Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Two for the Money

Date: 24 Jul 2005


Re your comments below:
> Why defend your business model/publication choices
> on a literary discussion list?

Because Jeff, who opened the ball on this subject, specifically suggested that it was wrong for HCC to publish the two Nolan novels under the HCC logo.

Regardless of Al Collins's literary talent, and apart from the historical interest his early work might have for afficianados of HB, he's a popular writer, so publishing work, even work that isn't on a par with his best stuff, makes sense from a business viewpoint.

Charles, therefore, had a right to defend his choice, and did so without trashing Jeff's opinions
> Great, so over the EMWA list, where they discuss
> stuff like that, it would
> be more appropriate, no?

That may be, but the topic came up. Charles didn't bring it up. Once it came up, he had a right to defend his editorial choice. And the popularity of the TWO FOR THE MONEY ominibus makes it clear that it was a good business decision.
> After all, we don't usually mention what gets
> published and why it gets
> published here, and when we talk about Pelecanos'
> work, we don't preface our
> comments by saying, "The million-selling DC area
> author George P...." We
> talk about what we liked, and what we didn't, and
> what worked for us, and
> what didn't. And NO ONE here is going to take
> seriously a response to
> someone's criticism of an author's work that says
> something along the lines
> of: "Well, he's sold a LOT more books than you have,
> so shut your
> cake-hole."

Actually, if you search the archives, I think you'll find that relative popularity and other business-type discussions do come up, and I think it's legitimate that they do.

Many of the people on this list are not just fans of HB/noir, they're practitioners. This includes, by the way, both of us. Rara-Avis, therefore, serves the function of providing a forum where professionals in the HB/noir sub-genre of mystery fiction can discuss their craft, or business aspects of their trade, and that's come up from time to time.

I don't say it should predominate, and discussion of the works, rather than the business of getting them published, is, and should continue, the main focus of this list.

But when a business decision, a successful business decision, of Charles is questioned, he has a right to defend his decision, and he did so with class and courtesy.
> . . . "popularity" is
> precisely what [Charles]
> referred to, and it's why I said something. This is
> the Rara Avis list, not
> the Editor and Publisher list.

Popularity is what he referred to because his decision to publish the two novels was questioned in the post that started this thread. To defend the quality would be to sound like he's doing precisely what you rail against, shilling for his own work, so he defended his decision in a neutral way, by pointing to the book's popularity, which proved the soundness of the business decision without necessarily questioning Jeff's opinions about the quality.

To me it seemed a graceful way of dealing with the issue. And, despite your misgivings, I still think he had every right to defend that decision.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Jul 2005 EDT