Things Aren’t Bleak for Bleak House

The MWA has been criticized in some quarters for favoring the big houses over small presses. But as Publisher’s Weekly notes, the Edgar nominations this year tell a different story:

To nobody’s surprise, when the Mystery Writers of America announced the
finalists for the 2008 Edgar Awards last week  titles from the large
New York houses dominated the eight (out of a total of 13) categories
dealing with books. But one small Wisconsin press is more than holding
its own among the 35 books and five short stories selected as this
year’s Edgar Awards nominees. Three of the 15 titles released this past
year by Bleak House Books in Madison, an imprint of Big Earth Books,
have been nominated for 2008 Edgar Awards in three different
categories: Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Best Novel), Head Games
by Craig McDonald (Best First Novel), and "Blue Note" by Stuart M.
Kaminsky from the Chicago Blues collection (Best Short Story).

Bleak House isn’t the only small press represented on the Edgar list this year. There are also titles from McFarland & Co, Serpent’s Tail, Hard Case Crime, Rookery Press, Level Best Books, Akashic,  Clarion, American Girl, and Busted Flush.

3 thoughts on “Things Aren’t Bleak for Bleak House”

  1. It’s quite a change from Edgar noms from a decade ago, though, where smaller and/or indie publishers were pretty much unrepresented. I’m struck, however, by the experience and reputations of those writers–Kaminsky and Coleman? What’s the reason they’re being published by small presses?

  2. In Kaminsky’s case, he wasn’t really published, per se, by Bleak House as you would usually think of it. Rather they published the anthology he had a story in. (Most of his books these days, I believe, are with Forge.) As for Coleman, unfortunately his series was dropped by Plume after the previous book.
    The sad truth is that many mystery writers are finding themselves in challenging straits these days, with contracts being dropped, even for long-running series and well known authors.
    This is why we’re seeing so many hardcover authors moving to paperback, from big houses to small houses, authors using pseudonyms, authors writing standalone thrillers instead of series mysteries, etc.


Leave a Comment