I need a favor from the Monster Hunter Nation

Today, I want to talk a little bit about why you guys are so awesome, and then once I’ve got you sufficiently buttered up with flattery, I’m going to ask you a favor.

For a relatively new writer, I’m doing pretty darn good. A couple of years ago I was a self-published nobody. I just wanted to write a book that was a salute to B movies told from the perspective of the heavily armed side of society. (i.e. My People)

I stuck Monster Hunter International out there on a few gun forums, and my advertising mainly consisted of blogger friends like Mad Ogre, Lawdog, Preacherman, Tamara, and others telling their readers to check it out.  And you guys did.

Apparently y’all liked it.

All of a sudden  MHI was a hit. A lot of things fell into place. Believe me, I was more surprised than anybody. It blew up huge. Baen picked me up, and from there MHI did even better.

Now here we are, just a few short years later, and I’ve got a slew of books coming out, I’m nominated for a Campbell, the 2nd MH novel was a NYT bestseller, and I’ve sold the rights to make an MH TV show.  (nothing new to report on that yet).

I get asked all the time how I pulled this off. Trust me, it wasn’t me. It is because my fans are just that friggin’ cool. Ever since the first book came out, you guys have taken pride of ownership in the MH universe.  I’ve got pictures of people sporting the patch all over the world, quite literally. There’s MH fan fiction! People are dressing as MH characters at parties and cons! When you get a picture of a guy running the door gun on a Blackhawk in Iraq or a Ranger riding in the turret of an uparmored humvee in Afghanistan, sporting the MH Patch, it hits you. Holy crap. These folks really like this stuff I made up.

That’s humbling for a writer, and I promise to try and not screw it up.

So that was the flattery part. Now for the favor.

The third Monster Hunter book comes out next month. Monster Hunter Alpha turned out excellent and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. The eARC came out a little while back, and the feedback and reviews on it have been great.  It is an Earl Harbinger novel, and he is such a badass that writing him is really a lot of fun. Basically, in any situation, I ask myself “what would a tough Clint Eastwood character do here?” Then I take it up a notch. In MHA, I got to expand the history and scope of the MH universe, introduce new characters, new adversaries, and set up the next couple of books.  Monster Hunter Legion (Owen) and Monster Hunter Nemesis (Franks).  

So please tell your friends.

That’s the favor. Word of mouth is the best advertising ever. If you guys like MHI and MHV tell your friends to go get Monster Hunter Alpha. (preferably on preorder or the week it comes out) MHA comes out on July 26th.  If you’ve got a blog, and you want to plug me there, I will say nice things about you to your friends.  Facebook, Twitter, bathroom graffiti, I don’t care. Share the love!

If you want autographed copies, here is where you go to get them:  http://www.unclehugo.com/prod/ah-correia-larry.php  (I’m doing signed bookplate stickers this time, because I can’t afford to fly to Minnesota again, and it is too expensive to ship 10 cases of books to Utah, have me sign them, and then ship them again).  If you want personalization, put that in your instructions. I’m flexible like that. (however, keep in mind there is only so much space, okay? Last time I had a few people ask me to write small novellas, and there is only so much space on a book plate!)

If you don’t care about my lightning-like signature or a lovingly handcrafted MH smiley face with horns (or is it a penguin, you decide), you can get it at most bookstores, every B&N, or Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1439134588/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1T854VBN44ETA49JBWQT&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Now, on the preorder or release week thing, let me explain. Here is a little peek behind the curtain into the publishing industry.  This is a very competitive business. Making it onto a bestseller list spurs future sales and boosts your career. The biggest and toughest one to get on is the NYT. MHV made it to #27 when it came out.

Some of you may remember when I went around with an idiot about how this meant that I wasn’t a *real* bestseller. Let me break this down. The NYT is broken up into fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. We’re looking at fiction. The NYT only shows the top 35 fiction books in three categories. (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback).  So I’m competing against every paperback fiction book on sale in the country.   

This next part is important. It is based on books sold during that week.  So you can have a book that sells ten thousand copies in a week, and zero copies the rest of the year. That book will be a NYT bestseller. You can have another book that only sells a thousand copies that week, but sells a thousand every other week of the year. That book will sell way more copies than the first one, but it will not make the NYT.  That’s called velocity. 

The velocity part is why the release week (and the preorders that ship that week) are so very important.  A book will normally sell the most when it first comes out.  So, barring something that comes along later to cause a bunch of publicity (Movie adaptation, Oprah book club) you either make the list when you release or not at all. 

Okay, so how competitive is it?  Take a look at this list of urban fantasy releases in July:  http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/06/fiction-affliction-diagnosing-july-releases-in-urban-fantasy-and-paranormal-romance

There are 30 books in the same genre as MHA coming out in the same month. And that is just Urban Fantasy. (which I think is a silly place to put a novel that takes place entirely in rural upper Michigan, but they’ve got to shelve me somewhere).  That doesn’t count fantasy. That doesn’t count sci-fi.  And all of fantasy and sci-fi are tiny compared to the thriller market.  And thriller numbers are nothing compared to romance.

And we’re all competing to get on the same list.

So, for those 35 slots on the NYT that week, an author is up against literally hundreds of other new books.  The week Hard Magic came out, on Nielsen Bookscan (which is like the Nielsen TV ratings, but tracks most of the book sales in the country) I the 19th bestselling fantasy novel in the country, and that wasn’t enough to get onto the NYT. And that was with having something like 8 True Blood or Game of Thrones novels ahead of it.

And there is a lot of marketing/advertising money pushing some of these books too. I love my publisher, but we are not that big compared to some of the Manhattan giants. I’m pretty sure their monthly doughnut budget at a few of those places is bigger than our entire annual advertising budget.

The kicker of all this is that despite how dang hard it is, you guys still managed to put MHV on the bestseller lists. That is one hell of an accomplishment.  During MHV’s release week on the Nielsen Bookscan, it was the #4 fantasy novel in the country. That’s impressive.

Basically, I’d like to do it again.

So please spread the word, mighty Monster Hunter Nation. MHA is out on July 26th. Let’s kick some literati ass.

Awesome news
Contest to win a Monster Hunter Alpha galley proof copy

0 thoughts on “I need a favor from the Monster Hunter Nation”

  1. This is not a problem… Oh wait, it is a problem….What if we’ve already bought the eARC… still not a problem, buy a hardcopy to share with friends.

    This actually worked in reverse for me, friend conveniently “forgot” to return MHI paperback, but while they can take my hardcopy, they can never take away my eBooks! Freedom!

  2. Do copies that ship from Amazon preorders count for that “first week sales” purpose? Or just copies sold in stores?

    As for the word of mouth thing, well, I’ve got that covered. I think my friends would rather me shut up about you at this point. 😉 But hey, your books are truly awesome. I can’t think of one so far I haven’t read several times.

      1. Presumably so:
        “About the Best Sellers

        These lists are an expanded version of those appearing in the July 3, 2011 print edition of the Book Review, reflecting sales for the week ending June 18, 2011.

        Rankings reflect weekly sales for books sold in both print and electronic formats as reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles. The sales venues for print books include independent book retailers; national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; university, gift, supermarket and discount department stores; and newsstands. E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats.

        E-book sales are tracked for fiction and general nonfiction titles. E-book sales for advice & how-to books, children’s books and graphic books will be tracked at a future date. Titles are included regardless of whether they are published in both print and electronic formats or just one format. E-books available exclusively from a single vendor will be tracked at a future date.”

  3. So I had been planning on buying the e-book from directly from Baen (not the e-ARC) as soon as it was available. Would this be counted or do only dead tree versions count?

  4. They closed down the book store close to me, but I will make sure i drive the 23 miles to get my 3 copies the 1st day it is out, and if it is anything like all your other stuff, read it straight thru then post to facebook and my blog.
    Good luck

  5. I just have to say that I was really excited to see that MHA was set for the most part in my neck of the woods. Michigan Monster Hunters Represent! I will totally do my part in helping you get MHA on the best seller list. I already talk it up to all my friends and I will make damn sure that my gaming group get copies to help as well. We’re playing in an MHI world and they love the concept, so it isnt going to be a hard sell.

  6. Not a big fan of Facebook (too many old highschool faces I’d rather forget about that keep popping up and requesting friend status), but I’ll have to log on and sing your praises, Larry. I’ve got Alpha (and Dead Six) on preorder from Amazon, Hard Magic arrives sometime this week or early next, and I’ve been telling all of my literate friends (well…the two I know of, anyway) about your books. It may be small, but I’m doin my part!

  7. My question is, who wasn’t already going to buy it on release day? I’m sure you’ll make it again. No doubt in my mind.

    Thank you for the best book series I’ve read in a long time.

  8. I’ll gladly pimp your book, and I’ll tell you why: I just finished *Hard Magic*, and I think it was a leap beyond MHI: Vendetta, which was itself a big improvement on MHI, which hooked me immediately.

    You’ve gone from a guy writing a fan-service story for gun nuts to a guy writing stories that stand on their own. The last scene between Jake and one of the other characters (no spoilers!) literally made me tear up a little. I’m a sappy guy nowadays, but it actually pulled me out of the story a little because it was so surprising that that could happen in a story about shooting people with magic and giant guns.

    No disrespect to your audience of internet gun nuts (they’re My People too) but you’re growing beyond us and the newer fans are probably already coming in from other parts of society. The internet gun nuts should love Hard Magic, but you wouldn’t have to be one to love it.

    Besides, I’d do just about anything for Earl.

  9. Larry,

    My son and I have ran about high and low telling folks about how we met you in City, Country and (some time Fanasty realm) called Berkeley Ca. So adding your lastest work to that task would be a simple pleasure for us. I am pre-ordering My copy this week, My son has pre-ordered his all ready! As always it IS My pleasure to read anything you put out!
    Regards

  10. Been doing this long and loud ever since MHI :). Longer and louder with MHV. The chorus grows 🙂 as it should!

  11. Larry, I have a personal policy with writers.

    When I discover one I like, I devour their material and tell my friends who will be (hopefully) at least remotely interested.

    Happened when I discovered David Drake’s books, same with Weber, Turtledove, and Card. Assimov and Heinlein were already dead when I was introduced to them, but I still recommend their best works all the time.

    And the same is happening with you and with my latest “discovery” (based, in part, on some things you said about him in a post or afterword or something), John Ringo.

    So, you bet I’ll tell folks. Heck, since I just got the e-version of MHI and MHV after I’d already read the paperback (I got a kindle shortly thereafter), I even gave away my paperback copies in order to get a friend hooked.

    So, you bet I’ll tell my friends. How can I not. I love your work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother forking over my hard-earned money for it :).

    Some call that brute capitalism. I simply call it fair trade. You put out stuff I love reading. I give you money in exchange for it and in order to keep you doing it, I encourage my friends to do the same.

    Good hunting!

  12. Already have it pre-ordered through Amazon, but I’ll ping Uncle Hugos for a signed copy. Gotta keep up with the collection, after all.

  13. I’ll get two- one for me and one for a friend who writes wonderful, accurate and detailed novels about blowing things up and shooting large firearms.

  14. Hi Larry,

    I had an idea. Does anyone know about. any charities or USO related programs where you could buy a copy of a book and donate it to soldiers on bases or overseas?

    I’d be interested in doing that if I knew where to send it.

    -Scott

  15. So far I’ve found this one. I like that you tell them the genre of books you want to donate and they find the address and the soldiers that have requested that genre. http://www.operationpaperback.org/
    Looks like you have to buy the book and then ship it yourself to the soldiers base USPS. At most that’d be 12.50 or so for Flat Rate box(that you could then fill with other stuff too) or just ship it Media mail if you’re only sending books alone (which should be cheaper). Sounds like a good family activity for a monday night.

  16. Thanks Paul, that would be workable for those of us who already bought the e-arc version of MHA, but want to still be able to help out when the new book arrives in July.

    -Scott

  17. “When you get a picture of a guy running the door gun on a Blackhawk in Iraq”

    That’s me!!!! Squeeee!!!!

    Ahem.

    Making a note to pay for my pre-order on the next paycheck.

  18. Well that’s quite a list, if it’ll make you feel any better there’s only one other book on that list besides you that I’ll be reading, but I’ll still tell everyone I know, I’ve recommended you on Mr. Butcher’s message board, and I’ll start doing so again, plus facebook and whatever else.

  19. Will do, Larry. I’ve had to get several copies so far, because nobody returns the books I loan out. Instead they pass them on to their friends. it comes time I need to get MHI and MHV again, so i’ll pre-order MHA in the order.

    Thanks for the heads up!
    😀

  20. I got MHA as arc on baen but also got preorder on amazon.Please get arcs faster at baen.BTW I am delighted that You and Ringo will collaborate.

  21. Okey dokey. If you happen to do a short promo blurb/message to readers/general gushing stuff and howdy-do for fans, I’d be honored to repost it on my blog the week before release.

  22. I actually hunted it down in B&N in Jordan landing. they had it all hidden near the clerks that help you find the books, not where most people would look, like near the rest of your books…I’ve read it so much that the plastic overlay is starting to come off, but yeah I’ll get another here soon this month. the only question I have is the Tinker symbol in the back of the book, is that another type of Cog?

    1. Tinker is a sort of lower level Cog that specializes in repair of mechanical items, rather than invention.

  23. I have been pimping your works to the local LEOs. The ones who read love it and drive the hundred miles to buy their own copies.

  24. Larry,
    Just to let you know. My Son got his book club to read MHI and told them about MHV and the others coming out. Those same books are being passed around and shared. You are becoming VERY popular with the under 18 crowd. It also looks like they are starting to buy your books as well. One of the local B&N stores keeps reordering MHI and MHV. We visit it a lot so we keep track of what is on the shelves. Your books, while extremely entertainig, are making the youth rethink how they think about their world. Good JOB!

  25. Done sir.
    Pre-ordered 2 copies of MHA (along with a copy of Hard Magic to ship with them) as well as Dead Six.

  26. I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw it was available for pre-order. Loved first book, haven’t had the time to read the second yet but am looking forward to it.

  27. You keep writing them, I’ll keep buying them. It’s been years since something scared me as much as the opening chapter of MHI–keep it up.

  28. I just added the pre-order to the Amazon order that I submitted tonight. I spend way too much money on that site.

    Steelheart

  29. I would love to help you more Larry but I’ve already pimped your book to everyone I know in Edinburgh (Scotland) that can read, will be getting it off of webscription for my Kindle when it is available and have it pre-ordered from Amazon as you are officially one of three authors I still collect in dead tree as well.

  30. Dude, I have already turned all of my friends on to MHI. Response has always been positive. I’ve also got my nephews reading. It shows them that monsters aren’t to be feared, but hunted, lol. We’re a family of hunters, so it fits in nicely for all of us.

    But. I’ll add it to my FB profile, and to my blog, too. Good luck!

  31. Late to the party on this post, but I’ve got a lot people at my home site over at JoeCustoms turned on to this series, and I’ve heard nothing but great feedback about any of your novels thus far. There’s a thread over there about it, and I’ve also got friends off site that I’ve turned on to the novels as well.

    Doing my part for MH Nation!

  32. Regrettably, I discovered the whole Monster Hunter series only well after the release date. To say how much they impressed me, while normally I have not bought a work of fiction in decades, I did buy the Baen paperbacks of MHI, MHV, and MHA; and I intend to buy further releases as they emerge. (What can I say? I am a gun-freak, even if now, under financial constraint, I can be such only in speculation.) However, at the risk of revealing myself the shellback that I am, I shall not buy any so-called “e-book.” You see, I believe that the very speed and depth and breadth with which we in the West have embraced computerization, is an enormously wide-open Portal — I used the term with occult capitalization inteltionally for emphasis — of vulnerability to any low-life who can acquire a means of generating electromagnetic pulse.

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