Interview With Brash Books Owner Lee Goldberg

Sep 6, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Mystery author Lee Goldberg, perhaps best known for his Monk books, is now one of the owners of a brand new publishing company called Brash Books. We took some time to chat with Lee about this new adventure! Also in this issue, a review & giveaway of Treasure Coast By Tom Kakonis, one of Brash Books first published books just released with their launch this month!

KRL: How, when and why did the idea for Brash Books come to be?

Lee: Last September at Bouchercon in Albany. Joel Goldman and I have had a lot of success self-publishing our out-of-print backlists over the past few years, so authors we know kept coming up to us and picking our brains, asking us for help. As it happened, I needed Joel’s help, too. I was talking with the heirs of an obscure, but wonderful author about republishing his out-of-print books, which I love. I really wanted to see those books reach a wider audience and finally get the attention they deserve. When I asked Joel for his advice on how I should proceed, he got this funny look on his face and said, “That’s a business plan. I really think we’re on to something with this.” We? Suddenly, we were partners.


Joel Goldman & Lee Goldberg

We kept talking about it over the following weeks, developed a detailed business plan, talked to authors, our wives, accountants and business people that we admired, and decided to go forward. Now, twelve months later almost to the day, we are launching with 30 books by 12 terrific authors. Ironically, our list doesn’t include any by that deceased author who brought us together. We’re still negotiating with his estate and the various heirs.

KRL: How did you pick the name?

Lee: We wanted something that immediately conveyed our attitude towards publishing, a name that would have character and set us apart from our competitors. We didn’t want to go the cliché route and use some crime-related phrase (besides, most of those are taken!). Our motto is “we publish the best crime novels in existence.” It’s a brash claim, but we believe our award-winning, highly-acclaimed novels back it up. So why not call our company Brash, too? It says who we are pretty clearly.

Krl: Who all is involved in this company? Are you and Joel related?

Lee: Joel is often mistaken for my brother Tod, who is an author, too (his novel Gangsterland comes out this month). But Joel and I aren’t related. We’re just two very hot Jewish guys who write books. We own the company together and are funding it entirely out of our own pockets. We have a part-time office manager and we have hired lots of highly skilled freelancers, like former Penguin/Putnam senior editor Kristen Weber, to work with us. We’ve also hired a social media marketing company, a publicist, an accounting firm, a lawyer, etc. to handle our business and advertising needs.

KRL: What is your official position?

Lee: Grandpoohbah of barbecue! Joel and I do almost everything together, but Joel usually ends up handling the nitty-gritty business side of things, probably because of his years as a lawyer. I’m a crime fiction geek, so I’m the book scout and the person who usually makes the initial contact with authors and estates. We’re basically mining my collection of mysteries and thrillers and my author-friends for the backlist titles that we’re publishing. logo

KRL: What kind of need to you feel that your company fills in the publishing world?

Lee: There seems to be two kinds of backlist publishers out there: those that treat the titles as vintage, pulp classics (like Prologue and Stark House, for example) and those that are just vacuuming up titles to create an enormous library of content (like Open Road). Not us. We are publishing the best crime novels in existence, books that have won the most respected awards in our genre and that have earned incredible praise, from respected critics and major authors. Our carefully curated list is overflowing with Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony award winning or nominated books. We’ve even got a National Book Award finalist, Mark Smith’s The Death of the Detective, on our list. That’s what truly sets us apart from the rest. There’s a ton of books out there, but if you are looking for the very best crime novels, we’re the only place to go.

KRL: When do/did your first books come out?

Lee: September 3.

KRL: Wow then we are getting to you right at the beginning! Do you primarily publish reprints or do you have some new books coming out too?

brashLee: We are publishing original novels, too. New titles that we’re releasing over the next 12 months include Tom Kakonis wild caper Treasure Coast (reviewed in this issue of KRL), a new thriller from Philip Reed, a new “Wyatt Storme” novel from W.L Ripley, an amazing noir tale from Craig Faustus Buck, a kick-ass action-adventure from debut authors James Bruner & Elizabeth Stevens, and a police procedural from Robin Burcell, based on the novels by Carolyn Weston that inspired the TV series The Streets of San Francisco. We’re republishing those Weston novels, too.

KRL: How exciting. Please tell us about some of your authors?

Lee: We’ve got so many incredibly talented, award-winning writers to brag about. They include Barbara Neely (Blanch on the Lam), Dick Lochte (Sleeping Dog), Jack Lynch (The Missing and the Dead), Gar Anthony Haywood (Maneater), Michael Stone (Low End of Nowhere), Maxine O’Callaghan (Death is Forever), Dallas Murphy (Lover Man), Jane Waterhouse (Graven Images), Geoffrey Miller (The Black Glove), A.W. Mykel (The Windchime Legacy), Stan R. Lee (Dunn’s Conumdrum), Bill Crider (Outrage at Blanco), Ted Thackrey (The Preacher), Noreen Ayres (Juan Doe Murders), Mark Smith (Death of the Detective), Carolyn Weston (Poor Poor Ophelia), Tom Kakonis (Michigan Roll), Jimmy Sangster (Snowball), Bob Forward (The Owl), and Gerald Duff (Memphis Ribs). You can learn more about them, and all of their many awards and nominations, here:

KRL: What types of mysteries do you publish?

Lee: All types! Cozies, police procedurals, whodunits, thrillers, suspense, espionage. We even have a crime novel set in the old west.

KRL: What are your goals with this company?

Lee: It’s simple: to introduce readers to great crime novels.

KRL: Are you publishing your books as well? If so, what do you have in the works right now?


Lee: We aren’t publishing our own books through Brash. I am busy writing my fourth Fox & O’Hare book with Janet Evanovich for Random House. Our third one, The Job, comes out in November. Joel is working on a new novel in his Alex Stone series and two new co-authored series, one with Lisa Klink and one with James Daniels.

KRL: How many books do you hope to be publishing a month to start with?

Lee: We’re publishing at least one original novel per quarter, and eight or nine reprints of previously published work. So, at this point, we’re planning on publishing 35-40 books a year (not counting the 30 books we’re launching with).

KRL: I noticed you do a lot of videos, a blog, and online media, something you have always been good at when promoting your own books. Do you feel this is the way of promoting for the future, and do you feel your background gives you an edge in this area?

Lee: It’s not enough to publish great books; we have to make sure that readers know they are out there. Discoverability is key. We started with a top-of-the-line, search-engine-optimized website from PML Media. That’s our storefront, so-to-speak, so it was important to us that it be slick and very professional. With that as our foundation, we are doing everything else we can to get the word out – old school and new school. We’re placing ads in magazines and conference programs, sending out ARCs to critics, shooting and distributing promo videos giving away books to readers at mystery conferences, running ad campaigns through Google Adwords, buying banners on key websites and blogs, establishing and maintaining social media accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. logo

I wouldn’t say my background in TV gives me an edge as much as my experience as a reporter (not to mention the fact that my father was a reporter and my mother was a reporter-turned-publicist). I have been on both sides of the PR game, so I know how it works. But the best advertisements we have are our books. People are blown away by how gorgeous our books are and are very enthusiastic about the authors we’re publishing. Those readers are spreading the word for us better than any tweet or Google Ad can.

KRL: The book covers I’ve seen so far are wonderful. Are you accepting submissions and if so what are you looking for?

Lee: We are accepting submissions. You can find all the details, and a video, here:

KRL: Where can people find you and learn more about your company and your books?

Lee: or

KRL: Where can people purchase your books?

Lee: You can go to our website,, and click the BUY links on the books that interest you, or you can find them all on Amazon.

KRL: Are you doing both e-books and print?

Lee: Yes, we are, though our e-books are exclusive to Amazon. You’ll be able to find our trade paperbacks from Amazon, or your favorite internet bookstore, or you can special order them from any bookseller.

KRL: What are you most excited about with this new venture?

Lee: This publishing company is a reflection of our shared passion for crime fiction…as authors and readers. We are also having a lot of fun together doing this. Yes, it’s a business. But it’s also been really exciting and fulfilling…especially when an author, or an heir, tells us how much it means to them to see their books brought back in such beautiful new editions. You can’t beat that feeling.

KRL: What are you most nervous about?

Lee: The same thing any new business owner worries about: success. We’ve made a substantial financial investment launching this company. I’d like to make my money back, but I know that’s going to take time. I just hope it’s before the next ice age.

KRL: Do you still have time to write?

Lee: I do. I am a writer, first and foremost, and a publisher second. It’s the writing that pays for the publishing, so the book I am working on is what gets most of my attention. Luckily, there’s two of us…and we are both good about delegating to one another and to our freelance employees.

KRL: Future hopes for this company?

Lee: To become widely recognized and respected for truly living up to our motto: publishing the best crime novels in existence.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section. Watch for many Brash Books to be reviewed here at KRL! We are excited about this new company.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


  1. Thanks for the great interview…and for not probing into my secret past as an exotic dancer.

    • Oh I’m saving that for our next interview 🙂

  2. Love the name and the concept. Wishing you the very best of luck in this new venture.



  1. Treasure Coast By Tom Kakonis: Review/Interview | Kings River Life Magazine - […] by the brand new publishing company Brash Books (check out our interview in this issue with Brash Books owner…
  2. Brash Books Brings Back Two Mysteries From the Past | Kings River Life Magazine - […] week we have reviews of two books by the new publishing company owned by Lee Goldberg, Brash Books. Both…

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