A Change of Direction

Star Swarm cover

And now for something a little different.

The time has come for some restructuring, and I thought it prudent to share some of that news with whomever reads this blog or will read this blog in the future.

The cover you see above is for STAR SWARM, my next book. It is a departure for me, not only in length but also genre, as I am diving into the hopefully more lucrative genre of space opera. I still am planted firmly in the pulp world, and one day I plan on getting back to spinning tales of supernatural detectives and two-fisted heroes, but you can have roots and wings, and if I am going to keep doing this, it needs to be with an eye toward making some money, and New Pulp, while fun, just isn’t a money maker for me. So, if all goes according to plan, the book will be available for pre-order on September 22nd and launch on September 30th, my birthday (because why not?).

Along with this new direction comes some inevitable re-branding and restructuring. The biggest change will be that the website for my imprint Mechanoid Press will go away. The press will still exist; it’s what I publish all of my stuff under, but Mechanoid Press as a brand in and unto itself will be no more. It was just too hard trying to develop content and keep up maintenance on two websites. Then there’s the separate business cards, and the show signage, and the web hosting, and…you get the idea. Streamlining this thing was something I should have done a long time ago, but my concept was too ambitious. Instead of two separate sites I’ll create a Mechanoid Press page on this site that lists all the anthologies and books I put together and published as an editor featuring stories by other authors.

If you look down the right-hand side of the page you’ll see images of my books. I’m working on adding Amazon buy links to them now, so you can check them out with a single click. I hope you will do so.

With this change also comes a shift in focus. My days of producing multi-author anthologies are probably over. I say probably because you never know. Something might catch my fancy later on down the road, but for now it’s just too much trouble for not a lot of payoff. The anthologies and one novel Mechanoid Press has already published will remain in print, there just won’t be anything new in that vein, at least for the foreseeable future.

Paperbacks. In my experience, these are a tricky aspect of self-publishing. They can help sell e-books, but usually don’t sell that well themselves. I have trouble moving them at conventions, mainly because they are usually trade paperback size, and cost around $14.95 or more, a risk for someone at a show to spend on a new author. So going forward I will only produce a paperback if e-book sales warrant it. I don’t know exactly what that number is just yet, but I have a feeling I’ll know it when I see it. I still have one or two promised print editions, and I will get those out. It’s just a matter of money and finding someone to create the back cover and spine. Mainly money.

And those won’t be $14.95 trade paperbacks either. They will be traditional paperback size and priced accordingly. I miss the old days of SF paperbacks you could stuff into your back pocket. I think self-publishing and e-books have brought these smaller books back into popularity, and I intend to find out. I’m going lean and mean, writing science fiction adventures of 40-50k. I will try to put them out fast, writing either a trilogy or a standalone, and build an audience over time.

I know it isn’t a sure thing, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that there’s no such thing. Finding a decent paying job is now as much of a lottery as traditional publishing ever was, and I know personally several people who are making a nice living with self-publishing. Chances are great you’ve never heard of them, they don’t win awards, but they are paying their bills. And they don’t have to court agents or kiss an editor’s ass at WorldCon to make it happen. I will gladly throw my lot in with them any day.

So there it is, more or less. I hope those of you who have been with me so far will continue to stick around. It may not always be sunshine and roses, but it will always be interesting. I will be trying some new things and thinking new thoughts as I go through this process. So please stick around.

As for what’s up next, I’m writing a short prequel story to go with the book, and I will give it away to people who sign up for my newsletter. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, keep watching the skies.

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