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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 05:40 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, George! Also #1 on the Publishers Weekly list.

I do wonder if that's a record for the longest span of time between publication and hitting #1 on the NYT Best Seller list. My understanding is that LotR fails by a technicality -- the New York Times opted not to include the books when the movies were airing, despite their selling like hotcakes.

I'm expecting some popular film (or show) adapted from a novel is the likeliest place to look for a book ending up at #1 years after the back, but Googling around has not found anything. I do know that the Hobbit ended up on the list for the first time 40 years after its publication, but that was only at #12, not #1.
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Fantastic, congratulations!! Admittedly, I've only very recently read the series but have been singing its praises all over the internet ever since. :D
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
I manage a book shop in Dublin and can't keep the books on the shelves, I'm loving having to up orders all the time.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 4th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
I just have to say, I love your icon; puppyGhost is so cute!!! Tough he'd probably be mortified to hear me say it
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Nice to know that-
I helped!! Thanks to a friend that told me to watch the HBO series and told me to hang in there after the 1st two I went out and bought the first book. I think that was about 5 weeks ago. I am enraptured and now half way through book 4! So yes- word of mouth definitely sold me! Late to the party- but oh so glad I did not have to endure the agony of waiting for a new release. :)

Magnificent world building, captivating characters and page turning action.

I haven't read a GRRM since Fevre Dream (when it first came out) and I loved that book so I can't believe I didn't keep up with what was new by GRRM.
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
One of my friends is a struggling fantasy writer like yourself, starting his creative writing MFA at Virginia Tech this year. :) He went to one of your book signings and you wrote an encouraging message for him. Thanks for supporting other writers like yourself!
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)

Game of thrones is almost sold-out in Spain, BTW. People will have to wait until new re-editions to get it.
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Well deserved :).
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you, George! You have earned that loyalty by giving us an amazing new world, and brilliant characters to explore it through. Before you came along, I never quite understood why everyone made such a fuss about Lord of the Rings. I read it, but it just never reached me like it had so many.

But then I read Game of Thrones, and now I get it. Westeros is my Middle Earth, and I finally understand. And for that, you'll always have my loyalty. If it takes you 5 more to write your next one, or ten more, or if you drop it and do something new, I'll always have your back.

Unless the Giants are playing the Bills. Then, you can go find a lake and promptly jump in it. ;D
Ryder K Hawkins
Jul. 4th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Congrats, George! Unbelievable this series didn't go off with a bang right away. I've been doing some diligently loyal legwork on your behalf these past few years, buttonholing as many friends as possible, telling them, YOU GOTTA READ THIS. So far, I've managed to create quite the circle of converts. Rereading the books right now (close to finishing Clash) and eagerly anticipating the release of the fifth. Keep up the good work!
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.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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