On World Book Night, in March, I travelled to Coalville public library to listen to RJ Ellory talk about his work. Roger very kindly gave me 30 minutes of his time after a lively and enjoyable discussion to interview him about his writing and his life. Five months later, to my shame, the tape of the interview is half transcribed and the interview not written.
I feel pretty bad about this. But the truth is, I really don't have time for Material Witness right now.
In 2007 I read 103 books. In 2008 it was 77, in 2009 just 40. Last year it was 51 and so far in 2011 it is just 29. I have reviewed just 12 of those.
And every week at least half a dozen new books arrive through the post. I get excited about them, read the synopses, put them on the shelves, and most of them stay there untouched. And that doesn't feel right.
So today I have reached a big decision. I am mothballing Material Witness. I will continue paying my subscription to Typepad and keep the content alive, but I don't have time to write a regular blog, and so for now I will stop. I hope to come back to it soon.
I've been writing Material Witness since April 2006, and have written 390 posts (which is really not a lot compared to some of the terrific prolific bloggers out there). I started as writing therapy, having packed in journalism for PR, and to fill what I saw as a gap in the market for reviews of crime fiction. You can read the first post here.
I've thoroughly enjoyed it. In that first year the blog attracted an average of about 3 readers a day (most of them related to me). But gradually as social media and blogs became more accepted, dare I say even reached the mainstream, that has risen dramatically, particularly in the last two years to peaks of 170-200 per day when I've been very active.
I know that a lot of people have taken recommendations from Material Witness, and I hope I've helped some authors to find a market that may otherwise have eluded them.
I've enjoyed getting to know a number of writers, a great many hard-working, charming and incredibly helpful people in publishing and a number of other crime fiction bloggers - Maxine, Dorte, Rhian among others - whose virtual company I have always enjoyed.
I would like to offer thanks to a handful of people. Firstly to Gaby Young at Orion who supported the blog with review copies when it started. Orion authors have been something of a mainstay since. Second to Sam Eades at Headline, who more than anyone else has made a huge effort to harness the blogosphere for her authors. To all the other publishers and writers who have supported the site: sincere thanks.
When the rest of life calms down just a little bit and affords me time to read and write, I really hope to back. But for now, so long, and thanks for all the books.