Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Good News For Pulpy Action Adventure Fans
Today it became official: Virtual Pulp is a recognized corporation, ready to do business in these United States. Just minutes ago, I received my tax ID # from the IRS. I'm not quite on the path to world domination just yet, but this is a significant milestone for me after months of misfires, mistakes, mucho legal mucky-pucky and financial follies. Now the real work starts and I'm hoping this is where it starts getting fun.
This business endeavor could possibly grow into something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager: run a publishing company...of sorts. With the publishing industry in the state of flux it's in now, who knows if this will ever be feasible. For now, Virtual Pulp, Inc. is going to be an online store focusing on fiction and film that falls under the action-adventure umbrella.
I've already undertaken a virtual recon by starting an Amazon affiliate store. That's what the Action Central ads on the right and at the bottom of the blog are all about. Amazon has made it easy for people to start these online stores (and somebody with both more business acumen and time to pimp their products would probably already be banking by now), but the navigation and some other features are not quite what I want.
This means that I'm starting with a clean sheet of paper. I'll be building/designing the Virtual Pulp store as I try to build on my rudimentary web-developing skills. I've got a concept that doesn't look too bad, but I need to learn how to incorporate all kinds of widgets, and I've got a LOT of product to add/link to. I know some people who could theoretically help me put it together, but with the amount of work involved they would probably want to be paid. Greedy capitalists. So this project will have to creep along in between my writing, blogging, and real job. Yup, that's what I need: more irons in the fire!
This will differ from Amazon and other online bookstores in that I intend to keep it focused on dude-lit (action-adventure; military/war; western; heroic fantasy; post-apocalypse; etc.) and, on the movie side, dude-flicks. Therein is one of the advantages I see for the customer: since I'm not trying to sell everything to everyone, fans won't have to browse for hours to find titles in these genres among the mountains of other stuff. I'll have already narrowed it down so that guys like me can choose between several titles that appeal to them, instead of wearing out their eyes, wrist and mouse button trying to find one among the thousands that don't. To the best of my ability, I will also weed out the phony, false-advertised "action adventure" or books that truly are action-adventure (classic pulp; new pulp; post-modern-pulp; dude-lit; whatever) but are terribly written.
Another advantage the VP store will have, for both readers and authors, is that I won't discriminate against those who have bypassed the New York Publishing Cartel. I fully intend to mix the product so that books by talented indies will have equal billing with those by tradpubbed authors. A browser may have read everything published with Don Pendleton's name on it (or is that even possible?), but right next to that thumbnail of an Executioner is Jack Murphy's latest, or M. R. Kayser's, or Jack Badelaire's...you get the idea.
In case you're wondering: Yes, my books will be available in the store, too. (If you're not wondering, sin loi!) Speaking of that, every ebook I publish from now on with my name on it will have the Virtual Pulp logo on it. My little "publishing imprint." Hopefully a portent of things to come. Other pulp fans/bloggers/writers have proposed uniting under one heading, logo, meme... but so far as I can tell this has not happened yet. So fellow writers and authors, this is for you:
I'm willing to extend the Virtual Pulp logo beyond my own fiction, as a sort of stamp-of-approval. VP is not a full-blown publisher so I'm not looking for a cut of anyone's profits. There is no prestige associated with the VP logo yet, but over time with consistent quality, I hope to build trust among readers so they know, when they see it, odds are it's a good read no matter what the author's name. Like I said: others have mentioned doing something like this, and it still may happen. And I will welcome it and probably want to help or participate somehow if it does. In the mean time, I'm offering this. If you'd like an ebook (or print book, for that matter) placed under the VP umbrella, I will consider it. If I read it and it passes muster, you're welcome to use the logo on that book.
Back to the VP online store: I plan on adding a forum. Maybe a swap meet section too. I'd like to do more than just sell stuff on the site. I'd also like to present some sort of free content there...videos, podcasts, articles, blog feeds, maybe all of the above. Suggestions and advice are welcome now, and probably always will be.
So Virtual Pulp Press is taking its first baby steps now. I hope to have the store online and open for business in the near future.