Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Westward Ho!

In between discussing the classic monsters on Twitter I've been reworking my initial stabs at designing a western pulp.  I'm not reinventing the western pulp, but rather enhancing those aspects of the form that equate to creating a distinctive piece of media that stands out in a crowd of other pulp publishers.  You take one look at it and know it's a Pulp 2.0 Press book.

Let's face facts that I'm the "little guy" here, so Pulp 2.0 has to try harder to make something that speaks more to the western-reading audience than the multitude of paperback series out there.  We have to give the audience what it wants, but in a new and interesting way.  If I've done my research properly - that means I'll have a sale.

So I'm not just creating a book out of someone's tale, but rather creating a distinctive collector's item that has and holds value.  This is especially true for the print versions of the book which costs more than the digital versions we will eventually produce and release. 

So I'm pushing the envelope a bit in some areas, but my thinking has been  tracked on going back to the source material and seeing if there were some visual and design tropes we seem to have forgotten along the way as westerns moved from "dime novels" to "pulps" and on into "paperbacks" and hardcover books. I hope I can find some ideas within the 20 or so books I've downloa...er, acquired to review and dissect.  Thus far, I've found there are some book/pulp  design ideas that seem promising in that, "Oh, that looks interesting," sort of way. I'm not a big fan of western books (that's my father's area), but I'm a western serial fan. I hope to work in some of the details that speak to serials as well. 

All of our books have a "movie feel" to them - as if you've heard of that movie, but never saw it, and here you are looking at the novelization.  I come from a movie background obviously and tend to see things in those terms. That's while you'll find a movie "credit block" on the back of BROTHER BLOOD.  It's a blaxploitation movie that hasn't been made yet.

Thus far with this western, I've decided to go with a cream-colored paper to mimic that original pulp paper hue we all know so well.  If I can recreate that western pulp feeling then people like my father will buy into the whole story the author is pitching.. It's written in a very classic mold and uses "classic characters" (to say more would give it away).

 I'll keep you posted as to my progress. Something just arrived in the mail....


1 comment:

Paul Bishop said...


Seeing as you're on this western pulp roll, I have an extra copy of Pulp Writer by Laurie Powers -- the granddaughter of Paul Powers who wrote hundreds of westerns for the pulps.

It tells the tale of how Laurie discovered her grandfather's legacy, but is also filled out with Powers' own autobiography of his time writing for the pulps.

If you'd like my extra copy let me know and I'll send it on.