Back around the middle of July, the relentless T-Shirt engine of the Pulp-O-Mizer sputtered and failed.
I looked through it. I discovered that figuring the problem out was going to be both complicated and time-consuming. Then I just threw a tarpaulin over it and kicked it a couple of times. I had a lot to do, right then, and I was going to have to postpone the whole thing until my eyes had uncrossed and I could give it some thought.
That happened this morning. I wish I could say that I’d been brilliant, but the sad truth is that I tried a gazillion little changes and, once I got it running again, I had no idea which one of them did the trick. Or if it was all of them.
But it works now. Huzzah!
Once again you can get a custom T-Shirt with your very own Pulp-O-Mizer image on it. Just… don’t ask me how I did it.
First off, great news: the Patently Absurd fund drive met its primary goal on Day 3. That’s really unexpected, and welcome, believe me.
But it’s not over yet. In order to set an attainable goal for the project I moved some pretty important things out to stretch goals. We’re looking at the first of those right now.
What we’ve done
With the primary goal behind us I’ll be able to send advance copies off to book reviewers and the book buyers for some local bookstores. I’ll also be able to meet some other pre-production expenses, like ISBNs and some setup fees at Ingram. (Ingram Spark will be one of the two printers to produce the final books.) Review copies will be going out to trade publications like Booklist, The Library Journal, and Locus.
What we need to do
But there are a couple of other trade publications that are missing from that list. That’s because Publishers Weekly and Kirkus charge fees to review independently published books. They have their reasons. The barrier to self-publish a book is very low, now, and if they take everything… well, everything is a lot, these days. So one can see their point, even if it seems like there might be a better way to deal with what’s now a flood of indie books.
So, at the moment, we’re looking at the first stretch goal for Patently Absurd. At $1400 (just $200 more than the primary goal) I’ll be able to arrange a review for the book at Publishers Weekly. To celebrate, all Kickstarter backers who weren’t going to get a Lair of the Clockwork Book eBook will get one; and everybody who’s getting a print copy of the book will get a pair of custom bookmarks with art from my books.
Those are small bonuses, but it’s just another $200, right? And we have 27 days left to go.
The Kickstarter project for Patently Absurd is now live and it’s eager to talk to you. You can meet it here.
Tell your friends, your families, and strangers on the street.
The Files of the Retropolis Registry of Patents
Well, Patently Absurd is very nearly a book. A few days ago I finished the last illustration for The Enigma of the Unseen Doctor, the final story in my series about The Retropolis Registry of Patents, and after that I completed the layout for the print book.
But just having all the stuff for a book isn’t quite the same as finishing a book. Very soon I’ll set up the first proof for the print edition, and that’ll show me all the things that weren’t actually done even though they seemed to be; mainly, that means some adjustments to the illustrations so that they print better. And then there’s the layout for the eBook edition, which is more complicated than usual when you’re dealing with illustrations.
Oh, and those illustrations? There are forty of them. Forty, in a book of about 260 pages.
The first five stories in the volume were serialized at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, and I wanted an illustration in every page update: that meant an illustration for every 1000 words. I backed that off a little bit for The Enigma of the Unseen Doctor, but it’s the longest story of the bunch by far. So, forty illustrations, plus the title page.
No more serials for me, probably. That’s a lot of illustrations.
Next step: Kickstarter
The rest of the work you have to do to have an actual book, rather than all the stuff you need for one, is to launch it.
This time I plan to do that in pretty much the way that any publisher would. So there will be review copies, copies sent to bookstore buyers, and other expenses. And to meet those expenses I hope to enlist you in the launch through a Kickstarter project that will put an ARC (or advance copy) right in your own hands while funding the distribution of a lot more copies to places where they’ll do the book some good. And once you get your own copy – right about the time that the book bloggers and buyers get theirs – I hope that you’ll review it, and post about it, and tell everyone you meet on a street corner about Patently Absurd. Because grass roots promotion is the key.
It’ll be a pretty tight schedule, for me: I want to start the Kickstarter project during the first half of October. So I’ve started the pitch video and the project itself, and there isn’t a heck of a lot of time to get it all done. Believe me, you’ll hear about it when I kick the thing off.
It shouldn’t be long!
As I said in my last post, I’ve been busy; I still am. I’m working on my tenth illustration for Patently Absurd since the end of June.
It’s not a bad average when you do the arithmetic, but I spent twenty days on the picture we see here. That’s slowed me way down since the beginning (the first five pictures went very quickly) but I knew what I wanted here, and it was obvious that it would take a bit of time.
Sometimes what you need is a little, cluttered shop filled with the things that clutter little shops, and if all those things are unique and new then your next twenty days are pretty well spoken for.
I kind of expected it to take twenty-one days. So if you squint a bit and tilt your head just right, it looks like I’m ahead of schedule.
That’s why I look a little squinty and twitchy just now.
It’s not working, though. When I lose the squint and straighten up my head I can see that I’m far behind where I’d hoped to be by now. So it’s likely that the blog will remain quiet for awhile longer.
I think it was one of Tim Powers’ characters who once said “If it was easy, they’d have got someone else to do it.”
Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom
I was pretty happy to see this latecomer of Switchboard reviews at Sci-Fi Fan Letter. Among other things, there’s this:
I loved the characters in this. Dash is so much fun, and Nola’s got a good mix of spunk and intelligence. The Campbell kids are… something. They were both great and terrifying to follow.
The world-building was great. The switchboard is sort of an internet, if history had taken a different path. The priests of the spider god were fun, and kept the old school pulp feel. The robot League and the interactions between robot and human people show a positive future that’s often lacking in modern SF and something I enjoyed seeing.
The book’s done very well over at Goodreads, with forty ratings and twenty-six reviews; at Amazon it has a good, solid rating, but only twelve reviews.
Hint: those Amazon reviews are really helpful at the Amazon site. So if you’ve read Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, consider adding a review at Amazon. Thanks!
The Lair of the Clockwork Book
I’ll close with a reminder that you can get an eBook copy of The Lair of the Clockwork Book for $2.99 (a dollar below list price!) at Radio Planet Books.