Friday, February 18, 2011

What is the Purpose of Authonomy?

There is some confusion about the purpose of Authonomy. Someone has mistaken it for a mere hang-out for wannbe writers. That is SO not the case.

First, human nature is that people stick with people they like. It is called support - which carries the connotation of "carry."

I was in ABNA when I came to Authonomy - I saw a book that I felt in LOVE with - 'Catch a Falling Star.' I joined Authonomy to back that book, and left it on my shelf until it hit the ED. HC panned the book. It was painful to watch. But the author did not let that stop her. When the book hit the Kindle Store, people went nuts over it. (As soon as I have time to read it again, I'll buy it.)

Isn't that what Authonomy is about? You read something, you love it, you support it there with a shelving and a comment. Then when it hits the Market place, you support it, buy it and maybe even review it?

I've had many people there (first time around) say they would buy my book, if they could. I'm back to launch a second book - there, then in the market place.

It is the logical progression of this site - we come in, edit our books with the support of other writers and either hit the ED, get picked up by an agent, get signed with a publisher or self-publish it as pulp fiction.

What that poor young man doesn't understand is the purpose of Authonomy - TO LAUNCH BOOKS. Once HC gets an idea of what the market REALLY wants (by watching books succeed in the market) then they shift their direction to signing books that SELL.

Isn't that what we are really there for? To find the cream of the crop and help it rise as high as it can???

Why the f@#k go there if not for that?

The only thing this poor young person has discovered is that Authonomy WORKS.

Silly child, wake up and smell the coffee.

Writing is an art - (rolling eyes) but publishing is a business.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin - WTF?

I'm utterly disgusted with the idiot Governor from Wisconsin.

I'm starting to believe there IS  a vast Right-Wing conspiracy. I don't think that it is the Trilateral Commission. But there's a dead fish in the pantry - we all smell it.

What has happened to this country? When has there been open warfare on the middle class? This turkey has cut taxes for the rich, so now he's going to mess with TEACHERS?

When the biggest problem in the US is LACK of education - why cut the teachers? Why is it in the best interest of the Republican Party to stop education? Because they can afford private schools, so now public schools aren't needed? 

I'm so glad I didn't have kids - this country is FUBARed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Dark Harbor" – Paranormal Pulp Fiction

As Launch Day gets closer and closer – I can't help but think about the reaction to my paranormal pulp fiction "Swallow the Moon" once word reaches 'back home' about the book. This is a case where Face Book is not my friend. I'm hooked into a discussion group with people from 'Bula, some of whom may be offended with my description of the city.

The "Dark Harbor" paranormal series takes place in a very real, very dysfunctional Rust Belt city, my birthplace, Ashtabula, Ohio. I call it a "God-forsaken place" – it is a place where the fabric between the Earth and Hell has become tattered and 'things' are breaking through.

I suppose that's enough to piss some people off right there.

Of course, if the series catches on, there are going to be even more people laughing their asses off. Some people in the Harbor are going to love it, others – well a sense of humor is a rare thing in parts of 'Bula.

I would like to be a fly on the wall when some innocent tourist walks into the Iroquois Club and asks the bartender if s/he ever heard of a book called "Swallow the Moon" and are there really rooms for rent upstairs? (evil cackles)

You know, this is the kind of thing where I'm going to have to take the book to Create Space just so I can go down to Bridge Street and have a book signing in the metaphysical shop. I'll hope that the ghosts of Harborites past will join me.

I know they will appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pulp Fiction - a Bit of Brainstorming

Will the "Pulp Fiction" moniker replace "Indie Author" in the minds of - er - well - Indie writers?

I've always been taught that you can't DO a negative. If I say to someone "I'm NOT a trade published writer....blah, blah, blah." They will reply with "Then who ARE you?" I'm stuck looking stupid "the hell if I know."

Andre Jute - this is all your fault. If you hadn't started that post on Kindle Boards Cream rising I wouldn't have started brainstorming all this stuff about awards which led me to branding (whatcacallit is a lousy name for a genre) - which led me to getting my back up about the "Death of Culture" crack that....nevermind.

This isn't so much for my own work as it is for Mother's stories. There are so many that nothing really ties them together - except there is a general style to them. Mom loves it. "I write pulp fiction," she said at the dentist office yesterday. The girl got it.

I posted a cleaned up version of the first post to Nookboards (crickets!) then Kindleboard where it got a number of responses. I wasn't the first to use it, but I am the first to suggest wholesale adoption of it.

Let's make it OUR label. That way I can say "I wrote a dime novel called "Let's Do Lunch" that sells for $.99 on Kindle and Nook." It sounds catchy. Descriptive, positive, and vaguely qualifying.

More on this subject:

The New Age of Pulp Fiction?

Pulp Fiction II: The Rise of the Penny Dreadful

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pulp Fiction II – the Rise of the Penny Dreadful

For my next trick – I say that because we are merely playing with words – trying to put the Indie e-publishing craze and the rollercoaster ride that is pricing into some kind of historical context.

First a short history lesson, for that we shall go back to our friend Wikipedia for a definition of the "Penny Dreadful."

"A penny dreadful (also called penny horrible, penny awful,[1]
penny number and penny blood) was a type of British
fiction publication in the 19th century that usually featured lurid serial stories appearing in parts over a number of weeks, each part costing a penny. The term, however, soon came to encompass a variety of publications that featured cheap sensational fiction, such as story papers and booklet "libraries." The penny dreadfuls were printed on cheap pulp paper and were aimed primarily at working class adolescents.[2]

For the sake of this argument, I'm going to say that the 21st century 'Penny Dreadful' is a full-length novel that sells for $.99 to $1.99.

That doesn't mean the writer can't make money. Sell them puppies as long as they're hot. After all, if the author is making a couple grand a month – cry all the way to the bank.

Because that's not saying the next book won't sell at a higher price. We aren't making judgment calls about the writers – just the books. If common wisdom is correct, the 'average author' will turn out five or more books (or a million words) before they 'break out' and their work takes a quantum leap forward.

The writer can always move to the next level, – a 'dime novel' sells higher – $2.99 or a bit more. This may sell more copies of the first book. The point is that sales and income will rise at the higher price. I see authors all over Kindle boards planning how to make the transition to 'dime novels.'

'Slicks' are the next step up, Mid-list writers will most likely find a home somewhere around the $2.99 to $3.99 level. They are recycling previously published work, already have fans and readers – so they may start at $3.99 where the 'average jane' author will need to 'break out' to sell well at $3.99.

Then there are the 'super-slicks' who have their own pricing structures. Some can sell short fiction at $2.99 for 10k words. Why not? They have the advertising budgets and turn out a professional product. They probably know who their readers are and have no problem targeting them in the most efficient manner.

Remember, too, there are e-publishing companies who have a pricing structure by length that has worked for them for 10 years or more. There is no reason that they can't carry on. They have a professional products and hot markets like romantica/erotica.

So we have a series of terms to describe this mushrooming e-market, nicknames that look back fondly to the glorious Golden Age of Pulp Fiction.

Pulp fiction – Short stories & novellas that sell for $.99. Also a blanket term for any work self-published to an e-book vendor.

Penny Dreadfuls – Pulp Fiction novels that sell like crazy for $.99 to $1.99.

Dime Novels – Pulp Fiction novels priced from $2.99 to $3.99, written by Indie authors.

Slicks – Novels or backlist by Midlist authors self-published in the $3.99 range.

Super Slicks – Work by e-publishing companies that have their own price structure. Short stories can start as high as $2.99, for 10k words.

More on this subject:

The New Age of Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction: A Bit of Brainstorming

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The New Age of Pulp Fiction?

Welcome to the New Age of Pulp Fiction – courtesy of e-reader technology and digital self-publishing.

How many people remember the "Golden Age" of Pulp Fiction? Okay, maybe no one remembers 20th century history. I wasn't born yet, but at least I had heard of it. Just so you don't have to google it – I'll post the Wikipedia definition of Pulp Fiction:

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.
The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero
comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

Cheap stories – often lurid and poorly edited – easy to get, easy to discard; what does that sound like? The modern Indie e-book has been touted as the 'slush pile come to life' by the 'trade' publishing establishment.

I say the Indie Publishing masses could do much worse than embracing the label of 'Modern Pulp Fiction.'

Why not?

"At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue."
Fiction novels for $.99 from Indie authors are very much like the 10-cent magazines. Your mileage – or quality – will vary greatly from author to author and book to book. Already there are lines drawn – certain authors continue to sell books at a higher price. While others have their sales stall at the $2.99 break point.

Whether or not people actually read $.99 books is a good question. However, they do buy these books – often thousands a month. In that case – why should the author care if the book is read or not? Cry all the way to the bank. Of course, some people don't feel that way.

"Literature and culture per se would die if every writer wrote only to satisfy a market bowing to instant monetary gratification."- Authonomy Author

Well, that tidbit of British snobbery came from an Authonomy wannabe who couldn't be bothered with something as – common? – tedious? – as marketing their work.

If only I could have stopped myself from replying:

That sounds very British.

Culture doesn't pay the rent - but if you are independently wealthy you can be as literary and cultured as you like.

Me, I have bills to pay and elderly parents to take care of.

No wonder the Brits hate the Irish. We insist on being – practical – even when it comes to 'Literature and Culture per se' by bringing filthy money into it. How ghastly and common of me.

Is there a puking smiley?

How does this tie into pulp fiction? The distinction between 'literature' the art and 'story-telling' entertainment is the difference between a 'trade' published, $12.99 e-book and a KDP, $.99 pulp fiction e-book.

This is a wild and wonderful free for all – that may kill off 'Literature and Culture per se' but WFT – it's about time that mid-list and Indie writers had some fun and made some money.

The point is that pulp fiction gave a lot of writers their start. They made their living pounding on typewriters – entertained thousands, or even millions, of people. They put smiles on people's faces, and became a beloved part of pop(ular) culture long after the books themselves were forgotten.

Mom just recalled a box of pulp westerns in her attic that they read as kids. My aunts Joyce and Elizabeth read these pulps and played "Cowboys and Indians" so many times that they ended up with life-long nicknames. Joyce became "Steve" and Elizabeth became my beloved Aunt 'Dillon.' I was a teenager before I discovered that Aunt Dillon had another name.

That's not art, that's family history.

Guess which one is more important to me.

Got that in one, didn't ya?

Pulp Fiction II: The Rise of the Penny Dreadful

Pulp Fiction a Bit of Brainstorming