Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh yeah... that Crimespace thing...

Yes, like everyone else who dreams of being the next Chandler, I've got a Crimespace page.

It certainly seems like a good idea, a "MySpace"-like network of crimewriters banding together to offer support and comraderie in a low-key environment, more akin to a dimly lit Bouchercon bar than the toxic, flourescent glare that too many discussion groups have become.

But given how many scumball hacks are out there perpetually plugging their wares, I wonder how long before they start giving Crimespace the eye. Because, let's face it, these BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK NOW! turkeys are already on the run, wearing out their welcomes everywhere they go. They've got to be figuring CrimeSpace is a whole new frontier for them to pollute with their "Attaboys!" and incestuous little BSP circle jerks.

Head 'space cadet Daniel Hatadi has vowed he's not gonna let that happen. Certainly, my initial impression is that everyone likes the "No Hard Sell" vibe so far. But we'll see. These guys are insidious. Already some folks are using corporate logos as their page photos. How PATHETIC is that?

But anyway, check out my Crimespace page, if you want, and tell me what you think.



Blogger Gerald So said...

I don't think BSP will harm Crimespace the way it has some mailing lists. For one thing the discussion topics and replies don't impose on our inboxes as a matter of course. For another, each member of Crimespace has a personal page, so why not use it for promotion?

6:06 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

I like that Crimespace is strictly social. Yeah, writers will talk about writing, but "Hey, how's it goin'?" is the whole point.

So far it's great.

6:54 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Stephen Blackmoore said...

They're already giving Crimespace the eye. I don't know how much you've seen of it, because Daniel has been taking proactive steps to keep this exact thing from happening.

He's also been talking with the guys over at Ning, the company that makes the software, about some things they're doing that will make it easier to manage the insidiousness. They've been really responsive so far.

8:07 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Yep. I'm not saying it will happen -- I'm just saying I don't want it to happen.

Daniel seems to be keeping an eye on it, for which we should all be grateful.

Except these bastards are insidious as poison ivy. I've already been approached about reviewing a book on my Crimespace page.

Since the book, as far as I can tell, isn't at all the sort of mystery I usually review and I've never heard of either the author or his "publicist" I'm wondering how many other people have also already been asked?

Lord knows, I'm not against anyone promoting themselves. But the best promotion, when it comes to writing, tends to be subtle and gradual. The over-the-top carpet bombing hard-sell approach the perpetual horn-tooters favor rarely works. Particularly in a social setting like a discussion list or, yes, Crimespace.

These losers want to promote themselves? Let them be witty and charming -- or at least interesting. Let them dazzle us with their writing, not by hitting us over the head with shrill, clunky BSP come-ons 24/7.

And I'm all for the social aspects of Crimespace. Daniel's likened it to a bar, which I can certainly dig.

Carrying the analogy one step further, I just want to avoid the gang of self-pitying obnoxious drunks in the corner constantly telling everyone what damn fine writers they are.

Let's cut them off now, and tell them to go home and sleep it off. Somebody call them a cab.

8:45 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Gerald So said...

I agree with you on the right kind of self-promotion, Kevin, but the horn-tooters remain convinced their methods work.

The only way to avoid spam is to avoid any site or zine that displays or sells my address. Too late. :)

9:03 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Stephen Blackmoore said...

Yeah, this kind of thing takes a certain amount of active management, listening to complaints, banning users and so on. That takes time and the balls to not worry about offending people. I have no fears that Daniel has the latter, he may just not have enough of the former.

I think the trick with these sorts of things is having a balance where the system that isn't so complicated that the Luddites and technologically challenged have to think about it too much, and at the same time flexible enough that the more advanced users can take an active role in moderating how much crap they get.

How much leeway do you give? How often do you bend the rules? How rude is too rude? And who decides? Delicate balance. Tyrrany of the group over the tyrrany of the individual, yada yada yada.

It's up to the bouncer to keep the bar clear of the riff-raff, but it's up to you whether you want to talk to that one drunk barfly everybody else is banging who suddenly thinks you're the shit.

10:55 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

Kevin, if you're receiving spam, drop me a line on Crimespace and I'll sort it out.

You might want to copy your reviews policy from TD to your member page on Crimespace.

That should scare the buggers off.

5:49 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...


Unfortunately, I pretty much trash spam (or whatever you'd consider this) right away unless the book actually sounds interesting.

This one didn't. This one was something along the lines of "Dear Mr. Burton, I'm the publicist for an exciting new author and blah blah blah and I noticed you now have a Crimespace page now and more blah blah blah..."

So, yeah, it's probably someone on Crimespace spotted my page. But they also suggested I run my review on my blog and on TD, so it's likely they have at least a vague idea who I am, anyway. So it's probably not quite spam -- they actually addressed me (almost correctly) by name.

Thing is, I get so many of these come-ons -- and I'm all over the web anyway -- that who knows where they originate from.

Posting my reviews policy from TD on Crimespace might be fun.

You're right. It may even scare the buggers off. For a day or two.

Assuming they can read. I'm not convinced all "writers" -- or their "publicists" -- can.

I got one guy, a few years ago, a real pushy cuss, sent me an ARC, offered to send me a promo kit that included a T-shirt iron-on and stickers, etc., etc. Told me what a big fan of mine he was. Then asked when the next issue of my magazine would be out and if his local Borders would be carrying it.

Turns out the "private eye" in the book was actually more a time-travelling cop/spy, tracking down twin nymphomaniac serial killers working for somer evil aliens who want to colonize Earth.

Man, if only they'd put in some vampire lesbians and some werewolf cowboys, then I might have been interested.

Anyway, so far I'm having a ball on Crimespace.


Oh, one thing. The Bar?

Wouldn't it be cool if it could be like a real-time chat group? With members all over the world (and all those time zones) the place would never close!

You could log in, chat a bit and leave, come back and find the conversation still going on, with complertely different people.

Sorta like Gerald's great DetecToday chats (which I always miss), but on-going.

12:11 PM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks for filling me in on that. The internet truly is a seething mass of porn and promotion, and I can't do anything about that, but if I can protect my Crimespace members to at least some degree.

That chat feature you speak of is on its way, not sure how long it'll take though.

Glad you're enjoying it, it is pretty damned addictive. I hope people don't miss their deadlines because of me. Then again, I just sell the drugs, I don't tell people how to use them.

5:26 PM, March 28, 2007  

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