ACW Publishing

Being slow to follow up on on the post "ACW Publishing 2006" has clearly caused confusion among those not familiar with this annual series. Said post ticks off a list of topics, corresponding to bullet points ... those posts are forthcoming individually along with numbers. We start with the general, move to the particular. Obscurity will yield to understanding.

The underlying language and concepts used in that post have been described previously here, ad nauseum, and so I get a little careless in linking to them. That's been fixed below. The most important thing you will ever learn in this matter bears repeating in red, bold letters, however. Sales figures are closely guarded secrets. You will never find them on a web site that I can link to.

For continuity, you'll want to read previous installments.

And yes, I do allow my biases to influence my interpretation of sales. Nevertheless, you won't find a better analysis of Civil War publishing if only because none other is available. Anywhere. Hat tip to Kevin Levin and on to the links.


Publishing - an overview (lots of definitions and explanations). Includes Ingram formulas with examples.

Book sales and new thinking - context
. Gives nonfiction/history blockbusters sales examples as a context for measuring commercial success in ACW sales.

Book sales and new thinking - more context. Gives high sales ACW titles for additional context - Foote and Shaara, fiction and nonfiction.

Ingram and the fudge factor. On tweaking the sales estimation formula.

Book sales and new thinking: the matrix. Some notes on T. Harry Williams and his sales today.

Book sales and new thinking: the colossus. Nevins in the historiography of the Centennial and his sales today. Kenneth Williams and Catton are mentioned too.

Book sales and new thinking: a stillness in Catton county. Catton's in-print corpus is reviewed from a publishing business perspective.

Book sales and new thinking: the fading Cry. Describes McPherson's entry into publishing, his significance historiographically, and non-Cry sales results.

Book sales and new thinking: vestigial Cry. Compares sales results for picture Cry, HB Cry, and softcover Cry.

Book sales and new thinking: Sears. Examines Sears' mixed sales success and its meaning.

USA Today's top selling books of 2004. No ACW titles ranked.

Book sales and new thinking: Davis and Gallagher. A brief look at what these two stalwarts of "old thinking" represent today in terms of publishing success.

Book sales and new thinking: in summary. How success and failure will influence historiography.


Prelude - This points to the previous series linked above.

Prelude 2 - Brief mid-year impressions.

Book sales 2005
: The Winik Factor. Sets the stage for the 2005 survey by exploring the powerful sales of an unknown first-time ACW author.

Book sales 2005: Sears falters. Sears had a rough year and the details are reviewed in a few representative titles.

Book sales 2005: novel action. A look at the Gingrich/Forstchen phenomenon compared to the Shaaras' record.

Calculating sales figures. Author Ann Larabee pointed out an inherent weakness in Ingram-based sales estimating.

Book sales 2005 - Grant books. There was a wave of Grant publishing. This post looked in at how Grant sales were doing.

Thus ended the mid-year survey. The complete year was analyzed in the next series of posts in '06.

Book sales 2005 - great expectations
. Considers a list of titles from which great sales had been expected.

Book sales 2005 - the Grant bubble. Looks at trade house results for the raft of new Grant titles.

Book sales 2005 - Battle Cry of Freedom. Ponders the riddle of Battle Cry sales while considering the failure of McPhersons other books.