Michael Coorlim: Self-Published Steampunk

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cogsmenMSelf-publishing saved Michael Coorlim’s life. After stints as a retail clerk, a security guard and a janitor in a mental hospital, he directed his efforts into supporting himself through writing. It came with lessons in self-promotion, marketing, and cover design. Somewhere in the time he spends on composing steampunk novelettes and series, he answered a few questions.

1. As an author, what drew you to steampunk?

It was the confluence of a few different elements that drew me to steampunk. I’d been a casual fan of the genre as an offshoot of cyberpunk for some time, and I had begun to associate myself with the steampunk theater company Terra Mysterium. This came at the time I’d begun to embark upon my path as a self-published author, and I could see that steampunk was becoming less niche and more marketable to the mainstream.

2. You write several series. Do you think of them as ongoing projects or self-contained units?

My steampunk series Galvanic Century is on going. Grief is self-contained, though I may revisit it in the future. Profane Apotheosis is planned to be a three-season episodic serial, though it might extend further. I’ve got a fourth alternate history superhero series that I’ll be launching as a free weekly web-serial, Hero Historia, that will run essentially until I get tired of it.


3. What is the arc of the Galvanic Century? What make is galvanic?

Galvanic Century’s hook is the use of 19th-century pseudoscience as its deviation from the normal timeline. The conceit isn’t that technological development isn’t deeper than it was in the real world, but broader, with paths that didn’t work or weren’t explored being exploited to their fictional potential. “Galvanic” science – the wide body of properties ascribed to electricity during the era – is one of the primary elements we explore, from Tesla’s wireless power to Frankenstein’s reanimation.

4. Do the Galvanic Century, Profane Apotheosis and Grief series tie together at all?

They share certain themes and an element of tone, but each is set off in its own little world.

5. As a self-publisher, could you comment on the advantages of flesh-and-blood (or paper-and-ink) books vs. eBooks?

I like physical books. I like owning them; I like having them on a shelf. I like being able to take them into the bathtub. I make paperback editions of everything I publish available. That said, they don’t sell as well. I think that the convenience and lower price-points for eBooks are the deciding factor for many people.

Bonus question: As an admitted foodie, what makes a good Chicago meal?

What I like about Chicago is its position as a crossroads for world cuisine. There’s a tremendous variety in the food I have available to me, much of it locally sourced. There’s a great network of farmers’ markets, and you can really feel like you’re part of a food-based community.

Visit Michael Coorlim at mccoorlim.com.


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