I respect the work ethic and powers of the pulp authors. From Lester Dent, to Michael Moorcock, a lot of stories I deeply respect were written by men who had a formula for their skeleton, a deadline, and the objective of churning out prose as quickly as possible. The king of Pulp in my imagination is Burroughs, whose John Carter of Mars stories form a founding stone in my concept of manly storycraft.
I recall hearing (and will not look it up because I don’t want the myth, if it be a myth, to be dispelled) that Rudyard Kipling heard Burroughs had made a crass, marketable pastiche of his Jungle Book, namely Tarzan. Kipling responded by saying he respected the hustle.
I, too, respect the hustle. And right now, thanks to the internet and specifically Amazon, we are enjoying a Pulp Renaissance. The intersection of ebooks, email lists, and Amazon’s marketing algorithm have made it possible for a passable storyteller to at once hone his craft also and make a decent living through sheer volume of output.
But this recipe just doesn’t translate to Kids’ books. Kids want full color illustrations. Parents want physical media to hand their kids. Print on Demand means we can (as I have) dodge around the New York spinsters who gatekeep kids books, but Print on Demand paperbacks cost twice as much as the products made by Authorized presses.
But what if there was a way for children’s stories to participate in the Pulp Renaissance? Well, I think there is. I’m not going to spoil it, because the idea came from another man and would be disrespectful to let the cat out of the bag before we go to market. Feel free to speculate in the comments, though, as I’m sure it’s not the only way and I’d love to see what other people come up with.
The purpose of this post is not to figure out how to make kids’ pulp possible. The purpose of this post is, assuming kids’ pulp is possible, to create and test a formula for cranking out bedtime stories like a madman on crack whilst remaining both sane and crack-free.
Let’s establish our objectives.
Lets sort this!