The Amazing Persistence of Dinosaur Wars

Fire Lasers!Laser-blasting dinosaurs from outer space! Who could have imagined the appeal they would have to science fiction readers? Especially those science fiction fans who like the sub-genres of Space Opera and Dinosaur Fiction. But it’s safe to say that Dinosaur Wars: Earthfall and its three sequels ought to get some kind of award—for persistence if nothing else.

As of today Dinosaur Wars: Earthfall is ranked as Amazon’s 42nd best selling Space Opera book (actually best downloading, considering it’s free). A few days ago on July 4, it was ranked much higher, although I can’t seem to find the exact number, just this chart, which only shows its rank among all the millions of titles Amazon offers.

DinoStatsAlthough I couldn’t get more detail than that from Amazon, the implications are good for my Dinosaur Wars books. Although they have never hit the absolute bigtime, they just keep on selling and selling (the other titles being not-so-free). Earthfall, being the first, has the longest history. Most books rise and fall on the bestseller charts but this baby just keeps on a slow burn 15 years after it was first published. Talk about quiet persistence!

So, what’s it all signify? My view is that I guessed right when I did the math on how many people would be interested in reading about dinos from outer space. I used the known fact that science fiction books represent about 10% of book sales in all categories. To that basic data point, I added my guesstimate of 10% as the number of science fiction readers who would read about dinos from space.

Now, considering there are about 100 million readers of fiction in English worldwide and multiplying by 10% of 10%, you get the measly little number of 1 million readers for dinos from space.

Wait a minute! Was that one million readers! Whoa!

That was my estimate 15 years ago, and I’m sticking to it. You see, that’s where the Dinosaur Wars series gets its persistence. If I sell or give away a few hundred books here and a few hundred books there, I still haven’t made much of a dent in that total potential audience of 1 million readers.

So I keep at it. And it keeps working pretty well. And there are a lot more people out there yet to discover my stories. So I expect the persistent good performance of these babies to continue for another 15 years at least!

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes Peyton McKean mystery stories and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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