Crime Novels Today
One Writer Connection (everything that touches writing)…
March 14, 2013
Crime Novels Today
The blog was started as preliminary essays for my upcoming memoir, ‘Writer, Author, Bull!,’ which covers my more than fifty years in the writing racket; the changes that moved from a wide open market with hundreds of small, low-pay magazines and ninety-five cent paperbacks on drug store carousels through a dried up market with conglomerates buying up most publishers, to the emergence of self-publishing and eBooks. My slant will always be toward Mystery/Crime/Thriller with emphasis on the hard tough crime novel because that is what I write. I don’t record the experience of all writers, or even any other writers, the experience is entirely my own because I’ve lived and worked through every phase; thus, One Writer Connection.
Part of the blog title is, everything that touches writing. What interests the writer touches the writing: agents, publishers, editors, ghost writing, bookstores, conferences, critique groups, self-marketing, self-publishing, eBooks, royalty percentages, movies, computers, travel, work habits, success, failure – almost every facet of life might touch the writing. The purpose of the blog and the memoir will be to aid those who have made the decision to get serious about their own writing, and maybe keep them from a few pitfalls. The key words are ‘get serious’ because every critique group is loaded with those who play at writing and never do take it seriously. ‘Get serious’ means to write steady and continuous, to write for publication with the intention to see your work published, somewhere by somebody. And maybe pick up a few bucks doing it. One page a day means one novel a year. If the plan is to suddenly sit down and write a rocking million copy selling blockbuster best seller, or to pitch an idea and walk away with a one million dollar advance, the path will be lumpy, rocky and cluttered with high walls. Unless they are one of the handful of popular millionaires selling today (one-percent), most published authors still go to work every day or have an independent source of income so they can write full time.
I am not a big name author; the majority of crime novel readers never heard of me. My novels have been published by smaller publishers. But I have more than thirty books out there and I receive small royalty checks every quarter. I even won a literary award in the Mystery/Crime/Thriller category at a writer’s conference. I’ve had agents and not had agents. Currently there is no agent. I have a small retirement income; I can and do write every day. I am not married so my needs are simple and few. Two of my novels were published print and eBook in 2011, two more in 2012; two are pending for 2013. It hasn’t been my intention to write two books a year, it has just worked out that way.
The future looks bright for those who self-publish and self market through POD (print on demand) and eBooks, and who are personable on social networks. Introverts who just want to write have a rough road ahead; unfortunately, I fall in that category. Equally rough is the actual sales of books in terms of dollars spent. Publishers have been gobbled up by conglomerates and will only look at material submitted by an agent, and are only interested in the type of material now selling well. The two or three who will look at un-agented material show no interest in my stuff. eBooks are easy to publish, might sell from two to two thousand copies but the author’s cut is small because the retail price is small. Predicted success of eBooks ranges wildly depending on whether it is the publisher talking or the retailer.
Not so bright are the increasing number of publishers who will not look at new material; who state they are temporarily closed to submissions. Even my small publisher (last three books), who nobody ever heard of yet who rejects 95% of submissions they receive, has announced they have closed their doors to all new author submissions. This is so they can concentrate more fully on promoting the authors they have now. I’m happy to be included because they offer the best contract in publishing.
Non-fiction that leans toward self-improvement is what readers want. Since eighty percent of book buyers are women, readers want books written by women about women. Romance novels are the biggest fiction sellers, but the man can never be hard or tough, he must be in close touch with his feminine side. The majority of agents and most publishing editors are female. That makes all their selections subjective toward what women like.
Webster defines Hardboiled as: unsympathetic, tough, harsh, unsentimental. Try getting that type of protagonist past an agent or editor today. A few famous authors of hardboiled novels swung over to feature a female lead, and it works for them. The rest of us write our tough guys and know from the first shot we’re aiming at twenty percent of the market, and unless our guy is named Parker or Jack Reacher or Milo, we’ll never get rich. Some writers sway with trends to write what’s popular. We just plug along with our own guys because that’s how we are.
My books are available at all online outlets. To see them: www.georgesnydersbooks.com
George Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org