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A new pulp age?

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an award-winning mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy writer, has a fabulous series of articles on her website about the upheaval in the publishing industry, and this quote really jumped out at me:

In some ways, we have returned—almost instantly—to the days of the pulps. The faster the writer is, the better the writer is at storytelling (not at writing pretty sentences), the more the writer’s works will sell. The better the writer is at business, the more profit she will make from her own writing.

The transition that we’re going through, this paradigm shift, will be particularly tough on the classically trained writer, the one who has bought all the myths about writing slow, about the importance of each word, about how stupid artists are about business. Those writers will have to change the way they think about writing before they can even start learning the tools they need to survive in this business.

I should probably put this in some context. She is talking about the necessity of writers to control their own destiny, to not sell all their rights to the big publishing houses. This means that in a sense, she’s right — long-term success as a writer means that we’ll have to produce more.

But does that mean authors will have to sell at the 99-cent price, like million-seller John Locke? Even Amanda Hocking admits that not everyone will have that kind of success.

And do these changes necessarily mean a return to the pulp age?

You can find the full series here — it’s well worth your time if you’re interested in the publishing world. You should also check out her complete bibliography. It’s a little scary — I stopped counting at 30-odd novels, and I hadn’t even gotten farther back than the year 2000!