Thursday, 28 October 2010

Crime/Noir. Are the broken and the lost and literate serial killers our target group?

Moving on from the discussion here earlier in the week regarding the future of crime/noir e-zines.  I've been thinking.  There are several different needs looking to be met here, as in all publishing endeavours - the writers, the editors, and the publishers.  Each need slightly different from the other.  I'll go out on a limb here and have a stab at what they might be.

a) The Writers.
Being amonst this group, I feel on pretty secure ground in saying increased exposure is pretty high on the list, also being an integral part of a project alongside fellow writers.  Pride, you know.  The pride of a writer (and I'm speaking about myself here) that swells when he sees his name pitched alongside like minded people and writers he respects.  Can't beat it - that sort of pride.  Like being in the trenches when the barrage begins.

b) The Editors
I'd guess here, the ambitions of the editor are not too far removed from those of the writer.  The editor, however, perhaps has more of an eye on the bigger picture - wanting to put his/her name to a fine product, a product to be proud of.  Perhaps, also, there may be a feeling of representing the writers as a collective whole, maybe even the genre.

c) The Publishers
Bottom line: sales.  But sales are backed up by a high class product - Editor - and great stories - back to the writers.  And round and round and round it goes.

So if these are the needs to be met, generally speaking, how can a move into the printed anthology crime/noir market provide for them?

There is something about the noir/crime genre, especially, the noir part of it, that smacks of the underground, the oppressed, the broken and the lost.  Can this ever be mainstream reading?  Can it ever break out from the dark corners and into the great wide open?

What are the limits of the noir/crime genre succeeding in the wider market place?  Is the genre, and by association, its writers, its editors, its publishers, to forever linger in the shadows?  Common sense says, yes.

Christopher Grant, editor of the fantastic A Twist of Noir, recently commented to me he is getting fed up with walking into his local high street book store and being told they've never heard of the author he is asking them about.  The latest was Ken Bruen.  As Chris said, if they've never heard of Ken Bruen, what chance the rest of us?

But something tells me, this climate, these times we are living in, are crying out for a voice.  When you have writers that write about the dispossessed and the broken and the lost and those without hope, I reckon, a part of me reckons, there is a section of the public out there just waiting to be identified with.  I don't mean the hit men or the literate serial killers - although never knock back a sale, eh - but amongst the general public.

Can crime/noir be that voice?

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