I’ve been asked a few times by curious folks whether I knew how many people have looked at “After the Coup” since it went up on Tor.Com two weeks ago. As it happens I do, but I needed to get permission to share the numbers. Now I’ve gotten that permission, so I can tell you that as of about 6pm this evening, Sunday, August 3, 2008, the “After the Coup” page on Tor.Com has been hit 49,566 times. Factoring out return visits, search engine spiderings and the like, I suspect the story’s been read (or at least visited) by about 40,000 readers.
By way of comparison, here are the most recent subscriber numbers for the “big three” science fiction print magazines, gacked from Warren Ellis and his annual “science fiction magazines are going to hell” screed:
Fantasy & Science Fiction: 12,831
Combined, their subscriber rolls add up to 49,887, a number which is coincidentally very close to the 49,566 hits “AtC” has gotten so far.
Bear in mind that comparing hits to subscriber numbers is a squirrels to tangelos sort of comparison: As noted, each hit does not necessarily equal a new reader, and while there’s probably a fair amount of overlap in the subscriber rolls of the “big three” (if you subscribe to one, you’re likely to subscribe to two, etc), each individual copy of each magazine is likely to be read by more than one person. No matter how you slice it, however, the number of readers “AtC” has had so far compares very favorably to the number of readers it would have gotten in one of the big three magazines. That’s not bad considering Tor.Com’s been around for just two weeks. It’s safe to say it’s hit the ground running, and I thank it for letting me and my little story ride on its coattails.
What these numbers mean in the context of the science fiction short story market as a whole I leave to others to argue violently about discuss, but if you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to share them in the comment thread.