Monday, October 20, 2008

Skipping Along Merrily

So I was out of town most of the last two days, when Friday's post On Being Skipped suddenly started piling up a huge (for me) number of links and my traffic numbers shot up. The visits for Saturday-Sunday-Monday aren't quite as high as the whole rest of the month put together, but it's getting close. (And 90% of that is "On Being Skipped.")

In case anyone is wondering if I plan any of this...if I had any idea "On Being Skipped" would be any more interesting than any other post here, I wouldn't have buried it late on a Friday evening before a two-day family trip. It all seems very random from where I sit.

I've had big spikes in traffic before -- Neil Gaiman linked to me when I asked "What Are the Great SF Novels of the '90s?" and a lot of people kept reloading a lot during my unpleasantness last summer, not to mention the more recent (and deliberately snotty) post King Canute Has a Posse. But I think this spike is bigger than the previous ones. (Though -- and I have to be honest here -- it's still only big for writing/publishing blogging; the political guys have nothing to worry about.)

The reaction to that post seems to be mostly positive, though a few people don't like my tone. (I'm afraid that's about as friendly and conciliatory as I get, though -- that is me trying to play fair and speak neutrally.)

No one has come right out and asked "what can writers do about this?" and that's good, because I really don't have an answer to that question. I do think that knowing more about the landscape can help writers, so I'll lamely mutter something about "spreading information" and then change the subject.

I do want to apologize to Greg Frost and Tobias Buckell for using them as the subjects of that post; I probably would have done things differently if I anticipated this level of interest. I do think that authors should know more about all aspects of the book business, especially retail, and that all of us in the field need to have a better sense of what the real numbers actually are -- but putting someone else's sales figures out in front of a large audience at least looks rude, and that wasn't my intent.

One other thing: the actual sales of those books are definitely higher than the round numbers I posted, since many sales are not captured by BookScan. But I was mostly talking about the big chains, which are included in BookScan's figures, so I thought the numbers (inaccurate as they can be) were close enough for that.

So: if you came here because of a link to "On Being Skipped," and you stuck around, welcome. This blog has a loose focus on books and publishing, but wanders aimlessly in other directions as well. The list of "Recurring Motifs" in the sidebar acts as a tongue-in-cheek index, and is also a decent quick sample of both my usual topics and my sense of humor (such as it is). I welcome thoughtful comments -- I write long, and I appreciate that in commentors as well. If you drop me from your blogroll in two days, I won't mind -- my own reading list has fluctuated wildly over the past three years, so I tend to expect that everyone else's does, as well.


SWILUA said...

I found you through a link to "skipped" and am really glad I did! (I'm actually working on a dissertation about book marketing, so how fortuitous to find that a book marketing guy blogs about it!) I subscribed to your RSS feed. The skipped post really was great, BTW. Thanks for writing it!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the very helpful information. I was linked to "Skipped" by George R. R. Martin's Not-A-Blog.

As it happens, I am assistant to a prospective author, and can use any and all information about the publishing realm that is within your power to divulge.

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