Typical sales figures for naval history books

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.
  • Battleships sell.
  • Battlecruisers sell.
  • Big battles sell.
  • Carriers 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).

About the Author: Michael Tanji

Author of the forthcoming A Forlorn Hope: The Death of Cyber Security and What Comes Next  and Threats in the Age of Obama (Nimble 2009)

Michael Tanji has spent the last eight years as a co-founder and executive in a variety of computer security service and product companies.

Michael began his career as a member of the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Corps, working in a number of positions of increasing responsibility in signals intelligence, computer security, and information security. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and was stationed in various locations in the U.S. and overseas.

After leaving active duty Mr. Tanji worked as a civilian for the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, leading a team of analysts, programmers, and system administrators who supported intelligence missions in the Pacific theater. His service with INSCOM cumulated as the Technical Director of the J6 in his command.

Michael left INSCOM to join the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he deployed in a counterintelligence/human intelligence role in support of Operation Allied Force. He later served as the lead of the Defense Indications and Warning System, Computer Network Operations, where he was responsible for providing strategic warning of cyber threats to the DOD.

He was one of the handful of intelligence officers selected by-name to provide intelligence support to the Joint Task Force – Computer Network Defense, the predecessor to what would eventually become U.S. Cyber Command. His expertise led to his selection as his agency’s representative to numerous joint-, inter-agency, and international efforts to deal with cyber security issues, including projects for the National Intelligence Council, National Security Council, and NATO.

After September 11th 2001 Michael created the DOD’s first computer forensics and intelligence fusion team, which produced the first intelligence assessments based on computer-derived intelligence from the early days of the war on terror.

Leaving government service in 2005, Michael worked in various computer security and intelligence roles in private industry. He spent several years as an adjunct lecturer at the George Washington University and was a Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow.

He is both editor of and contributor to Threats in the Age of Obama, a compendium of articles on wide-ranging national and international security issues. He has been interviewed by radio and print media on his experiences and expertise on security and intelligence issues, and had articles, interviews, and op-eds published in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Aviation Week, National Review, INFOSEC Institute, SC Magazine, The Journal of Cyber Conflict, Tablet Magazine, Federal News Radio, PRI, and others.

Michael was awarded a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Hawaii Pacific University, a master’s degree in computer fraud and forensics from George Washington University, and earned the CISSP credential in 1999.

Donald Trump, Prescient Space Strategist & Publishing Genius

Trump is being mocked in many quarters for today’s seemingly offhand suggestion to create a Space Force:

In a speech to military personnel in San Diego bookended by digs at former political opponent Hillary Clinton and the media, President Trump proposed a new branch of the armed forces, which he offhandedly named the “space force.”

“My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” said Trump. “We may even have a ‘space force’—develop another one—space force. We have the Air Force. We’ll have the space force. We have the Army, the Navy.”

Omitted from Trump’s list of armed forces branches were the Coast Guard and (presumably comprising a large part of the crowd at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar) the Marines.

Trump continued by noting that the concept of a space force was one he both thought up and had previously dismissed. “I said ‘maybe we need a new force. We’ll call it the space force.’ Not really serious,” he told the crowd to mixed laughter, “And then I said ‘What a great idea. Maybe we’ll have to do that.’ That could happen.”

Actually, this is not at all an exotic or stupid idea … it’s been floated in military circles for decades.  Several years ago I published a reprint of a public domain USAF thesis  called Ten Propositions Regarding Space Power. by M.V. Smith as a tip of the hat to the better known Ten Propositions Regarding Air Power by Philip Meininger. It sold remarkably well for public domain, and I had a Chinese publisher write to ask me if I wanted to sell the rights. I declined, of course, but I drew the conclusion that space power and Space Forces are around to stay.

This news story does makes me wonder what briefings Trump is getting about black space spending…

 

available direct: Why the USS THRESHER (SSN 593) Was Lost, by Bruce Rule

If you are looking for Why the USS THRESHER (SSN 593) Was Lost by Bruce Rule and have found that it is only available on Amazon from 3rd party sellers, you can order it directly from the Nimble Books bookshop here for $24.00 plus actual S&H.

Enabling SSL

Enabling SSL is always a bit of an adventure, but it went pretty smoothly this time for https://www.nimblebooks.com.  Two hours of googling, thirty minutes on the phone with customer service.  However, there are still things broken.  I am running a single WP multisite installation and want to have two distinct TLDs: nimblebooks.com and fredzannarbor.com.  I don’t actually need SSL for fredzannarbor.com just yet (no commerce or sensitive info), but things seem to be getting confused when I jump from https:nimblebooks pages to http:fredzannarbor ones because the server is looking for https:fredzannarbor.  Will probably bit the bullet and get an SSL cert for fredzannarbor.com.

Rebooting the Nimble Books website

There have been quite a few transitions in my life since I founded Nimble Books in 2006, and along the way the Nimble Books website got caught in the shuffle. Since I do intend to keep operating Nimble Books for the foreseeable future, I am standing up the website once again.  There is a ton of great content that I had available via previous iterations of the website that I would like to resurrect, but that depends on whether a) I can find my SQL backups (so far, no joy) and b) I can import them successfully (there were non-standard data structures due to plugins). In the meantime, content here will be sparse. I will begin with adding the current front-list books to the online store.