Hildegarde

Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

A Proposal

with 9 comments

So, I have a question.

I was thinking that, when I finally finish this book I’m working on, I’d post to the web site–not the blog–one of these things I work on for fun that I know no modern publisher would ever touch.

That is, fairly straightforward fair-play classic detective stories, complete with amateur detectives and that kind of thing, no politics, no philosophy, no anything except the exercise of it.

And I’d publish them one chapter at a time, at a cost of say a quarter a chapter.

Would anybody out there pay for that?  I’m not just talking about people on the blog, but people that people on the blog know–IS there a market for classic detective stories at all?

Okay.  That’s all for now.

Written by janeh

March 3rd, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses to 'A Proposal'

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  1. I don’t see why there wouldn’t be such a market. I just received, as a gift, a new Kindle 2. Love it. I paid $1.59 for a short story from a favorite author. It would be great if you offered your chapters as a download that could be transferred to an e-book reader, as well as reading online.

    Lymaree

    3 Mar 09 at 12:35 pm

  2. I would pay and read.

    A science fiction author did that recently – Lawrence Watt-Evans, I think, although all I see in a quick look at his site is a re-issue of an older book. I’m sure I read something on rec.arts.sf.written about him offering a sequel – that is, a previously unpublished book – online in some sort of deal that involved people paying some small sum per chapter.

    I like classic detective stories, and I think others do as well.

    cperkins

    3 Mar 09 at 3:15 pm

  3. I would! Two years ago I discovered that it was easier to read books on my laptop than hold a paperback while nursing a baby. Since then, I’ve mostly gone back to paper books, but I’ve very much enjoyed reading works published online and in PDF format as well.

    bkwyrm

    3 Mar 09 at 4:39 pm

  4. Me, three.

    Mique

    3 Mar 09 at 5:32 pm

  5. For a real book, sure. Two-thirds of my dwindling circle of correspondents would read a classic mystery. Half would buy new, and half would hold out for a library copy. Of course, you’re subject to sampling error. My regular correspondents, with one exception, have books stacked horizontally on top of the vertical books on their bookcases. This is probably not the national average.

    My enthusiasm for on-line diminishes rapidly. I’d pay the price once, though I’d much rather pay $10 at the start than be hit up for a quarter every time. The problem is convenience. Can’t sit down in my recliner and read it. Can’t lie in bed and read a few pages before falling asleep. Can’t take that e-mystery to work. Can’t take it on vacation. If I want to re-read it next year, odds are I’m out of luck. I’d far, FAR rather pay $20 or $25 for a POD trade paper from a trusted author.

    But if modern publishers won’t touch classic mysteries, perhaps they can explain why they have to keep reprinting the old ones every decade or so? You’d think people would want to publish more of something which keeps making money for a generation or more. But then again, I keep expecting Hollywood to notice that adventure stories with happy endings usually turn a profit.

    robert_piepenbrink

    3 Mar 09 at 6:06 pm

  6. There is definitely a market for classic detective stories. I did a display of them in the library one month last fall, and was constantly having to restock it because the books were flying out the doors. By the end of the month I was having a heck of a time finding books to put out. This is the usual response to mystery displays of pretty much any variety–classic, historical, funny, whatever. I really don’t understand why publishers aren’t interested, because a lot of readers sure are.

    I would prefer an actual physical book which I can read until I’m done–I want to find out what happens! I never would have lasted during the days of serialization.

    As Robert says, the classics get reprinted regularly. Presumably the companies which do that have figured out that these books make money. Maybe one of them would be interested in publishing new books which fit the criteria? And there seem to be lots of new little publishing houses springing up these days. Maybe one of them would be more willing to take what doesn’t seem to me to be that much of a risk? Or, as he also mentioned, Print on Demand, maybe through Amazon, advertised on your website, and sending out review copies? There must be a way to do it.

    Lee B

    3 Mar 09 at 10:34 pm

  7. I’d buy them, but probably would prefer a whole story, not just chapter-at-a-time. Paypal works for me. I think there is demand out there, but I’m not sure that everyone is comfortable reading on their computer.

    mab

    4 Mar 09 at 3:45 pm

  8. Lee says that as a librarian she sees a demand. I’m a library user and definitely take out the classic type books. I assume you mean Sayers and Christie type authors.

    Not sure I would pay to read a book on my PC because I prefer real books I can read in bed.

    jd

    4 Mar 09 at 6:31 pm

  9. If you sold your stories online, that might prove their viability and allow you to get a book contract for them. Is anyone else astounded that you can’t now? What a world, what a world…

    mab

    5 Mar 09 at 4:05 am

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