I am beyond thrilled that Tom Vater, one of the publishers behind Crime Wave Press, is guest blogging here today. Crime Wave Press is the first crime fiction publisher based in Asia. And they’re looking for submissions! Here’s Tom:
I was sitting down with my friend Hans Kemp in Bangkok last year, bemoaning the poor state of crime fiction publishing in Asia and beyond. I had just written a novel, The Cambodian Book of the Dead, and was sitting on a pile of rejection letters high enough to start a paper recycling enterprise. Rather than continue to voice frustrations, Hans, a veteran publisher of illustrated books and I, a writer specializing in Asian subjects with two novels under my belt, dreamed up Crime Wave Press, Asia’s crime fiction imprint. And the timing, as it turned out, was just right. Ebooks were becoming bankable commodities and this contributed to our decision to take the plunge into founding a publishing house – at a time when consumers read and buy less books. Putting a book out was suddenly no longer prohibitively expensive. Old publishing models were slowly becoming obsolete and we smelled an opportunity to create a flexible and innovative business model to offer high quality literary crimes for less money than traditional publishers. Crime Wave Press was born out of these developments, perceived opportunities and frustrations.
We opened an office in Hong Kong and set off to find as wide a range of crime fiction as possible – from whodunits to Noir and Hardboiled, from historical mysteries to espionage thrillers, from literary crime to pulp fiction, from highly commercial page turners to marginal texts exploring Asia’s dark underbelly. We are both passionate about crime fiction – I am a huge fan of Noir fiction, from Raymond Chandler to Jim Thompson, from Ross MacDonald to Charles Willeford, from Patricia Highsmith to Massimo Carlotto.
Our first year in business has been a hell of a ride and Hans Kemp and I are hugely surprised by the positive reaction to our output. We have published seven titles so far, covering thrillers set in Japan, Burma, The Philippines, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia.
The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, a novel I wrote a decade ago, was our first title. I managed to get the rights to the book back and as soon as we republished the novel, Editorial Xplora purchased the Spanish language rights and the title was published in print and as an ebook in Spain in early 2013. The Cambodian Book of the Dead, our second title was snapped up by British publisher Exhibit A Books and has since been published worldwide to sterling reviews. We officially launched Crime Wave Press at the prestigious UBUD Writers and Readers Festival in Bali in October 2012 and were off to a flying start.
Sales took off at the start of 2013 and the Father Ananda Mystery series, featuring a Buddhist monk cum sleuth solving crimes in Thailand has been regularly featured in the Top Ten Kindle International Crime Top 10 and the Kindle Crime Top 100. Crime Wave Press are currently preparing to publish a fourth Father Ananda title, The Curious Corpse. Gaijin Cowgirl, written by Jame DiBiasio, our most recent stand-alone title, has attracted a huge number of positive reviews on countless fiction blogs and is a strong seller.
We are currently talking to a film director about optioning one of our titles and are negotiating with European publishers for further foreign rights contracts. Crime Wave Press will be present at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year.
Finding great manuscripts has been our major challenge. Our slush pile is clogged with bar girl novels and fictional reminiscences of the American Wars in Asia. Of course, we consider publishing any exceptional crime fiction title, irrespective of the milieu or historic period it’s set in, but we set the bar high for readability and 95% of submissions we receive don’t make the grade. This should not be perceived as discouragement. If your book is good and we think we can sell it, we will publish it. We would love to receive crime fiction from India, China, Korea and Japan and we now also consider novellas and True Crime titles.
So this is a call to arms! Crime writers, authors and wordsmiths, take a look at our submissions page, check out our titles and send us your manuscripts. As our company slogan says, ‘It’s always too late for someone.’ It better not be you!
Nicole Chen says
A good post. It’s interesting to hear what’s happening in Asian crime fiction.
Susan Blumberg-Kason says
Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, I’m very excited to hear about this new publisher. It’s kind of surprising there hasn’t been another publisher in Asia (or Hong Kong) solely dedicated to crime fiction. Better late than never!