It's been a little over a month since I emerged from lurking to larval wiggling about in the PulpRev trenches. Time flew fast.
In my time as an independent writer for the past four years, I've never seen support like I've already experienced in the PulpRev community.
I would have never gotten that kind of support from a regular writing group or a place like NaNoWriMo...An aside: the only kind of support NaNoWriMo knows how to give is of two kinds; Rabidly cheerleadering "approved elements" to include in stories (you know) along with word counts regardless of quality and yet parroting the "proper ways to write" which ranges from mangled quotes of Strunk & White to Wendig blatherings to generic marketing/myths (which always includes "GIVE AWAY FREE COPIES ...(so I can get it for free)").The #PulpRev has experienced phenomenal growth over the last six months, with no sign of let up. We've attracted newcomers like Dominika and old hands as well. In addition to serving as a ready-made fan base, the #PulpRev features some of the most supportive fans around. We don't just buy each other's works, we do beta-reading, marketing, and encouragement, too. At least for now.
One thing that I don't have a firm grasp of yet is how well this atmosphere will scale. As the crowd continues to grow, will we ossify into the NaNoWriMo self-absorption, or will we continue to show the same level of support for each other? My guess is that it will scale perfectly. As more writers of good will enter the lists, they'll bring their own talents and time into the fold. That will increase the amount of support even as the number of people who need support increases. The overall level of support that any given writer receives won't increase - you'll still have two or three people beta-reading and reviewing and recommending your work - but the volunteerism will grow as the culture does.
The one thing to watch out for is the moochers. The guys who always beg for help, but never offer anything up in return. They will come, have no doubt about that. It's surprising that we haven't seen any of them yet, or if we have, I haven't seen them*. Perhaps they fade away when they realize that the #PulpRev crowd isn't stupid. We notice the little things, and without question, those who don't give shall not receive.
My advice, for what it's worth, is to continue welcoming new writers with open arms. Be wary, but welcoming. And start looking for ways to build up a stronger reader base rather than a writer base. Our weak link right now is that the people most drawn to the #PulpRev are those who have thought about what modern literature is missing and set out to correct its shortcomings. But there are throngs of readers out there looking for us who just don't know we exist. Once we crack that nut, you're going to see a quantum leap in our profile. Jon Del Arroz has been doing yeoman's work to that end, but the movement as a whole has a long way to go.
Which shouldn't be discouraging, but inspiring. We're going to be around for a fair few decades, even if it dwindles back to a few gaming bloggers writing stories for their own amusement.
Also, if you want to support one of the authors of this growing movement, you can do so by purchasing a copy of my latest #PulpRev novel, A Moon Full of Stars. It's post-apocalypse the way it was meant to be!