As I sadly mentioned earlier, Billy Johnson, the owner of Oak Tree Press who published Saints & Sinners and The Baleful Owl, passed away and her heirs decided not to continue the business. So I was left with only The Wham Curse still in print with the self-publishing company Outskirts Press.
This was depressing to me because finding a good publisher has been an onerous task for me. In an earlier blog I recounted my odyssey to getting published, so I won’t repeat that old history. However, starting the submittal process at square one was not appealing.
Then out of the rising sun of a bright new day came a White Knight to my rescue. This came in the form of Mike Orenduff, a former Oak Tree author, who out-grew that small press and had a highly successful mystery franchise, The Pot Thief series. He had recently acquired the New York publishing house, Aakenbaaken & Kent. He announced to the now-publisherless Oak Tree authors that he would accept submittals from us.
I contacted Mike and he said he would be happy to republish all three of my books as second editions, and to also publish my book in progress, Murder in Copper. He suggested that we publish all four as a numbered and branded series. I was very happy with this arrangement. Then I found out that he would also pay ten percent higher royalty!
In July Mike arranged for seven Aakenbaaken & Kent authors to do a New Mexico book tour with signings in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. I was able to sell several of each of my books in the new series format and we placed books in bookstores in four cities in New Mexico. Opening up some new markets for me and all my sales were to first time buyers. Pictured is me at Treasure House Books, one of the top ten rated bookstores in the world.
Thus, the Deputy Allred & Apache Officer Victor series was born. And here they are pictured in the new format for all the world to see. (Well, at least the portion of the world that reads this blog.)
An interesting side note is why Mike acquired Aakenbaaken & Kent (A&K). As an author he moved to A&K and his books really took off (he now has 8 or 9 in the series) and soon Mike’s books were by far the top sellers in the company. They were doing so well that Open Road Media, a large publisher, became interested, and bought Mikes publishing rights from A&K.
The owners got a very nice buyout from Open Road, and A&K gross sales dropped drastically when Mike left, so the company announced they were shutting down (as in take all their new money and retire). Mike felt that several of the other A&K authors were doing well and producing quality works , so he bought the publisher and relocated the business to Valdosta, Georgia, where he has a daily newspaper, a bookstore, and teaches graduate students at the university (where his wife is also a professor).
He was aware of a number of good authors at Oak Tree, so with its demise, Mike decided to offer them a chance to move over to A&K; I think we are all very pleased with his decision.
February is my Murder in Copper kickoff month with Arizona book signings at Miami, Pima, and the Mesa Red Mountain Library, you can get the details of these signings on my Events Page. I would love to see you at any of my events.
Mystery writer, Southwestern Historian, researcher, husband, father, grandpa, with an opinion on everything.