Thursday, October 04, 2012

New Magazine Clears a Crucial Hurdle

Editor Nancie Clare announced last night that Noir Magazine, the tablet computer-based crime-fiction periodical she co-founded with designer Rip Georges, had achieved the goal of $35,000 in start-up money they’d sought through the crowd-funding Web site Kickstarter. As of this writing, 381 backers have pitched $35,483 toward the launching of Noir as a 10-times-a-year publication.

Financial contributions are still being solicited (the final deadline for drumming up support isn’t until tomorrow). However, Clare and Georges--both of whom worked for the Los Angeles Times’ monthly magazine, until it was shut down earlier this year--can now move on to the business of arranging the final contents of Issue No. 1 (due out “before the end of October,” says Clare) and planning for future numbers.

(Right) A Noir prototype page

When I ask her, in an e-note, to lay out some specifics of what readers will find in the debut edition of Noir, Clare responds: “The first issue will include an interview with John Banville about writing as not only Banville and Benjamin Black, but also being the new Raymond Chandler. Additionally, Lyndsay Faye [The Gods of Gotham] has written an original graphic novella that is being illustrated by Ken Hooper. Annie Jacobsen, New York Times bestselling author of Area 51, has written a profile of Damian Lewis, the Emmy-winning actor of Homeland. I conducted an interview with Michael Connelly on his latest novel, The Black Box, and Connelly answers questions about bringing [series detective Harry] Bosch to the screen and the future of the Bosch clan in law enforcement. [There’s] a true-crime story about the Bernard Finch and Carole Tregoff case. I am also going to write a piece about the first-ever Bloody Scotland crime writer’s festival that took place in September in Stirling, Scotland.”

She adds that every issue will include fiction--“a story curated by Otto Penzler. We will also look for original short stories.”

In addition to the ubiquitous Penzler, other notable authors said to be contributing their talents to Noir or otherwise acting as advisors on this project are Megan Abbott, Robert Crais, Cara Black, Joel Engel, Sara Gran, Denise Hamilton, John Harvey, Stephen Hunter, Leslie S. Klinger, Ian Rankin, April Smith, and Joseph Wambaugh.

The magazine, says Clare, “will open with a news section that will include a hit list of best sellers, audiobooks, movies, what’s being rented and a ‘person of interest,’ someone who works in the genre,
video
but [is] not necessarily a writer. In our first issue we hope to cover Dick Hill, the voice of Lee Child’s novels.

(Left) Noir video introduction

“We do not plan to review books, but we’ll include capsule ‘best bets’ gleaned from those who work in bookstores around the world. We’ll also list upcoming events and book tours. There will also be a section called ‘out of the past,’ where will highlight books, films, TV, and radio dramas that are ripe for rediscovery. And travel--sometimes covering an event, such as with Bloody Scotland, and sometimes a destination piece with a writer: Denise Mina’s Glasgow, Julie Smith’s New Orleans, etc.”

So what does Clare think will best distinguish Noir Magazine from Mystery Scene, Deadly Pleasures, Crimespree, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and other longer-established publications designed for lovers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction?

“I’ve been asked this question quite a lot,” she writes. “First, the technology will greatly differentiate the publication: adding media such as sound and video (sampling the song list in Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series, for example); including exclusive trailers from films and video of interviews with writers and celebrities will change the experience a great deal. Also, the tablet format permits us to really be able to market to an international readership. The largest expenses for a printed publication are paper, printing, bindery, acquisition of subscriptions, and distribution--postage--especially long-distance distribution. We are hoping that our publication will appeal to English-speaking fans all over the world. However, in time we hope to add a printed component to Noir Magazine, perhaps an annual anthology of our original graphic novellas.

“I also want to add that the genre is so large and broad, I think that there cannot be too many publications. Competition is good, and each magazine appeals to different aspects of the readership. Ours will be different in a few ways, I believe. We plan to make it more of a ‘lifestyle’ publication, as it were. I use this term in the magazine sense. So, in the past issues that Rip and I have done, we’ve teased out an aspect found in mysteries (guns, for example) and created a stylized photo essay to go along with it. We both love doing this sort of thing and it’s a very ‘magazine-y’ approach to the subject. Also, Rip and I are coming to this project after years of being magazine professionals at major mainstream publications (Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, InStyle, Esquire). We hope to utilize the longtime relationships we have with publicists to gain access to the stars who are in the roles of some of mystery’s most iconic characters. We hope to provide a magazine that not only satisfies longtime fans of the mystery, thriller, and true-crime genres, but attracts new fans.”

OK, so how much cold, hard cash is this tablet-formatted amalgam of literary wonders going to cost readers?

“We are still noodling that with the money folk,” Clare explains. “But, and this is just a very early projection, we hope to charge $4.95 for single issues and between $25 [and] $30 for an annual subscription of 10 issues per year.” She adds that the debut edition “will be [for the] iPad only; subsequent issues will be available in Android (for which I believe there is an application that will make it readable on a computer). And eventually we will have a smartphone app.”

Again, if you would like to pitch a few additional rubles into the Noir coffers, you can still do so here. The periodical has a Facebook page in place, as well as a Web site, though the latter is still in the development phase. Not unlike Noir Magazine itself.

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