Archer Mayor Takes Backlist Into His Own Hands

On the one hand, Archer Mayor is the beneficiary of good news. His 18th Joe Gunther novel, CHAT, will be the last one published by Grand Central Publishing, but St. Martin’s Press has picked up the next three books in the series. On the other hand, the entire backlist, 17 books strong, is out of print. So, as Publishers Weekly reports, Mayor has devised a unique solution: publish the previous Joe Gunther novels himself.

“To me it makes perfect sense,” said Mayor, who publishes a

book a year while working part-time as a death investigator for

Vermont’s chief medical examiner and as a deputy sheriff. “The whole

thing about getting mad and getting even, I’m doing something in

between. I’m trying to be part of the solution.” He’s optimistic even

though he had to mortgage his home and find investors to make AMPress


Mayor said he was encouraged to bring back his books in part because of his consistently good reviews. The New York Times Book Review has called him “one of the most sophisticated stylists in the genre.” And Publishers Weekly has

given six of his books starred reviews. He is also a recipient of the

New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction.

Despite the attention, his books still average only 18,000 copies in


Mayor will also be touring extensively in the Northeast over the next two months, and neither Hachette  (Grand Central’s parent publisher) nor St. Martin’s seems concerned about Mayor’s

efforts on behalf of AMPress. “As far as I know,” said Mayor,

“everybody understands that it doesn’t matter what book takes off. We

all benefit.”

And as Lee Goldberg points out
, “I’m sure that lots of other mid-list authors with a big back list and a

new book in the offing will be watching how he does, but I doubt that

many of them have the financial resources or the guts to attempt the

same  high-stakes gamble.”