Machine Of Death Is A #1 Bestseller: WTF

At about 7.30PM yesterday evening UK time, we finally pulled ahead of Keith Richards and became the #1 best-selling book on Amazon.com. Then we stayed there for twenty four hours. Sales were up 685,800%. We beat Glenn Beck’s new book on its launch day.

Apparently: “It was mentioned as number one on the Glenn Beck radio program this morning as an example of America’s preoccupation with death.” It was “a plea to his listeners to buy his book and not let us death-peddlers win.”

Thank you so, so much to anyone who bought it, and thanks to anyone who told other people about it. Not many people actually read the Machine of Death blog on a regular basis – not much has happened there for three years. So all this happened by people telling other people.

When the editors suggested a big push on the 26th, I thought it’d be cool, but we’d be gaming the system a bit. But really, we were just giving ourselves a launch day. We didn’t know when it would go up on Amazon.com, so we had to wait until it had before we could start organising any kind of campaign. Other books get to dictate a release date and plan around that – we did the same, we just had to rely on a little good will from people to delay until a launch day we could organise for.

Malki now has e-mails from four bookstores interested in stocking it, including Barnes & Noble, and one from the New York friggin Times. He and Ryan did a funny sort of mini-podcast to say thanks and stretch more sports metaphors.

A lot of people are asking how many copies we actually sold – I don’t have any insider info on that, but if Amazon’s percentage increase figures are right- wait, they’re not. See comments.

There’s lots more info on the PDF, audiobook, Kindle and Vulcan mindmeld editions on the official site, which’ll also have more info on if and when it’ll come to Amazon.co.uk and the like.

Thanks again everyone, particularly those in the UK who braved the shipping costs to support it. You have accomplished something amazing, annoyed Glenn Beck, and made me and a bunch of webcomic dudes very happy.

24 Replies to “Machine Of Death Is A #1 Bestseller: WTF”

  1. Ordering it pissed off Glenn Beck? I guess that was one of my more worthwhile purchases!
    Congratulations on your scheme’s success, by the way :)

  2. That sounds more likely! I think Amazon’s sales increase percentages must just be pure fiction.

    In fact, after a little tinkering, I’ve reverse engineered their formula. It takes yesterday’s sales rank, divides it by today’s, subtracts 1, then multiplies by 100. This gets you: a meaningless number. It means your figure is as dependent on where you end up as on the magnitude of your climb.

  3. Also, I’d love to actually hear Glenn Beck’s quote. Nothing gives me more satisfaction then knowing that I helped to contribute to an angry misquote from Glenn Beck!

  4. Apparently it was “a plea to his listeners to buy his book and not let us death-peddlers win”. He’s ahead of us again now, BUT: he is terribly fat.

  5. @Dave – I don’t know where Novelrank gets their numbers, but I’m pretty sure that’s inaccurate. I don’t have full details yet but I’m sure they’re much higher.

    @Tom – I was paraphrasing the “death-peddlers” part! Don’t want to give the impression it was an exact quote. I’ll post a partial transcript on the MOD blog later tonight.

  6. Heh – yeah, didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

    Apparently Novelrank works by inferring sales from changes in chart position. So if you’re low down in the chart, it’s probably not a bad estimate, since a sale will usually move you in the charts. But if you spend a lot of time at #2 or #1, it’d have no way of knowing about the copies you sell while at those positions.

  7. My god, you attracted negative attention from Glenn Beck! You deserve medals! Many of them! And I will absolutely buy this if it becomes available retail. Sadly, I have no viable source of internet money at this time.

  8. I can’t wait to get the copy!

    And that transcript of Glenn Beck, that’s, well, it’s a thing of beauty. No wonder he’s so popular as a radio guy. Here’s my favourite bit:

    These are the — this is the left, I think, speaking. This is the left. You want to talk about where we’re headed? We’re headed towards a culture of death. A culture that, um, celebrates the things that have destroyed us. Not that the Rolling Stones have destroyed us — I mean, you can’t always get what you want. You know what I’m saying? Brown sugar. I have no idea what that means.

    Mindbending, surreal hilarity.

    See, when I played GTA 4, and I listened to that pundit on WKTT, I thought that was a parody. Not so, it seems.

  9. So my book arrived! Today! About two or three weeks early! I’m not opening it yet because there’s some stuff I need to do and I need an incentive, but I am pleased that it came so quickly.

    (TWSS)

  10. It’s a dumb thing to judge a book by, so I’m not, but it’s a much larger book than I expected. More pages, more content.

  11. Jason: It is! It’s a much larger book than I expected. The illustrations and stories I’ve read so far are fantastic.

  12. The book is awesome so far. Every story has been new and interesting and inventive. Only one has made me feel uncomfortable while reading it, but it was purposeful, so made the story more meaningful (if not more enjoyable). In all honesty Tom, yours is one of my favorites so far, along with the one about the lab assistant and his journal. Thanks for the recommendation =)

  13. Awesome, thanks!

    The way I’m reading is, when the podcast of a story comes out, I listen to the start of it, and if I like the person’s voice I’ll listen to the whole thing. If not, I read it in the book. Love is very well read. Can’t wait to hear mine, have no idea who did it.

  14. I bought the book, and had trouble putting it down during a vacation in the Caribbean in good weather. It was really that good.

    Tom, your story is one of the best in there. I’ve been getting friends interested in it by having them read a story or two, and Exploded is one of the ones I recommend.

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