Wednesday, 14 May 2008

An anthology is born

The recent publication of M.O.: crimes of method has prompted me to think back to my first experience as an anthologist - dating back to 1992. Gosh, where did the time go?

What happened was this. I had enjoyed the experience of becoming a published novelist, and loved the social side at gatherings of the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association. I came up with the idea that we might produce a book showcasing our work. There was general enthusiasm, and I found a small publisher (Didsbury Press, run by a chap called Patrick Quinn who was a client of my firm) who were willing to bring out the book.

Ann Cleeves hosted a meeting at her house in Whitley Bay and several of us, including (if memory serves) Val McDermid, Bob Barnard, and Chaz Brenchley discussed how to progress the project. The end result was a collection called Northern Blood. The other contributors included Reginald Hill and Peter N. Walker (creator of ‘Heartbeat’) as well as such seasoned writers as Eileen Dewhurst. The book attracted great reviews, even making it to the national press (ah, those were the days!)

After that, I was bitten by the anthology bug. Three years later, Northern Blood 2 made its appearance, and the East Anglian Chapter of the CWA asked me to co-edit their anthology. The next step was for the CWA committee to ask me to take over editorship of the annual CWA anthology, and I’ve managed to produce one book almost (but not quite) every year since 1996. There are details of each of them on my website.

Marketing short story collections doesn’t get any easier, but it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work with so many talented writers. I much appreciate the generosity so many contributors have shown over the years; one thing is for sure, they definitely don’t write the stories for the money on offer….


pattinase (abbott) said...

Martin-I've been running a little blog project called Friday's Forgotten Books on my blog and I wonder if you'd be willing to do a book for next Friday, May 21st. I know you do this sort of thing regularly but I'd love to have your favorite included. If you're too busy I'll catch you later. patti

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Patti, thanks - I would be happy to do so. Are there any do's and don'ts or other parameters I should bear in mind?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Pick any book you like-doesn't even have to be crime. Just a book you think people are forgetting as time goes by. Also-it can be as brief or as lengthy as you like. I'll post your link on my blog entry for next Friday, May 23rd. Thanks so much for joining in. My email is should anything else arise.