(Momentary) King of the Kindle

This is nice:

It won’t last — Stephenie Meyer fans, outraged that their leader was deposed even momentarily, will no doubt purchase Kindles for the sole purpose of buying electronic copies of The Host, thus putting her back on top. Also, I expect to be visited by a teenage vampire death squad any second now. But until I’m turned into a bloodless husk (or, alternately, a carrier for an alien intelligence — you get options with Meyer!), it’s still nifty.

Related to this, I’ve been made aware of the first week sales numbers for Zoe, and I’m happy to say they look very good — it’s had the best first week sales of any of my hardcovers. Which is a huge relief, I don’t mind telling you. ZT is the first book where I’ve actually been worried about how it would be received (part and parcel of trying to write from a point of view substantially different from my own, i.e., the “teenage girl” thing). So that part of my brain can start to unclench now. If you were part of the First Week Purchase Brigade, you have my thanks. You’ve helped my sanity.

36 thoughts on “(Momentary) King of the Kindle

  1. GO YOU!

    I haven’t been able to pry MY copy from my son, so I’ll let you know next week (when he’s back in school) how much I enjoy it–which I expect to be a lot, from his comments.

  2. As one of this week’s hardback ZT purchasers, I found that the teenage point of view was pretty authentic, and maybe stronger than the girl point of view–it could be that Zoe’s seemingly casual attitude about friends and dating is more modern than I remember it from when I was a teenage girl, and therefore it will be more appealing to today’s teenagers. Maybe some of your women advisors are younger than you are? (If not, how do you DO that?)

  3. Bought it last Tuesday, finished it on Wednesday, *then* gave it to my daughter (you got the order wrong, Fiona @ 12:53). Really good, John, and congratulations on the sales numbers — they’re well deserved.

  4. /wave!

    I bought it on Sunday and finished it Monday night. Good stuff. I hope to get to talk with you about it for 2 minutes or so at DCon.

  5. That’s great to hear. I’m not very far in yet, but already enjoying ZT and finding it hard to put down. I know you don’t have much control over it, per the eBook FAQ, but I know I, for one, would have much preferred to save a few trees and buy ZT for my Kindle, but because I wanted to have it right away, I had pre-ordered it quite a while ago, and at that time Amazon had no indication that it was going to be available for Kindle so soon after its release. So if there’s any way your publishers can, y’know, let us all know in advance when eBook versions are likely to come out simultaneously with the “real thing”, it would be awesome!

    Keep up the great work!

  6. You’re welcome!

    Glad to contribute to book sale spikes for both ZT & TLC’s paperback issues!

    I loved Zoe’s Tale – bought it on Wednesday, finished on Friday.

  7. Will there be a tee-shirt for the FWP Brigade? I imagine it has a graphic of the cover and maybe some stripes on the sleeves…I’ll take mine in a ladies medium, please.

  8. Great to hear! Though I’m not sold yet on the entire ebook thing, and especially not the Kindle. I’ll let all the early adopters pay $350+ for that; I’ll buy one a few years from now when/if come down to under $50. I think that’s a reasonable expectation; I paid around $3000 for my first laptop in 1999, you can get a much better one today for well under $1000.

    Whatever the format, Zoë’s Tale is a seriously great read. I love how you managed to write a believable teenage girl (and thanks to Krissy, MWK, and all the other women who helped you with that), while still managing to instill in her a measure of your trademark Scalzi snark. Your ability to write from that POV will likely only improve once Athena becomes a teenager.

  9. My copy of Zoe arrived about 10 minutes ago, courtesy of Amazon.com. I have extended tent and lounging in the woods time planned for this weekend, where Zoe’s Tale will almost certainly be read. Then I’ll pass it along to my teenage son, and maybe my 12 year old daughter after that (depending on the content…)

  10. ZT was interesting. I admit I was worried that it would be more like “Ender’s Shadow”, which to me seemed explicitly designed to try and fix some of the plot holes and inconsistencies in “Ender’s Game”, and which single-handedly kept me from purchasing any further works in the enderverse, but it really didn’t do that at all. While it did fill in holes, none of them were of the ‘here’s what was _really_ going on, you fools’ variety.

    So, well done, I say.

  11. Not only did I buy it on day one, I sold it on day one too. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book and still have my copy to read over and over again. But I do work at a bookstore and we had a few copies to sell that day.

  12. I’m an early adopter of the Kindle and it’s made my life easier. Maybe it is $50 down the road but the $350 now saves me space in my carry-on when I’m flying. Also has lead to unusual conversations with strangers which in itself is good.

    I bought Zoë’s Tale and read it on Saturday. Problem though, what to read next?

    Also, when I first read one of the Scalzi novels on the Kindle I wrote and asked him if others would become available. Now, after the fact I feel stupid. I learned later he had a FAQ here that says he doesn’t know these things. Still, his response was incredibly polite and not the sort of RTFM response one might typically receive from someone who probably receives that question dozens of times a day.

  13. Unfocused Me,

    I know, I know, but it’s great when a 13 yr old grabs a book from me and runs away with it.

    I checked at the library, but there are only 8 copies & over 40 requests, so I’ll just wait until my kid is done with the book or goes back to school.

    I reread Last Colony instead—not a bad way to spend my reading time last week.

  14. This week ZT arrived in the bookstore I work. The cover looks even better in RL. Not yet read it, but hopefully that will change soon. * cough, cough*

    Anyhoo, my boss told me a few weeks ago a little secret about how to sell books that are just collecting dust and not getting bought. The trick is to pick them up and say in a loving and caring manner: ‘ Someone nice is going to buy you today!’ You can add a hug as well, but that’s a little bit to much for me.
    To my astonishment I’ve actually seen it work a few times now.

    So this week every morning when I come in I pick up a copy of ZT and give it some heartfelt encouragement.
    Although to be honest ZT is doing really well on its own. It has been selling fairly well, considering Europeans and especially the Dutch like to wait for the paperback to come out.

    Not sure how one could do this with an E-book, though.

  15. Bought it on Thursday morning (on my way to the office) with a fraction of my poker winnings from the night before. Had it finished by Saturday morning.

    Dammit, Scalzi! You made me cry! Also, you made me laugh my ass off a couple of times, so all is forgiven.

    Great read.

    Now how long do I have to wait for The High Castle?

  16. I’m a little behind the curve in that I only just bought my copy of The Last Colony today, but I turned all the rest of the copies face outwards for you. And Zoe’s Tale was there too, already facing out.

  17. I loved ZT. I thought you did an awesome job with Zoe; she’s not just a believable teenage girl, but one I’d like to meet. It hasn’t been that long since I was Zoe’s age, and I felt like she was authentic. What’s more, her personality kept me engaged regardless of more or less knowing how the plot will turn out. It felt like listening to a friend with good storytelling skills- whether you’re hearing it fresh or for the thousandth time, the pleasure’s in the telling. I’m not usually so gushy, but I was really, really impressed, and really grateful to have an interesting, realistic, smart female character added to the land of sci-fi. Thanks!

  18. Oops. Having put all the Meyer’s books including The Host and also Zoe’s Tale on my beloved Kindle I fear I’ve ruined things for you.

  19. As someone who’s just found your blog within the last month or so could you please recommend somewhere to start in your fiction? I get the impression that the latest book may not be it.

  20. Actually, as each of my books is written as a standalone, and Zoe’s Tale in particular is meant to be so, you very easily could read that one first.

    That said, most people start off with Old Man’s War.

  21. Another rave review for Zoe’s Tale! I was running errands and made the mistake of reading this while lunching alone at a sub shop….tears were streaming down my face and I ran out of napkins when the attack occurred! You know which one (I don’t want to spoil anything). More at the end of the book, but now I was home and we all do the same.
    I found Old Man’s War last year, just before The Last Colony came out and was so impressed that I passed it around to my household and all of my friends. Then I began recommending it to all of my customers (I work in a bookstore) and we sold out of all of your books in just under a month. After re-ordering, I made sure to watch the count and keep these in stock. Young and old, male and female, every customer has come back to ask me about your next book. Another customer and I bought Zoe’s Tale on the same day and he finished first. Loved it! So from one old lady and one yuppie, THANK YOU!

  22. Yay first wave of buyers. I bought it the first day it came out and read the whole thing over the weekend. SUCH a good book. I was almost crying at one point. Yeah. mmmm

  23. Hi, John.

    I had the opportunity to read Zoe’s Tale this week and polished it off in one day. I was really looking forward to this book, as I am with all of your fiction since I first discovered you, and feel you did a fantastic job of retelling The Last Colony while still keeping it interesting and moving at the breakneck pace I’ve come to expect. Kudos, sir. Thanks for Zoe’s Tale. I eagerly await your next book.

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