New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon sales ranks 4/30/12)

It’s that time again! Before I unveil the Top Ten, let’s go over a few of the ground rules, shall we? Those of you who have been keeping up with the list for awhile will notice a few changes in how I’m doing the list!

1) This list only tracks sales through AMAZON. It does not keep track of sales through Barnes and Noble, face-to-face or anything else!
2) This list only tracks PRINT sales. We do not currently track e-books. Exactly how Amazon calculates those things is mostly a trade secret and they vary wildly from day to day. If I checked this tomorrow, the list could be very different. This list reflects sales ranks as of Monday morning April 30, 2012.
3) In order to keep the focus on new releases, eligible works must have been published within three months of the current date. So, since this list is being done in April 2012, I’m only looking at books published since January 2012. Please keep that in mind before complaining that Title X is not listed.
4) I am no longer tracking pre-release orders. Some publishers never actually release their books and when they do, it’s months after they were supposed to be released. Everything listed in the Top Ten is currently for sale.
5) I am human. I make mistakes. If you are aware of a title that should be listed below (keeping in mind all the rules above), please let me know and I will make sure to remedy the situation.
6) I get most of my information from All Pulp, New Pulp, the Pulp Factory mailing list and a few other sites. If you think I might miss your release, let me know in advance — drop me a line and tell me when it’s being released.

Without further ado, here’s the completely and totally unofficial New Pulp bestseller list as of right now (title, then publisher, then release date, then sales rank):

1) Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook by Various (Moonstone Books, March 2012) – 47,694
2) Under the Moons of Mars by Various (Simon & Schuster, February 2012) – 140,845
3) Call of Shadows by David Smith (Airship 27, March 2012) – 161,748
4) Sherlock Holmes: The Baron’s Revenge by Gary Lovisi (Airship 27, February 2012) – 303,215
5) The Destiny of Fu Manchu by William Patrick Maynard (Black Coat Press, March 2012) – 352,706
6) Dr. Watson’s American Adventure by Erwin K. Roberts (Airship 27, April 2012) – 533,052
7) New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 839,332
8 ) Pro Se Presents # 8 by Various (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 1,174,818
9) Pro Se Presents # 6 by Various (Pro Se Press, January 2012) – 1,180,168
10) Pro Se Presents # 7 by Various (Pro Se Press, Februrary 2012) – 1,182,697

Just missing the list were: The Moon Man Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 1,188,732, The Ruby Files Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 1,225,196, Heroes of Mars by Various (Pulp Empire, February 2012) – 1,506,547 and Lost Tribes of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins (Pulp Work Press, March 2012) – 1,946,189 .

Well, sales are way down from last week’s numbers — in fact, 7 of the top ten this week would not have qualified based on the sales figures from last week. The lone newcomer to the list is the Dr. Watson book from Airship 27, which debuts with solid numbers. While Pro Se leads the way with four books in the top ten, you almost have to give this week to Airship 27 — not only do their three books in the list all come in higher than Pro Se’s, they also had the unofficial # 11 and # 12 books, which only miss the list by a tiny amount. Given just another sale or two , Airship could have posted five books in the top ten… but they didn’t. Still, I think we’ve begun to see a real trend in the list as we evaluate the numbers: Pro Se and Airship 27 are hands-down the leaders in the small press New Pulp movement… but while Pro Se has pretty consistent numbers from week to week, Airship 27 is capable of hitting higher on the list, in general. Most weeks, the two publishers are neck-and-neck in terms of numbers of titles on the list but Airship 27 generally ranks higher in individual sales figures as Pro Se tends to hit the middle of the list as their “high point,” tending to collect a lot of the # 6-10 spots.

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

What Lies Ahead

I’m about 10k away from finishing the first draft of Lazarus Gray volume 3 so I hope to have that done by Friday.

Then it’s on to my secret Moonstone project, which shouldn’t take too long – it’s a short story. The characters aren’t my favorites but I understand them and the premise (which I was assigned) is something I have a lot of experience writing.

After that? I don’t know. A part of me wants to keep going with Laz and company – ride that wave until it crashes. But I also feel like doing something new so we’ll see.

Nobody responded to my question about rpg stats you wanted to see – I knew going in that posting those was mostly for me, anyway lol. I do plan to continue doing them, cause I enjoy it.

A new Ubergeeks is live! Check it out by clicking the link on top of the blog.

20120428-140954.jpg

Cover Art for The Rook Volume Two

Attached is the approved cover sketch for The Rook Volume Two‘s new edition, coming someday from Pro Se Press. George Sellas did this and he really knocked it out of the park — the villain in the background is Rasputin and he’s from “Kaslov’s Fire.” Is that all kinds of awesome or what?! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Also, thanks to all of you for making this the most “popular” month in this site’s history. We’ve shattered the old record for hits by a good margin. You’re all wonderful people 😉

Friday Things

We weren’t able to record a new episode of Ubergeeks last night but the plan is to do it tonight and upload it soon after. So stay tuned.

The end is in sight for Lazarus Gray volume 3. I’m currently at over 48,000 words for the book, which looks like it will contain two stories: “Murder Unlimited” and “Eidolon.” Another week or so and I think I’ll be typing THE END on this 2013 release. After that, I have a story for Moonstone to finish up and then I might start work on something for Jim Beard & Tommy Hancock. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

Tales of the Rook is in production so hopefully we’ll be seeing that one soon — I think folks will really enjoy the stories in this one. All of them are terrific pulp adventures told by talented guys – Ron Fortier, Bobby Nash, Tommy Hancock, Mike Bullock and Perry Constantine all have contributions to the book, along with a cover by Bob Hall and interior art by George Sellas. It’s going to be one of the best books of the year, I think (and, yes, I am biased).

Reading The Bat Staffel, the first G-8 novel. It’s terrific fun — I don’t think my prose will ever be as effortlessly “pulp” as these old guys did it. I’m jealous of their ability.

I’ll have something concrete to report about the Lazarus Gray ‘Origins” project by Monday.

The art for today is a production sketch for the new edition of The Rook Volume Two‘s cover. George and I ended up picking a slightly different design as we felt this one was a bit “busy”. I’ll show you the approved version tomorrow.

 

New Art — And More!

So work is speeding along on several fronts: Tales of the Rook going through formatting as we speak and should be on your shelves soon. George Sellas has already begun designing the cover for The Rook Volume Two re-release and is also working on the interiors. The menacing fellow at left is Shinigami, a deadly mirror image of The Rook from the classic adventure, “Blitzkrieg.” This is just a rough but man, isn’t it gorgeous? George is amazing.

I’m well over 30k on the Lazarus Gray novel, Eidolon. I think it’s going well but I still can’t reveal much about it until after Die Glocke is out. A lot of what’s in Eidolon builds upon that.

Hope folks are enjoying the rpg writeups I’ve been posting — so far I’ve done The Shadow and Lazarus Gray. If you do enjoy them, let me know what pulp heroes you’d like me to do next. I’ve thought about The Rook, Doc Savage or Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon… but I’m not sure yet.

Currently a Shadow novel, The London Crimes. After that, I’ll be reading a couple of G-8 novels and then on to other things.

Lazarus Gray Wednesday Part II: New Reviews!

Two new reviews have gone up at Amazon.com — let’s see what folks are saying about The Adventures of Lazarus Gray!

Jose Rivera posted the following:

I picked up this e-book on a random whim. I liked the cover, I like pulp-esque characters and I have to say this was a pleasant surprise. The mystery of who Lazarus Gray is, combined with a great supporting cast and some really interesting villains, kicked off my first experience with an E-Book. And what’s even more surprising is the fact that while each story can be viewed as a stand alone piece, there is a nice running thread which builds the tension.

Each villain in each story is a worthy opponent, running between alien menaces, a cursed mummy, cults and oh yes, a Nazi with an axe to grind with Lazarus.

I’m trying to avoid all spoilers here because I truly believe these stories need to be read and enjoyed. This book was right up my alley but I’m so happy I caught it randomly. It scratches me right where I itch and I hope to see more adventures of Lazarus Gray!

C William Russette chimed in with the following review:

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY by Barry Reese delivers everything that I was hoping it would. There is plenty of action, occult, happenings, a quartet of interesting characters and even a guest star from Mr. Reese’s other, likely better known character, The Rook.

I have read elsewhere that this is a character that is a sort of homage to the classic pulp character The Avenger. I’ve never read anything of said character so I went in blind save for the knowledge that Mr. Reese knows how to spin a yarn.

There are seven stories to be found within this collection. Some have seen print before elsewhere but they were all new to me. I won’t say that I liked them all equally (or disliked ANY) but that is only because we all have preferences. I lean towards the supernatural side of things and those tales Mr. Reese wrote involving Mr. Gray and Assistance Unlimited were great fun and interesting to read.

The pacing in every story is breakneck and frankly it makes the book rather hard to put down. I won’t give away anything as far as the plot goes. Pertaining to the characters of Gray’s team I will say that I find each every bit as interesting as the lead in the tales. I particularly thing that Samantha could hold a story or two all by her lonesome.

As far as being worthy to be included among the great tales coming forth from the New Pulp movement, Lazarus Gray and his crew have their place of honor cemented.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review, guys! I’m pleased that you enjoyed book one and hope that you’ll enjoy the sequel just as much. Look for volume two to drop sometime in July!

 

Lazarus Gray Wednesday Part I: Marvel Heroic RPG Stats

Lazarus Gray
Born Richard Winthrop

Affiliations: Solo D6   Buddy D8   Team D10

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Forgotten Past
Stoic Avenger
Inspires Loyalty

Power Sets:

Assistance Unlimited Gear
Weapon D6
Wireless Communicator D6
Limit: Gear

Specialties:
Combat Expert D8 or 2D6
Covert Expert D8 or 2D6
Crime Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Mystic Expert D8 or 2D6
Science Expert D8 or 2D6
Tech Expert D8 or 2D6

Milestones:
Assistance Unlimited
1XP when you assist a potential agent for the first time.
3XP when you turn down payment for a job or when you perform an act of justice without being hired by anyone.
10XP when you offer someone membership in Assistance Unlimited.

The Past Never Dies
1XP when you declare that Richard Winthrop is dead and that only Lazarus Gray remains.
3XP when you encounter someone from Richard Winthrop’s past or when you must deal with an occult relic from his time with The Illuminati.
10XP when you experience Mental Stress over the fact that you have lost emotional connection to Richard Winthrop’s memories.

Biography can be found in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray and subsequent volumes.

The “Classic” Heroes of New Pulp

So I’m doing research and reading into a classic pulp hero that I’m relatively unfamiliar with because I have a gig writing said character. Scary and thrilling at the same time because I know this character has some diehard fans. So I’m hoping to do it justice… but it got me to thinking: fifty years from now, are any of our New Pulp heroes going to be well remembered? Which characters, to this point, have the best chance of becoming ‘classic’ heroes? I figured I’d share some of the ones that I think might fit the bill.

A couple of rules that I set for myself were that the character should a real part of “New Pulp” so no revivals of Moon Man or Doc Savage, please. Those new stories certainly qualify as New Pulp but the character himself is from the golden age. I wanted new creations (with one exception, that you’ll see below). Also, there should be a body of work around the character. Yes, Captain Mega-X’s one novel might have been a real firecracker but until there’s more than one book about him, he’s not in the running as a classic New Pulp hero. My list, my rules.

So… in no particular order… let’s begin:

1) Dillon – Created by Derrick Ferguson.
Appearances: Dillon has so far appeared in Dillon and the Voice of Odin, Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell and Four Bullets for Dillon, with more on the way.
Qualifications: One of the most recognizable New Pulp heroes, Dillon’s writer is extremely popular. Dillon is capable of breaking out of the New Pulp crowd and reaching mainstream action/adventure audiences. There are no masks, it’s not a period piece and the fact that Dillon is one of the few great modern-day heroes of color all add up to make this a character with some real staying power.

2) Captain Hazzard — Reinterpreted by Ron Fortier (with assistance on book two from Martin Powell) .
Appearances: Python Men of the Lost City, Citadel of Fear, Curse of the Red Maggot and Cavemen of New York.
Qualifications: Though Hazzard dates back to the Golden Age, his one appearance (by Chester Hawks) was probably doomed to be forgotten before Ron Fortier redid Python Men and then launched the character into his New Pulp form. This is the only one on the list that give a break to in terms of it being a “new” character because I think that Fortier has really put the stamp on the character — any attention being given to Hazzard by others is, I think, thanks to Fortier’s work on him. A pleasant Doc Savage-style character, Hazzard is another one that could “break out” with the proper marketing.

3) Garvey Dire – Created by Joel Jenkins.
Appearances: Dire Planet, Exiles of the Dire Planet, Into the Dire Planet, Strange Gods of the Dire Planet and Lost Tribes of the Dire Planet.
Qualifications: Astronaut Garvey Dire finds himself lost on the dangerous world of Mars, trapped in its brutal past. Though the premise is rooted in ERB’s John Carter of Mars series, the action is intense and the stories are well-told, building up a continuity that eventually moves it beyond any kind of John Carter-pastiche. With five excellent volumes out there already, I think this is a character who has already established his staying power.

4) The Black Centipede – Created by Chuck Miller
Appearances: Creeping Dawn – Rise of the Black Centipede.
Qualifications: What’s that, you say? I’m violating my body of work rule? Well, it’s true that only one volume of The Black Centipede has been published to date but the character has been lived online for some time before that and Miller has a bevy of tales on the way. Given the pseudo-historical nature of the character, I think he can appeal to conspiracy buffs, history nuts, horror fans and diehard pulp hero readers. The way that horror and adventure blends together is intriguing and the way Miller weaves historical figures into the narrative sets The Black Centipede apart.

I thought about including Lance Star on the list but I didn’t want to break my “new” character rule twice and apparently Lance Star is a revival of an old pulp hero — though I’ve never seen anything but the Airship 27 stuff, so someone correct me if I ‘m wrong (EDIT: See the comments section for more on this!). There are other great characters out there (like Elisa Hill, Hugh Monn or the heroes of YesterYear) but they don’t have the body of work to warrant ‘classic’ status (yet). What New Pulp heroes do you guys think are on their way to becoming classics?

The Shadow (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

The Shadow

Affiliations: Solo D10 Buddy D8 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
The Shadow Knows
Mysterious Past
Implacable Enemy of Evil

Power Sets:
To Cloud Men’s Minds
Invisibility D6
The Shadow Laughs D6
Hypnotism D6
SFX: Add a d6 and step up Invisibility +1 in darkness or semi-twilight.
SFX: The Shadow’s laugh causes no physical harm but may induce mental or emotional stress.
SFX: Second Wind – Before making an action including a Power Set power, The Shadow may move his Stress Type die to the doom pool and step up the Power Set power by +1 for this action.
Limit: Conscious Activation

A Dangerous Life
Weapon D6 (.45 automatics)
Enhanced Stamina D8 (purple healing elixir)
Wall-Crawling Suction Cups D6
SFX: Dangerous – Add a D6 to Weapon for an attack action and step back highest die in pool -1. Step up Stress Type by +1.
Limit: Gear

Specialties:
Acrobatic Expert D8 or 2D6
Combat Expert D8 or 2D6
Covert Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Crime Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Menace Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Science Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Vehicle Master (Aircraft) D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Milestones:
Master of Disguise
1XP when you interact with a known NPC while in another assumed identity.
3XP when you must somehow protect your Lamont Cranston identity.
10XP when you must somehow protect your Kent Allard identity.

Allies in Justice
1XP when utilize a pre-existing agent for some minor role or when you tap a new agent to serve you in a limited capacity.
3XP when you utilize a pre-existing agent for a dangerous task or when you tap a new agent to serve you in a capacity where they actually encounter you as The Shadow.
10XP when you risk your life to save an agent from certain death.

New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 4/23/12)

It’s that time again! Before I unveil the Top Ten, let’s go over a few of the ground rules, shall we? Those of you who have been keeping up with the list for awhile will notice a few changes in how I’m doing the list!

1) This list only tracks sales through AMAZON. It does not keep track of sales through Barnes and Noble, face-to-face or anything else!
2) This list only tracks PRINT sales. We do not currently track e-books. Exactly how Amazon calculates those things is mostly a trade secret and they vary wildly from day to day. If I checked this tomorrow, the list could be very different. This list reflects sales ranks as of Monday morning April 23, 2012.
3) In order to keep the focus on new releases, eligible works must have been published within three months of the current date. So, since this list is being done in April 2012, I’m only looking at books published since January 2012. Please keep that in mind before complaining that Title X is not listed.
4) I am no longer tracking pre-release orders. Some publishers never actually release their books and when they do, it’s months after they were supposed to be released. Everything listed in the Top Ten is currently for sale.
5) I am human. I make mistakes. If you are aware of a title that should be listed below (keeping in mind all the rules above), please let me know and I will make sure to remedy the situation.
6) I get most of my information from All Pulp, New Pulp, the Pulp Factory mailing list and a few other sites. If you think I might miss your release, let me know in advance — drop me a line and tell me when it’s being released.

Without further ado, here’s the completely and totally unofficial New Pulp bestseller list as of right now (title, then publisher, then release date, then sales rank):

1) Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook by Various (Moonstone Books, March 2012) – 35,607
2) Sherlock Holmes: The Baron’s Revenge by Gary Lovisi (Airship 27, February 2012) – 39,088
3) Under the Moons of Mars by Various (Simon & Schuster, February 2012) – 112,487
4) The Destiny of Fu Manchu by William Patrick Maynard (Black Coat Press, March 2012) – 164,533
5) Pro Se Presents # 8 by Various  (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 192,039
6) Pro Se Presents # 6 by Various  (Pro Se Press, January 2012) – 192,120
7) Pro Se Presents # 7  by Various (Pro Se Press, Februrary 2012) – 192,126
8 ) The Moon Man Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 215,843
9) Call of Shadows by David Smith (Airship 27, March 2012) – 280,659
10) The Ruby Files Volume One by Various (Airship 27, March 2012) – 291,094

Just missing the list were: New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade (Pro Se Press, March 2012) – 426,543, Heroes of Mars by Various (Pulp Empire, February 2012) – 1,222,329 and Lost Tribes of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins (Pulp Work Press, March 2012) – 1,550,458.

Let me say that this is the strongest list I’ve yet seen in terms of sales ranks. The fact that all books in the top ten are selling at ranks below 300,000 is unprecedented since I started following this. The # 11 book this week would have been # 6 on the list last week. I’m not sure if sales were booming thanks to Pulp Ark (which took place this past weekend) or what but that’s great news for all publishers. Also, look how close Airship 27 came to having the # 1 book this week! That would have been quite a coup for the smaller press publishers who make up the majority of the list.

In terms of publisher action, we have five publishers in the top ten this week. Airship 27 leads the way with four books (# 2, 8, 9 and 10) while Pro Se is next with three (# 5, 6 and 7).

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.