Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting Started: Keeping The Spirit Up

Worried about things not going well? Don't. Look over there. See that? That's fear. Fear of a Pulp Planet (again).
If you're feeling at all demoralized, then go over to Brian Niemeier's blog and search for posts like this one where he goes over the data that reveals the ongoing collapse of traditional publishing (where the Hugo crowd dominates) and the concurrent surge of independents and self-publishers that eat their lunch like ravenous wolves.
If that's not enough, consider the curious case of the New York Times putting a #1 book that no one had heard of prior to that listing, and the ongoing teacup tempest it's produced. Many of us already knew that the NYT's list was worthless (especially when the traditional publishing and book retailing collapse became terminal, since that's what it measures), but this just took that unappealing pie and smeared it right into the faces of many wishing to avoid it.
In short, don't worry about the "mainstream" genre fiction world. Not even the Romance writers. They're already irrelevant; they just won't admit it yet. There's always some lag time between Cause and Effect, and we're in that interval of time right now when it comes to their own annihilation. Just as many thought there would always be East and West Germany, they think they will always have the Big 5 in New York City and their London counterparts- unwilling or unable to see the historic shift about to wreck everything they hold dear.
So, what to do?

Are you writing? Good! Keep at it, even if you suck. Everyone that got published and made a name for themselves started out as a terrible hack making basic errors left, right, and center. You may not write saleable prose today, but you will tomorrow if you keep at it. Writing is a skill as much as an art, which is why it's a craft. You illustrators out there--and by God do we need you--should keep at it just as much, and for the same reasons. Learn to hit deadlines and you will have a huge leg up on the competition; you could be the next Frazetta, but only if you Git Gud.
"But Walker!" you say, "I'm no good at writing or drawing! What can I do?"
We've got folks here already publishing good work. Promote them. Be it magazines like Cirsova or Storyhack, independent authors such as Niemeier or Nick Cole, or the smaller publishing houses such as Castalia House, Superversive Press, or Silver Empire we've got a core of people already hustling to make possible again what was before: Pulp Ruling the Planet. Spread the word! Spread it far and wide. Link to their books and magazines, to their sites, their blogs, their media appearances, their convention appearances, their book signings, etc. so we can get more people coming to us for their fiction fixes.
"But Walker!" you say, "I only have so much time to devote!" There's always room for more in the podcasting world, and setting up something that's audio-only (which is all you really need; the Geek Gab gang runs that way) is getting easier all the time- despite the recent issues with Google and YouTube. Keep it short and sweet, an hour or less, and you can do reviews, interviews, etc. while still having all the time you want for your own reading, writing, drawing, hyping, whatever.
The old time pulp era didn't arise ex nihilo fully-formed. It started with small-time entrepreneurs doing the exact same hustle we are now, and so they too relied on satisfying their audiences and then asking them--as we are now--to help spread the word. That passion and determination would go on to create world-spanning media empires, their like still envied by the present powers in popular culture. (Just look at how The Shadow once dominated all media)
They didn't allow enemies and rivals to get them down. They took that energy and poured it back into their own efforts, letting it fuel the determination to be the best and therefore to best satisfy an audience eager for the passion that the Pulps poured down like mana from Heaven put down in tales of heroism, adventure, mystery, wonder, romance--the real deal, not the pozzed poison of today--that are timeless in their origin yet fully contemporary in their trappings.
Do that today, and get the same results as yesteryear. But to get to the mountaintop, you gotta believe! Keeping up that spirit is vital to success: Morale Matters! So dine on their fear, feast well, and know that the future is once more ours- we just got to go out there and take it!


  1. I am new to this but I have been blogging for about 3 years. I look forward to getting to know more PulpRev people. I am willing to help promote or help in any way I can to help get the word out. Contact me if interested. Thanks, James

  2. Preach it, Bradford!

    NB: the links to my blog are broken, but I got your back.