Why is it that we can hear about a TV show months before it airs, even note the night and time so we don’t miss it, and yet it’s so hard to hear about new authors?
Musicians can build up the buzz toward a debut album. All it takes is a smash single that catches on with radio, and there’ll be a lot of people looking forward to that CD release. TV shows get commercials, get newspaper mentions, there are whole websites devoted to keeping people informed about what’s going on on the small screen.
Writers have a harder time gaining that audience.
I suppose it goes back to what I learned in communication theory – the medium is the message. Books are normally, by nature, something you experience in isolation. The shared experience usually comes after the reading is done, when you talk about the book with someone else who’s read it.
And yet, word of mouth is very important to generating sales.
This is part of the reason I started participating on author forums – to hear news. It was a way to learn about what was going on in the industry. I started hearing about new (to me) authors I got interested in, events I wanted to attend, names of people I should know. When you don’t live in New York or London, or even remotely close, you can’t network physically. We don’t get that many authors doing readings in my area.
I have trained myself to go looking. As a result, one of my pet peeves is new authors I start hearing about without web sites. I have learned to rely on news via the internet to gauge what books I want to order because, for me, most of my books are coming through the mail these days. The local stores aren’t that local – about 45-50 km away to the closest chain bookstore – and much of what they carry are the well established names. Ruth Rendell? Sure. But Al Guthrie, David Terrenoire, Karen Olson aren’t on the shelves.
This has made me think about my internet presence and how important it is. Which is funny, because I started the blog before I knew I’d have a book out this year. I had my domain for my website registered. I even had a website up, although I changed it once I signed.
Some people don’t think it’s important – some don’t even have websites. Now, I’ve lived in the mountains. I know what it is to have a weather system sneak up on you. Even in Ontario, where I grew up, with all the trees and hills and rock cuts, you can’t see that far across the horizon when you’re on the ground. It wasn’t that hard to understand how people could get caught out on the water or out in the woods.
Now, I live on the prairies, and I know what it is to see the storm clouds moving across the sky. On a clear day, I can see the Rocky Mountains, almost 170 km away. We can even see storm systems move across neighbouring communities that never touch our own.
Today, we’ve officially unleashed a new storm on the internet horizon.
Jason Pinter, JT Ellison, Brett Battles, and I have started Killer Year.
Killer Year is about spreading the word and letting people know who the debut crime fiction authors of 2007 are. We can help each other by sharing our experiences, and we can also help raise the profile of new crime writers. We can help crime fiction enthusiasts discover the new authors to be excited about, the ones that are here to stay, with years of books in them. The new authors with talent, potential and drive.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out the launch of the Killer Year Blog. Jason has written the first post. Brett will post tomorrow, I’m on Wednesday and JT will post on Thursday. On Fridays, other members will take turns, and we’ll have some fun stuff planned for the weekends.
So take a moment, check out the Killer Year website, check out the Killer Year blog. To your right, there’s a list of the Killer Year members who’ve signed on so far. Some don’t have websites or blogs yet, but they’re working on them.
I have to say, just reading through some of the bio bits and book descriptions, I’m genuinely excited about the books we’ll be seeing in 2007 and I’m thrilled to be part of this group.
I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Got any suggestions for the Killer Year crew? Fire away. I don’t know if something like this has ever been done before, but I’m pretty excited about it.
One thing I wonder: I know the internet has changed the way I buy books. It's changed the way I choose my entertainment across the board. How much has it changed things for you? Or am I just weird?
Oh, and I've been working on updating the links here, and on my website. I already know I haven't got everyone on my website yet. I'm working on it. But if I've missed you here, let me know, please!
Oh, and Ivan, we won’t discuss what it’s like to be fucked again and again and again. But Fucked Again Redux has been suggested for the next chapter in Micky’s life.