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bear by san

March 2017



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writing plot octopus

the kids of tomorrow don't need today

A cool thing came in the mail today, which is to say, my Random House royalty statements. Royalty statements are kind of fascinating, not just because it's how I get paid, but because I can do things like watch the market share of ebooks burgeon over time. Or that mysterious thing where book two of a series sells fewer copies than either book one or three. (How does that even work?)

This was a particular good batch of royalty statements, though, because it came with the news that, nearly nine years to the day after it was published, Scardown has sold through its advance. (Hammered sold through much much more quickly, but it was my first novel and it had a lower advance--and frankly, better early sales.)


These books did super-well for first novels. They won me a Campbell (not a Hugo) award, and they also collectively as a trilogy (since they were all published in the same year) won the Locus award for best first novel. Hammered is in its fifth printing, the last time I checked.

For those of you who have joined me in the years since they were published, the Jenny Casey series concerns the adventures of Canadian Master Warrant Officer (Ret.) Genevieve Marie Casey, a foulmouthed fiftyish disabled vet who is seriously out of fucks to give, in a post-climate change future in which I anticipated smartphones but made the mistake of using mid-line 2002 predictions of what we could expect in terms of global warming effects.

Jenny still has my favorite voice of any character I've ever written. There are spies, badass older women, teenage girls who think they know how to save the world, morally ambiguous antagonists, space travel, perfect storms, an A.I. who thinks he's Richard Feynman, a loving homage to Jonesy the Cat, and my warning shot across the bow to anybody who thinks any of my characters might ever have plot immunity.

Still, talk about a slow burn, right? January 2015 will be Hammered's 10th anniversary, and all three books were published in the same year--2005. They'd be in fifth grade, if they were people. How does that even happen?

The thing that made me laugh out loud and text my friends, though, was that I have learned that Worldwired is $58.11 (fifty-eight dollars and eleven cents) from earning out its advance.

That's approximately a hundred (100) copies at mass market paperback rates.

And so I would like, in a completely self-serving fashion, to remark that the entire series makes a great gift*!

*for any of your cyberpunk, near-future thriller, or military-SF-loving friends.


I loved those books!
Thank you!
Good books. Glad the first two have earned out.
Thank you!
Or that mysterious thing where book two of a series sells fewer copies than _either_ book one or three. (How does that even work?)

The idea of that happening has not previously crossed my mind. But I wonder if this accounts for most occurences of that sales pattern: book one sells X number of copies. Not all of the buyers like it enough to follow the series, so book two has fewer than X sales. However, by the time book three comes out, book one has been in the used market (and in libraries, in your friend's collection, and available via piracy) long enough that people have read book one for used price or free, deliberately sought out book two at lower than new price, and then found the only way they can read book three is by getting it new.

I have seen something like this happen when customers come in looking for a specific series, although it isn't limited to customers looking for book three. It usually happens with books that initially release in hardbound. A customer will come in, rave about some series or author they've discovered, and then grumble that the only way they can read book two or three (or fifteen) is by getting it new.

Edit: misplaced an apostrophe.

Edited at 2014-05-09 06:34 pm (UTC)
Alas. Well, if they want any more of those beloved books, eventually buying a few new will ensure that.
Conratulations on this!

Edited at 2014-05-09 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Just wanted to let you know that because of you I now have another "buy ASAP" author--Max Gladstone. Thanks for that. :-)
This seems like as good a place / time as any to tell you that I ADORE Jenny Casey and those books. Just, thank you.
Thank you!
The Jenny casey-trilogy is one of my favorite sci-fi series - with Jacob's Ladder.

And I love that we get a damaged, middle-aged heroine, who's very human but also kinda badass.

The Jacob's ladder series just blows my mind - that whole, weird and organic world inside the generation-ship is just so well done.

I own almost all of your books, and I push them on my friends as often as I can.

I love your fantasy as well - and am really looking forward to reading Range of Ghosts.
However, I find it difficult to find really good sci-fi and your books are it - so I was wondering if you're planning to write sci-fi again at some point?
I'll be writing two space operas for Gollancz, actually. The first comes out in 2016.
What's funny, is that I have been thinking about buying e-copies of the series to replace the battered and bruised paperbacks that are hiding somewhere in my house. How do e-pubs play out, or did your contract take that into account back then?
They pay slightly better than paperbacks. *g*
Most excellent!

It's a

great series. Well told, entertaining, and satisfying.
They were the first books of yours I bought after Charlie Stross pointed you out as a writer to watch.
It's hard to believe that it's been almost 10 years since Hammered came out - I remember reading your LJ before it came out. Are you sure you're not just messing with our heads? ;-)
We're just old.