Monday, 29 October 2012

A Dead Genre

One area of crime that has virtually bitten the dust, and that has been the the "Criminal Autobiography."  Back in the beginning of the millennium  numerous books appeared on the market with various former villains "Telling All" of their supposed prolific careers of crime.  Many hit on the same formula, i.e. they were major players in the underworld, they never lost a fight, they never grassed on anybody, hated bullies, and showed nothing but the highest respect for women and children. Ad Nauseum.  

    A frequent feature was the disagreement with everybody else`s tales of events.  Some of these books were nothing but out and out lies.  The king of these is Dave Courtney, a man who needs publicity like oxygen, and has plenty of morons ready to swallow all the bullshit he spouts.  It was claimed to me that Courtney has made mega-bucks for his publisher, Virgin.  The fact is that these books do not have great sales figures, and a number of Courtney's ` have bombed.  The last one I seen on the market, it ended up being sold off to the cheap book shop chains, such as "The Works"   So much for a "Mega-seller!"  The truth is, books sold in the supermarkets at less than half price, usually paperbacks, have exceeded sales predictions and have gone into profit for the publisher, so they can off-load them cheaply.  With hardbacks, there is usually discount agreements between the supermarkets and publishers.  With "The Works" and other shops like "County Books" these get the very poor sellers that publishers and distributors can get rid of, even for a very small amount, and saves them having loads pulped for no returns.

    The market had dropped out some years ago, and the publishing companies, by and large, were simply not interested.  It no longer works that somebody claims he was an associate of The Krays, as they are regarded in a lot of circles as old hat, and many people simply are not interested in them anymore.  The occasional tome breaks through such as "Bringing Down The Krays," a tale I regard as being more than it was.  My opinion!  

    A couple of years back, I was put forward as a possible candidate to "Ghost" a memoir of a former London villain.  The man originally approached, turned it down and put my name forward to the man who was acting as a go-between for the villain.  I was never told whom it was, though I did have a guess.  The go-between would not confirm his identity to me, unfortunately.  I was also sent a rough copy of part of a manuscript about a guy smuggling drugs in the States.  It seemed that he was in jail over here, and his story was being handled by a firm of solicitors, whom knocked me back when I made some inquiries.