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Weekly Sales Check

Let’s saunter over to Amazon.com and see what’s selling, shall we? The top five bestselling Barry Reese titles at Amazon.com are:

1) The Adventures of Lazarus Gray (Pro Se Press)

2) The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files (Moonstone)

3) The Rook Volume One (Wild Cat Books)

4) Savage Tales of Ki-Gor, Lord of the Jungle (Wild Cat Books)

5) Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island (Wild Cat Books)

You have no idea how proud I am to have Lazarus Gray (my love letter to the Avenger) and The Avenger at # 1 and 2! Guan-Yin frequently gets savaged in reviews but it sells well (probably because of that Lorenzo Sperlonga cover!)

Awards Season Is Approaching!

Awards Season for the New Pulp community is just around the corner — sometime this month the Pulp Ark guys will start requesting nominations for the 2012 awards and the Pulp Factory Awards will be coming along not long after that, also seeking out nominations. For Pulp Ark, the main requirement is that the story/book has to have been published in 2011. For The Pulp Factory, it’s the same plus it needs to be set prior to 1940 or in the far future. Hey, they get to set their rules so no complaining!

Anyway, the following are the things that have been published in 2011 that are eligible for the Pulp Ark Awards. I added PF after the ones that would also be eligible for Pulp Factory. I’ll let everyone know when nominations are open, as well as how to vote (the Pulp Ark voting is open to anyone who makes nominations but the Pulp Factory voting is open only to members of that group). Here we go:

BOOKS
The Rook Volume Six
The Adventures of Lazarus Gray (PF)
The Damned Thing (PF)

SHORT STORIES
“Summer of Death” – The Green Hornet Casefiles
“The Devil’s Workmen” – The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files (PF)
“Desolation” – How The West Was Weird, Volume Two (PF)

COVER ART
Jason Levesque – The Damned Thing (PF)
Anthony Castrillo – The Adventures of Lazarus Gray (PF)
Ed Mironiuk — The Rook Volume Six

INTERIOR ART
Anthony Castrillo – The Rook Volume Six
George Sellas — The Adventures of Lazarus Gray (PF)
Kevin Duncan – The Damned Thing (PF)

The image accompanying this post is by Anthony Castrillo and comes from The Rook Volume Six.

The Bestselling New Pulp

So every week I jump over to amazon and check to see what’s selling among my titles. But this week, I decided to do something different — I listed out 10 recent New Pulp releases (books from the past few months) and then went and checked their Amazon Sales Ranks.  This is not meant to be taken as a full list, mind you — it was literally just the list of 10 recent books that I could think of  at the time.

Now, 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.

But these are the sales ranks as of Monday Morning October 31, 2011 (Happy Halloween, btw). These sales ranks do not include sales from any site other than Amazon — so they don’t include Barnes and Noble or face-to-face sales or sales through any other website. It’s only sales through Amazon. As an example, I know that Fortune’s Pawn is the bestselling book in Pro Se’s history but a large percentage of those sales obviously did not go through Amazon (at least not recently). So you have to take these sales ranks with a grain of salt.

But it’s still kinda interesting.

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

1) Doc Savage: The Desert Demons by Will Murray – 57,919
2) Deadly Games by Bobby Nash — 110,294
3) The Adventures of Lazarus Gray by Barry Reese – 191,612
4) Creeping Dawn: The Rise of the Black Centipede by Chuck Miller – 254,905
5) Halloween Legion by Martin Powell — 287,159
6) The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files by Various — 289,681
7) Four Bullets for Dillon by Derrick Ferguson — 333,029
8 ) Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston, Jr — 360,749
9) The Green Hornet Casefiles by Various  – 794,351
10) Fortune’s Pawn by Nancy Hansen — 2,140,604

Upcoming Appearances

I’ll be a busy boy in November! I’m speaking to about 45 teenagers next Thursday, answering questions about writing and getting published. Then I’ll be a guest on The Book Cave the week after that, talking with Ric and Art about The Adventures of Lazarus Gray.

I’ll be a guest at Virtual Con the weekend of the 11th, taking part in an online convention from the relative security of my webcam.

Later in the month, I’ll be doing a writing workshop in Macon entitled Making the Most Of Murder and Mayhem.

Recently submitted my guest application for Dragon Con 2012 and I’ll update you guys about how that goes. Pulp Ark 2012 looks doubtful for me but we’ll see.

The Rook: The Killing Games

At left is the cover to The Killing Games — art by Bob Hall and colors by Tom Smith. When the book will be out, I’m not sure — but it’s going to be part of a new Pro Se format, similar in some ways to Moonstone’s Widescreen books. It’s a short story with lots and lots and lots art accompanying it — basically a splash for every page of text or so. Should be interesting. Interiors are to be done by Pete Cooper. I think you guys will really enjoy the story!

A New Review of The Rook Volume Two

Veteran author Mat Nastos posted a review of The Rook Volume Two over on the Barnes and Noble site. Here’s what he had to say:

This was my first exposure to The Rook by Barry Reese and it was a pretty decent read – I read the ePub version that was $1.99. If you’ve ever read a book or story featuring one of the “mystery men” types of the 30s-40s (or, like me, remember them from cheap paperback novels in the 70s) – characters like The Shadow, The Phantom or Doc Savage – then you’ll know exactly what to expect here: lot’s of action and lots of simple, straight forward fun. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the adventures of the Rook, who takes a lot of inspiration from the aforementioned Shadow and Phantom.

The book is made up of 6 short stories all featuring Reese’s leading man, the Rook, and most guest starring a rather blatant (but enjoyable) Russian Doc Savage knock-off, Leonid Kaslov. The first tale, Kaslov’s Fire, is the best of the bunch. The rest are all enjoyable but feel way too short – most have solid build-ups with rushed endings.

All-in-all, The Rook Volume 2 was a really solid nod to the “men’s adventure” stories of the past and very well written. My only recommendation is that you pick up the eBook for $1.99. I’m not sure I’d have rated as high if I’d paid the $11.95 asked for a print copy.

Thanks to Mat for taking the time to post his review! “Kaslov’s Fire” has always been a very popular story with fans of The Rook. The only thing I would add with regards to the print vs. eBook argument is that the print versions contain interior illustrations. Volume two features some great pieces by Ver Curtiss!

My Days In the RPG World

I’ve always loved tabletop roleplaying games. I’ve played literally dozens and dozens of different systems but my all-time favorite is the D6 system invented by West End Games. They used it most famously in their Star Wars games from the late 80s through the 1990s. Elegant simplicity.

So after I’d been writing at Marvel for awhile, I decided I’d branch out into other avenues. I knew Nikola Virtis fairly well, since I ran a fansite devoted to West End’s DC Universe game and she’d been nice enough to send me some free stuff. When I asked if I could write for them, she put me on a book called D6 Space: The Fires of Amatsumara. By this time West End had lost the Star Wars license and were trying to reinvent themselves with various in-house setting. Amatsumara was basically Firefly, with a few modifications. When Nikola described it to me, it was Firefly-meets-Cowboy Bebop. Anyway, I was assigned about half the book to write and given a ton of free reign with the character. Basically, the high concept of the setting and brief descriptions of the planets were already in place but I had to flesh them out, fill the planets with characters (and stat them out!), then give a bunch of story ideas for each. It was fun and I included a few of my own homebrew characters in the setting, figuring that this would be the only one way I’d ever see them in print. I enjoyed it quite a bit and even started work on a second book for them (The Long Winter, about an earth frozen in ice after another Ice Age) but it was cancelled after I’d written about 8,000 words.

And then… well, I kinda wanted to get paid. I had a contract, after all. But West End didn’t send that check… and when I called the phone number on my contract, it had been disconnected. Uh-oh! So I tried emailing the guy in charge (not Nikola — she was always aces with me) and wouldn’t get a response, again and again. So I posted about it on the WEG message boards, which did two things: it finally brought the publisher’s attention to me (he wasn’t happy) and it brought out a bunch of fanboys who jumped all over me because they would have been glad to have worked for free. As I explained, I loved West End, too — and you know, I might have worked for free if they’d asked me to. I really dug the company and its system. But they didn’t. They offered me a contract and I felt I should get my money. I eventually did but it was well over 18 months after they had initially said I would get it.

I then did a book called Godsend Agenda: U.S.E.R.’s Most Wanted, which was basically a collection of villains. I got to dream up several dozen villains and stat them out — they used a variant on West End’s D6 System, so I was right at home. I enjoyed the experience and the folks at Khepera Publishing were easy to deal with. They wanted me to do more for them but I got too busy with the pulp stuff and never did.

And that’s my exciting adventures in the roleplaying game world. I learned that rpg publishers are, by and large, living on the edge financially. Anyone who thinks comics or pulp sales are low should look at the lower-tier rpg publishers to feel better about themselves. But the rpg world is filled with fans and it’s nice to see people working on things that they love. I’m glad I got the chance to work with WEG and Khepera.