Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Publishing's true pillars, sans pretension

"It's safe to say that if a vortex opened up and swallowed New York's Grand Hyatt hotel at around 8:00 on the night of July 10th, the publishing world would be thrown into chaos and all the hang-wringing about ebooks would be a moot point," says Jason Pinter (pictured right) in an excellent article in today's (NZT) Huffington Post.

In his article, "ThrillerFest: The Pillars of the Publishing Industry", Pinter takes a closer look at the recently held fifth edition of the annual ThrillerFest conference - where authors, fans, editors, agents, publishers and reviewers of the genre meet and mingle - and makes some very salient points about the importance of the thriller writing genre to the overall publishing industry (despite what those of a literary fiction-bias may try to proclaim).

"Thriller writers aren't often reviewed in the New York Times," says Pinter, himself a bestselling thriller writer. "They aren't featured very often on NPR. They don't get many fawning profiles in The Paris Review, are ignored by The New Yorker, and don't get into silly literary feuds centered around who has lived longer in Park Slope. But they are the most generous writers you can imagine. They go out of their way to appreciate their fans and to boost new authors. If there is competition, it is friendly, encouraging. At the end of the night, you'll find them all in the bar, because for the most part they're simply a pleasure to be around."

You can read Pinter's article in full here. As an aside, I've found Pinter's articles for the Huffington Post to be consistently excellent. I haven't yet had the opportunity to read any of his thrillers, but if his fiction as good as some of his commentary, it would be well worth giving a go.

The lack of pretentiousness amongst crime and thriller authors (no matter how many millions of books they've sold, or where they are in their career) is something I've consistently found in my dealings with some of them over the past 18 months or so I've been a reviewer and interviewer; these authors are just great, down-to-earth, fascinating people who often have gratitude and generosity in equal measure. It makes a very nice change from some of the back-biting, snobbishness, ego-stroking, and undeserved adulation that sometimes seems to go on in other parts of the books world.

Have you been to ThrillerFest? Or other crime or thriller fiction conferences? Do you enjoy meeting your favourite authors? What sort of experiences have you had? Do you agree with Pinter that genre authors are more down to earth than some other parts of the publishing world? I'd love to read your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - I wish I had been to Thriller Fest. I have to agree with you that the crime fiction writers I am privileged to know really are terrific people. They really are down-to-earth, authentic folks who are fascinating to know. I've met other types, too, and although I wouldn't say it's a clearly defined line, I would say that literary fiction writers and genre fiction writers are often quite different.