Wednesday, February 8, 2012

State of the Books Address

So, finally all the books are released (well at least the hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook editions…there are still foreign language translation and audio books in the works), but now it’s just a matter of  “wait and see.” I think Orbit did an excellent job with the launch. Not only did they create a great fan page on Facebook, but they’ve also provided for premium placement in the bookstores, as well as advertising in Locus Magazine, Facebook, and Goodreads.  They’ve also gotten the books in the hands of a ton of review sites, and combined with Robin setting up a blog tour, I had some nice coverage for the rollout.

Hopefully people are starting to pick up the books. It may take a while to reach the top of To-Be-Read piles, but if they like them maybe they’ll tell a few friends and family members. At the end of the day it’s only word-of-mouth that will make the series a success. No more effort from Orbit or myself is going to make it catch fire – it’s all up to the books now and whether I wrote something that people enjoy.

I must say, that the launch has gone better than I would have expected. I thought it would take a while to “ramp up” but we really hit on all cylinders and showed strong pre-order sales even before the books were released.

  • While I don’t have hard numbers (one of the disadvantage of not self-publishing is you have no idea how many books have sold) indications suggest that the books are selling well. A second printing of Rise of Empire was ordered after only a few days for sale, and there has been both a second and a third printing of Theft of Swords. Orbit is keeping good watch on stock, but even so we actually ran out of Theft, and it became unavailable for a while on Amazon. The new printing is completed and there should be no problem getting the books at this time.

  • The books (both kindle and paperback) have consistently been dominating Amazon’s Hottest New Releases Lists both during preorder and right up until they become ineligible (30 days after release).  They have been found on the following: Historical Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Action and Adventure, Genre Fiction, Fiction, Literature & Fiction. It wasn’t uncommon to find all the eligible books (both in print and ebook) on the top 100 and often I would see all them in the top 20 having The Riyria Revelations take up 30% of the list. Also, all four kindle books (including Percepliquis) hit the #1 spot in at least one category and Theft of Sword and Heir of Novron hit #1 in both Historical and Epic fantasy.

  • While it’s great to make the Hot New Release List, the one that is even more important is the Best Seller’s Lists. Again the books have performed admirably both in ebook and paperback. Since we started watching the lists in early November there’s never been a time when the books haven’t been on multiple lists. Even now, approximately 10 weeks after the release of Theft of Swords the books are on the following lists:

·         #5, #12, #22, #68, #69, #98 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy: Historical
·         #23, #4, #62, #78 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy: Epic Fantasy
·         #58 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy: Fantasy
·         #80 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy
·         #28, #47, #82 Books: Literature & Fiction: Genre: Action & Adventure
·         #5, #12, #18 Kindle: Fantasy: Historical Fantasy
·         #18, #26, #45, #58 Kindle: Fantasy: Epic Fantasy
·         #43, #86 Kindle: Fantasy

  • The “Big List” as Robin has coined it is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Books list and it counts the number of days a book has been on it.  Riyria has seen 3 of the 4 titles make this list including:

    • Theft of Swords (10 days – over 2 periods)
    • Percepliquis (3 days)
    • Heir of Novron (7 days so far  – although it may be at the end of its run)

·            We got “oh so close” to making the Movers and Shakers List. This is for books that are under 400 in overall ranking and have seen a large movement in ranking over a 24 hour period. Heir of Novron hit 401 and hovered in the 400’s for a few days but never dipped below the magic number.

  • Sales outside Amazon have also been strong as well. PopVortex reports the top 50 Best Selling Fantasy and Science Fiction Books in the ibookstore and I’ve peaked in on it from time to time and found Heir of Novron ranging from #20 - #38.

  • Another venue is BooksOnBoard, who releases their Top 10 bestsellers in both the US and UK market. I was shocked that the 1/30/2012 UK list had Heir of Novron listed (the only fantasy book on the list) others on the list were a few “up and comers” like Stephen King and James Paterson.

  • I mentioned in my other post about hard covers in the Science Fiction Book Club and the books are hitting the Top 100 there as well.  Last time I looked the books were at #23, #28, and #38.

All in all a very respectable showing and I reached my first goal which was to not embarrass myself  or disappoint Orbit. I must say I’m curious where things will go from here. It could be we’ve had the “big hurrah” and the books will slowly climb in rankings (decrease in numbers sold), we may stay steady for some period of time (hopefully a long period of time) or we could see even better positions on the bestseller’s lists if that old word-of-mouth thing really does start a bonfire from the sparks that Orbit, and Robin, have created.

Whatever the future brings, I’m already a winner. I did exceedingly well as a self-published author and the series is getting a second chance with the Orbit launch. Kinda like eating my cake and having it too.


  1. Hey there,
    I would say you are more than a success! You made your dream come true. It's funny too that is happened after your sort of stopped trying to do it for anyone other than yourself (and your daughter). I am forced to admit I had not heard of the book until I saw the kick ass cover and picked it up. When I read the history of how the book came into being and how you started as a self published and small press author (near and dear to my hear) I immediately snatched it up. I have loved it thus far! Unlike yourself, I have read everything by Fritz Leiber and the tone is remniscient, which I love! So...the long story short is that you have a new fan!

  2. Great. It's good to know that you are endeavouring hard. And after achieving your goal, you consider yourself self-actualized. It really works to get more benefits and achieve more goals and opportunity


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