Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year: Reviewing 2012 and Looking Forward

From everyone here at The Plaid Raccoon Press in Oxford Station, Ontario, Canada, to all of you who read The Overnight Bestseller and follow the Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series, we send our best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013.

A New Year's Day Postcard from Oxford Station (M.J. McCann photo)
The past year was our first full calendar year in business. In 2012 we published two books: Marcie's Murder, the follow-up to Blood Passage; and The Fregoli Delusion, the third Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel. I also had the supreme good fortune to travel to Rothes, Scotland, to visit The Glenrothes distillery as a winner of their 2012 Vintage Moment competition. While promoting Marcie's Murder I made several radio appearances and a television appearance, was profiled in magazines and newspapers, and the novel was reviewed favorably by Jack Batten in the Toronto Star. I participated in the Word on the Street Book Festival in Toronto as part of the Crime Writers of Canada contingency and made a number of book signing appearances, which provided an opportunity to meet many enthusiastic readers of crime fiction.

It was an exciting and eventful year. Can we top it in 2013?

The fourth Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel is underway. I'm completing my research and writing the preliminary background material. Very shortly I'll write the outline, and then another manuscript will begin to take shape. Plans are for the novel to be published this summer.

On another front, The Plaid Raccoon Press will add supernatural fiction to its lineup this year as well. I have re-acquired the rights to my very first novel, The Ghost Man, and we will soon issue a revised edition under our own imprint. A second title under the new banner will aim for a Halloween 2013 release date. Fans of The Ghost Man will be pleased to know that this novel will also be set in eastern Ontario.

It's a great time to be an independent. The just-in-time print-on-demand model has proven itself to be a viable and forward-looking option for small publishers to produce their books on paper (see this article by Danny O. Snow in Publishers Weekly),  and enterprises such as Smashwords have revolutionized how the world receives books in ebook format (see Smashwords founder Mark Coker's 2012 Year in Review).

While traditional publishing houses grow larger (as Penguin and Random House merge) and fewer (as Douglas & McIntyre and others file for bankruptcy), and traditionally-published authors such as Sue Grafton, Jodi Picoult, Richard Russo and David Hewson launch incendiary strikes against what Hewson calls "a phoney revolution," the fact remains that the publishing business and the book market for readers have turned a corner, and there's no going back. For me as an independent author beginning a new career, it has happened, if you will, "just in time."

The key to success, of course, will have to be quality. Best-selling A-list authors can get away with publishing a sub-par title to fulfill contract requirements with their Big Five publisher because their name alone sells the book, but independents have no such wiggle room. As a result, our objective is always to do our very best to make sure the next title is better than the previous one. Continuous improvement is not just a cliché around here, it's the way we do business.

With that in mind, we promise to continue to offer engaging stories that are well-written, are as free of typographical errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as humanly possible, with eye-catching covers, and all with an upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic attitude.

Come join us as we continue the publishing revolution in 2013!

Happy New Year and best wishes from me, from my wife, business partner and editor Lynn, our son Tim, who shoots our author photos, our editorial reader Margaret, and our manuscript readers Gwenda, Anie, Danielle, and Larry.

And, of course, from Cody, who's going to end up being our biggest celebrity by far!

Happy 2013, everyone!


  1. Oh you are right about that. What a darling looking dog, Cody is! A most happy new year to you too, and I look forward to another wonderful year of blogging and checking out your posts too!

    1. Thank you, Karen! And like most border collies, Cody loves the attention. I've enjoyed your New Year's Day post as well, which can be found here: http://twincitiesblather.blogspot.ca/2013/01/happy-2013-my-friends.html.

      All the best! Mike