Martin H. Greenberg

Far, far too young, Marty Greenberg left us this morning after a long illness. Even though not unexpected, still a very sad day for a lot of people, me included.

For those of you not familiar with the thousands and thousands and thousands of books that Marty helped bring into existence, let me give you a two-second background. He was the publisher of Tekno Books, considered one of the largest packagers of books in the business over the last twenty-plus years. (A packager is a company that puts books together, from writing to art to editing, and then gives them to a traditional publisher to publish.)

His name appeared in public only on anthologies and a few other projects, but behind the scenes, he and his company did a ton of work. In fact, if the full list ever came out, you would be stunned at how many of your favorite books and author’s works originated out of Tekno Books. From Tom Clancy Ops series to cozy mysteries, from science fiction collections to celebrity books, and so much more. (He did a lot of other things as well that I will leave to official reports to talk about, including helping start networks.)

I worked with Marty over the years a great deal, both as a writer and a publisher. Back in 1992 or so, Marty and I went into partnership to produce Mystery Scene Books. I think we published about eighteen different projects before I went back to writing full time and shut down Pulphouse and we shut down Mystery Scene Books. I wrote two novels for Marty. One book ended up coming out of Tor Books and one for Random House. And I sold around thirty or so short stories over the years to Tekno anthologies, although I never counted. It might be higher. I know Kris has sold them over one hundred short stories, since someone at Tekno counted those one day.

I also did a ton more work for Marty behind the scenes, books that never made it through the system. I wrote numbers of celebrity projects to try to help him get a project off the drawing board and into contract.  And I was always a major supporter of Marty and Tekno Books, helping them find writers that would fit special projects.

Marty had a brilliant mind that seemed to know everything about books in a lot of different genres. And he was one of the better sales people on the planet.

But most of all, what I will always remember about Marty Greenberg more than anything was his kindness. He would go out of his way to help writers and he put up with so many of us it surprises me. Writers are not an easy class to deal with most of the times and he was a master at it.

He was a real giant in publishing, one of those wonderful people who worked behind the scenes and just got a ton of stuff done and into print. I have always felt very honored to work with him as a publisher and as a writer.

Publishing is a smaller and sadder place today. The world of publishing and books is going to miss Marty Greenberg. More than we all know.

My thoughts go out to Marty’s wonderful wife and the great staff at Tekno who had the pleasure to work with Marty every day. Take care.

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14 Responses to Martin H. Greenberg

  1. Rob Cornell says:

    Such sad news. Another legend taken from us.

  2. Hi, Dean,

    I wasn’t aware of your involvement with Marty Greenberg and Mystery Scene Books. Aside from being a wonderful tribute, your blog post was quite informative as well.

    I owe Marty Greenberg and John Helfers of Tekno Books for my own co-edited anthology Is Anybody Out There? which was published by Daw Books last June. The anthology included Kris’s original story “The Dark Man.”

    Hundreds of anthologies would not have been published were it not for Marty Greenberg and Tekno Books. Which means that the thousands of short stories included in those books — many from first-time authors — would have never seen print either.

    Thanks, Dean.
    Cheers,
    Marty Halpern

  3. A wonderful remembrance of a good man.

  4. Ty Johnston says:

    I don’t know how many anthologies I’ve read over the years with Greenberg’s name attached. I’m sure I couldn’t carry all of them at once, there have been so many.

    My condolences to his family and friends. His is a name and presence that will be missed. We will all be the lesser for this man’s absence.

  5. Jenni S-G says:

    Martin Greenberg was a real professional and gentleman. I always liked working with him and his associates during my days at Penguin. He will be missed.

  6. I’m sorry to hear your friend has died. Whether or not you expect a death, it’s still sad.

  7. Keith West says:

    Dean,

    I’m saddened to here about Marty. Although I never met him, his work has had an impact on my life. He will be missed.

    Keith

  8. I was so terribly sad to find out about Marty’s death. It was not unexpected–he’d been seriously ill for some time now–but still a blow.

    Marty gave me so many great opportunities over the years, and he helped me out so many times when I needed extra income/work and asked him for it. He was always so gracious and honorable, and always such a pleasure to work with. I was in about 50 of his anthologies, and I did all sorts of other projects with him, too, as well as brainstorming together on additional projects that didn’t work out. I also occasionally did things I really wasn’t very interested in doing or didn’t have time for… -because- Marty was doing them and I wanted to work with him again. He had a huge effect on my career–immeasureable, really–because of the various opportunities he gave me, which led to other opportunities for me elsewhere, too.

    I’ll miss him a lot. And so will many others. My experiences with Marty and my grateful and fond memories of him are shared by many other writers who will miss him as much as I will.

    Laura

    • dwsmith says:

      Well said, Laura. After I got done writing my post about Marty, I thought of a bunch of other projects and good times with Marty. Sigh…

  9. Angie says:

    I don’t know how many of Mr. Greenberg’s anthologies I’ve read, but it’s a lot. He’s the only anthology editor — an editor who wasn’t a writer — whose name I came to know and recognize in the bookstores when I was young, because he did so many of them and they were always good. I didn’t know he was ill, so seeing this post is a surprise for me, even if others were expecting the news. The field will definitely miss him.

    Best wishes to his family,

    Angie

  10. Barb Hendee says:

    Oh, Dean, this is a lovely tribute. Your respect and affection shine through.

  11. EF Kelley says:

    I never had the pleasure, and now I feel like I really missed out. :(

    Condolences to those closest to him. This sort of thing is never easy.

  12. Steve Perry says:

    Yeah, me, too, Dean. The man could sell ice to eskimos, but he took outstanding care of his people, and that included me. I worked on more than a dozen projects with Tekno, with Larry, John, and Denise, fine folks all, but there’s never going to be anybody to fill Marty’s shoes.

    • dwsmith says:

      Yeah, fantastic care. And for six years running he encouraged Denise to come out here to a workshop every February and then hired many of the writers she found here for books and collections. Writer friendly doesn’t even begin to describe him. No one can fill his shoes.

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