Bill Crider’s Blog Bytes

EQMM August 2007 cover
EQMM August 2007 with Bill Crider’s first Blog Bytes column

The Jan/Feb 2018 issue of EQMM may have been the last issue to feature Bill Crider’s long running column: Blog Bytes. Here’s what he said about it in our interview for The Digest Enthusiast five:

“I’m not sure how ‘Blog Bytes’ came about, as I inherited the column from Ed Gorman, who called me and asked me to take over for him. I suspect that the column was the idea of the EQMM editor, Janet Hutchings, who wanted to start making some connections with the online world, but it could have been Ed’s idea. When I agreed to do the column (in 2007; hard to believe it’s been almost
10 years), Ed sent me some of his columns to look at. They were all between 400–415 words, so I’ve stuck to that with my own column.

“The only thing that worried me about doing the column was whether there would be enough new blogs and websites to keep it going. I needn’t have worried. Another thing that occurred to me a few years ago was that some blogs deserved a repeat mention because people might have missed the first one or might have forgotten about it. So I now lead with a repeat each time.”

EQMM cover image from Galactic Central.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Mar/Apr 2018

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Mar/Apr 2018 Vol. 151 #3 & 4, whole #918 & 919
Lisa Cody “Health and Safety” art by Jason C. Eckhardt
Chris Muessig & Steve Seder “One Fall to a Finish” (Black Mask)
Susan Perry Benson “Rip Currents”
Steve Steinbock: The Jury Box
Peter Turnbull “The Ancient Mariner Syndrome”
G.M. Malliet “Victory Garden”
David Dean “Sofee”
William Burton McCormick “Cleopatran Cocktails”
Dean Jobb: Stranger Than Fiction Introduction and Preview
John Lantigua “The Avenging Angel”
Margaret Maron “The Last Man I Killed”
Samantha Allen “Some Kind of Wonderful” (Dept. of First Stories)
Christine Poulson “Faceless Killer”
Brendan DuBois “The Submarine of Walker Lake”
Jane Smith “The Barroom Girl (1776)” (verse)
Josh Pachter “A Young Man’s Game”
Marilyn Todd “Bench Mark”
Thomas Przybilka & Gitta List “Rest in Peace” (Passport to Crime) Translated from the German by Mary Tannert
Kristine Kathryn Rusch “The Wedding Ring” art by Laurie Harden
Cath Staincliffe “Tigers and Flies”
On Our Cover
Classified Marketplace
Peter Lovesey “Reader, I Buried Them”

EQMM cover
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Mar/Apr 2018

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Associate Editor: Jackie Sherbow
Senior Director Art & Production: Porter C. McKinnon
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Robert McGinnis
192 pages
$7.99 on newsstands until April 24, 2018
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website

Bill Crider 1941–2018

Social media and the blogs of Bill Crider’s friends and fans celebrate the life of the gifted writer with tributes and recollections upon the news of his passing yesterday. Like many, I first met Bill through his wonderful blog Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.

In 2015, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person at Bouchercon in Raleigh, where he signed a copy of his—at the time—current novel Between the Living and the Dead. A year later, he graciously agreed to be interviewed via email and responded to general questions about his career, and highlighted some of his short stories and articles for magazines and zines like The Not So Private Eye, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, New Mystery, Hardboiled, and Ellery Queen.

The Spider Chronicles cover

When asked about his terrific story, “The Marching Madmen,” starring The Spider, he shared the inside information:

“I was invited to write a story for The Spider Chronicles, and the invitation came at a time when I’d been reading a lot of Novell Page Spider novels. I’m easily influenced by the writing style of other authors, so it seemed as if it would be easy to sit down and write a story like the ones I’d been enjoying. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, so I’m glad you think it turned out well. Writing the story kind of burned me out on The Spider, and I haven’t read any other Page novels since then.”

Rest in peace, Bill Crider, your stories and kindness, that touched so many lives, lives on.

Ellery Queen March/April 2014

An excerpt from the interview with Bill Crider, from The Digest Enthusiast book five:

Bill Crider: “At an Armadillocon some years ago, I was on the “Apes” panel, along with Joe Lansdale, Rick Klaw, Mark Finn, Chris Nakashima Brown, and probably some others I’m forgetting. The talk turned to a legendary pulp cover for a story called “Gorilla of the Gas Bags” in a pulp called Zeppelin Stories. As anyone knows, there are only a couple of copies of the magazine still around, so nobody had read the story. Joe Lansdale challenged the panelists to write a story based on the cover. He sold his, and I sold mine. I don’t know if anyone else wrote a story.”

Ellery Queen April/March 2014 cover
Ellery Queen March/April 2014 with Bill Crider’s “Gorilla of the Gasbags” with Hollywood detective Bill Ferrell

Attn. Writers: Sandra Seamans reminds us Switchblade magazine is open for submissions.

2017 Total Paid Distribution

The release of the Jan/Feb issues of Dell’s digest magazines marks the first year of their bi-monthly, double-issue format. The issues also provide the publisher’s statements of ownership, which include the average number of copies for a variety of categories, over a preceding 12-month period, for the print editions.

Magazines print more copies than they sell through subscriptions and newsstands. For the big five digests, excess inventory is offered in Value Packs on their websites. A great opportunity for readers to try out recent issues of a title at a fraction of its regular price.

Dell and F&SF sell far more issues via subscriptions than newsstands. For the most part, combining the two gives you the total paid circulation. However, it’s important to note these numbers don’t include digital sales, which are likely on the rise. Below is the “total paid distribution” from Jan/Feb 2017 and 2018 of the print editions:

2017 13,527
2018 12,962

2017 19,963
2018 18,957

2017 13,978
2018 13,320

Ellery Queen
2017 16,472
2018 15,486

2017 11,108
2018 11,429

Except for F&SF, the year-over-year numbers show declines of ~500–1000. Is this due to thicker, less frequent issues, general magazine publishing trends, distribution challenges, or something else? Without numbers on digital edition sales, it’s unclear. But I will share some anecdotal evidence about my experience buying the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of AHMM. (I generally buy magazines at a newsstand to avoid subscription mailing labels.)

Shortly after the new Dell books were out, I went to Rich’s Cigar Store on SW Alder, which to my knowledge is the largest magazine shop in Portland, Oregon. Dell’s two SF digests were there, but not AHMM. They still had five copies of the previous issue on display.

After the holidays I tried Powell’s in Cedar Hills. They had EQMM and F&SF, but no Hitchcock. A week or two later I called Powell’s to see if it had arrived. The CSR couldn’t locate the issue or the title, despite the fact that I have purchased it there before.

My fallback is wwnewstand on ebay, but as of yesterday they still were not offering it.

I finally found a copy at Barnes & Nobel at Bridgeport Village. After my purchase, there was only one remaining. I also learned you could buy a single issue AHMM from the B&N website. Good to know of another backup option.

I think the difficulty points to the distributor. When I asked for an issue of Strand Magazine at Rich’s one day this fall, the manager told me they were never quite sure what the distributor was going to give them. Apparently, in the case of the current AHMM—zero. As of my last trip there in mid-January, Rich’s still had five copies of Nov/Dec 2017 on display.

Genre digest publishers—even the big five—have their challenges. If you like what they do, please support them at the newsstand, online, or through subscriptions. The world needs stories, and they publish some of the best.

Note: Total paid distribution numbers for Fate and Nostalgia Digest are not listed here, as I didn’t find any Statements of Ownership in recent issues.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2018

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2018 Vol. 151 #1 & 2, whole #916 & 917
Barbara Cleverly “The Sofa Doll” art by Ron Bucalo
Steve Steinbock: The Jury Box
Doug Allyn “Stick”
William Dylan Powell “The Lighthouse and the Lamp”
Martin Edwards “Farewell Cruise”
Statement of ownership, management and circulation
Matthew Wilson “Burg’s Hobby Case” (Dept. of First Stories)
Angela Crider Neary “Murder on Rue Royal”
Bill Crider: Blog Bytes
Luciano Sivori “The Final Analysis” (Passport to Crime) Translated from the Spanish by Josh Pachter
Larry Light “Dysperception”
Kate Ellis “Half-Life”
Terence Faherty “The Noble Bachelor” art by Jason C. Eckhardt
Edwin Hill “White Tights and Mary Janes” (Dept. of First Stories)
Jane Jakeman “Tapping the Glass”
Robert Garner McBrearty “Wake Me When It’s Over”
John Morgan Wilson “The Case of the Curious Collector”
Margaret Maron “There Are No Elephants in Peru” art by Mark Evan Walker
Robert S. Levinson “The Public Hero”
Marilyn Todd “Killing Kevin”
Classified Marketplace
Elizabeth Elwood “Ghosts of Christmas Past”

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2018 cover
EQMM Jan/Feb 2018

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Associate Editor: Jackie Sherbow
Senior Director Art & Production: Porter C. McKinnon
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe
192 pages
$7.99 on newsstands until Feb. 20, 2018
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website

Ellery Queen March 1998

An excerpt from the interview with Bill Crider, from The Digest Enthusiast book five:

Ellery Queen March 1998
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine March 1998

Bill Crider: “I’ve published only two stories in EQMM, and “The Case of the Headless Man” was the first. When I wrote it, I used a couple of my series characters, Bo Wagner and Janice Langtry. They’re a writing team, like Ellery Queen, and they write about impossible crimes solved by their amateur sleuth, Sam Fernando. Now and then the cops call them in and ask for their help with impossible crimes, like one committed by a man without a head. I really had some some fun with these stories, of which there are two or three. Maybe I should collect them into an eBook, except that I can’t locate the eCopy of “The Case of the Headless Man.”

“I’d tell you where the story idea came from, but I can’t do that without giving too much away. What I can tell you is that I’d been rejected by EQMM a couple of times, and I really wanted to be published there. When I came up with this story idea, I thought it was perfect for the magazine, and sure enough, the editor bought it.”

SMFS logoHat Tip: The new Pulp Modern with Robert Petyo’s story “Sacrifice” is highlighted today by Kevin R. Tipple on The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog.