Writing a Cozy Mystery: Part 3 – Surveying the Field


The last time I investigated genre books there were detailed guidelines available from publishers. Manuscript length, tone, guidance on what to exclude, how one line of books differed from others were described in detail. Thinking this was still the case, I got online this afternoon.

Well, forget it. First, I learned what I already knew, but had failed to appreciate. A very few publishers dominate the market. Second, their Internet websites are opaque on the matter of content.

This means that an aspiring writer must discern the requirements on her own.

Luckily, I’ve already begun reading as many cozies as I can get. With economic realities to face, I had to find a way to get cozies on the cheap.

One is http://www.ebay.com with a search “cozy mysteries” and “lot” (be sure to check the square under the green “SEARCH” box). I did this just now and found forty five sales that were organized by author, theme, or were offering a pile of mixed cozies.

Next, click on the “sort by” box (on the right above the listed items) and choose “price + shipping: lowest first.” This way you can quickly see which lots offer the most books for the lowest price. Ideally, I want to pay less than two dollars for each book, including shipping. My dream lot would have two books by each author for comparison. When you survey the Ebay auctions, look at the entire list because sometimes extremely large lots are offered for very reasonable prices.

I figure that an overview of the field is necessary to see where I can fit in.

(Note to myself: Be careful about going to Ebay. I just bought 40 cozies for a dollar each!)


About thebooksonmyshelf

Welcome to my blog. There's always a revolution going on in my home -- between art, writing, thinking, and three boy cats, there's rarely a moment without something hopping. I have lived in three major cities and now am in a small wonderful rural town. The proud author of the world's longest first-draft cowboy novel, I am now plowing into the realm of the cozy mystery. Come along and see how my journey through the woods of inexperience turns out.
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