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Sunday, December 6, 2020

The State of the Loon: 12/06/2020


I should probably start making a point of posting these status updates every Sunday morning—which means writing them and putting them in the publication queue on Saturday evening, so hmm. More planning required. I have not had the luxury of having time to do “planning” since mid-2019, I think. I’m told it’s quite a useful thing to do and can be very productive, provided you have the time to both do it and then to follow-through on the resulting plans.

The most salient bit of news to report is that this is it. After 40 years in the industry and 20 years with this company, my career officially comes to a close this coming Friday. A tremendous lot of last-minute business is trying to cram itself into this last week, so if I seem distracted, I am. 

On the Rampant Loon Press front, this means I have decided to slide the release of Stupefying Stories #23 to Tuesday, December 15. Otogu the Insatiable, Devourer of Days, is demanding too many sacrifices this week. By slipping the release to 12/15 this gives me time to get the print edition finished, proofed, and uploaded to Amazon, and ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) sent out to all the contributors and potential reviewers, without killing myself. If Otogu is kind I will even have something like a mailing list up and functional in time to send out the release announcement. Having an RLP mailing list has long been a goal of ours. Now at last we have the time to do it. 

By pure coincidence, Stupefying Stories #18 reaches the end of its contract life and goes out of print on 12/15/20. We’ll have to do something to mark its passing—probably a free e-book giveaway—but as of this morning I haven’t decided…

Never mind, I just decided. Beginning Friday, 12/11/20, and running through Tuesday, 12/15/20, Stupefying Stories #18 will be a free download. And on 12/16/20, it goes out of print.

Therefore, here is your last chance to pick up:

AI, ROBOT • by Joel David Neff
A RING, A RING O' ROSES • by Simon Kewin
FROZEN TEARS • by Frances Silversmith
350 K IN MY SHADES • by Karl Bunker
SLOW STEPPER • by Juliana Rew
THE NORTHERN RECESS • by Fred Coppersmith
WHAT THE WITCH WANTS • by Aislinn Batstone
THE LIFE TREE • by Jamie Lackey

Hmm again. Interesting collection. For my money (and it is my money, isn’t it?) “AI, ROBOT” should have been on the shortlist for a plethora of awards but wasn’t, and I just love “350K IN MY SHADES.” There are a couple of stories in here that were originally picked up for theme anthologies that were subsequently strangled by Otogu halfway through development, so it makes for a strange mix, but I find it ironic in the extreme that this book contains stories by Jamie Lackey and Fred Coppersmith, just as we’re about to publish new stories by Jamie and Fred in issues #23 and #24. 

Anyway, that’s Stupefying Stories #18, going out of print next week, so get it now before it’s too late.

*   *   *

Meanwhile, what I set out to write about this morning was last week’s sales report. I’m pleased to report that the PRIVATEERS OF MARS launch went quite well, and to my surprise the print edition is selling much better than expected. This gives me the germ of an idea for future book launches, but we’ll have to conduct a few more experiments before I’m ready to begin drawing conclusions. 

I am also really pleased to see that creating the STUPEFYING STORIES PRESENTS catalog page has already paid off, in that we’re seeing more interest in JIMI PLAYS DEAD and THE BOOK OF JUDITH than we have in some time. This makes me happy because The Book of Judith was a true labor of love that got great reviews in the UK but almost no attention in the US, and I still believe in the book and want to turn that around. Again, I’m now beginning to get a glimmer of an idea as to how to do that. 

*   *   *

Finally, I am delighted to report that THE MIDNIGHT GROUND has at last hit the milestone of 50 published ratings on Amazon, and the average rating is 4.5 stars. Publishing lore has it that 50 reviews is the magic number, after which Amazon notices that a book exists and begins to help promote it. We shall see if that is true, but in the meantime, I’m also very happy to see that the daily KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) number remains high. A good KENP number indicates that people aren’t just buying it: they’re reading it. 

Attaboy, Eric!

And now, back to work.


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