And Now, Some Marketing Coverage

There’s an article up today at Online Media Daily about how Old Man’s War initially got its momentum online, particularly through Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds championing the book (along with Cory Doctorow, Stephen Bainbridge, Eugene Volokh, and Stephen Green). Among other things, it gives the impression that getting a mention of your book on Instapundit is the blogosphere equivalent of being an Oprah pick, and you know what? It pretty much is. Glenn is the Goliath in his Army of Davids, which may cause him some pleasant cognitive dissonance.

One error to correct, however, which I figure stemmed from me being unclear: I made the comment that “In effect, Glenn hand-sold my book to 200,000 of his readers,” which the author of the piece took to mean that I’ve sold that number of books to Glenn’s readers. Glenn’s Instapundit daily readership is around that level, and I meant to imply what Glenn did was personally recommend the book to that many people. The actual sales of OMW are quite healthy, particularly for a first novel, but in fact somewhat less, at least for now. Incidentally, this is one of the very few times in your life when you will see an author publicly note he’s sold less than previously suggested. So, you know, enjoy.

Aside from that erratum (which I’ve noted to the author, so it may even be gone by the time you see this), an interesting piece.

As long as we’re mentioning errata, this SCIFI Wire piece on the Lori Jareo New Hope incident notes that the story broke here at the Whatever. I think it’s true the story sort of metastatized into a true online kerfuffle from here, but I can’t claim discovery; I got the story from Nick Mamatas, who in turn got it from Lee Goldberg, where as far as I know the story originated. Unlike the Associated Press, I believe in routinely naming my blog sources.

20 Comments on “And Now, Some Marketing Coverage”

  1. I confess nothing!

    Nah, Nick’s journal is on my daily list of reads. The man’s perfected Web snark, you know.

  2. I wouldn’t know who you are were it not for Glenn’s repeated mentioning of OMW. I bought it and TGB and hit your site’s daily since Feb. And I know I had put OMW on my amazon wish list in 2005 because of Glenn. Yet I’ve still not ordered ‘Army of Davids’. I’ll get to it.

  3. Tuesday morning at 9:30 central and Amazon still has the Jareo book for sale. Amazing.

    They have to know. They have to have heard from LFL’s lawyers by now. A reader on the Amazon listing’s discussion thread mentions that he e-mailed Amazon about this and got a form letter in reply mentioning some nonsense about requiring proof from the copyright holder. I’m starting to wonder if this is an ethically challenged company that we should be dealing with.

    Anyway (he added pimpishly) I couldn’t resist blogging about the current plagiarism trend in writing last night. Just when you think people couldn’t get more ridiculous than James Frey, they do.

  4. I actually heard about OMW on, I think, boingboing. So I suppose you can blame Cory Doctorow for that one.

    Anyway, I’m just enjoying the Hell out of it! Can’t hardly put it down to attend to my husbandly & fatherly duties ;) Very, VERY well done, Sir!

  5. John:

    Not to pry, but you have seemed reasonably open to questions about your business model in the past.

    I have noticed that you don’t run any ads on the Whatever. You are popular enough that you could probably bring in some significant revenues this way…Any reason why you have held off on this?


  6. All I know is: I found OMW through InstaPundit, loved it (and I’m not really much of a SciFi guy), and am now just trying to find the time to sit down with Ghost Brigades.

    One question though: is Glenn merely the Oprah of the blogosphere, or also the nearest approximation of an Oprah for men? I know he has female readership too, but can anyone name someone who would better fit that description?

  7. Yes, I’m another of the many that Glenn sold the book to. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance for quite a long time to sit down and read it (a move across country will do that to you). I just finished it about 2 days ago and it was wonderful. I’ve recommended it to several other people even before I had finished it – and now I’m going to find Ghost Brigade.

    Since I like the way Glenn writes, and the other books he has recommended, I had no doubt I would like this one too. The Oprah comment made me laugh… I’ve never read a single book she’s recommended.

  8. I read your book after a couple of recommendations from Instapundit and after finding it around my area. (And just got done with Ghost Brigades–nice one as well.)

    Quality hard SF is so, well, hard to find sometimes. The Intarweb thingy is a good way to spread the word.

  9. I also read the book because of Instapundit and will dissent from the absolute praise. It was an OK book for the first 80%. The last 20%, however, blew my socks off. That was my adult son’s reaction also. I plan to get Ghost Brigades because of that last 20%. “Always leave ’em wanting more” worked in vaudeville and apparently works in sci fi as well.

  10. Well, to his credit, Glenn Reynolds got me interested enough to at least look at the book, but it was the description on the back cover that really sold it.

    Sadly, I did not pick up a copy that day because I had so much to read already. Now my list is thinning and I can’t find a copy. Fortunately, I discovered a Barnes & Nobles recently that seems to do a great job of stocking sci-fi books, so hopefully I can snag a copy before my weekly plane trip.

  11. Oops.

    Also meant to mention, if I like Old Man’s War (whenever I finally find it) I promise to pick up a copy of Ghost Brigades and whatever you write next.

    Probably a pretty poor bet on my part, as I tend to be easily entertained.

  12. Count me among the throng that discovered OMW via Glenn..Ghost Brigades was a given at that point.

  13. First- I have not read OMW. I found you in my search for well written blogs. It is on my to-read list however.

    Second- You made me laugh, I liked your jab at the AP. Thank you.

  14. Somebody must have done *something*, since “Another Hope” is now (1 pm CDT) shown as “Not Available” — including all those used copies — but you should check back in case it becomes available later.

    Just guessing that isn’t too likely.

  15. I blame John for making me buy OMW. I saw it at my local bookstore and the blurb intrigued me enough to go to Amazon and look him up.

    The reviews sounded like it was a good read, so the next time I was at the store I bought OMW. Bought Questions (via Amazon) when it went on sale. Have now ordered TGB. Will be buying Last Colony when it becomes available.

    Man, John makes good cra–err, books, that’s it books.

  16. You can blame Glenn for me buying both Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, and loving both of them.

    BTW, thanks for putting Agent to the Stars online! Being able to read that (and laugh my a** off through the whole thing) was what clinched me making said purchase.

    When are you coming out with a sequel to OMW, anyway? I’m waiting with a fistful of dollars . . .

  17. I just read Old Mans War and Ghost Brigade and loved them both. I heard about them first on Instapundit and Volokh. Keep up the great work and I’ll keep buying. Thanks.

  18. Very nice piece on you and your book, and interesting to see the tainted concept of “vanity publishing” beginning to evolve into the more respectable “small business”. Your approach does seem like a much more satisfying alternative to launching a book (or, in your case, a series of them) than begging publishers to pay attention. Publishers are so overwhelmed with submissions that rejection becomes a reflex.

    The comment (in the story) comparing Reynolds/Oprah shows a limited understanding of demographics on someone’s part (or maybe it’s just another case of a writer in a hurry). Glenn and Oprah have substantial audiences – but there’s little or no demographic overlap between the two. That means, a book Oprah would embrace is probably not a book Glenn would mention. (And vice-versa.) That’s easy to test by checking out his and her recommended books over the past few years. (As one of your commenters noted, she wouldn’t have bought your book if it had been mentioned by Oprah. And, I’m sure Oprah’s viewers don’t even know who Glenn Reynolds is!)

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