by Libby Hellmann
In the crime fiction community there are writers, and there are readers. And then there are others. They started out as fans, but somewhere along the way they started to “aid and abet” – showing up at signings, buying books, writing reviews, producing magazines, editing newsletters, planning conferences, escorting authors, hosting them at their homes, running organizations, and a slew of other things.
They do it – mostly without making much money, and sometimes none at all – because of their love of the genre. They don't want exposure... they don't crave praise. They do it because they love to read, and they love to read crime fiction. And we authors owe them a debt. We couldn’t be or do half the things we do without their help. But readers owe them, too, because without them, you might not know about new authors, great books, and fun people. Booksellers, publishers, editors, and agents should thank them as well, because without them, the word-of-mouth about what’s new and what’s good just wouldn’t be as widespread. In short, these people are what makes us a “community.”
I’m talking about people like Jon and Ruth Jordan, Judy Bobalik, Sarah Weinman (who's a hell of a writer as well), Ari Karim, 4MA’s founder Maddy Van Hertbruggen… all the people who were recently nominated for an Anthony for Special Service to the field. But there are many others, without whom the community would not be what it is: websites like Reviewing the Evidence, Stop You’re Killing Me, New Mystery Reviews; list-serves like RAM and Dorothy L; webzines like January Magazine. People like David Montgomery, Hanley Kanar, Beth Wasson, Gloria Feit, Margery Flax, Mary Lou Wright, Janet Rudolph, PJ Nunn, and David Thompson (ok he’s a bookseller but a special one), and a host of other people I know I’m forgetting.
These are the people who make us look good… who treat us like rock-stars (at least for an hour or so)... who encourage us when we’re being hard on ourselves. Some are even known to help brainstorm plots…
So while it’s not Valentine’s Day, I want to send a special thanks to all the Aiders and Abettors out there. They have made the community what it is, and we couldn’t survive without them.