Well, folks, today marks our one year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that Crime Fiction Lover has been going that long! But we have and now we find ourselves blowing out a solitary candle atop a cupcake. Given our subject matter, we’ll leave it up to you to imagine a bloody knife lying next to said baked confection.
Some of our most popular features here on Crime Fiction Lover have been our top five articles – for instance, readers loved how all our writers listed their own top five crime novels of 2011 last December. So for our birthday, please indulge us as we talk about our top five highlights during the first year of our site.
1 – Getting started
Just getting the site off the ground was a big deal for us. There was quite a lot of planning, not to mention the reading of books and surveying the market. T-dot and Crime Fiction Lover (that’s me), the editors behind the launch, had to make sure the site would bounce across all corners of the crime fiction trampoline. We picked 1&1’s green hosting, bought the web address www.crimefictionlover.co.uk, got all those niggly email addresses and other stuff sorted out and worked with the wonderful Antony Kitson at oneteneleven media to get the design right. Then we had to prepare some content for launch day and reach out to some other writers who could help us with the project. We also contacted publishers as we’d be needing some new crime books to review on an ongoing basis – some were receptive such as Little Brown, No Exit Press and Constable and Robinson. Others ignored us but hey, it was early days. And we started working with book reviewers – Luca Veste, Spriteby, Nicolette, R Thomas Brown and Jacques Fillipi all gave the site a big boost in those first months. Our very first feature article, The top five female crime fiction authors, is still in our monthly top 10 with visitors. A huge thank-you to all our writers!
2 – Big numbers
We also want to thank all the people who follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and GoodReads. We love tweeting and sharing links on various sites when we’ve produced a new article and we’re really grateful that folks like you are following us, clicking those links, and reading what we write. Today we have nearly 3500 Twitter followers and well over 4000 individuals visit Crime Fiction Lover every month. It’s the hard work of our contributors that makes people want to visit the site – we have published 204 reviews to date. And 103 interviews and features have appeared on the site. We also love it that we’ve gone global. We have writers in the US, Australia, the UK and France and readers in almost every country on Earth. If you know someone who loves crime novels, tell them about us, even if they live in Timbuktu.
3 – Fun with readers
With so many people to chat with on Twitter, Facebook and so on, it follows that we have a great time with people who read the site, like you. Last October we asked readers to nominate their favourite crime fiction book of 2011 for a feature we wrote to coincide with the ITV Crime Thriller Awards, and the results were interesting. One lucky person who contributed also won five books from Myrmidon Books. Since then we’ve had several give-aways. Particularly fun for us was a competition with the author DE Meredith, who asked entrants to invent their own Victorian villain. The winners not only received a signed copy of the book Devoured, but the characters are to appear in a future work by the author. Watch for more give-aways in the coming weeks and months. Remember, we love getting your feedback so do tweet to us, comment on our stories, or get in touch by email.
4 – Special events
We like being part of crime fiction events when we can, and attending CrimeFest in Bristol was a big treat. Meanwhile, we managed to get a man undercover at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate last month as well. If you’ve not read it yet, Stav Sherez’s report is a near-perfect piece of journalistic reportage. Don’t miss it. Sometimes, we come up with our own events. Last year we launched New Talent November, aiming to bring to the fore new crime writers. We covered the best new writers from Canada and Australia, up-and-coming female authors, and interviewed six new writers, including Kerry Wilkinson, who went on to land a book deal after starting out self-publishing his Jessica Daniel novels. We reviewed eight books by new authors too. This year we’re going to run New Talent November again, and we’re also planning something new. Who’s up for some Classics in September?
5 – Someone even advertised!
It was an exciting surprise a few months ago when we started getting our first advertising enquiries. We’re flattered that people want to reach our readership with their new books, design services and so forth. The income will enable us to meet our costs, make the site better and reach even more crime fiction lovers out there. It has been controversial, though. There have been recent reports about unscrupulous authors paying bloggers for favourable reviews, and far worse abuses… We don’t get involved with anything like that, and never will. Our contributors consider the books and authors we write about purely on their merits. We love reading great crime fiction and that’s why the site exists.
Wow, so that’s it. Crime Fiction Lover is one year old and we’re pleased with the success we’ve had over the last year. I’d like to thank everyone who’s written for the site for helping make it so good, and all the authors who’ve taken the time to talk to us. Thanks to everyone who’s sent in a book, provided compo prizes, advertised, provided information, or made a suggestion or comment. And, of course, thank-you to all our readers!
Please post your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Cupcake image courtesy of http://www.birthday-clip-art.com/