Last week I was surprised and delighted to get a letter from the editor of ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE telling me that my short story, ‘A Tour of the Tower’ has been nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Award for the Best Long Short Story. It appeared in the March/April 2010 edition.
I’ve written elsewhere on my blog about my affection for EQMM and about how much I enjoy writing short stories and the freedom that they give me to experiment with different voices and viewpoints. But one down side is that one rarely gets any feedback after they have been published. Crime novels do get reviewed, not necessarily in the broadsheets, but there will be some, particularly on web-sites that specialise in the genre. There’ll probably be feedback on Amazon. There’ll be sales figures and there be Public Lending Rights which will tell you approximately how many times your book has been taken out of British (and now Irish) libraries.
But so often with a short story it disappears into the blue and that is that. Do readers like it? Usually you have no idea, unless they make a special effort to get in touch with you. The Derringers are voted on by members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, in other words, by readers and other writers. That’s why being nominated for an award like this is so gratifying.