It’s been awhile since I made changes to the Pulp-O-Mized products you can make with my Pulp-O-Mizer; in fact, there was a sort of debacle concerning a broken API for the T-shirts, but I’m not talking about that because the wounds are still fresh.
So apart from What I Am Not Speaking Of, these nifty new memo notebooks are the latest thing. They’re made of acid free recycled paper and at 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" they’ll go just about anyplace. I like these because they feel. . . informal. You don’t agonize about whether your sketches or notes are worthy. You just scribble ’em in there.
You can choose blank, lined, dotted, or checklist pages. I’ve made you a nice little title plate on the inside of the front cover, and there’s a colorful surprise on the inner back cover. And all for the low, low, ultra-customized and Pulp-O-Mized price of $10.95.
You can still get the old spiral bound notebooks through a text link below the products section. So whatever your notemaking preference is, go forth and Pulp-O-Mize!
I see I haven’t posted an update since last month about my experiment with the world of traditional publishing. I’ve mentioned that I’m working through a short list of those literary agents who I think would be helpful and interested in Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. That list has grown a bit as I’ve gone on since I’ve had the time to do additional research, and that’s led me to new names.
I was encouraged a couple of weeks back when I re-read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (which is wonderful), and found that it had been rejected thirty or thirty-one times before she signed with an agent. My list is a little less than half that long, and—being an old codger—my patience may be a little shorter, too. Ms. Morgenstern is too young to worry about the carrion birds that may be circling outside the window.
Two of the agents who’ve risen to the top of my list say that they take up to eight weeks to respond to a query. That’s a long time, in codger weeks, anyway. So I’ve decided that they’ll define my cut-off date. After some time in late May I’ll abandon the search for an agent and submit to a couple of publishers. I say "a couple" because the wait for an editor to reject a writer is usually longer than the waits I’m going through now. Refer above: codger, patience, carrion birds.
I know that a lot of people take these rejections personally. The fact is, though, that there is nothing personal about this process so it wouldn’t make much sense to take it personally. The great majority of the agents who’ve passed on the book have never seen it, or any part of it; a few have seen the first five pages. There’s no way to know whether they’ve even read what they did get. I have to admit that an email titled Query: SLAVES OF THE SWITCHBOARD OF DOOM might sound like something that they don’t want to read. But even that isn’t personal. It’s just a preconception.
The crazy thing about this process is that I started with an agent I figured I had no hope of working with, and that’s where I got the most positive response of all (and a full reading of the book). Go figure.
So, assuming rejections, sometime in late May I’ll turn the book over to one editor who’s asked to see it; after that, one—or possibly two—other publishers. But come June or July I’ll have finished the book’s illustrations and I have to figure that by then I’ll be in the mood to get something done. Once again: codger, patience, carrion birds.
I have been giving a lot of thought to the problem of launching a self-published book in a way that dovetails with the way a traditionally published book is launched. Odds are I’ll be putting those thoughts to the test: sometime after July, plus or minus a slush pile.
Dark Roasted Blend offers up a selection of British pulp science fiction cover illustrations, many by illustrator Ron Turner; the post links on to this fantastic Flickr stream where quite a few of the images were found.
Turner turns out to be an interesting case of a British artist who was inspired by American pulp magazine covers and then went on to do his own art for magazines, paperbacks, and comics – including a long run on the comic The Daleks and a less successful and much shorter run for 2000AD.
I’ve previously featured his Magnetic Brain cover here. These Practical Mechanics covers give me a yen to add Impractical Mechanics as a title for the Pulp-O-Mizer; but I’ve already done Inadvisable Science, and that’s pretty much the same gag, isn’t it?
I’m all in favor of robots organizing and taking advantage of collective bargaining. The Retropolis Fraternal League of Robotic Persons is an important part of my book Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom; and, anyway, I salute any group of workers who band together in order to improve their working conditions.
So even though I’m not convinced that full-blown robotic communism is viable in the long term, vulnerable as it is to dictators and bureaucracies, I still appreciate these handsome Comrades of Steel prints by designer Zachary Mallett. Because whatever your favorite economic system is, I think it’s important to follow it with style.
So above we have an iconic Comrades of Steel print, while on the right we see its fellow traveler, Workers of the World!
Either one’s a fine choice for that certain spot where your mechanical minions gather to oil up, exchange pleasantries, and plot the overthrow of their human masters. Kind of like an OSHA poster in the coffee room. But more beautiful.
And, since I mentioned it, what about Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom? Querying literary agents is pretty much like heaving a bunch of messages in bottles out into the waves. I’m keeping my bottles bobbing out there, but as I said earlier I have a pretty short list of agents on the principle that no agent is better than the wrong agent. So there aren’t too many bottles left to go.
Meanwhile I’m working on the illustrations. There’s enough work there to keep me busy through June or July; so I’ve got plenty of time left.