these hard times.

Who did what?  Here’s a complete list of who did what in every Agatha Christie murder mystery.  Warning: spoilers!  

María Elvira Bermúdez died in 1982, but is now being recognized as the Agatha Christie of Mexican literature.  A pioneer of the crime novel and a lawyer by profession, Bermúdez invented the first woman detective of Latin American noir. 

Author Laurie R. King scams the scammers in this hysterically brilliant and cautionary true tale: “The Case of Laurie and the Monegasque Prince.” 

Planning to attend Bouchercon2020?  Sign up for the virtual conference here.


Bailee Abbott's PAINT BY MURDER, the first in the Paint With A View series, in which an art consultant takes a break from her high-pressure job to help her sister open a painting event business in Whisper Cove, only to discover the town has its secrets when the despised news editor turns up murdered and the consultant becomes the prime suspect, to Faith Black Ross at Crooked Lane, in a nice deal, by Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Former Penguin copy chief Debbie Babitt's SAVING GRACE, the story of the first female sheriff in a small Bible Belt town in the Ozarks who investigates the disappearance of a sixth-grader that eerily echoes the long-ago missing persons cases of two young girls—classmates of the sheriff—that still haunt her, with dangerous and devastating revelations awaiting her in the present, to Otto Penzler at Scarlet, with Luisa Smith editing, in a nice deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2021, by Doug Grad at Doug Grad Literary Agency

Ava Barry's WINDHALL, in which a modern-day journalist races to prove that a 1940s director killed his leading lady when a series of copycat murders brings the disgraced director back to L.A. after a long absence, to Katie McGuire at Pegasus, for publication in March 2021, by Annie Bomke at Annie Bomke Literary Agency

Agatha nominee Allison Brook's A DEADLY EVENT, in which a popular doctor falls dead in the chocolate fountain at a librarian's best friend's wedding, to Faith Black Ross at Crooked Lane, in a nice deal, by Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Beth Castrodale's BROKEN SISTERS, about a struggling artist on the hunt for her mother's killer who forms an unexpected alliance with her estranged and dying half sister while on a cross-country road trip, to Mark Sedenquist at Imbrifex, in a nice deal, for publication in March 2021

Melissa Colasanti's CALL ME ELIZABETH LARK, about a woman on the run with her son who finds refuge at a coastal Pacific Northwest bed and breakfast run by a family who believe that she's their long lost daughter, and plays along to keep herself and her son safe, only to realize that they aren't what they seem, and the culprit behind the daughter's disappearance may be back to finish the job, to Jenny Chen at Crooked Lane, in an exclusive submission, by Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency

Sloane Crosley's CULT CLASSIC, a twisted comedy cum mystery about a New York City woman whose love life becomes the target of her former mentor's cult-like psychological experiment, to Sean McDonald at MCD/FSG, for publication in early 2022, by Jay Mandel at William Morris Endeavor

Jenn McKinlay's FOR BATTER OR WORSE, book 13 in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, in which a professional baker and her district attorney fiancé must solve a murder while prepping for their wedding, before their future together is baked for good, to Kate Seaver at Berkley, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2021, by Christina Hogrebe at Jane Rotrosen Agency 

Terrie Farley Moran will write the next four books in the “Murder, She Wrote” series based on the long-running television show of the same name. MURDER, SHE WROTE: A KILLING IN A KOI POND finds Jessica Fletcher in Columbia, South Carolina visiting an old college friend who becomes a suspect in her husband’s murder, to Jennifer Snyder at Berkley by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency in a very nice deal.

Vanessa A. Ryan's THE PICASSO CAPER and HIDDEN AGENDA, stand-alone, suspense mysteries featuring amateur sleuths in Santa Fe, New Mexico to Danish publisher Forlaget Mellemgaard Aps, in a nice two-book deal for publication in 2021, negotiated by Tiziana Marzano at T.M. Literary Agency.

Edgar Award-nominated author Ashley Weaver's A PECULIAR COMBINATION, the first in a new series set during the Blitz in London, about a safecracker who helps the government break into a safe to expose a German spy in exchange for her freedom after being arrested, to Catherine Richards at Minotaur, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2021, by Ann Collette at Rees Literary Agency

Savannah College of Art & Design MFA Stacy Willingham's THE SHADOWS, a debut about a Louisiana psychologist coming up on the 20th anniversary of the event that destroyed her family: the day when, as a 12-year-old, she stumbled upon a piece of evidence that proved her father was responsible for a string of recent murders, to Kelley Ragland at Minotaur, in a major deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Dan Conaway at Writers House.

We use the industry scale of euphemisms for advances:
  • "nice deal" $1 - $49,000
  • "very nice deal" $50,000 - $99,000
  • "good deal" $100,000 - $250,000
  • "significant deal" $251,000 - $499,000
  • "major deal" $500,000 and up

Have you sold a book recently? Do you believe your information could help a Sister in Crime make a wise business decision? Please send all the pertinent facts to Marcia Talley .


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