Small Press Spotlight: Down and Out Books is bringing the hardest of hard-edged crime fiction to a new generation of readers

dao-300x300The Down & Out Manifesto

We are lovers of quality, well-written stories of crime. We look for and publish great writers … some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. These are folks you should be reading. All titles are available as ebooks and several as trade paperbacks.

History of the Press

Publisher Eric Campbell describes himself as a fan first and has always enjoyed crime fiction, hardboiled, noir and detective novels. In his search for great reading he befriended a publisher, Dennis McMillan and learned about the business, then invested in Tyrus Books and finally founded his own press. Down & Out Books first started as a way to publish CrimeSpree Magazine in ebook format, then they started re-releasing out of print books and eventually took on new releases. He even searched out writers who had enjoyed reading and asked if they had any unpublished works.

The Team Philosophy

Making it as an indie press is tough but there are ways to build momentum. In a recent interview Campbell spells it out, “I truly believe we—the authors and publisher—need to work together to move the needle. Readers want to hear from the authors more than the publisher. I’m just the back office guy who should be in the shadows while the authors are the spokespeople in the spotlight. So far, I’ve found that only a handful of authors really want to participate in a joint promotional effort.”

Read the full interview

The Stray Dogs Anthology

We first heard about Down & Out at NoirCon which is held every other year in Philly. This year they were launching a unique anthology, Stray Dogs, and sponsored a panel discussion with many of the authors from the book.panel2

Our Review of Stray Dogs

23500207This is a powerful collection work from authors who are generally marginalized by our society. These stories come are about the working poor that make up a good portion of America’s population but are hardly represented in our fiction or media. These voices speak hard truths with unflinching words.

They won’t tell you how to think and they won’t justify their stories to anyone but these are the writers who write regardless of audience, recognition or awards. Eric Miles Williamson’s classic tale of get-back will have you laughing and cringing at once while Michael Gills’ story of the football glory days captures the mysterious way time passes through lives. Larry Fondation’s short piece is as sharp and clear as always. Ron Cooper’s “The Art of Carving” is larger than life and twice as vibrant while Patrick Michael Finn & Joseph Haske deliver a double does of the reality of living life on the edges.