Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (or Ten Minutes)

5 Stars
So a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’m wanting to toy with the look and functionality of this site. I spent time I should’ve been reading/writing and have a rough draft completed. Before I spend a few more hours launching it, I’d like a few eyeballs to take a look, give me some feedback. I know all too well that I’d let something simple slip by* or an eyesore. I’m hoping to get 10 +/- volunteers (in addition to the handful of people I volunteered).

* Actually, while doing this, I found a major problem with this current theme—Tuesday night will likely involve too much time fixing it (never you mind the fact that no one’s said anything about it for years, I know it’s there).

If you’re willing Drop me a quick line—make sure to include an email address (which I’ll forget about right after using). In return for any feedback, you’ll be eligible to receive 5% of all the profits I make from this thing in 2019 (which means you may end up owing me $5).

Thanks!

And now, a bonus video, because I can’t get this performance out of my head after I typed that Post Title.

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Saturday Miscellany — 7/27/19

Unexpected fatigue and dadding kept me from being as productive this week as I’d thought I would be six days ago — I spent an entire day without touching my laptop! Practically un-heard of.

Still, I managed to find a few odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

  • The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H. G. Parry — Literary characters being pulled from their books into our world, sounds like a great idea. Until someone starts pulling the villains out for their own ends. Killer concept. Read what my pal over at Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub had to say about it
  • The Last Astronaut by David Wellington — in a future where humanity has given up on space exploration, something unknown shows up in our solar system so the last person trained to go into space is called into action. Interesting concept, seeming great execution. See what Char’s Horror Corner had to say.
  • The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan — second week in a row for a fantasy title that makes me think about diving into the world some more.
  • Jade War by Fonda Lee — I liked Jade City (just not as much as the collective reading community did), an am intrigued by the second volume in the trilogy. Looking forward to seeing what people say about it.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to brian2010, TooFullToWrite and fionac13 for following the blog this week.

The Iron Gate (Break Kickstarter)

Iron Gate Break Kickstarter

Next year will see the publication of the next story in one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series, the criminally underselling Twenty Palaces. This is music to these ears, I will read just about anything Harry Connolly puts out, and will read Twenty Palaces until he stops. Kickstarter is trying something new, and Connolly is taking advantage of it. He’s running the campaign on a on a per-word rate.

So here’s the deal: the minimum pro rate for short fiction is five cents/word, so for every five bucks pledged to this campaign, I’ll write a hundred words. Upper limit… let’s say two hundred thousand words, which would be two new Twenty Palaces novels.

Not that I expect to reach that limit–to be honest, I’m half-expecting that I won’t make the basic goal.

The good news: he hit the bottom level of funding in less than an hour, and is over 600% of it right now. I’ve got to wait a couple of days to figure out how much I can kick in, but I’ll be sponsoring over 100 words. You should, too!

Saturday Miscellany — 7/20/19

Here’s a facepalm moment, I thought I posted this before I closed my browser this afternoon. But…well, what are ya gonna do? Better later than never, eh?

Here are the odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

  • Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt — one of the stronger non-Christmas-related installments in years. A fast, fun mystery. As I said using more words
  • The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter — for reasons beyond my ken, I’ve become resistant to jumping into a new Epic Fantasy series, but this Game of Thrones meets Gladiator, drawing on African traditions adventure just might make me give it a go. Looks great, and my feeds have been glowing about it.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to penninkreviews, Diana and miscellanypages for following the blog this week.

Indie Crime Crawl: Ad Fontes — The Publishers

Okay, for my last couple of posts for the Indie Crime Crawl, I’ve decided to go back to the sources—the authors and publishers of the Indie Crime books I’ve been thinking about/talking about all this week. Check them out. Without them, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

I’ve put a few in bold that you definitely want to check out—but I’ve enjoyed offerings from all of these.

(N.B.:this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it intended to be—there are a lot of indie publishers out there, I’m not going to pretend to know them all; I just pulled these lists from glancing through my logs and I might have not recognized some as indies without checking further; I couldn’t find an active site for some; and/or avoided some that I wasn’t that impressed with.)

Indie Crime Crawl: Ad Fontes — The Authors

Okay, for my last couple of posts for the Indie Crime Crawl, I’ve decided to go back to the sources—the authors and publishers of the Indie Crime books I’ve been thinking about/talking about all this week. Check them out. Without them, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

I’ve put a few in bold that you definitely want to check out—but I’ve enjoyed offerings from all of these.

(N.B.:this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it intended to be—there are a lot of indie publishers out there, I’m not going to pretend to know them all; I just pulled these lists from glancing through my logs and I might have not recognized some as indies without checking further; I couldn’t find an active site for some; and/or avoided some that I wasn’t that impressed with.)

A David Ahern
Carolyn Arnold
B Cheryl Denise Bannerman
C.G. Barrett
Gray Basnight
Clare Blanchard
Leopold Borstinski
Simon Bower
Rebecca Bradley
Steph Broadribb
Matt Brolly
Jonathan Charles Bruce
Nathan Burrows
C Jacqueline Chadwick
Jim Cliff
E. J. Copperman, Jeff Cohen
D Russell Day
F Alan J. Field
Tony J. Forder
G Paul Gadsby
Dave Gehrke
Robert Germaux
M.K. Graff
Chris Grams
H Nancy Hersage
Noelle Holten
J Michael RN Jones
Brent Jones
K Joe Klingler
Nick Kolakowski
Charles Kriel
L Neil Lancaster
David Harris Lang
Rich Leder
Ken Levine
Jim Lusby
M Max McBride
Russel D. McLean
Duncan MacMaster
Luna Miller, Aidan Isherwood (Translator)
Dreda Say Mitchell
Fidelis Morgan
Todd Morr
N David Nolan
O Judith O’Reilly
P Richard Paolinelli
Ian Patrick
Nicky Peacock
Jo Perry
Matt Phillips
Q Nick Quantrill
Bryon Quertermous
R Mark Rapacz
Gary Raymond
Betsy Reavley
Miranda Rijks
Nathan Ronen
S. J. Rozan
Desmond P. Ryan
OMJ Ryan
S Carl Schmidt
Mindy M. Shelton
Rob Sinclair
Dave Sinclair
James Stansfield
Jay Stringer
Ruth Sutton
V Jon Voss
W Chuck Waldron
Frank Westworth
Dale Wiley
Anna Willett
Erica Wright
Erich Wurster
Z Mark David Zaslove

Indie Crime Fiction: A Niche of One’s Own

Douglas Adams once wrote (in a detective novel, btw, so it’s fitting), “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” That describes this post—I had a pretty clear idea what I was going to say when I started this—but that’s not where I ended up rambling about. Still, I think this’ll work.

Since Jo Perry recruited me to take part in this celebration of Indie Crime Fiction, I’ve been wondering what I can say about the topic as a whole. What is it about Indie Crime Fiction that defines it, what separates it from “mainstream” Crime Fiction (I’m not entirely comfortable with that term — but it’s easier to say than “Crime Fiction Published by one of ‘The Big Five'”). I don’t mean to pit the two against each other—and I don’t think they should be. It’s not a Zero Sum Game—the better Indie Crime is written, sells, and is read the better “Mainstream” Crime Fiction will be written, sell, and be read.

So what is it about Indie Crime Fiction that makes it something to focus on—even celebrate? Like other forms of entertainment media—the last decade+ (largely since the advent of the Kindle) has seen an explosion in the number of options the consumer has. We have hundreds of TV channels—and dozens of streaming options ; we have a music industry so segmented by genre and interest it’s impossible to imagine a star on the level of those produced in the 60’s-80’s. Novels have seen the same explosion—there are just so many options, so many choices, that no one can possibly get to read all of the options that appeal to them—truth be told, no one can know the market enough to know what’s out there that might appeal to them.

What Independent Publishers—and self-publishers—can do that the Big 5 can’t do, is appeal to a niche audience. They don’t need a mega-seller to take care of the budget (and pay for mid-list—and lower—authors to get established and build an audience). I don’t know—and don’t want to know—the economics involved and just what they have to sell to make a profit, but it’s not as much as Hachette or Simon & Schuster, that’s for sure. But a niche audience tends to be very devoted and likely to proselytize.

Yes, there’s not the marketing push behind them that some get from the “mainstream” (but even most of their authors have to do their own), and they have to rely on word of mouth—but word of mouth can be very effective. And in our heavily-curated social media world, word of mouth can be very effective—there’s a good chance that someone you follow shares some of your tastes/perspectives/interest (that’s why you follow them, right?). So something they talk about is likely in your—or adjacent to your niche. And niches abound in Indie Crime.

A small sample off the top of my head—which is just the tip of the very large iceberg—there’s a niche for novels about*:

*This is off the top of my head, so details might be a bit off, the links are to my own posts, but you can find links to the author/publisher in them

And I could go on (and wish I had the time to)—and those are just niches that I’ve found—and I know there are more out there that would appeal to me as much (if not more) than some of those. Atypical protagonists, sometimes atypical crimes/cases, told in bold—sometimes unconventional—voices and styles. This is what appeals to me about Indie Crime Fiction. Sure, mainstream publishing does come up with things that are atypical—e.g., a 34-year old woman in Botswana moving to the city and starting a detective agency, a pre-teen girl in post-war Britain who keep stumbling over dead bodies, a dog narrating PI novels, a modern inner-city Holmes, a pre-WWI lady deputy sheriff turning New Jersey law enforcement upside down—and I’m glad they put those things out! But by and large you find the “quirky” (for lack of a better term) in Indie Crime Fiction.

A plethora of voices—and it drives me crazy to know I can’t sample all that I want to, and that I won’t even know all that I don’t get to sample—telling a panoply of stories. This is what Indie Crime Fiction is about, what draws me to it, and won’t let me go for the foreseeable future.