It has been a big week for George R. R. Martin, author of the best selling series A Song of Ice and Fire. The fantasy writer has broken the record for the highest first day record sales for new fiction published this year.
The HBO series, ‘Game of Thrones’, which is based on his series, also saw multiple Emmy nominations this past week.
A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in a series of seven, was released on July 12 and sold almost 300,000 copies (print, digital and audio formats) in its first day, announced publisher Random House - which houses Martin’s publisher Bantam Books.
USA Today quotes Gina Centrello, President and publisher for The Random House Publishing Group, as saying that the book’s first day success was “astonishing” and “wildly exceeding our retailers' most optimistic expectations.”
She added, “With George's outstanding print edition sales, his readers are clearly indicating they want to place this new hardcover on their bookshelves alongside his earlier volumes, and our booksellers are absolutely delighted about it. These numbers attest both to the enormous demand from George's devoted fans, and also to the tens of thousands of new readers who now are devouring his books because they loved the 'Game of Thrones' HBO series."
In June, prior to the July 12 release, Amazon Germany accidentally shipped out 180 copies of the massive book that is A Dance with Dragons.The NY Times reports that the release left Martin and his publishers furious.
On his blog, Martin said, “I am not happy about this. My publishers are furious. If we find out who is responsible, we will mount his head on a spike.”
Two days after the release, Martin showed up for an appearance at the Barnes and Noble located in Manhattan’s Union Square. The Associated Press reports that many fans had waited in line for hours to meet the wordsmith, despite there being no formal announcement made about his scheduled appearance.
As he approached the stage, he said, “See, I really was working on it” while holding the book; a testament to the long delay since his last book (six years) and its massive size (1,016 pages)
Martin didn’t read from his book(s) during his Thursday appearance, instead opting to talk and answer questions. Asked by an audience member if he’ll make a cameo appearance on the HBO series, he responded, “At some point.”
When asked what advice he had for budding fantasy writers who wish to follow in his footsteps, he said, "Don't try to write something gigantic. This ('Ice and Fire') is obviously my magnum opus. That being said, if I ever finish this series, I'm never going to do it again."
He also admits that due to the size and complexity of his work, he doesn’t always keep the facts straight; saying eye colors and the genders of animals may change.
In regards to the HBO series, ‘Game of Thrones’, based on his books, The Associated Press reports that he loves the show and thinks it’s ‘amazing.’
According to USA Today, print runs of the previous four books have totaled more than four million copies this year; more than 8.5 million when digital copies are included.
Martin is an award winning writer, having written short stories, novellas, and novels. He has also written and edited for films and television, including The Twilight Zone. He was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey.