Humorous mystery writer Jeff Cohen blogged today about the Leno/Conan O'Brien controversey, then told us what happened to his last series, and all about his new one. With a new name.

From his blog today on "Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the LIving Room:"

Let me take a roughly analogous (but much more thrifty) situation: My Double Feature Mystery books for Berkley Prime Crime did not, alas, draw a huge audience. I don't know what the actual numbers are--I prefer to be sheltered from such humiliation--but they weren't great; I know that. And so, given the realities of the publishing business, Berkley has refrained from requesting a fourth Double Feature novel, and did not tender me a contract for one.

I think that's where I made my mistake. Given the O'Brien/Leno template, I should clearly have held out for an agreement where I would be paid a lot of money (clearly not $30-million--I'm not greedy) for NOT writing books for Berkley, which would therefore benefit by not publishing books that wouldn't sell very well.

A win-win situation, surely.

Meanwhile, however, Berkley HAS bought a three-book series called the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery novels, from some newcomer named E.J. Copperman. I applaud this action, as Copperman is a very, very close friend (if you catch my drift), and deserves a loyal and LARGE audience. Clearly, I would be a petty, mean person to deny E.J. the chance to succeed.

And, of course, Jeff Cohen would be free to write books for other publishers, or other books for Berkley. This doesn't exactly follow the Leno/O'Brien paradigm, but I'm not one to burn bridges if I can avoid it. The people at Berkley have been nothing but lovely to me, after all.

So what do you guys and girls think of a name change. As I understand it, booksellers are more likely to try a newcomer than a name in the computer who didn't sell well last time.

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"This book was so good, I thought I wrote it." -Pseudonym #1.

Or several authors and a publisher could get together, create a "new best-selling author" of prolific output, who though a man of mystery who eschews public appearances, is very generous with blurbs to his struggling compatriots.
I told Jeff to work the old characters into the new book. Maybe one psuedo can build the other psuedo's fan base. Lots and lots of marketing possibilities. ;-)


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