Small Happy Dance

The hardcover of Old Man’s War is #12 on the Amazon SF bestseller list at the moment and #777 in all their books, which is not a bad place for a debut science fiction novel to be more than a year after it first showed up in bookstores. The Ghost Brigades is doing pretty not badly as well, at about #2,100, which is cool considering it won’t officially be out for another two months. I rather strongly suspect this has something to do with it. And when I say “strongly suspect” you should read “I really have no doubt in the slightest.”

Someone fairly recently said to me that I might be the first SF writer whose sales have come primarily because of being talked about online. I don’t think that is true — if anyone lays claim to that, I figure it would be Cory Doctorow — but it is entirely true that OMW’s relative good showing as a debut book comes substantially from the online world, both in recommendations from other bloggers, who have a level of recommendation trust with their readers that most traditional forms of media simply can’t touch (unless one’s name is Oprah), and in just me hanging about here, so that people can get used to my voice and get curious about the other things I do. If I had to guess, I’d say about two-thirds of my sales thus far have come directly from online recommendations and presence (and mostly, recommendations).

It’s difficult for me to overstate the online world’s importance to my writing career in this regard, and how pleased and genuinely humbled I am that so many folks online seemed to take on OMW, and discussed it in their blogs and journals and in online review sites. If you were one of these people, please believe that the thanks I give you now is sincere and genuine: what you wrote actually did matter for my book. Most books — and certainly mine — exist in a space where one-on-one word of mouth and friends talking to friends through blogs and journals makes a real-world impact on how well they do. So thank you. Really. It mattered, and it continues to matter.

6 Comments on “Small Happy Dance”

  1. There’s something to be said for the reason that Jim Baen funds Baen’s Bar. Sure, it’s a lot of fun…but Jim’s been pimping praising his writers online since the old Pournelle Byte days. And it works.

    Talking online about one’s book can’t help but be successful. Assuming that one’s book is actually worth reading.

    The flip side is that pimping a turd online, and that’s been done to a turn, still doesn’t turn that turd into worthwhile book. There still has to be worth in a work.

  2. I just want to say thank you for using ‘impact’ as a noun instead of a verb.

    Now I’ll definitely be buying more of your books.

  3. Oh, congratulations on that… although coming after the likes of La Gringa it’s like giving you a dollar after you win the lottery!

    Haha, I’m so out of date, too. Need to come by here more often.

%d bloggers like this: