It was nine years ago today, on May 22, 2006, that I launched The Rap Sheet as an independent blog, separating it from January Magazine. Ever since, I’ve tried to note anniversaries of that occasion, sometimes in a big way (as I did with birthday No. 1, which spawned my “one book project”) but most often more subtly. Since a ninth birthday seems inevitably overshadowed by expectations of the 10th, I’m going to hold back the party favors and frosted cake until next year. That doesn’t mean, however that I have nothing to say in celebration of today’s milestone--which just happens to coincide with what would have been Arthur Conan Doyle’s 156th birthday (he died in 1930).
Had you asked me during the spring of 2006 whether The Rap Sheet would still be up and running in 2015, I’d probably have thought you barking mad. I assumed back then that the enthusiasm with which I launched this blog would wane over time, that I would take on conflicting editorial responsibilities and have to give up blogging at some point. Instead, I have found in The Rap Sheet a fertile outlet for my literary interests that simply cannot be satisfied in the world of paid journalism. This blog has become the face I present most frequently to the world. I once thought my future might lie not in blogging about books, but instead commenting on U.S. politics (another prime interest of mine). It didn’t take me long to realize, though, that I couldn’t sustain an interest in reporting on politics without being paid well for my efforts, and that I was considerably happier writing about mystery, crime, and
thriller fiction. Besides, the people I came into contact with as a books critic (authors, editors, publicists, other reviewers) were of a more pleasant breed than some of those laboring in the political arena. So I put my energies into building up The Rap Sheet, creating a “sister blog” in the book art-oriented Killer Covers, establishing The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page, and taking on the duties as lead crime-fiction blogger for Kirkus Reviews. I still take on freelance journalism projects, but now balance them against what I've decided is my valuable role as a blogger.
I’m quite pleased with the public’s response to The Rap Sheet. According to Blogger software, this site has now exceeded 3 million page views (three times what it had registered by 2011). It has also become a venue for regular paid advertising, won a Spinetingler Award and been nominated twice for Anthony Awards, brought me a landslide of books to enrich my life, and led me to establish friendships within the crime-fiction community that I shall always cherish.
Had I not chosen to experiment with blogging back in 2006, none of this would have happened. I guess I made the right move.
To everyone out there who reads The Rap Sheet, thank you.
* With obvious debts to The Beatles (see here and here).