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January 18, 2008


David J. Montgomery

Even Edgar nominations can be important to Japanese sales. Their publishers pay a lot of attention to that stuff.

It can also help get review coverage. I've specifically been requested to review books or authors because of award wins.

Still, I think the main purpose of awards is to give a little recognition in a business which too often has too little of it.

Doug Riddle

OK, I will conceed that winning an Edgar may help get a book into foreign markets. And the "mystery community" is great and stands behinds many deserving writers who do have a big showing in the "mass market." And the Edgar is very important to both these groups.

But lets be honest with ourselves....and a little less snobiss...all the books sold in foreign markets and in mystery book stores don't add up to much compared to what "your average Joe" buys "trolling for a good read at Walmart or the airport." Not to mention Borders and Barnes & Nobles. If you are not selling in those markets, an Edgar is unlikely to help you get a new contract for your next book or for foreign markets. Sadly, there is more then one former Edgar winner out there who no longer has a book contract because their work did not sell well in the mass market, no matter how many awards they won.

I am not saying this in any way to put down the Edgar awards or it's winners. I think it is a great thing for anyone writing to be recognized for their work.

My point was just that "average Joe" doesn't care who won the Edgar when he is looking for a "good read." What effects his choice more is what he hears from a friend who read one of your books, or how well he liked your last book. (Case in point, John Hart. Loved King of Lies, hated Down River, but I will buy his next book and give it a chance based on King of Lies, no matter how Down River does in the Edgars. An Edgar win for Down River would not make me recommend it.)

I should be competely honest here and explain how I come to my conclusions. I worked for one of the major booksellers throughout my college years and still go back and work the Christmas sales period each year. So I come to my conclusions from talking to readers...the guy laying down his money....the "average joe" who is just looking for a "good read". And I have never had anyone ask me for the latest Edgar winner. Which doesn't mean I don't point out that the writer I just recommended is an Edgar winner.....at which point their eyes glaze over and I have to explain what an Edgar award is.(I would also like to state that the bookseller I work for is based in the college town I live in, so I am constantly put in the position of champioining mystery novels as being every bit as well written, if not better then some Lit. titles the company and my co-workers push. I think that qualifies me as a supporter of the mystery community.)

Again, I hope I didn't offend anyone with my observations.....and congrats to all those authors on the list, and those who should have been.


The fifth nominated screenplay is Scott Frank's for The Lookout, a lovely piece of work. It's the least-seen and the least-publicized of the five films, so I was glad to see it remembered here.

The category is so strong that another strong contender, Kelly Masterson's script for Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, was overlooked.

Doug Riddle

Ali.....are you counting The Lookout out of the running for best screenplay?

I am guessing it just got lost in your post.

And I agree, what a great bunch of films to choose from. All very deserving.


Doug, there are "big sales figures" and then there are "important sales."

"Big sales figures," who the hell knows. But I don't think anyone said Edgars lead to big sales figures.

"Important sales," the kind that perform as vital fulcra in a writing career--those foreign and paperback rights deals be them.


Regarding the best screenplay catagory:
All five are solid, but I would put it between Eastern Promises and No Country for Old Men.

Having said that, I am thrilled to see the oft-overlooked The Lookout make the list. The Lookout was a fine film with an exceptional screenplay.

Dave White

I can't believe SONG OF INNOCENCE didn't get nominated!


Bryon Quertermous

Hmmm, I'm surprised WHEN ONE MAN DIES wasn't nominated. Oh wait, no I'm not.

Dave White

Well maybe you'll have a chance when you finish your book...

You know, on the 12th of never.

Bryon Quertermous

My book will be finished as soon as I'm done copying the manuscript of WINTERS END. I mean nobody read that so I should be safe.

Dave White

I know, we were all distracted by the trainwreck that was LUNCHBOX HERO to even bother with WINTER'S END.

Bryon Quertermous

Well, even with WINTERS END, LUNCHBOX HERO, and WHEN ONE MAN DIES, at least none of us wrote anything crappy like WHAT THE DEAD KNOW.

Dave White

I think we all can agree on that one.

Bryon Quertermous

Let's just hope Sarah stays too busy using her forensics degree to finish a book or we're all screwed.

Wait, what? She's not using it? Hmmmm.

Dave White

Forensics? She can barely cross a New York City street. Remember, Sarah, look both ways.

Bryon Quertermous

**This Blog Hijack is brought to you by Wheaties. Breakfast of champions and flamers everywhere.**

Dave White

Wait... we weren't being serious?

Bryon Quertermous


David J. Montgomery

If only you guys wrote comedy instead of mysteries, you might actually have careers.

Bryon Quertermous

Leave it to the critic to come in after the hard work has been done and make comments.

Dave White

It's like he's judging us or something.

Elaine Flinn

A little humor beats the hell out of the indignant annual pronouncements. :)


Say goodnight, Bryon.

Larry Gandle

Hi all
I read all of these nominated fictional books for Deadly Pleasures.
Many of my reviews are negative and I am rarely correct with
my picks actually winning. Looking at these lists does not
fill me with excitment at the prospect of reading them. Yet, I
will percevere! I have read four out of the five nominated best
novel for best novel. So far, PRIEST is my favorite- such a
unique voice and writing style followed by Down River. Yiddish
Policeman is almost unreadable to me. I agree that Laura's
book was one of my favorites and would have liked to see it
on the list. It would have been my pick.
With best first- Missing Witness is my favorite on that list
but marcus Sakey's THE BLADE DESCENDED is my favorite of the year. I haven't read the other nominees so I will reserve
judgement. As far as paperbacks- who knows? I have some reading to do.
Larry Gandle


At least Bryon can spell Jack Daniel's right. So the rumor goes.

Cameron Hughes

Dave, your book may have been better had you not wasted all your writing time watching How I met Your Mother and then using Barney's moves to pick up women.

Sadly, your luck with women won't be any better once the word spreads that you didn't even get nominated for an Edgar. You might even earn hatred from your middle school students once they know.

Bryon Quertermous

Spell it, drink it. Whatever.


The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
-- Paul Erlich


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