“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Publishing: If It Was A Dog, You’d Shoot It

I’ve been feeling a bit off about the whole writing bit lately, which is maybe a consequence of finishing a draft of a novel before I went on holiday. I’d planned to Kindle said novel, THE BIG EMPTY, and wanted to give it one last quick polish before I released it into the wild. Except 20 or 30 pages in I was thinking, ‘Actually, this isn’t as bad as I remember’ (it’s about five years since I wrote it). By the end I was fairly consumed by the story, and decided it needed a serious bit of work, but that it was worth it. Right now it’s out there in the tender care of some people I respect, and an opinion or two has started to waft back through the ether … mostly positive, happily enough.
  So maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit drained and take-it-or-leave-it right now. And maybe the ennui has to do with the fact that there’s a couple of novels out there doing the rounds, THE BIG EMPTY and BAD FOR GOOD. Trying to maintain positive karma on behalf of both of them could wind up sucking me dry, and ruining the engine entirely, so maybe my subconscious has decided to temporarily promote the ‘don’t-really-give-a-shite’ defence.
  There are other reasons, though. The naked greed and gross stupidity of the industry in which I want to thrive is one of them. Another is the ongoing and relentless confirmation that the writing industry is not the meritocracy I’d always presumed it to be. Another is the daily confirmation of the fact that quite a lot of writers today aren’t writers at all, but simply businessmen (and women) with typewriters, who are far better at the business side of things than they are at the typing.
  Incidentally, today was the day I realised that the very fine website Crime Spot positions this blog in the category ‘The Business of Writing’, as opposed to the category ‘The Art of Writing’. It’s not that I think that my writing is art; it’s that I never thought of getting into writing for the sake of business. And I know that a goodly chunk of the output here is about promoting other writers … but is that necessarily ‘Business’ as opposed to ‘Art’?
  Anyway, by a pure fluke, I subsequently came across the Taint website, which was rating Irish blogs. And lo! Crime Always Pays comes in 43rd in the Top 100 Irish Blogs, which cheered me up no end. But lo-lo! It comes in 21st when the blogs are rated by ‘In-Bound Links’. I don’t really know what ‘In-Bound Links’ means, although I’m guessing it has to do with other websites et al linking to CAP …? Either way, I’m presuming it’s good.
  Cheered immeasurably by the news, I promptly went and ‘valued’ Crime Always Pays, and discovered that the blog is worth anywhere between $40k and $132k, depending on which website you believe.
  Bugger that ‘Art’ malarkey, we’re back in ‘Business’. Right?
  Erm, not really, although if anyone wants to make me an offer, I’m listening … Seriously, the best news I heard all day came via Ray Banks on Twitter, which directed me (eventually) to the video below. It’s a mission statement of sorts on behalf of publishing newbies Tyrus Books, which appears to take its philosophy from Ty Cobb, which is all sorts of alright with me. If we had even a tiny amount more people like this in the publishing industry, people, the world would be a hell of a better place. Or, for that matter, people like Stona Fitch, who was kind enough to send me a copy of his rather excellent novel SENSELESS recently. Roll it there, Collette …

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