Featured Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

| Posted in Publishing.

Featured publisherWho doesn’t love a good mystery? Certainly not the Robert Rosenwald, Barbara Peters and Susan Malling family. Together, the father, mother, and daughter team created Poisoned Pen Press, which is dedicated to mystery novels of all kinds. Over the years, Rosenwald, Peters, and Jessica Tribble (who joined the team as a publisher) have earned a rock-solid reputation for spotting emerging talent in this highly specialised and, let’s be honest, tricky genre.

The press has won numerous industry awards, and so have many of its authors; confirmation of a job well done by the publishing team. Some of the awards won include:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Brouchercon Crime and Mystery conference for Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald.
  • Ellery Queen Award at the 2010 Mystery Writers of America’s annual dinner, which honours outstanding people in the industry.

Peters is quite the powerhouse in the industry. According to Wikipedia, in 2000, Publishers Weekly named her one of the 11 most important people in Bookselling. She’s a mystery writer herself and belongs to Crime Writers of Canada, the British Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America, and helped found the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

You’ll recognise the names of some of the Poisoned Pen’s authors; for example, Val McDermid, whose Dr. Tony Hill has graduated from print to the TV screen (Wire in the Blood).

Stick to mystery’s roots

Poisoned Pen is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the mystery genre. As a result, it has very clear criteria, especially when it comes to what it won’t accept. For example, it doesn’t consider novels which focus on child abuse or murder, or drugs and drug abuse. It also doesn’t consider mysteries that are used to thinly veil other genres like fantasy, science-fiction, paranormal, supernatural, or anything New Age (so no vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or aliens). It’s also not fond of serial killers or thrillers, so keep your spies to yourself.

Unfortunately, it has put a temporary halt on submissions, but keep an eye on the website because submissions will open again.


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