The more eagle-eyed among CAP’s three regular readers will have noticed that I’ve recently changed the format of this blog ever-so-slightly. It’s not a particularly radical move; it simply involved moving the book covers (pictured left) up the blog from where they were previously buried away. The object of the exercise is to give people the opportunity, if they’re so inclined, and haven’t done so already, to buy one of my books – if you click on any of the pics, you’ll find yourself in the wunnerful world of Amazon.com, where copies of all three books can be found for no more than a dollar or so.
Obviously, if you’re buying a copy of EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, say, for a dollar, my return on your investment is going to be minimal, to say the least. But making money isn’t the point. The idea is simply to get the stories to the maximum number of people possible, because – and this is something that has been exercising me lately – the whole point of writing a story is that it’s read. Certainly, there follows from that issues of ego, self-esteem, remuneration both financial and emotional, etc., but fundamentally, any and every story is written first and foremost to be read, regardless of how it is published or in what format it comes.
Being ludicrously disorganised, I can’t claim that I reformatted the blog in anticipation of World Book Day; but while I was doing so, it occurred to me the extent to which, in the seven short years since I published EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, the publishing world has changed dramatically. EIGHTBALL was published in an entirely conventional manner, being pitched by an agent to a publisher, who paid an advance for the privilege of publishing it, and lo!, out it came on a shelf, as if by magic. THE BIG O, by way of contrast, was co-published with Hag’s Head a few years later, the co-publishing aspect involving me paying half the costs of getting the book to the shelf, and claiming half the profits (which, I should say, provided a return of roughly 500% on my initial investment). The third book, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, was last year self-published as an e-book, an option virtually unimaginable to all but the most romantic idealists when EIGHTBALL BOOGIE first came out.
So here’s the Big Q on this World Book Day, 2010: given the way the industry has changed so quickly in such a short space of time, how are things likely to look in 2020? What will have changed? What will remain in place? What in the current model of publishing is indispensable? What is utterly useless? Will books even resemble the books on your shelf right now?
The floor is open, people …
In other news, Variety is reporting that Robert De Niro has signed on to star opposite Bradley Cooper in the movie of Alan Glynn’s THE DARK FIELDS. Alan? I’ll be around later on for my tincture of Pimms …
“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. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.