Nick Cole and the New Pulp Age

This past Saturday marked author Nick Cole's triumphant return to Geek Gab. It's a take-no-prisoners episode in which Daddy Warpig and Dorrinal get Nick to spill all of his secrets for making Galaxy's Edge a smash indie success.

My takeaways from the episode:
  • Publishers are screwed. Not just the Big Five out of New York; any publisher bigger than a one or two-man indie operation. There are many reasons why anything resembling the old publishing model is no longer viable, but Amazon's effective back-listing of any book that's more than one month old is a major factor. Plus, individual authors have the advantage over publishing companies when it comes to coaxing Amazon's algorithm.
  • The pulps are back--or at least the necessity of espousing pulp-era work ethics and sensibilities if you want to earn a living writing fiction. Readers want simple, entertaining books in ongoing series, and they want them now.
  • The author as brand is dead. Kindle whales--the voracious readers you need to drive your sales--aren't primarily loyal to a publisher, or even an author. Instead, they constantly binge on books in their favorite genre. If your next book isn't there waiting to sate readers' hunger when they finish your last one, they won't hesitate to move on to titles by other authors that will scratch their genre itch.
  • Amazon ghettos are real, and they can make or break your book. So saith Nick Cole. Let those who are wise enough to learn from others' experience take heed.
In case you've been living under a rock on Mars, Imperator, the latest from Jason Anspach and Nick Cole, is out now!

Imperator - Anspach and Cole

If you're all caught up on Jason and Nick's stuff, and you're looking for an epic space opera series with more of a fantasy bent, check out my award-winning Soul Cycle, the last book of which is out now!

The Ophian Rising - Brian Niemeier


  1. Are you going to try out that serial form of publishing?

    I haveta admit, it's kinda fantastic. Reading really IS a drug!

    1. My novel production has certainly picked up speed. I took The Ophian Rising from outline to launch in about six weeks.

      The market is in flux right now, so I'm doing my homework--including listening to podcasts like the one embedded above--to better formulate an action plan.

      My planned mecha/mil-sf series is definitely next. I'm just contemplating the "ifs" regarding how to approach it.

    2. Fingers crossed that the Cole-Anspach Team want to turn their series into comics. Movies would be good too.

      Thought about that with Soul Cycle, Brian?

    3. Nick straight up says they've had offers for the GE film rights.

      As for the Soul Cycle, I've yet to meet the creator who doesn't think about seeing his work adapted for other media. I'm flattered you'd ask, but a) I'm still too deep in the Amazon ghetto for anyone to have approached me with movie deals and b) Hollywood is too pozzed for me to sign my rights over to them.

    4. I hope they choose well. I don’t think there’s a Hollywood studio that could be trusted with the GE property. The Left would want to change too many aspects of it, such as casting a woman of color for Wraith.

  2. Brian,

    Thanks. I was listening to it at work but couldn't finish. SO I'll listen again.
    Your observations have profound implications for Europe. Namely that publishing is even more precarious as parapublishing in the form of bookstore, writing workshops, museums, civil society organizations etc will have as much viability as the regular publishers. So contrary to American publishers small to midsize (i.e. 2-10 people) are still viable.

    No matter how much the European publishers snivel about piracy, EVERYONE MUST publish ebook versions of their works at REASONABLE prices.

    Audiobooks aren't yet popular in Europe; in fact in Spain they barely exist. It could be due to the more more compact distances for commutes but in future, audiobooks are an untapped market to exploit. Whoever publishes really good quality recordings will make a fortune and control the market.

    I wonder if Nick's advice for tweaking the algorithms applies to foreign language kindle editions?

    All in all, an episode to listen again


  3. Brian,

    case in point. This is an interview with Andreu Martin, the dean of the Catalan detective/crime/black novel:

    What struck me was his irritation at the publishing companies specifically this statement:
    —En aquest procés d’emprenyamenta amb el món editorial també vau recuperar i penjar a la xarxa els títols antics i descatalogats, una mica com va fer també Julián Ibáñez…

    In this process of being put off with the publishing world you also recovered and uploaded old and out of print titles a little bit like Julian Ibanez

    —Jo crec que tots dos fèiem un crit d’alerta davant una situació molt estranya que ens afecta i que afecta la vida dels nostres llibres, molts dels quals avui són trinxats i irrecuperables en paper.

    I believe that both of us were raising the alarm of a very strange situation that affects us and that affects the lives of our books many of which are currently shredded and unrecoverable in paper.

    and here's an important insight of the writer's job:

    —És que veniu d’una època en què estàveu malacostumats, quan ‘La Negra’ de la Magrana tirava 10.000 exemplars de primera edició. Què ha canviat tant aquests darrers vint anys?

    You came from a time in which you were spoiled when La Negra (Catalan's very first imprint dedicated exclusively to crime/detective novels launched in the 90s) publish 10 000 copies. What's changed in the last 20 years?

    —Això seria tema per a una conferència extensa, però es pot resumir dient que la imatge ens ha atacat. Tenim una guerra amb la imatge i la perdem; això n’és la prova. Sóc un gran aficionat a les sèries i al cinema, però ho compagino amb la lectura, però molta gent no ho fa. I és que llegir és molt difícil i requereix un esforç violent. Hi ha molta gent que arriba a casa al vespre i no està en situació de llegir, seu davant la tele i veu qualsevol cosa. No esforçar-nos per llegir ens priva de moltes coses, com per exemple de l’abstracció.

    That would be a topic for an extensive conference but we can summarize stating that the image has attacked us. We have a war with the image and we're losing; that's the proof. I'm a big fan of (TV) series and the movies but I combine with reading, but many people don’t do that. Reading is tough and requires violent effort. There are many people who arrive at home in the evening and they’re not in a position to read in front of his TV I watches anything. Not making the effort to read deprives is of many things like abstraction for example.

    —I del gaudi de la participació en la creació, oi?

    And to enjoy participating in the creation, no?

    —És clar. Un gran percentatge de la creació correspon al lector, és ell qui elabora el món amb què ha llegit. Això implica un gran esforç de creativitat per a fer un món i uns personatges que la imatge ja dóna fets.

    Of course. A large percentage of creation corresponds to the reader. It’s he who elaborates the world that he’s read. This implies a great creative effort to make a world and characters that the image has already created