Sunday, June 15, 2008

Besteller-dom and Lack of Linkage

I've just spent the last ten minutes trying to get a link to what I'm about to write about, but I was stymied by the odd choices of the New York Times' website and Book Review publishing strategy. The Book Review is available a week before the rest of the paper, sort of -- a few places in Manhattan, and maybe other locations, sell it then -- and the bestseller lists follow that "publication."

What that means is that the lists for this week -- the lists dated 6/15, today -- are now off the Times's website, since they're a week old. So the lists that readers are seeing in their papers this weekend are nowhere to be found online, but new lists, dated next week, are now available.

So a ding on the head to the Times for making things weird and confusing, and no link for you folks -- you'll have to trust me, or dig out your own papers.

What I started out to talk about was that the top three slots in hardcover fiction this week are all taken by fantasy novels -- Laurell K. Hamilton's Blood Noir, Stephenie Meyer's The Host, and Dean R. Koontz's Odd Hours. All are indisputably fantastic, and all three writers came out of a genre background. (Hamilton with a first novel from Roc and then, primarily, the earlier Anita Blake books from Ace, with a side tie-in TSR novel early on; Meyer in Young Adult fantasy; and Koontz, as those with long memories will recall, broke into print with Star Quest, one-half of an Ace Double.)

It doesn't mean we've "won," or taken over, or anything -- but it does mean that fantasy books, by genre writers, can sell as well or better than anything else. So whining about how ghetto-ized we are is not a particularly useful strategy at this point. Just FYI.


Brad Holden said...

(whine) But Andrew, these people no longer count since they escaped the ghetto. (/whine)

Less sarcastically, does the comic community still count folks who have really made it? I would guess that they do (but you would know better). SF&F folks have this weird hangup about wanting to be respected intellectually, instead of just popular. Actually, to be honest, most of this I hear from SF folks, but that could just be the circles I (mostly use to) hang in.

John Joseph Adams said...

Actually, Dean Koontz may have "broken into print" first in F&SF. His story, "Soft Come the Dragons," was published in August 1967:

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