I’ve never wanted for ideas about what to write about here. No, what seems to be lacking is a healthy dose of focus, initiative, and purpose to tackle some of these bigger ideas I’ve been grappling with. I’m sick of the “ebooks are going to kill everything we love” discussions and, as true to my generally optimistic nature, I’d like to delve into the positive aspects of publishing’s future. One way to do that would be a list post where I just link to all of the other cool articles people have written but that kind of violates my internal mission for this site. This is a place for me to have MY say on stuff not just to rehash what others have said. But I also have a tendency to go off half cocked with little research and nothing but a gut feeling and some rambling monologues that I’m not always sure are good for the collective Conversation as Gar Anthony Haywood might put it.
This was my problem early on with my fiction. I’d write these little 1500 – 2000 word sketches that were long on flash and ideas and short on depth. It wasn’t until I started digging deeper into my stories and my characters that I began to experience success. But for this blog, I don’t know that I need to judge myself my the same standard of success. In my perfect world this blog would be a great hub for crime fiction publishing related news and information and commentary. But that would make me into something I have no interest in being anymore, a journalist.
During my recent spat of revisionist dreaming about my past life, past jobs, and early writing, I’ve thought many times about Sarah Weinman’s old blog. Her place was perfect because not only was she an insightful and well-connected publishing journalist, she was an engaged and knowledgeable crime fiction fan. Now that she’s moved on to bigger freelance pursuits, our community is still missing that professional hub of news activity. Some people like Jen Forbus and Jeff Pierce and others have done great work as far as reviews and interviews and general book coverage and hitting certain parts of what Sarah’s site had, but nobody really has put together the whole package.
Part of the problem is I can’t help but compare the current crime fiction community to the science fiction community. While there is a strong and active online crime fiction community I love, it only represents a small fraction of the overall crime fiction community. Whereas the active online science fiction community is a large majority of the overall science fiction community at large so my comparisons are unfair to all involved.
I can’t help myself from doing it. This whole business with TOR books dropping their DRM is big news across general publishing sites and HUGE news across science fiction publishing sites, but has barely made a whimper in the crime fiction community. And those in the crime fiction community who are talking about it, usually have some link back to science fiction, fantasy, or horror.
Eventually I’m sure as the aging, stodgy, tradition-repressed readership of crime fiction dies off or loses their eyesight or whatever, the younger, more tech savvy voices will claim their place at the head of the table. Until then, I’ll just have to watch what the cool kids in science fiction are doing and know that maybe I’ll get to do that in 25-50 years.
*Note: This post is already long enough, but in writing it I think I shook off some of the random noise that was cluttering my thoughts on the main issue which is how ebooks and DRM and small presses and independent bookstores are really the future for publishing and I’ll address that in another post soon.