I do not often comment on the book industry, mainly because it seems silly to talk about something I know little about.
But I am an observant person. Let me observe for you!
Not too bad for something shipping next year.
Obviously, Larry’s blog is widely read and he has a non-zero following. Why is Larry’s book so popular in such a short amount of time? I can surmise several reasons:
One, this is a reprint of a book he already published. That is an interesting story unto itself, but that is not the focus of my post. Anyway, at the height of the buzz for his POD version, he got with Baen and YANKED the book, leaving a void. This is where I first noticed Larry’s book. My book buying experience went like this:
Hey, a book about monsters from a gun guy. I AM SO GOING TO BUY THAT.
Ops, book is no longer available to order from Amazon. Huh. Well, let me look for a new book somewhere else.
A week later—can’t find it. I guess I will buy it used or from an alternate bookseller.
Ack, there are now no used books. I have to wait until 2009 to read it.
A copy of MHI shows up on ebay. I snag it for US $25.00.
I devour the book, read it again and note used copies are going for $200-250, and giggle like a school girl. Ha ha ha ha I have my collector’s copy, bitches, ha ha ha ha!
Ahem. Anyway Larry has a few other things going. He did a viral marketing campaign for the original book by writing a bunch of shorts for a popular online forum. He ended the campaign with “and if you liked that, buy my book!”
Another reason is his blog. Larry is a conservative ranter plugged into the firearm bloggers. Larry can rant like no one else, and his blog is popular because of its well-written take on contemporary issues that would interest firearm enthusiasts.
That community is significant. In general it is well-read with above-average income. A book recommendation from one of these sites carries weight. An actual book written by someone plugged into the community even more so.
Finally, and most importantly, Larry’s book has a good buzz because it is just so darn good. Really. I posted on Amazon (for the POD version) that his voicing was great and the book, even when it went technical, did not talk down to me. As a reader with more than a passing familiarity with firearms, I cannot begin to tell you how refreshing it is when a writer, ironically writing about monsters in an urban fantasy, ignores the crap in popular fiction and Hollywood about guns and tells it like it really is.
In any event, surprisingly 4 of my readers of this blog are agented writers (which is a little frightening to the Hack Writer), one author’s book is nearing street release. There are also aspiring writers who visit. My message to you: you do not need to be a B-movie fan, firearm enthusiast—nor a conservative commentator—to study and appreciate the book sales and career-building Larry is presently engaged in. It is a fascinating look at online communities and fiction writing. His blog has several good summaries on his writing career, check it out.
And buy his book: I am selfish. I don’t want to buy a gun from Larry, but I would love to read more of his fiction!