Okay, so the other thing I've been up to recently is setting up my own small e-publishing company: Number Thirteen Press has now officially launched.
True, there are plenty of small e-presses around at the moment. As the publishing industry goes through seismic upheaval, a lot of genre fiction is going electronic. The pulp/crime field is perhaps lead by Blasted Heath and New Pulp Press, both of which are marvellous. But there are plenty of others doing little great things. You know who they are.
The future of pulp fiction is electronic. It's all about cost. The original pulp paperbacks in the 50s and 60s were produced in massive quantities on the cheapest paper possible, and sold cheaply. Same with the old pulp magazines. But you can't do that anymore with physical books because of the economic models. The big players don't take any risks, they're all about the latest mega hit by the latest mega writer, and small (non-electronic) presses are on the tightest possible budgets. They make money on 1 book out of 10, and that pays for the other 9.
So (mostly, the likes of Hard Case Crime apart) it's only in e-publishing that you'll find original, inventive, incredible fiction that takes risks. This goes for crime, horror, sci-fi, anything that pushes beyond the mainstream. Lee Child is all very well, but people want something different sometimes. Small presses can take risks.
But none of the other small presses are doing exactly what I would do. So why the hell not start my own?
Here's the idea: an initial list of 13 crime novellas (or short novels), published one per month, on the 13th of each month. Professional editing; stylish, distinctive covers.
Why 13? Well, I figured if you're going to publish one book every single month, you want to avoid the beginning and end of the month, what with Christmas, New Year and other holidays. So in the middle of the month is the 13th. Then I thought about Black Friday by David Goodis, and it all seemed to fit into place. Also, being part of an exclusive and regular list can only help sales for all the books. Why not buy the set?
So all I need now are the manuscripts. If you think you've got something I might like, check out www.numberthirteenpress.com and send it in. I want pulp crime novellas, but all those terms are taken at their broadest possible meaning and I'd rather take a look and not like it than potentially miss out. So send it in, and tell your brother/sister/cousin/friend with the manuscript in their bottom drawer to send that in, too.