Years ago, when F&M was but an infant Felony, we signed up for a small-press fair, and were given a booth next to a publisher that specialized in “transgressive” fiction. Their booth was staffed with many lavishly tattooed 20-somethings, who snarled winningly at the passers-by about how gritty and edgy their books were, unafraid to walk the mean streets, treading the fine line between sci-fi and the reality that dares to speak its name.
Our booth was staffed by me, sitting in front of a pile of Margery Allingham paperbacks. At the time I was fat, and definitely over 40. Also I think I was knitting. Customers would fetch up at my table, often visibly shaken by their time with the Transgressives. “What….what kinds of books do you do?” they would ask a little nervously. I would beam and say, “We’re the opposite of them.”
For good or ill, we have largely remained The Press That Time Forgot, clinging to the standards of the day when gentlemen wore hats and nobody split infinitives. Though when I say “we,” I really mean “me”; the majority of people who work for Felony & Mayhem (that, you understand, would be our vast and sprawling staff) have managed to wiggle themselves into something approaching the 21st century.
In other words, it’s entirely my fault that we have taken so long to update our website. Our managing editor, our art director, the guy who delivers the mail, they have all nudged and nagged and pointed out that we needed a website that worked better with phones, that displayed better on tablets, that wasn’t so completely yesterday’s news. But you know – I whined – I liked the old website. It was cozy. It had that cute cartoon, and all my puns and….
….and we needed a new website and at long last, sanity has prevailed, and we have one. Is it as cozy and snuggly and redolent of 1993 as the old one? No, and I plan to whimper about this, very happily, for well into the foreseeable future. But however much ill grace I manage to muster, there’s no denying that FelonyAndMayhem.com v. 2 is going to be a whole lot cleaner, zippier, and easier to use than the original iteration. Basically, we wanted to make it simpler for you to find and buy the books you love.
Many of the changes will be invisible, a function of better technology and increased know-how on the part of our technical team (our team’s name is Anthony; he lives in Oakland). But some are the result of changes in our line-up of authors, several of whom will be contributing regularly to the website. Happy though I am to blather on at virtually endless length, the F&M picture is much richer than anything I can paint on my own, and in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing some of our authors who will be writing regular posts to the site.
I am nothing if not ambitious, and there are all kinds of things I’d like to bring on board – interactive games, and videos, and audio, and quizzes and…….and I can see our technical team turning pale, from all the way across the country. But even without all those bells and whistles, there’s one last, critical element, and that element is you. I’m a publisher, and an editor, and I’ve done time in a number of other careers, but since I was twelve years old, I’ve been a bookseller. That’s who and what I am at a pretty down-deep level, and I can’t do it without you. So please, speak up. Tell me what you like and what you hate, what you wish we’d publish, what you think we shouldn’t have. Point out the errors, applaud our swell covers, discover new writers, rejoice in some old, beloved ones. Talk back. In a world that is moving, terrifyingly, further and further from text, we are the Word People. So let’s keep the conversation going.