Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

Happy new year’s eve!

I hope you’ve had a good year.
I’ve had an interesting one, writing-wise. My 30 thousand word Ki-Gor story, “The Devil’s Nest,” appeared in print in Jungle Tales Volume1, with stories by Peter Miller and Aaron Smith. This was published by Airship27 just in time for PulpFest 2012. I’d written my first Ki-Gor story for Airship 27 several years ago. For one reason and another, that story--“The Moon of the Demon Men”--was eventually published by WildCat books in Ki-Gor: JungleLord in 2007. So, five years later, I finally have my first story in print with Airship 27. And the anthology performed well sales-wise, remaining in the Top 10 of the New Pulp Best Sellers list for several weeks, as compiled and reported each Monday by Barry Reese.

Speaking of PulpFest, I had a wonderful time. I renewed some acquaintances and met a lot more folks for the first time this year. I sat on a panel of adventure writers working in the New Pulp realm, and enjoyed the discussion and the audience's questions thoroughly. The pulp community is a warm and friendly place, and I encourage any pulp fan who hasn’t yet attended a pulp magazine convention to do so. The convention organizers--for PulpFest, Windy City, AdventureCon, DocCon and others--work hard to make sure the attendees have a great time, and the programming is always a lot of fun and informative.
The focus of this year’s PulpFest was particularly delightful: the centennial for two of Edgar Rice Burroughs' most famous creations, John Carter of Barsoom and Tarzan, and the 80th anniversary for the first appearance of Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

After PulpFest, I published two more eBooks. The first was Three Witches: An Adventure of El Tigre Azul. This gave me the opportunity to play in a world of humor and horror featuring a luchador enmascarado, a masked Mexican wrestler of the type seen in the films of El Santo and The Blue Demon. Filmed in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ’70s, these movies pitted their masked heroes against witches, vampires, mummies--you name it--all between defending their titles in wrestling matches. I had a lot of fun writing this story, and the readers I’ve heard from have said they were entertained by it. It has sold more copies this year than any of my other releases, and it was published just in November.

The second eBook is a short story, The Dream Stalker. This mystery features a consulting investigator, Shalimar Bang, who operates in a slightly different reality than our own -- much as Spider-Man, Superman, and other heroes operate in a slightly different universe than the one in which we live. Shalimar's headquarters is on Alcatraz Island, and she takes on cases the regular authorities aren't quite able to tackle.vThis story first appeared in one of Tom Johnson’s neo-pulps in the 1990s. I’ve updated and expanded the story, and it’s intended to kick off a series of adventures about Shalimar.
I’d had two stories available exclusively at Amazon through its Kindle Select program, “Pretty Polly” and “A Quiet Night in the Dark inLaPlata, Missouri, 1942.” Although they had sold at least one or two copies each month of the year, I’d not seen any particular benefit to having these two stories remain limited to Kindle sales only. So I opened up a Smashwords account, and in December released them both there. I experimented with releasing “The Dream Stalker” separately through Kobo and Barnes & Noble, but Smashwords appeared to distribute the stories as quickly to those sites as Kobo and the Nook released the versions I published through those two sites. So I may just stick with Smashwords in the future for all non-Kindle releases. (By the way, the links to my books above go to Amazon for Kindle editions. You can find my work for all other eReaders at Smashwords by clicking here.)

I will say that compared to Amazon’s Kindle publishing site, B&N’s Nook publishing site, and Smashwords multi-platform site, Kobo’s site is about the easiest and user-friendliest when it comes to uploading and publishing an eBook.

I expanded my marketing position by adding a page to InterroBang that lists all my books and links to them at various sites; building an author page at Amazon and at Smashwords and at GoodReads.

Finally, I wrapped up the year by joining the gang of writers who will be contributing to Amazing Stories, the 21st Century incarnation of the first magazine that was dedicated solely to science fiction. I’m looking forward quite a bit to participating in this adventure.
This has been a year of building. I have a variety of stuff out there. While I had published a straightforward pulp-hero story (Ki-Gor) in a traditional print format, I also experimented with eBook publishing and played with pulp magazine history a bit (in “A Quiet Night,” wherein actual fictioneer Lester Dent met his house name doppelganger, Kenneth Robeson), launched an adventure heroine (Shalimar Bang), and delivered an action hero of a type no one else had yet developed in a prose narrative (El Tigre Azul in Three Witches).

Overall, I’m pleased with how 2012 turned out. What will 2013 bring? Stay tuned.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Amazing Stories to return

Amazing Stories, the world's first science fiction magazine, opens for Beta Testing of Phase 1 on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Fifty+ Writers Sign On to provide genre-related content!

And I'm pleased to say I’ll be one of them.

On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, I will be joined by more than 50 other writers from around the blogosphere to help launch the Beta Test of Phase 1 of the return of Amazing Stories.

Amazing Stories was the world's first science fiction magazine.  Published by Hugo Gernsback, the Father of Science Fiction, the magazine created the genre's first home and was instrumental in helping to establish science fiction fandom – the fandom from which all other fandoms have evolved.

The magazine itself ceased publication in 2005; in 2008 the new publisher, Steve Davidson, discovered that the trademarks had lapsed and applied for them.  The marks were finally granted in 2011.

For me, this is all one of those Six Degrees of Separation experiences. Once upon a time I worked for a technical publishing start up, The Cobb Group, which was eventually purchased by William Ziff, Jr., heir to the Ziff-Davis publishing empire. Ziff-Davis had been the owner of Amazing Stories from 1938 to 1965.

Fellows I’d once worked with at The Cobb Group later started an internet-based publishing business,, where I worked as Content Director. And now, here I am, a blogger about pulps soon to be blogging for that first science fiction pulp magazine in its new incarnation: Amazing Stories. It might not be an exact circle, but I see the path as a sort of wobbly ellipse. Seen from the ecliptic.

Back to Amazing Stories:

Phase 1 introduces the social networking aspects of the site and the Blog Team: more than 50 authors, artists, collectors, editors, pod casters, designers and bloggers who will address 14 different subjects on a regular basis – SF, Fantasy & Horror literature, anime, gaming, film, television, the visual arts, audio works, the pulps, comics, fandom, science and publishing.

Those wishing to participate in the Beta Test should request an invite by emailing the publisher, Steve Davidson.

Steve’s launching the new Amazing Stories from the appropriately named Experimenter Publishing Company in Hillsboro, New Hampshire.
Visit the site! You'll find it here:



Friday, December 7, 2012

Price change to Three Witches

I don't know if anyone has yet figured out the "sweet spot" for eBook prices.

If there's an algebraic formula for this stuff that someone knows about, plese share. You know, the quadratic equation for ebook pricing.

Three Witches is the longest ebook I've released: it is 22K+ words. Short stories usually go for 99 cents -- and I've seen those be anywhere from 2000 words to 8000. I've seen a lot of novels for $3.99 -- stuff that is 30K words or more.

But -- to repeat myself -- it’s hard to find the sweet spot on pricing. After talking to some folks, and letting the particulars percolate in my head, I’ve decided to drop the price of Three Witches from $2.99 to $1.99.

But I don’t want to penalize readers who have bought Three Witches at the higher price.

So, I'm currently formatting my next ebook, a short story I hope to release in electronic form in the next week or so. It will be priced at 99 cents, and it features a different character, a consulting investigator, Shalimar Bang. In appreciation of the patronage of those folks who purchase my work, I'd like to send a free copy of this upcoming story to the readers who purchased Three Witches at the original price of $2.99.

If you have purchased Three Witches for $2.99, please email me a photo of your reading device with Three Witches open on it. And in return, I’ll send you a free copy of the new story, The Dream Stalker. To qualify to receive the free ebook, please send me the photo by Wednesday, December 12. You can send it to pulprack at gmail dot com. (Be sure to translate the email address appropriately so your photo will make it to me.) Be sure to let me know what format you want the story for: Kindle, Nook, PDF, whatever.

Again, thanks so much for purchasing Three Witches. I appreciate it, and I hope you'll be willing to post a review at whatever site you purchased the story from, or on GoodReads, or somewhere. I work hard to be professional in my writing -- I want my readers to feel they have gotten full value from what they've purchased. I see that as part of my goal as a narrative entertainer. Certainly, that's what I want when I purchase a book. That's why, if I like one book by an author, I'll seek out another one by the same writer.
I look forward to getting your photo!