Friday, June 9, 2017

A Newcomer's View of the PulpRev

Dominika Lein, author of, I, The One, posted an in-depth look at her experience with the #PulpRev.  It's gratifying to read about her experiences, as this is exactly the spirit that I've been pushing within the community.  I've lifted a few choice quotes, but you should really go read the whole thing:
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!


  1. Skepticism is healthy in any growing community, especially on the Internet. There are moochers, but something I didn't mention in my post but in topic to scaling potentials; look out for ill-intentioned Controllers as well.

    A different kind of moocher, they look to take control - of outlets, of PR, of various things like that. I.E. if someone jumped in, then started to claim being a Jeffro-like or Cirsova-ish figure without anything to actually show for it. They'll talk about and to the groups without actually talking WITH the community, often talking to people outside about the group they claim to be heading/in-charge-of. This class of moocher thrives on moderation powers, speaking for the group, and illusions of authority.

    However, from my interactions and observations, you're right that #PulpRev isn't stupid. Most are already aware of these types of denizens. It's an aside trait that's also kept me around actively. I respect and appreciate savvy Internet users who don't buckle under SJW pressure or even the prospect of such pressure.

    So my two-cents while scaling up; skepticism is necessary and healthy, but concern-trolling would only slow the movement down. The PulpRev crowd is wise enough to know the difference between the two.

    1. Pretty much. We're an anti-gatekeeper crowd. Entryists who decide to set themselves up as one are setting themselves up to fail.

  2. Hello Dominika, I don't think I have seen you around before. Where do you usually interact with the pulp rev crowd? I am always looking for new sites to peruse.

    1. Hi Blume, Google+, the blog that Jon linked, and Twitter usually.

    2. I am unfortunately deathly adverse to both mediums. I hate the Twitter format. I can't seem to follow it at all and google has been giving me access issues. But I hope to see you around.

    3. The Castalia House blog is really the central clearing house. The PulpRev conversations that don't start there at least make an appearance. If you have to pick one place to engage, that's the one.

  3. The thing that, in my opinion, makes the PulpRev crowd different from other writer's groups that I have been part of is that PulpRev knows how to argue.

    That is to say, we can have discussions on subjects where there is disagreement without schisming. Rawle and I disagree very sharply on "The Face In The Frost", for example--it's one of my favorite novels, and Rawle found it boring. Contrariwise, he loved "Three Hearts And Three Lions" and that one bored me to tears.

    Jeffro loves to talk about how great "The Empire Strikes Back" was--for me, that film turned me off Science Fiction entirely for years.

    Sky and I are both big fans of New Wave, but most of the PulpRev range from indifferent to actively hostile to most New Wave writers.

    Yet, somehow we manage to keep our disagreements civil. I think that is our main strength. If we ever lose that and degrade into name-calling or a fear of discussing subjects on which we have differences of opinion, the movement will be over.

    1. I can agree with you. You often have good points but I am one of the actively hostile to new wave crowd.

    2. On the flip side, it's a lot easier to disagree with people who make a good case for their position rather than resort to insults and snide comments. I disagree with Misha on the New Wave, but he's managed to dial back my burning hatred to a cool dismissal by correcting a few mistaken apprehensions I used to have about that movement.

      See also: Kevyn Winkless' mantra "Be a Wollheim, not a Michel."

  4. "Moon Full of Stars" was great - I just left a review on Amazon today.

    A few years back I was very active in Bruce Bethke's "Friday Challenge" group. That grew my writing significantly and led to my first sale.

    I'm getting back into fiction after a run of successful gardening titles. You are all quite inspiring.