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I'm Number One...

... and also number four, number six, and number eight.


When GAME OF THRONES was first published in 1996, it failed to make any bestseller lists (well, maybe it made the LOCUS list, don't recall), and certainly never got within shouting distance of the Top Ten in the TIMES. While I still recall the highlights (Joe Beth in Lexington, Kentucky and Kepler's in Menlo Park, California) of that first signing tour, I recall the lowlights even better -- the St. Louis signing where the only four people in the cafe/ bookstore actually LEFT when I got up to speak, and the Dallas signing where I drew a dozen people while Clifford the Big Red Dog drew hundreds. And here we are, fifteen years later, with GAME at number one on the list. Where's that dog now, I want a rematch!

Thanks to David and Dan and HBO, they had a lot to do with this.

And thanks to you, my readers, as well. No promotion, no advertising, no marketing campaign can ever hope to match word of mouth. Without the loyalty and enthusiasm of my fans, none of this would ever have happened.

I hope you all have a great Fourth. It's certainly going to be a good one for me.


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Jul. 4th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
HBO kinda did quite a bit of advertising so it's not exactly word of mouth.

Over the years I've often told many online gaming friends about the series but most didn't pick up the book until HBO showed it.

In the realm of mass-media "good" TV is still king.
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
It's so true about the "word of mouth" marketing. I was talking to a girl I ran into on the bus... I saw she was reading Game of Thrones and had to ask if she was reading or re-reading. Turns out she's re-reading. Not quite as old a fan as some of us, but not brand new with the HBO show or anything. And we began chatting how the really old fans like me who've been around since the 90s will actually proselytize... I read my first copy on a loan, loaned out countless copies myself, and always bought more. She said a rabid guy friend fan of hers once bought a case of copies of GoT and gave them to all his friends for Christmas one year.

That's just the way we roll.

Happy 4th, George & Parris!
Jul. 4th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
That sounds so familiar. I've chatted to people on the subway and now at parties if I happen to be wearing an ASOIAF shirt. I lost count of the number of copies of AGOT that I've given away. It's only by a miracle that I have any of the books with the Youll covers left. These days, I keep those to myself and give away newer editions.
(no subject) - babyraven - Jul. 4th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dome?! - xraytheenforcer - Jul. 4th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Dome?! - babyraven - Jul. 4th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jereome - Jul. 4th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - babyraven - Jul. 4th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Evan Gleason
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
You made it very easy for folks like me to be excited enough to tell others. It's exciting to be alive during a time when these books are being written. One day, 100 years from now they will be "classics". Thanks for your work. Happy 4th.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
I was in a homeless shelter when someone gave me a copy of GOT and I have been hooked ever since! I can't thank you or them enough for making my life better! I was very surprised to see my name in the books, it is an unusual name, and it was something I had always dreamed of. So once again thank you and congrats!!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
Word of mouth
I still remember the first time getting Game of Thrones from my friend and him telling me its unlike anything I had ever read before and it was like "yeah yeah yeah, whatever I just need something new to read." And then once I started.... it really was unlike any book series. I can't remember reading a book series that had so many shocking instances that I remember my emotions and my reactions to the events of a book. And now I love passing on your books to others and it will be like 3 in the morning and I'll get a text from a friend who is a first time reader going "WHAT?!?! I can't believe that happened!" Thank you for the fiction you've created Mr. Martin.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Mixed emotions...
I am very happy for you George! It's a great story to hear about someone that has followed his dreams and gone through the tough times to get to the great reward at the end (in a way of speaking - certainly not the end for you).

My mixed emotions come from this: A long while back reading GRRM books was a fringe thing where other kids would make fun of you for being a gothic/fantasy nerd. Now these same kids, years later and post high school, are writing on facebook and twitter about how great GOT is and are now recommending it to read. This almost makes me angry in a strange way... like now its cool where before it was "nerdy". To hear them talk about the different characters and Westeros - its almost like to me they don't deserve to enjoy it when before they wouldn't even consider it. A small part of me wants to NOT read GOT so that I'm not doing the trendy thing with them...

I Don't know if that makes sense or not. Am I alone in feeling this way?
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I may have been at that Dallas book-signing, waaaaay back when. Or perhaps it was in Denton. My Dad bought me a copy of Game of Thrones and you signed it to both of us. It then sat on my shelf for the next 15 years because I "didn't read much fantasy," (though I was a big fan of your other books, primarily "Fevre Dream"). Then the HBO series came out and I was hooked 3 episodes in.

I devoured that signed copy, and the next 3, in less than a month, and now I'm eagerly awaiting the new one. My Dad was right in getting it for me after all -- just took me a while to figure that out! He's since passed away, otherwise I'd thank him for his foresight. I think he'd have dug both the books AND the show. Wish he was here to share them with me. But that signed copy will forever be a sweet reminder. So thank you for that.

Jul. 4th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
Actually, now that you mention it, that signing may very well have been in Denton.

Did you get Clifford's pawprit as well?
(no subject) - astraether - Jul. 4th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Marko A Anttila
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
In one finnish webstore your books are 9/10 best selling items in fiction at the moment.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
Well, my two year old is a mighty big fan of Clifford.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
I just can´t get over the fact that the picture used by HBO to advertise the whole aGoT show is Ned Stark sitting in the iron throne... How Cruel Was That GRRM!?

Should i expect more of that in the future? i just want to be prepared and have two copies of the book in case it "happens to" fall out the window after one of those "events".
Rustic Penn
Jul. 5th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Can´t
I think u shud ;)
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
New reader here, I finished the first four books in 17 days! It was kind of like eating an entire pizza in one go-- the rest of your life pretty much falls away and everything is pizza and you feel kind of dazed afterward but also like you accomplished something.

What I mean is, thank you.

ALSO, I'm a first time commenter so I'm not sure how you folks are for spoilers, but there's a HUGE spoiler for ASoS in NYT's description of AFfC. OOPS!
Jul. 5th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
I noticed that, too, and I'm kinda shocked the NYT did that.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
Lot of russians watched Your show whiht great respect
And not only funs of sci-fi and fantasy
It's a great job You have done with crew.
Thank You.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
Congrats! You deserve this success. Cant wait till Dance is up there with the rest of your books in the top ten!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. We complain a lot, but you know we love your work.

(Yes, I temporarily speak for your entire readership.)
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
I love your books. Successes in creativity.
Best regards from Ukraine!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Well deserved and thank you George for telling such an amazing tale. I can remember reading AGOT in 1997 and being continuously interrupted by my 4 year old son. He'll be starting college this fall. Your books have been a huge part of my adult life. Thanks again.
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
And next week, you'll have half of the top ten! Bravo, George! ^_^
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm one of those who found you randomly on my own but I've told everyone I know about your awesome books! Congrats on the rest of the world chatting up with the rest of us who've known for years that Song of Ice and Fire is the best!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Congratulations from Ukraine!
We love your books here too!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
My hero!
You've ALWAYS been number one in my book! Sure, It's been a long time coming, but you richly deserve every good thing that has come to you as a result of Ice and Fire. Congratulations!
Fred Judge
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Word of mouth and what goes without saying
Indeed, word of mouth can make or break a book.

I'm going to say what goes without saying:

The reasons this book is number 1 is because it is one helluva damn good book. The proof of this can be found in the fact that not only is Game of Thrones flying high in the charts, but the follow-ups are selling strong too. Word of mouth, advertising, HBO and the like can get people interested, but only good writing can make people come back for more.

Speaking of which, I can't wait for Dance. Here's hoping that all those new readers will be up to date by its release date!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Congrats! So deserved!!!
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
I remember being desperate at not being able to find the perfect book to read. In those days not much fantasy was translated in Italian, since the genre wasn't that much popular. But I just finished my thesis on Tolkien's Silmarillion and was aching to find more good books... possibly "very good" books. It's been seven years since I went through the amazon site hunting for a story which could bring me back to that something that IS REAL, even though it isn't. Well, I can only say that after reading many a book I managed to find The One, My preciousss "Game of Thrones".
I find myself laughing now whenever I remember thinking I was the only Italiian who knew the series... When I wend to Lucca comics and Games the year after I suddenly and happily knew I wasn't alone. And I'm glad the Throne's People are becoming an ocean. You deserve it, sir. And, truth be told, if you didn't write it, there could be no number one ;)
Jul. 4th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
A very heartfelt congratulations to you!!! So much! This mass recognition may be late in arriving, but is so well-deserved. It was also word of mouth that got me to start reading ASOIAF back in 2005, and I've been trying to get my friends to read it ever since. I always knew it would make an epic series (or movie, although a tv series allows for so much more creative control and sensitivity to the original material). I couldn't be more excited or happy for you!!
Jul. 4th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Happy 4th, George.
But we are waiting for the 12th :)
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George R.R. Martin
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