Yesterday’s Book Bomb was a great success:
Our goal was to get some of our Sad Puppies slate out in front of as many readers as possible. I figure most people are familiar with our suggested novels already, so I’d concentrate on the shorter works, which are a much more difficult market to reach a large audience with, and way harder to bump up very high on the overall list. We started with the novella category, and if you’re an author with a novella, you know how rare it is to get novellas ranked up there.
Plus, Amazon tweaked its rating system methodology again so that they didn’t start updating their ranking until late in the afternoon, and they didn’t hit the peak numbers until the middle of the night when most of North America was asleep rather than surfing Amazon. If they’d updated normally I know from experience we could have probably moved a couple hundred more copies. Success breeds success, and when people see that they are part of something winning, they’re more likely to spread the word. The higher they get on the rankings, the more new eyes the works get in front of, the more sales are made, repeat until you are J.K. Rowling. Theoretically. 🙂
Despite those obstacles, a bold coalition of Sad Puppies supporters and courageous manatees were able to do the following:
One Bright Star to Guide Them went from #89,731 to #421 on all of Amazon, and #4 in its extremely competitive genre losing only to Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and Joe Abercrombie.
Big Boys Don’t Cry went from #52,018 to #483 overall, and #1 in multiple genres.
And Arlan Andrews, keeping in mind that this isn’t even our nominated work because that one wasn’t available on Amazon BUT he will email a FREE copy of the suggested work to any Sad Puppies voter who contacts him at firstname.lastname@example.org but rather this was just a link I threw up to make sure authors GET PAID.
Other Heads went from #403,337 to #1,003, and #1 of all science fiction anthologies.
I got the actual numbers from Kratman and Wright. I don’t have Arlan’s. Between those two the actual number of copies sold would be equal to about 20 good book signing events. (or what I’d consider at this stage of my career to be a good book signing, so probably 50 or 60 book book signing events worth of sales when I was starting out).
For novellas. Not books. Novellas.
The reason I’m accentuating this is because last week I was accused of trying to get you Sad Puppies volunteers to nominate without reading the actual works: https://monsterhunternation.com/2015/02/10/sad-puppies-3-update-2-1-addendum-to-prior-update/
On the contrary, with yesterday’s Book Bomb not only did we make it so more people would actually read the suggested works, the Sad Puppies suggestions will now be the most widely read things in that category. By far.
And we’re working on short stories and novelettes next.
Now, all of that is fine and dandy, and Brad really is sincerely trying to make the Hugo nominations represent all of fandom and not just one tiny, insular, politically motivated clique, but as a devout evangelical capitalist I’m all about authors Getting Paid.
Ask most Hugo nominees what their nomination was worth in terms of extra sales or increased fan base, and the honest answers usually range from “meh” to “a little… maybe?” That wasn’t always the case. Back in ye olde tymes it was a prestigious career boost, and the reason most authors give a damn about such prestigious career boosts is because it means our royalty checks get bigger. However, the preponderance of preachy award winning suck in recent decades has made getting awards a sort of disclaimer for the general consumer audience (i.e. all those nice people who pay our bills).
Accountant hat on. That’s bad.
Unlike the Social Justice Warrior contingent—who are all about telling creators what they can’t do, or what they can’t say, or which vocabulary words of the day are off limits, or how you’re doing it wrong, or other assorted forms of pushy, bossy, bullshit—I actually want authors to succeed and make a living writing what they want to write. I don’t want anybody walking on eggshells, afraid of causing outrage, and getting slandered as something-ist or something-phobic, because they crossed some invisible line.
The reason I can get away with pissing off these bullies is I GET PAID. I have enough fans that when they libel me in the Guardian or call me a wife beating rape apologist on Twitter, the lost sales don’t make a noticeable dent. The reason Neil Gaiman doesn’t give a shit about the screeching harpy brigade angry at him for calling his latest book Trigger Warnings is because Sir Neil GETS PAID. Hell, I probably only make what Neil Gaiman’s butler makes, but that’s still enough to insulate me from the SJW’s wrath.
One nice thing about being seen as the counter-culture “fun” side of this little battle (because SJWs have their fun surgically removed to avoid causing microaggressions) is that us plugging an author doesn’t cause the mass market to think to themselves, “Award winning? Oh, no… Not more dying polar bears and thinly veiled Dick Cheneys globally warming a bold post-binary gender world!”
The thing about SJWs? They are super loud, but there really aren’t that many of them, and as far as I can tell they don’t actually read very many books.
So, growing other authors’ fan bases? Getting authors from The Slatening in front of more readers? It wasn’t an original goal of Sad Puppies, but it is certainly a wonderful side effect.
So, next week, let’s bomb some more slate!
The numbers are still rising. Like I said, you get high enough on there, and you get even more new eyes on you.
One Bright Star to Guide them is now at #383.
Big Boys Don’t cry is at #430
Other Heads is at #883.
EDIT: They’re still climbing.Other Heads peaked at #883 and is currently at #893, but One Bright Star to Guide them is at #359, and Big Boys Don’t Cry is at #411.
How many novellas did we move? It is not my place to give out other author’s sales numbers, but to put this in perspective, the total number of nominating ballots for all the finalists in the Novella category of the Hugos in 2014 was 857. For just these three in 24 hours, we’ve more than doubled that.
So now that I’ve established Sad Puppies does want voters to read books, and my side actually buys books, I wonder what crazy shit they’re going to make up about us next? 🙂