Invitation to Authors

There are several opportunities for writers--new or veteran, authors or reviewers--to submit editorial material to The Rap Sheet.

• Compose a “forgotten books” essay: In association with Derringer Award-winning short-story writer and blogger Patricia “Patti” Abbott, The Rap Sheet has (since the spring of 2008) been posting a popular series called “The Book You Have to Read.” Its focus is on unjustly overlooked or criminally forgotten mystery novels, published in English anytime in the past and anywhere in the world. Some of those posts--published on Fridays--come from The Rap Sheet’s small stable of regular contributors, but most are assigned to either published novelists or prominent critics of the genre. These posts run anywhere between 880 and 1,500 words in length, and they must be original material--no reprints. You will find a list of the first 150 installments in the series here, with the continuing run of essays accessible here.

• Write a “Story Behind the Story” essay: The idea is that published authors will recall how and why they penned their latest novel, and maybe what they learned from that experience. Yes, there will have to be some elucidation of the story’s plot and characters; but we’re equally interested in what the book means to its writer. What was it that motivated him or her to take on this project? Are there stories or characters from the author’s own life that inspired his players or the plot line in this new yarn? What might the novelist have learned from the process of composing this new work that can be applied to future books? “Story Behind the Story” essays run between 1,000 and 1,500 words in length, and again they must be original material--no reprints. To read previous installments in this series, click here.

• Submit a newsy post: As hard as we try to stay on top of all things crime fiction-y, The Rap Sheet simply doesn’t have the manpower to cover everything. So freelance contributors are very important. If you would like to interview an up-and-coming author in the genre, comment on a classic or new TV series or film, report on an approaching literary convention, or otherwise add to the blog’s circulation of news and features, we’d be happy to receive a query containing the bones of your idea. As part of that query, please provide information about your writing background and any affiliation you might have with the subject you hope to cover on our behalf. (This is not an invitation to publicists to plant free stories about their clients or campaigns in The Rap Sheet.)

Unfortunately, The Rap Sheet is one of those classic “labors of love”: We do not have an editorial budget. We can only offer our generous appreciation for any work we accept, and guarantee that contributions will be read by people all over the world who are interested in the crime-fiction genre. We ask only for first North American rights to any material we would like to post.

If you’re interested in adding your voice to The Rap Sheet, please contact editor J. Kingston Pierce at Because of the volume of e-mail we receive, it may take several days to a week or more to reply to queries. Please try to be patient.