RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir then, Noir now

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 25 Jun 2009

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    Mario wrote:

    > Some of the trouble with the industry is that they're looking to
    > have blockbusters as opposed to selling a lot of different stuff in
    > moderate quantities. You can make a profit that way, just like you
    > can make a profit by spending five million (not two hundred) on a
    > movie and making 15%. It's three quarters of a million. But the idea
    > of the blockbuster is everywhere.

    At least the sheep mentality isn't quite as prevalent in the crime genre. D-list prima donnas and other wannabes may sneer, but most of the bigger names in our genre (Leonard, Connelly, assorted Parkers, Evanovich this week) fly off our shelves because people actually WANT to read them.

    Promotion and placement and distribution do play a part in it, of course, but usually that push comes AFTER an author has already established a solid fan base. And many a highly promote book dies a quick and quiet death. I see it every week.

    The new Leonard, for example, is probably gonna sell like a mother, whether they spring for an ad in the Times or not. Hell, I WANT to read it. Especially after seeing KILLSHOT, and realizing -- once again
    -- what a master Leonard is.

    Whereas non-fiction, I'm pretty sure some of those HOW SO-AND-SO IS DESTROYING THE COUNTRY or books seem to be more a way of expressing outrage and solidarity with a particular viewpoint or stuck-in-the-mud mindset. I'm pretty sure some of the people who buy those rants are barely literate. But hey, Bill or Keith or Greta or whoever (or Oprah) has commanded them to read it.

    Or like with films, for example, there's this weird social pressure that almost insists you HAVE to see the latest piece of special effects-laden Hollywood crap. I still remember this customer dumping on SPIDER-MAN III for several minutes. When his rant finally petered out, I thanked him for giving me the heads-up and saving me a few bucks.

    He looked horrified. "But, man, you GOTTA see it! It's the movie this summer!"

    Kevin Burton Smith www.thrillingdetective.com

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