Self Published Pulp

I enjoy being in contact with other self-published authors. I like to get new ideas and see what other folks are doing.

Lucien Black has been on the sidebar for a while, but we just finished an email interview and now you can know what he’s really all about.

Tell everybody about yourself in a nutshell.

I started my writing career in 1993 when I self published my first comic book.  The book did fairly well, but like most self published works, we had little funding to continue producing comics.  I had so many ideas that I wanted to bring to print and worked for the next 12 or 13 years with various artists trying to self publish again.  Of course, I submitted my works to Marvel and DC and Image, but never received any work.  I did obtain a small job for a small publisher but that never saw print.  My wife convinced me to change my ideas to short stories and try publishing them in that format.  It took some convincing and some time to adjust the work, but as of October of last year, No Vacancies, Vol 1. is on the market and I can officially call myself an author!

Why do you describe your work as “pulp” fiction?

No Vacancies is a series of short stories, some based on ideas originally intended for comic books.  Most of the stories are multi-part and continue over future volumes of No Vacancies.  The genres are typically action adventure, horror, superhero, mystery, fantasy etc.  So it seems to fall into line with the traditional Pulp style stories of past. Classifying them as pulp helps to frame the concept of the series.  Currently I have about 14 volumes of No Vacancies planned.  The first volume includes two stand alone stories and two multi-part tales.  They continue in the next installment coming out May 7, 2009.

Do you read much old school pulp? If so, what are your favorite authors/stories?

I have not read much pulp fiction in the traditional sense.  I have collected, read and written comic books for years.  As I mentioned above, some of the stories were originally designed to be comic books.  With the way the industry operates, you have to be very well connected to land a job somewhere.  Since I lack the ability to draw, finalizing the product on my own was impossible.  With the short story concepts, I can control the production and final product with little or no interference.  I don’t have to rely on anyone to draw the ideas that I write.  Most comic book scripts contain pages of scene description, so the ideas are already there, they just need to be fleshed out for a traditional long fiction product.

Tell us about “No Vacancies: Volume 1.”

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Volume 1 of No Vacancies contains four short stories.  One More Sunday is the story of a detective investigating the death of the city’s superhero known as the Protector.  He is thrust into a world he really knew nothing about and as he pieces together the mystery of the Protector’s death, the detective gets closer and closer to the man behind the mask and becomes his advocate.  In the short story Devotion, Dr. Alastair Cromwell, a medical examiner, uses all of his knowledge and medical training to bring his late wife back from the dead.  The procedure has dire consequences and is sure to delight horror fans.  That leaves the first parts of two multi-part adventures called High Stakes and Outcast. In High Stakes, readers are introduced to Jack Ander, a man that has avoided conflict his entire life and is thrust into the middle of a situation that forces him to break out of his shell and be the hero that he could be.  This story is a bit confusing at first, as there are many characters to introduce, but as readers stick with the story, we will uncover a alternate universe where some the past comes back to haunt us.  Finally in Outcast part 1, readers are introduced to Nathaniel, a man on a mission to find the killer of his fiance.  He finds himself teaming up with a Hudson City Detective who just lost her family to the same man that Nathaniel seeks.  The two form a tenuous alliance to find the man responsible.  But the killer is merely a pawn in a much bigger game of secrets and deception.  Nathaniel holds some secrets of his own as well.

When can we expect volume 2?

As I mentioned earlier, Volume 2 is due out on May 7th 2009.  We are currently running a contest on our website at www.lucienblackbooks.com.  The lucky winner will receive a signed copy of No Vacancies Volume 2.  Check the website for more details.  In Volume 2, High Stakes and Outcast are back with parts 2 and there are two new tales.  One is the first part of a new multi-part series called The Independent Initiative the other is called the Last Cowboy and is a stand alone story.  I steer away from horror in this story, but future volumes I have a few new horror tales planned.

Why did you decide to self publish?

Self publishing was a route I could take and stay in control of my work.  I see this as a steppping stone to bigger and better things.

Why did you choose Lulu?

Lulu seemed like an obvious choice but I heard a lot of negatives about all of the providers.  When I actually received the final product from Lulu, I was so impressed.  It looked like a truly professional product. So right now, I am sticking with them;

Which distribution method did you use at Lulu?

I used the distributed by Lulu, which included the Amazon.com distribution.  That is their free offering.  I have not yet upgraded to the package that allows the books to be displayed on Barnes and Borders.  Cost isn’t necessarily a factor, I think I am waiting to have the spare time to start my book signings, that has been very slow going.

How long did it take to get listed on Amazon?

This might be my only bone of contention with Lulu.  The process for listing and receiving back sales is quite slow.  It took about 4-6 weeks for the book to appear on Amazon.  Then, I sat in silence waiting for my first sale to register, to date, I have no idea how many copies actually sold on Amazon.  I could care less about the revenue at this point.  I would just like to see my work in the hands of the readers!

How has your experience with Lulu been?

Again, the experience has been great.  Self publishing has its flaws, but overall great products!

Would you suggest Lulu to other writers who want to self publish?

Yes i would, but Lulu is only as good as the work you provide them.  If you want to pay them to actually do the layouts and cover, I am sure the product will be professional, but if you submit the work yourself, you should really know your graphic design, etc.  The product is truly only as good as what you give them.

What have you done to promote your book?

Promotion is the hardest part of self publishing.  We have our own website at www.lucienblackbooks.com.  We have blog and have posted info on other blogs.  We have some link exchanges and I have done a few interviews.  I am really looking at growing my fan base one reader at a time right now.

Where can folks learn more about you and your work?

Check out my website at www.lucienblackbooks.com.  The books are available on Lulu and Amazon.com.

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