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.