MY POSITION IN PERSEVERANCE PRESS

This blog of ours, GET IT WRITE, was established to give Perseverance Press authors a place to speak to each other and to the world about the pleasures and toils of writing and promoting mystery fiction. And, of course, to let the world know more about their novels. Or how much they love their cats, swing era music, the Trinity Alps, old movies, Sherlock Holmes, the Elizabethan Age, making miniatures, riding horses, or any number of other fascinations.

Come to think of it, the Perseverance Press authors are a fascinating forum of many fortes. The novels we’ve published under the Perseverance Press imprint have enlightened and delighted readers with knowledge about pioneers of feminism, art fraud, academia, filmmaking, hearing disability, antique prints, fung shui, fine wines, and American society from Colonial Williamsburg to turn-of-the-century Indiana to the contemporary Pacific Northwest.

And much more, including and especially the fine art of sleuthing, by amateurs, by procedural police, and by private investigators. Perseverance Press authors are masters of mystery fiction, from the setup to the crime, from the detection to the chase, from the climax to the resolution. When it comes to thrill and reward, our authors deliver.

I am obviously proud to be associated with such a gang of crime writers. So is Susan Daniel, my partner in life and in business. Susan deals with the PP authors on a regular basis as the production manager, the marketing director, and the business part of the business. My function, by contrast, is much smaller. I write the contracts and press releases and do a few other odd chores, including stacking up cartons of new books when we receive them at the warehouse. That’s always a thrilling moment.

I feel a bit like an intruder or a kibbitzer posting on this blog, because I may not be known far and wide as a Perseverance Press author. But for those of you who don’t know this, my first published book was a Perseverance Press mystery. The year was 1986—25 years ago!—and the novel, Play Melancholy Baby, was the third mystery published by Perseverance Press.

No, this wasn’t a case of self-publishing, because I was not connected to Perseverance Press at the time, other than to be a long-time friend of Meredith Phillips, the brave and capable publisher and editor who has worked so well with all the Perseverance authors—including myself. Meredith took what was an out-of-control novel-in-progress, found what was good in it, encouraged me to dump what was self-indulgent, and made the book worth publishing.

Since then, and because of that miracle, two things have happened. First, I became a writer of mystery fiction, and although I haven’t been published by Perseverance Press since Play Melancholy Baby, I’ve had a couple of mysteries published by Poisoned Pen Press: The Poet’s Funeral and Vanity Fire; and next month my third Guy Mallon mystery, Behind the Redwood Door, will be published by Oak Tree Press. (I will be bragging about that in future posts, believe me.) I’ve also ghost-written four other mysteries.

The other thing that happened to me as a result of having been a Perseverance Press author is that I became a publisher of mystery fiction. Susan and I were working with Capra Press in the 1980s, and we arranged for Capra to distribute the Perseverance mysteries to the trade. A decade later, in the late 1990s, after Susan and I had left Capra Press and started our own company, and after Meredith had taken a hiatus from publishing, we formed an alliance between Perseverance Press and John Daniel & Company (a division of Daniel & Daniel, Publishers). From that point forward Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company has been publishing four mysteries a year, and they’ve been books to be proud of.

John, Meredith, and Susan at Bouchercon in San Francisco, October 2010

Thanks to Play Melancholy Baby, and to Meredith Phillips, and to Susan Daniel, I’ve found the two kinds of work I was made to do: writing and publishing. I am truly grateful.

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23 Responses

  1. Kind and clarifying words, John. It’s good to know the history of Perseverance Press, and the photograph of the three of you is most welcome. Now I’ll go off and play Melancholy Baby.

  2. I think it was worth setting up this blog just to have yours today, John. Especially for someone new to PP like me, your journey is enlightening and inspiring. I’m delighted to be joining you.

  3. Thanks for sharing, John! And for your part in bringing all of us together as part of the Perseverance Press family … Lea

  4. Thanks, friends. Sheila, I’m touched that you want to read Play Melancholy Baby. It’s out of print, but you can find used copies cheap at abebooks.com. Camille, I loved your post earlier this week; thanks for sharing those pictures and your thoughts about beauty. Lea, I’m glad you think of Perseverance Press as a family. I do too.

  5. What a great story! Thanks for sharing some history.

    William Doonan
    http://www.williamdoonan.com

  6. You have an impressive publishing background John and Susan. And adding Camille to your stable impresses me even more. Happy and successful publishing!

  7. Hi, John, I have a long ago history with Meredith. She turned down one of my books–a good thing, it wasn’t very good. It’s always fun to learn more about people you’ve met and heard about along the way.

    Marilyn
    http://fictionforyou.com

  8. Just the name, Perseverance Press, describes the writing-publishing process succinctly. Reading that 1986 was that many years ago is an eye opener. Thanks for the accompanied journey through a slice of history.

  9. Hooray for you, John, and for Perseverance Press, too. I first got to know them through their sterling decision to publish Wendy Hornsby,and I’ve been a fan ever since.

    Great to be blogging with you, too.

  10. Thanks for sharing, John. I learned a lot about you in just this one blog. And your book title intrigues me. I think it’ll have to go on my TBR list.

  11. Many thanks, everyone! I appreciate all the friendly comments. There’s a lot to be said for writing in community.

  12. What an interesting background, John.
    I think it’s great that you and your wife work together on what is obviously a shared passion. One of these days, I have got to read “Behind the Redwood Door.”

  13. What a wonderful group of books and book lovers!!

  14. John, you never disappoint your audience. Thank you for sharing your family….augie

  15. Meredith edited VALLEY FEVER: WHERE MURDER IS CONTAGIOUS, my first foray into publishing. It was a mystery anthology of stories written by me and two friends set in the San Joaquin Valley. John published it and the book is now a collector’s item locally.

    I’m so pleased that in my role as acquisitions editor to be able to return the favor. John’s latest with Oak Tree Press is making us feel very proud to have him on board!

  16. Interesting to hear what it’s like to sit on both sides of the desk.

  17. Nice to read your background and to meet your family. Thanks for this.
    Eileen

  18. Hi, John: I’m looking forward the Behind the Redwood Door. And in a sense, that’s what your great blog here is all about–be it redwood or pine. Fun to join you behind that door for a moment! I did love The Poet’s Funeral. Smiled all through it, even when the blood was dripping.

  19. Thank you, everybody! John, it has been fascinating being behind the editor’s desk at the same time (years of time) I’ve been submitting my own fiction to other publishers. I sympathize with both sides. I expect Sunny F. knows what I’m talking about. Nancy, thanks for reading The Poet’s Funeral. The new one has the same pint-sized sleuth.

  20. It is a joy to work with everyone at Perseverance Press. Long may they persevere. John, Play Melancholy Baby is wicked good fun. Thanks for giving us your other titles – now I’m off to the bookstore.

  21. The pride you have in your pressand your authors shines through in your story. Congratulations on a fine press.

    Lesley Diehl

  22. Very apt. Congrats. I wish you more success in the future.

  23. Thanks again to all!

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