“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stop The Press: Crime In ‘Doesn’t Always Pay’ Shocker!

News just in folks – your humble scribe (right) has just heard that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has declined to publish the sequel to THE BIG O, said sequel being the now rather ironically titled CRIME ALWAYS PAYS. Damn you, hubris! Details remain sketchy as to why, but it’s either (a) the new editor assigned to the book didn’t fancy it; (b) the global economic downturn is hurting in places I didn’t know I had places; or (c) said sequel is complete tosh. Or maybe it’s all three. As soon as I hear, you’ll be the first to know. Unless it’s (c), of course, in which case I’ll pretend it’s a combination of (a) and (b). Oh well, I guess it’s back to the turnip-thinning for yours truly. It’s been nice knowing you people, you’ve been a wunnerful audience …

UPDATE:
Now this is what I call a cheer-me-up

UPDATE 2: In comedy, it’s all about the timing

31 comments:

Gerard Brennan said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

That's a load of balls, man. Gimme a shout if you wanna go and put their windies in.

gb

Declan Burke said...

Appreciate the sentiment, squire, but honestly I've got no beef with HMH. They did a terrific job on TBO ... And maybe I'm naive, but I think CAP is a better read, and I think it'll find a good home ...

Cheers, Dec

Gerard Brennan said...

Good man, yourself. It would have taken me a week to hit that level of zen. And you're right. It will be housed.

gb

The Unquiet Man said...

Bummer about that one, Declan.

Still though, in a couple of years you might be saying, Imagine if Harcourt took on CAP? I wouldn't have what I have now...'

Tony Bailie said...

I've been there too Dec. You know the form... dust down your writer's handbook, pick out three publishers and send off copies in the morning... wish I would listen to my own wise and sensible advice sometimes. Anyway I'll say a quick prayer for you to St Kickinthenuts - the patron saint of writers whose manuscripts have just been rejected.

Bill Crider said...

That sucks.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the sentiments expressed above, but I reckon Crime Always Pays will find a better home - fully expect to see it on the stands with another publisher in the short term. Keep fighting the good fight.
Bobby the Rookie

Dana King said...

Based on my reading of THE BIG O, and what I know of you and your work habits, five years from some (former) HMH editor is going to kicking himself in the arse. Maybe not quite as much as the guy who failed to get M&Ms into ET instead of Reese's Pieces, but the analogy holds.

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, folks ... but hey, no one died, right? And there's always the self-publishing option again.

Cheers, Dec

marco said...

Yeah,that sucks.It's sad,considering the universally positive reviews,the translation deals and all,to see a major publisher decides dropping an author after a single book,whatever the reason.

Conduit said...

My condolences also, but I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. Things are tough in publishing at the minute, as I've heard through my limited grapevine, and it was confirmed by this article.

Chin up.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to read that Declan, but I completely agree with Stuart, the publishing world seems so jittery at the moment. You'll find another home for CAP, I have no doubt at all about that.
Arlene

bookwitch said...

For once you're right, Declan... CAP is a better read. They must be mad. At this rate I'll have to print it myself. Now, where did I put that document..?

I thought it was potatoes, over there?

AnswerGirl said...

Ugh, sorry, Declan. But you've got the right attitude -- your next publisher will be the one who REALLY appreciates you, and Crime Always Pays will be a great success for them and for you.

Clair

Corey Wilde said...

Damn, damn, damn.

I admire your equanimity, Dec. If there's anything you think this fan can do (hunt down and destroy the HMH vermin comes to mind), just give a holler. It's not that I have a generous spirit, quite the contrary, it's just that I had to wait so long on my copy of The Big O that I'd like to feel more secure about getting my hands on CAP.

Uriah Robinson said...

They must be mad but I am pleased you are not too pissed off or you are hiding it very well.
I could always pop in to HMH as Sir Salman Rushdie and demand they publish it.

Colin said...

Tough one. But a lot of them are mentalists anyway. I haven't been published there since '96, so they must be! Although I did sell a children's trilogy to Random House which they duly advertised as such and published the first two and then declined to publish the third. So the first trilogy with only two books in it. And the reason they rejected the third, which, incidentally got great reviews over here? References to drugs and guns. Apparently American children aren't aware that these things exist.

John McFetridge said...

It's true, we were in Baltimore in October and they've never heard of drugs and guns.

This will all be a funny story soon enough.

Keith Rawson said...

I wold shy away from the Self publishing thing, again, Dec, as I'm sure the follow up will find a home at another house like St. Martins

seanag said...

I guess I'm in a position to add to this discussion, since it's the second Houghton Mifflin reference that's come up for me today. I work at a bookstore, and this afternoon my boss came down and told me that HM had just announced that they would be taking no new acquistions, and had informed their editors of this. I was a bit shocked at that, as I have never heard of anything like it from a major publishing house before, and I've been in the business for quite awhile now.

I wouldn't venture to guess what this really means, but your news that they are now actively 'unacquiring' books makes it appear that the problem is even graver than it first appears.

Anyway, it's very disappointing news for your readers, Declan, including me, but I do think you should know that it pretty definitively has nothing to do with your book. Much luck finding it a new home. I want to read it.

Rafe McGregor said...

Bad luck, Dec, I hope you find a (better) home for it soon. Yet more proof of how much luck is involved in the whole process, methinks...

Philip said...

Sad news indeed, Dec, but Seanag is correct. The reason is not a, b, or c, but d: "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt...has temporarily suspended acquisitions of new manuscripts," according to this morning's New York Times. The process of consolidating HM with Harcourt since the purchase by Riverdeep last year is said to have resulted in "turbulence", which may be a bit of a euphemism, if this is the outcome. They could come back to you, but by the time they've got this sorted out, you'll have been snapped up by another publisher, no doubt about that at all.

Twenty Major said...

Bummer. I'm sure your relentless persistence will see you through though. Looking forward to reading it soon.

critical mick said...

HMH can KMA. Get TBO2 out there in one form or another, sell a ton of copies and let 'em weep.

Do keep us updated and informed, Dec.

Mick

Dana King said...

In a perverse way, HMH's decision not to accept any new manuscripts is a positive sign for you. Yes, they passed on the book, but without prejudice. They're just exercising what passes for sound business practice in the 21st Century: it can't be management's fault we're losing money, it's the damn books.

This is only going to hold you back a few months, if that. Someone with a little more foresight will pick up TBO2.

Anonymous said...

Declan,

What can I say that has not been already said. I dont know you - but I know you are a fine writer and a hard grafter - you only have to look at this blog which is testmant to that graft and to your passion for writing good fiction. How many other writers have gone before you? All in all, 2008's been a great year for you and your family. Put this setback in context (that's all it is - a setback) and it'll happen for you in '09. Keep it up squire. Keep writing.

P

Declan Burke said...

Folks, I'm honestly humbled by the good wishes ... You've no idea how big a lift you've given me. Here's hoping the book will find a good home, and that 2008 will be as good a year as 2009.

Cheers, Dec

Darragh McManus said...

Dec,
I can't believe this. This is absolute and utter SHIIIIIT. Keep the chin up, dude - I know it'll come right for you.
Darragh
PS Is the publishing industry due a Lenin-style crushing and return to Year Zero...?

crimeficreader said...

Sorry to read this, Dec. The saying goes that every black cloud has a sliver lining. But remember, for every severely risk-averse publisher like HMH - and there will be many in this current economic climate, there will be another ready to capitalise on others' shyness in the market, if they can find "brave and bold" and wish to take the risk, with the funds behind them (or plans that defer the risk but capture the creativity).

We live in troubled times economically, with many in fear, for their own jobs, for the survival of their employers, and with the wish that they could deliver to the market what they intended when the market was good. But markets ain't good right now and fear takes over.

Take comfort in what Dana King said - you have been rejected without prejudice - for now. And only for now. And if you let your genetic thread of tenacity kick in again after the emotional downslide of this "mass market" rejection from your existing publisher - it is nothing else but - you will rise again.

Stay strong, Dec. Thinking of you!

Ali Karim said...

Declan -

So sorry to hear about this [late], I'm over in Dublin over Christmas - If you fancy a beer or two and a chat, email me.

Adversity breeds strength

Ali

Tony said...

Getting published is getting harder and harder for authors. It is terrible news that any publisher would start down this road. As a published author I know how tough it is for author in search of a publisher. Publishers would rather stick with authors who have published many books, rather than look at new authors, considering they are being flooded with manuscripts. This is not necessarily good as the successful authors do not always come out with better books than new authors. I like to check out new authors, rather than the successful authors, so that I can see what readers actually want to read and I encourage readers to do the same.

Tony Peters
Author of, Kids on a Case: The Case of the Ten Grand Kidnapping
www.eloquentbooks.com/KidsOnACase.html