In their official report of 29 January 1970, the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group (SAG), which included the Navy's leading experts in submarine design, submarine structures, and the effect of underwater explosions, advised the Navy Court of Inquiry (COI) that the US nuclear submarine SCORPION was ...
The US nuclear submarine THRESHER (SSN-593) was lost because standard compensation procedures to adjust for hull compression during the deep-dive on 10 April 1963 were not followed. Consequently, THRESHER was heavy (negatively buoyant) at test-depth (1300 feet) and unable to deballast because adiab...
I learned today that my great uncle Chester served on PT boats during World War II. This was an unexpected bit of synchronicity as my company Nimble Books has the distinction of being one of the leading publishers of books about torpedo boats, PT boats, and motor torpedo boats (MTBs), with 27 titles in print at Amazon and on my website.
I loved this little market for quite a while, but eventually felt I had done all I could do for a niche audience that is graying and tends to be a bit contentious. There are no new torpedo boats, and although there have been quite a few missile boats built in the postwar era, they never had quite the flair of MTBs, and have become less and less survivable in an era of abundant fixed and rotary wing craft and guided missiles.
I still have two beautiful illustrations of torpedo boats by the late Joe Hinds hanging in my living room.
Good news, the Nimble Books online store is operational once more. At present, there is just one book: WHY THE USS THRESHER (SSN-593) WAS LOST by Bruce Rule, but over the course of the next few months I will add the entire backlist (319 titles). In the meantime, if you are a pal, or a naval history enthusiast, or both, you can do me a big favor by ordering a copy — I need a few live tests to be sure things are working correctly!
An author recently asked me some questions about the sales of his naval history book so I thought I would take the opportunity to summarize what I told him.
Most naval history books sell between 250 and 1000 copies.
Most books, including naval history books, sell at least half their lifetime sales in the first two years. Sales generally follow a pattern like 100, 50, 10, 5, 1 … Having steady sales is cause for pride that you have chosen a good topic and done a solid job.
Only a few sell more than 10,000, and breakouts like Jim Hornfischer’s LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS are very rare.
Big battles sell.
Carrier aviation sells.
Cruisers don’t sell.
Destroyers, escort craft, and small combatants don’t sell.
Merchantmen don’t sell.
Submarines sell if they are spy subs, hunter-killers locked in a duel, rogue ICBM launchers, or tragically and mysteriously lost.
SEALS sell, sell, sell, sell, sell.
The naval history reading audience is graying, and there hasn’t been a real naval battle since the Falklands, so it makes sense that the market is dwindling except for SEALs. The future prospects aren’t especially bright, ether, in my view. If there is a real no-holds-barred naval war in the near to mid-term, it will probably a) be unpleasant for the largely Western naval reading audience, as it will probably involve a lot of hypersonic anti-ship missiles and b) be accompanied by a nuclear exchange of some sort (see item a).