Lately, I've been overwhelmed by what I'll call the fear factor. Clive James asserts there areonly so many storylines and patterns of conflict, suggesting all that's left to distinguish one work of crime fiction from another is setting. (An assertion I find absurd, but let's set that aside.)

Jim Huang offered insights from his experiences that didn't give much reason for cheer either. Elsewhere, a fascinating discussion about royalties opened the door for people to share opinions on yet another contentious topic.

And elsewhere in cyberspace, people are still going on about Rankin, McDermid and sexual orientation like it's a hot new topic.

And then there is the steady stream of spam from people. Argh... I've never been so frustrated. Oh, don't get me wrong. Jim had valuable points to make. The royalties discussion was fasinating. But everything feels so... negative lately, and I haven't even linked to the latest discussion about cutting review space. It just feels as though the consistent message is it's impossible to succeed.

Our recent decision to launch Spinetingler awards was, in part, a knee-jerk reaction to it all. We'd discussed it. We still hadn't worked out some technicalities, but I said, "Screw it, we're doing this. We'll tweak as we go."

I'm hoping people here will start thinking about nominations in the appropriate categories. We've tried to level the playing field so that authors with major profile compete against others with a lot of profile, and those without as much push get a shot at some publicity.

Other than that, I'm mostly avoiding lists and forums these days. I find myself thinking that instead of the endless discussions about the decline of review space and how hard things are right now, we need to think past the old standbys we've relied on. Thinking back to Anne's idea of some time ago, about the Book Channel, I find myself wondering if the next order of business might not be BookTube. Heavens, if GodTube can make a go of it, surely BookTube can...

Maybe we should host a virtual Crimespace Convention. Special video interviews, podcasts, articles...

Damn, okay, I have to stop thinking. I have a frickin' deadline to meet.

** Edited to add: Okay, since I didn't make this clear enough, this isn't about kickstarting a pity party or anything like that. I'm tossing out the challenge, for us to come up with some things we can do to celebrate our genre, to celebrate good books and the love of reading. We're doing our awards. I tossed out ideas like BookTube and a Crimespace Convention (by this I mean an online virtual con). What I'm saying is, let's not just keep complaining, or reading the doom and gloom. Let's put a little elbow grease into doing something positive.

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I'm fairly new to this, and since I've become serious about getting published there has been no good news for writers. Okay. It's like the old story about the man who plans to play in a rigged poker game. When his friend asks him why, the man replies, "I know it's rigged, but it's the only game in town."

The way I see it, we do the best we can as writers. Then it works, or it doesn't. Don't let it effect your writing.
I used to engage in discussions thinking people actually wanted to find solutions, but so many just wanted to complain.

And this is actually not about wanting to complain. I'd rather hear of things we can do, as authors, reviewers, readers and fans of the genre, to get some of the love back. I just feel a bit like, "Okay, so we've heard for the 10 millionth time review space is declining. Old news. Who's going to start the discussion about how we can find a new way to reach people? Isn't YouTube, aren't blogs, isn't Crimespace itself giving us new forums for discussion about books that may be more effective than reviews?

I wanted to spin something positive for once, so we got off are backsides and did the awards. My challenge to others who've felt frustrated is to not shrug it off but to do something for the industry, instead of always criticizing it.
It is important to remember your readers, and that they really want you to succeed, because they need the constant flow of books.

I am physically ill and rely on new books (new to me, many are old) for distraction. Over time I have come to realize that mysteries entertain me the most and that best sellers are not what I enjoy. Sometimes I buy books for a prison inmate who is in for life and needs dense sagas to allow his mind to escape what his body can not. Consider all of those who have had surgery this week. Many are not readers but large numbers are, and they NEED books. Think of all the soldiers who are desperate for an hour in some other place than where they happen to be.

Despite a master's degree I consider myself self-educated as I am a dropout and loathed school when young. I depended on books for knowledge, for escape, for reasoning, for entertainment, for joy, and to forget my own sorrows.

Write for those like me who actually suffer without a book at hand. Write for the non-readers because some of them will get your message when intermediaries such as scriptwriters repeat your tales. Write because you were born to write and print your own books if you must. But write because a world without books is not a decent place to live.

Let the publishers and promotionalists quibble and just keep writing what you were born to write. Sooner or later the output and those in need will connect even if the middle is changing course at this time.

I greatly appreciate all writers, even those I don't care to read. I want the shelves full so that I can pick and choose. It is one of the truly fine luxuries of life to decide which title will be next in my big stack of books waiting to be read.
When I was sick ten years ago and on forced medical I nearly went mad. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with illness.

All this stuff bugs me as a reader, to know that the chances of there being another great series like the Rebus books are being hurt by problems in the business. It bothers me as a reader that the selection of books is declining. It isn't about me quitting writing or anything like that - it's about my fear there will be a day when there isn't anything I want to read. It won't be tomorrow, or next week or even next month. But I don't want to think 10 years down the road if all that happens is that the critics keep... criticizing and pointing out all the things going wrong. We need some fresh air.

That's why I was tossing out BookTube and a Crimespace Convention - that's why we created a new award. There are things we can do to celebrate the genre we love and support books. We can complain or we can do something. I don't want to commiserate, I want to find some things to celebrate. And I think it would do everyone -readers, editors and authors - a world of good to have a positive focus.
I hate when people announce the death of a genre, or that there's nothing new to write. People have been making up stories for nearly as long as mankind has been around. There's always some new way of telling a story that makes it different, because none of us ever think or approach things the same way.

The idea of a Crimespace Convention is pretty neat. Maybe you could even combine things and have the Spinetingler Awards announced then? Or not, depending on what you want to do with them. I'm going to be involved in a virtual writers conference in October, so the idea has a certain amount of appeal for me. Interviews would be great. Virtual book readings (or podcasts even) might be an option. Maybe a few classes offered on aspects of writing crime fiction? I'm sure there are a ton of possibilities for short contests, etc. Make it really interesting and enjoyable for all involved.
Hey, you should give us a full report on the virtual con you're participating in, let us know how it goes. I'm curious to know more (having never been involved in anything of the sort).

And yeah, the death of a genre thing is frustrating.

I want to be careful about suggesting things that might make Daniel spank me, but what about a Crimespace Writing Competition? Maybe something for the aspiring authors, judged by readers.

I actually do know something new and exciting is going to be starting in the next few weeks, but it's not mine to announce. That's the really sucky thing lately - all the good news I have is stuff that's still "secret".
I'll see how much of it I can soak in. Last year was amazingly hectic because it was the first year we'd done it. I posted an announcement for it a couple of weeks ago in the events section, if you want to check out the home page and get an idea of what we'll be doing.
I'll have to check that out. I've been on a super-tight deadline, so I've been a wee bit distracted!
Classes, awards, book readings, podcasts, videocasts, contest, okay, now this is getting my head working. That would be a serious amount of organising, which scares the hell out of me, but starting off with a contest is a great idea.

Damn, my head's still too squeaky from my weekend of debauchery. Must find some oil.
Some damned interesting thoughts here. And no need to worry about spanking. I've already ordered a paddle with a Crimespace logo on it ...

Anyway, a virtual con and writer's comp. Two very interesting ideas. Two other things I've been trying to figure out a way to implement on Crimespace are flash fiction (with podcasting) and an automated way for people to find new authors. Both are more complicated than I thought, but I'll get there.

I guess Crimespace really is a virtual, 24/7 con already, so I'm not sure about that idea, but a writer's comp, that's got my wheels turning, oh yeah!
I was thinking, in terms of con, about special video interviews done just for the event. Yeah, I could see it being a helluva lot of work. You would need a CCO - Crimespace Con Organizer.

I hope with the flash fiction that this does not involve posting photos.
Hey Sandra, i'm Irish and so love complaining...
On a serious note, i think t.v. is the only way to go. Okay, don't all shout at me at once. I can still remember storytime in Bosco(a kids programme). My point is that t.v is the best form of advertising. If done properly i can't see why a channel wouldn't work.
Here's a question while were talking about it. Do publishers think about these things too?


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