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Monday, November 27, 2006

In For Questioning

Since the launch of Spinetingler Magazine I’ve gradually received more and more spam.

I must state, for the record, that I hate spam. I don’t know how I end up on some of these mailing lists but I do. I don’t know why, but there’s little use obsessing over that either.

Last month I’d received yet another piece of spam email. Yes, it was about a book. Yes, it was related to crime fiction, which is my personal passion.

But I sat there, looking at this unsolicited advert in my inbox wondering, What exactly do they think I’m going to do with this?

It was at that point that my mind started generating possibilities. In part, the thought process was prompted by other observations I’d made.

Over the past year in the crime fiction realm some of the authors I’ve heard the most talk about have been authors like Robert Fate and Troy Cook. JT Ellison said Robert Fate’s debut, Baby Shark may be one of the best books she’s ever read – you can read that on the front page of his website. Troy Cook’s book, 47 Rules For Highly Effective Bank Robbers has had an enormous amount of internet/listserve buzz about it.

I was starting to realize that the authors I was hearing about, more and more, were from independent presses or small publishers. There weren’t announcements about big advances or lucrative contracts and international sales – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but there was talk about how great their books are.

And a lot of that talk was coming from readers.

I started to wonder how readers were discovering these newcomers, despite the lack of conventional press.

I started to wonder how many other newcomers were still out there, waiting to be discovered.

Meanwhile, I was looking at a bit of spam that I couldn’t use for Spinetingler, wondering about all of this.

That’s when I realized that if there was a gap in the news, it was relating to small presses and international authors. Their news isn’t being reported to the same degree, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reported.

Allan Guthrie started small press. Duane Swierczynski started with a small press as well. What made the difference for them was that someone discovered their talent.

What this tells me is that there’s a lot of good material out there, just waiting to be discovered. And I want to help people get the word out.

That’s why I invited a few friends to join me here. I have my writing. I have Spinetingler. I have my own blog, and my responsibilities over at Killer Year as well. I can’t do another blog on my own. SW Vaughn is an author with Wild Child Publishing. John McFetridge’s debut novel, Dirty Sweet was published this year by ECW, a Canadian publisher. I’ve invited a few others to contribute here as well, so you may see some more names in the days to come.

We actually want you to email us with information about book deals, releases, new issues of e-zines, credible contests…

This doesn’t mean we’re going to post your advertisements. We will post newsworthy information.

It also doesn’t mean that we won’t talk about big publishers or internationally known authors. It just means that isn’t our primary focus. Whether your name is Cook or Cornwell, Fate or Fairstein, McFetridge or McDermid, we’re interested.

The only question we’ll ask is, Is this newsworthy? And likewise, when we post here, we expect readers to do the same. That’s why this is In For Questioning. It’s like bringing a suspect in – you get to decide if it’s information you can use.

To officially start things off, John sent me a link about the surge in Canadian crime fiction. A reader gives a thoughtful assessment of Ken Bruen’s The Magdalen Martyrs and Crimespree 15 is making its way around the world, with a lovely photo of Russel in the Bouchercon scrapbook.