Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

A quick post today, in response to yesterday’s comments on the idea of a coordinated ‘branding’ of Irish crime fiction (see post below), in which Irish writers band together to promote Irish crime writing according to a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ philosophy. Great to see such positive feedback, by the way.
  I’ll try to answer some of the questions posed insofar as I have any answers, which I mostly don’t.
  Re: Bill Ryan’s suggestion about a ‘modest subscription’. That may be workable, certainly, but I for one would feel very uncomfortable to be in receipt of other people’s money, particularly when I know only too well the extent to which, for many, and yours truly included, the writing game is already an expensive hobby.
  I’ll post again tomorrow on this topic, when I have a bit of time to flesh out some ideas, but for now let me say that it would be possible to put into place a low-level / beta version of what I’m thinking about that wouldn’t require funding, apart from a commitment of a little time from each writer, if the interest is there. And going by the reaction to yesterday’s post, the interest is certainly there.
  Rob asks if I have comparative websites in mind. The answer is not really, but a collaborative blog such as Do Some Damage might make a good starting point.
  In terms of the possibility of official funding, I really have no idea as to whether such would be possible, and particularly in such straitened times. That said, and given the extent to which Irish crime writing is an all-island affair, it may be possible to speak with Arts Councils on either side of the border, and also to tap into funding for cross-border cultural initiatives. I have my doubts, but we’ll see.
  If anyone wants to contribute thoughts or suggestions, the comments box is open …


Laurence O'Bryan said...


Do Some Damage looks good, but Crime Always Pays prob provides a lot of that already.

The question is (are-are), what will be new about this, and should it be different to CAP?

A rotating/open guest blog list, video trailers for all our work and opening chapters for all our work are three suggestions.

I will also ask on the 22nd meet up about how we can collaborate more and report back.

Declan Burke said...

Hi Laurence -

I suppose the crucial difference between DSD and CAP is that on DSD it's the individual writers who contribute the material. Which is the idea, initially, I'd have for any website / blog that comes out of this process. Absolutely, an 'open' guest-list; but not even a 'guest-list', but a blog that is collectively owned and run, each writer taking responsibility for his or her own posts, etc. It may need a little curating, but that's the least of it.

Of course, every time one writer uploads a post, all the other writers benefit from the exposure.

Cheers, Dec

Maxine Clarke said...

Euro Crime is a great database and has a section on Irish crime, with links to reviews. For me (a keen reader) this is where I go to get updates and info on Irish crime fiction.

William Ryan said...

That's a fair point about subscriptions and costs - my experiences with websites has been on the expensive side in the past, but the webdesigner tells me it was worth every penny.

Of course, if it can be done the way you're anticipating then that's great.

Dana King said...

I'm a big believer in starting with whatever is the least expense/effort and building from there. If it doesn't work, analyze why and either ramp up the effort or go a different direction, as appropriate.

With that in mind, I think a collective blog, with a group of writers each taking a day each week to post (or alternate weeks, if you get enough writers, to spread the work) might be the way to start. See how that flies and either ditch it or ramp it up, as looks appropriate.

For whatever a Yank's opinion is worth on this. We're doing such a grand job of mucking up everything we touch, I'm not sure I'd take my advice, and I'm me.

Declan Burke said...

Hi Maxine - Thanks for the feedback; and Euro Crime is indeed a wonderful resource for reviews.

Bill / Dana - Re: costs. As I understand it, the Arts Council is far more likely to fund a project that is already up and running, and has already proved itself useful to some degree. So I would tend to agree with Dana; start modest, with a blog-style arrangement in which a group of writers contribute an agreed number of posts - i.e., if there are seven writers, it's one a week; 20 writers, once every three weeks. If an individual writer wants to post more often, then that would benefit both her/him and the group in general - I think.

Laurence may be right in saying that CAP does a lot of the kind of thing that DSD does, but I should probably say this now: my circumstances are changing to the point where in the very near future I won't be in a position where I can spend time on CAP in the way I have been in the past; the little time I'll be able to afford on online promotion, I'll have to spend on myself.

I'd rather that wasn't the case, because I hugely enjoy it, but an hour or so per day spent on this blog works out at roughly 30 hours per month - and I could do a lot of writing in 30 extra hours per month. Needs must, unfortunately.

Cheers, Dec