Aug 9, 2005

**** Rant Warning ****

I need to get this out.

Can't we all just get along?

A number of ladies are discussing the fact that men aren't reading their books, and that they aren't being treated seriously enough.
The PI people think that they are not represented properly at conventions.
Thriller writters think they are over looked by awards.
Hard boiled guys want to know why they don't have wider appeal.
The self published folks want to be seen as real writers.

I could go on and on.

Hey!! It's all mystery. It all falls into this genre we love. It is making me crazy to see all this splintering off of little groups, getting smaller and more specific. What's next? Transvestites who write cozy PI novel paperback originals translated from Greek?

Bouchercon to me is all about everyone coming together. And yet everyone is trying to seperate themsleves. Doesn't it occur to anyone that by putting authors who write things a little different from each other you might bring in different readers? A thriller writer on a panel with a cozy writer is going to attract new readers for both, not just catering to the readers they all ready have.

There is speculation about why certain books are only in paprback and not hardcover. The reason? Because the publisher feels that is what the target audience will buy. If they were switched to hardcover they might lose readers. Better to sell 10000 paperbacks than 100 hardcovers.

And why should I feel guillty because Out of every hundred books I read 60 are men ond only 40 are women? I'm reading what I enjoy. I don't get asked to explain why I like Coke more than Pepsi, why should I have to explain this? When I review I judge on one thing only, quality of writing. And that's what it's all about. Is there some bias in peoples reading habits? Of course there is. It's the nature of humans to be that way. Is it a plot against what ever particlular writers grop you may be a part of? I doubt it.

Most things that seem like a plot can most liekly be explianed on a business level. How does this effect the publisher? Or the newspaper reviewing, or the store ordering? It's simple economics. If the people involved aren't making a profit, they can't afford to do it, no matter jopw much they might like the author and the work.

Another thing....

Marketing. I got an email today asking if I would like torecevie a book in the mail. The emailer had seen my reviews on Amazon and thought that if I liked the book I could review it there.
I already reviewed this book. The author knows this as do his publicity people. And the truth is, the only people who really care about reviews on Amazon are the publishers. The actual anount of sales from Amazon is pretty low in the whole scheme of things, between 6% and 10% of overall sales.
I understand needing to market a book. I really do. It is very important. And trying new things is not a bad idea. MJ Rose's idea of using an internet video was pretty clever. Did it sell enough books to justify the cost? I don't know.

But there are some ideas that are just bad. People driving themselves crazy figuring out how to get their books into Walmart. Why? So they sell a bunch of books to a box store that want's a 70% discount and only pays the employees a less than living wage? And don't get me started on how they discriminate against women with their promoting policies...

I saw on a board I belong to a thread involving someone talking about going door to door and handing out postcards to his nieghbors. Months after the book was out I might add. Am I theonly person who thinks this would be a waste of time and postcards?

The truth is there are thousands of mysteries put out every year. Competition is a factor, but you can only do so much promotion before it just gets annoying or becomes a waste of money.

Ok, let's wrap this up.

Be nice to each other, we're all in this together!!!

And market wisely, not expensively.


anne frasier said...

love one another, love one another, love one another jon the crime spree guy said.

sorry. and i haven't even been drinking... :D

about self-promotion: once we send that manuscript off to the publishing house, that's it. we've gone from 100% control (at least 90%) to 0%. i'm not against self-promotion and plan to do some in the future, but i think self-promotion helps a writer feel that she is still somehow in control of her book and career. but i'm afraid in a lot of ways it's a little like trying to telepathically land a jet from seat 49C.

David J. Montgomery said...

Authors who can't effectively self-promote often find themselves without a contract.

There will always be debate about what type of promotion to do (going door-to-door handing out postcards if officially the stupidest one I've heard yet), but doing nothing is no solution.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

You really have to do some promotion yourself.
If you sit back and wait for the publisher to do it all, and then a year later wonder why no books sold.... Well, it's partly your fault.

It's has noting to do with control. It has to do with you selling more books. If you sell books you and your publisher make money. If you help them make more they like that.

If they have two authors writing books that are similar, one promotes and one does nothing, who do you think gets more considration later?

It's economics. They need to make money. If you help them do that you both win.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

By the way, Anne?

The author photo on your profile rocks!

anne frasier said...

thanks, jon!
someone else i know disliked the photo and wouldn't use it on my books. *shrug* it's a weird biz.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

It really is weird isn't it? It seems the more I learn about it, the less I know. It's like Geometry or something...

However I love every bit of it.

David Skibbins said...

Right on Jon! Especially your comments on the fractionalization. Look it takes a village to make a career in this genre. We're all in this together. Sometimes I just want to say, "Stop your whining, you big babies and write better books!" Women vs. men, cozies vs noir, mysteries vs.thrillers. The differences are never as important as the commonality. Of course I am on the Bouchercon panel about undervalued cozies, so it should be interesting. Thanks for this stand!

Ross Hugo-Vidal said...

You know, that is one of the neat things about Victor Gischler's recent super cool interview with Julia Spencer-Fleming. Their books are about as different as styles can be. They are both superb writers. They appeal to different demographics. Put them together and what do you get? A piece in Mystery Scene magazine that EVERYONE can enjoy. Collegiality, teamwork, fun, comity, community. Words we need to hear more. If the mystery community ever goes the way of lit fic, it won't BE fun anymore...Hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of rants...

Why is it that submissions to Crime Spree go unacknowledged? Why is it that e-mail queries go unacknowledged? I love a good mystery as much as the next person, but this is one I can't stomach.

Obviously, to use my identity would be to shoot myself in the foot, so I'll have to settle for anonymous.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Submissions don't go unacknowledged when they cross my desk. Anything that has been sent to me directly I se and respond to. And as far as I know so do our fiction editor.

We also have a bakclog of fiction that will last us well into next year and I beleive she says so when she gets stories.
If you would like to email me and ask me about this I will be glad to let you know what's going on.