Friday, October 07, 2011


Back in the eighties and nineties, Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith ran a small press outfit called Pulphouse Publishing. They put forth a hardback magazine, various chapbooks, and other one-offs in what was the most prestigious of places to be if you were a speculative fiction writer. 

Eventually, the market killed them. Not because the stories weren't terrific, nor that they weren't selling them, but because the sellers weren't getting the payments back to the publishers fast enough, and the cash-flow problems became too great to keep it going.

Several of what I consider my best stories wound up in those pages. 

This is where I first heard the saying (from Dean) that if you wanted to make a small fortune in small press publishing? Start with a large fortune ...

Dean and Kris shut it down, and spent years making sure that everybody who was owed money was paid.

Along with the regular editions of the 'zine (and I call it that because that's what they called it, but it was a book-length collection of short stories), they did a leather-bound and slipcased edition, signed by the authors, which went for, as I recall, about sixty bucks a pop. So the entire set would have run you more than six hundred bucks over however many years it took for the eleven titles, plus a dummy of #12.. I took part of my payment for stories in copies because these were first-class books.

They haven't lost any value. After a discussion on a site where a poster claiming to be a teenager was asking questions and got looked at askance because he seemed to be far advanced for his tender years, I remembered that my daughter sold her first story (and first ever submission) to Kris for Pulphouse. Worse, it was a short-short, and even worse, my offspring was but seventeen at the time. 

First story. First submission. First sale. 

Um. Anyway, I got online and found that one set of the leather-bound Pulphouse was going for more than a thousand bucks, and that the starting bid for another set on eBay is around $370. That, by the by, is a steal.

I just suggested to Dean & Kris that they consider doing these as ebooks–there were some really good stories therein. I hope they do, because that would be a real treat for readers. 


The Daring Novelist said...

I would love to see an ebook copy of Pulphouse!

I suspect the problem would be finding and contacting all the authors to get the rights.

BTW, I sold a story to Pulphouse JUST before they decided to shut it down. I was disappointed, but I ended up selling the story to Cricket.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, the rights aren't clear, they'd have to start over from scratch. Too bad.

Mike Byers said...

I was more than pleased when Pulphouse bought my unicorn hunter story, "Heartshot", but they folded before it could be published. And so did the next two magazines I sold it to. After that, I figured I wouldn't submit it again, there being few enough magazines left.

Jim said...

First story, first submission, first publication...

Obviously the result of Daddy's great guidance and influence on the writer!