Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Crime Cafe: Why I Started a Podcast: Guest Post by Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack is the New York Times ebook bestselling author of the Sam McRae mystery series. She’s also published one young adult novel, Invisible Me, and Five Uneasy Pieces, a short story collection that includes her Derringer Award–nominated story “The Right to Remain Silent.” Her short stories have appeared in various other anthologies and publications. Her most recently published short story is “Jasmine”, appearing in Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays. Debbi is also a screenwriter and aspiring indie filmmaker. A former attorney, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, librarian, and freelance writer/researcher. She enjoys walking, cats, travel, movies, music, and espresso. 

Debbi Mack:
The Crime Cafe: Why I Started a Podcast 

Thanks, Janet, for the opportunity to post on your blog!

When Janet asked me if I’d like to write about The Crime Cafe, my new podcast, it forced me to think about why I’d decided to undertake such a project. I think it comes down to the idea that there are loads of great crime, suspense, and thriller authors, but not all of them are equally well known.

Many a time, I’ve talked to readers about my mystery series, and they ask me questions like these:

“Who are your favorite authors?”
“What kind of stories do you write?”
“Are your books anything like those of [insert famous author’s name here]?”

These questions are all posed for the same reason. To get a sense of how my writing compares to that of authors they know and probably like.

I recently had a conversation with a woman who enjoys mysteries. And when I mentioned Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky, she knew their work. I love when that happens, because strangely enough, not all readers know their names.

This really does happen. There are actual book-loving readers who don’t know these authors. Despite the fact that they are occupying the stratosphere (as it were) of the publishing world.

In any case, when the woman asked what other crime fiction authors I’d recommend, it was difficult to reign it back to a manageable list. I could have spent a whole hour or two talking about the many great authors in the genre that I’ve enjoyed.

The truth is that well-known authors like John Grisham, Stephen King, and Lee Child are all great. As are Robert Crais, Walter Mosley, Sara Paretsky, and Sue Grafton. But for every name on that list, I can give you plenty more crime writers who are also exemplary. They just aren’t as well known.

What I’ve seen over the course of my novel writing career are two significant phenomena: the meteoric rise of self-publishing and the fast-changing world of social media.

As a result, it’s become even harder for authors to gain recognition. However, the answer isn’t to compete with one another.

Way back when, I asked the late Jeremiah Healy to write an endorsement for my first novel. And he agreed to do so, on one condition. That when I was in a position to help other new or aspiring authors, I would lend assistance. I had no problem agreeing to that. The way I see it, other authors are my peers, not my competitors. There are plenty of readers to go around.

This is why I started The Crime Cafe. The whole point is to tell as many people as possible about the great crime, suspense, and thriller authors that win awards, get great reviews, and are held in high regard within the genre, yet manage to slip under the public’s radar. My thought was, “What better way to do this than with a podcast? Perhaps it will reach a few ears and help bring these authors to the fore.”

At the same time, I truly enjoy doing the podcasts. Every time I talk to a new author on The Crime Cafe, it’s like I’ve made a new friend. I learn so much from listening to their stories, and I try to keep the conversation from getting too pedantic or predictable.

I hope you’ll tune in to The Crime Cafe sometime soon. It’s a fun way to spend 20 minutes or so. And you’ll hear the real lowdown from some of the crime genre’s best authors.

You can find The Crime Cafe on iTunes and Google Play. You can also find it on my website, in audio and video form. That page also features my online store, where I carry Crime Cafe merchandise, bearing the distinctive logo. Not to mention the “buy button” for the joint story package comprised of work from all the authors I interview.

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You can find Debbi online here:  

Twitter: @debbimack

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for starting the podcast, Debbi, and thanks for having me as one of your guests.