Some Book Bub numbers and petunias

My attention was drawn to a set of numbers from BookBub available here: https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing?fbclid=IwAR1mMlf6nO5oAS5QN0pD-9V-NRAxkdNz6AQMNOJurGT1NnD_DQEjiPzOEL0

Some major caveats before we go into them. Firstly these are for marketing purposes and as they say “averages are based on historical data, but are only meant as a reference and are not guaranteed”. The book figures also only apply to free downloads and discounted book sales. Lastly, these are BookBubs numbers and other retailers of books may show different patterns.

A broader caveat to add when considering any kind of average sales within books (or other media) is the dreaded power-law distribution. A small number of books account for a large number of sales and conversely a large number of books account have small sales individually but account for a lot of sales together. The arithmetic mean has many flaws but it is particularly flawed in such circumstances. One huge hit (e.g. The Da Vinci Code) will have an outsized impact on the average book sales even if other books are selling poorly.

Tables and things after the fold…

Continue reading “Some Book Bub numbers and petunias”

Twitter Polls Suck

So I referred to the Sad Puppies “extreme politics” on Twitter the other day. Somebody questioned that and I didn’t reply immediately because there’s a lot to unpack. Instead, I offered a Twitter poll with the options of replying as

  • Threaded tweets
  • A linked blog post
  • Talking to cat

Six people voted and each option got exactly two votes each. So much for power aw distributions. Luckily Tim tweeted me immediately allowing me to deal with the third option quickly. (more after the fold).

Continue reading “Twitter Polls Suck”

Crunching

editorvotes

[UPDATE: there is better number crunching here https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/2015-hugo-stats-initial-analysis/ but I think my numbers are coming out similar. Oh and I lost a whole chunk from the bottom – do scroll past the table in the middle!]

Dave Freer asked me a question over at Mad Genius while we were arguing about Brad Torgersen’s poor behavior.

Just what do you see happening with the 2016 nominations and votes, as a direct result of 2015 and with the figures we now have?

What are the numbers telling us about the voting and the consequences for next year? Put another way what signals are there that we can use to characterize voter behavior and how will that impact in future years? Beyond that what impact did the various players have?

The tricky thing is that the voting was massively dominated by non-Puppies and the non-Puppies are difficult to analyze. On neither side during the kerfuffle was there much internecine conflict. The only obvious flash point was Laura Mixon’s nomination for Best Fan Writer on the basis of her analysis of the behavior of ‘RequiresHate’ – a person whose behavior among the SF/F community had been the cause of much dissension independent of the Puppy Kerfuffle. However this did not translate into the non-Puppies forming rival camps.

Instead both sides tended to unite within themselves against a perceived common threat. For the non-Puppies threat is best understood as two-fold; slate nomination undermining the Hugo Awards and Vox Day. For the Puppies the threat was also two fold: perceived World Con cliques shutting them out and liberal/leftist media/cliques demonizing them. NOTE: to understand the behavior of the two groups it isn’t necessary a this point to decide which of those four narratives had any factual merit. What matters was the perceived threat. Groups with diverse cultures and ideologies can show great unity when there is a common threat and so we didn’t see inner conflicts during the conflict even when allies overtly contradicted each other in terms of objectives or stated purposes.

I suggest there are these major groups at play in the numbers:

Continue reading “Crunching”

The Unified Puppy Theory

Last Sad Puppy post for awhile. More when the Hugo votes come in or when some issue becomes a big deal over nothing.

On the final Puppy Round Up at File770 Snowcrash asked: http://file770.com/?p=23595&cpage=3#comment-303817

Here at the End of All Things, are some answers/ things we’re still missing:

– A honest explanation as to how the SP3 slate was created,

– How the tactics of slate-nominations furthers *any* of the constantly changing rationales provided by the Puppies

– Anyone taking on the Mamatas Challenge

– Evidence of a previous slate/ bloc-voting effort. The Puppies keep saying that’s the only way Stuff They Don’t Like Could have won, but are strangely reticent at providing any evidence or proof of their allegations.

– Why Wisdom of the Internet???? Seriously why? (And yelling about Scalzi is not a good answer)

I only had stupid answers at the time but I think I can give a better answer now.

Firstly, by way of background, The Mamatas Challenge was a comment by author Nick Mamatas on John Scalzi’s blog: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/20/keeping-up-with-the-hugos-42015/#comment-781272

If the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name

a. one work of fiction

b. that won a Hugo Award

c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped

d. per set of winners since 1995.

That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.

Naturally the Mamatas challenge has not been met by anybody – although the odd work of fiction has been suggested (e.g. John Chu’s The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere has been suggested as a single example)

Continue reading “The Unified Puppy Theory”

Revenge of the Petunias

Dave Freer has kindly replied to On Petunias and Whales: Part 9 in comments on the Mad Genius Club blog. This post is a reply. The format of my post is a bit ‘fisk’ like and I’m not keen on that because: The fisk approach I think always ends up being a bit aggressive When I see “fisk” now I can’t help but think of Vincent Donoforio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk in the Netflix TV series of Daredevil. “To fisk” somebody definitely sounds aggressive. Having said that Dave has offered lots of points and I’d like to reply to them in turn and so the quote-reply style makes sense. In terms of quoting Dave’s comments, I am editing them to focus on particular points. This can lead to comments being distorted from the intended meaning and so I would recommend people read Dave’s reply in full in its original context. Dave’s comments will be bold and italic and be preceded by “DF:”.

Continue reading “Revenge of the Petunias”

More Petunias: some extra data [updated]

[updated] I’m even less sure of that data below now. The 100% figure for book publisher seems unlikely. Going to the FEC website and searching on ‘book publisher’ I find lots of hits and some are obviously to Republicans. That isn’t to say the Verdant Labs data is wrong, just without a clear statement of what they did and what they counted it is hard to tell what the numbers are saying. Interesting though.

In the comments to Part 9 timbartik said:

You might add to this that the political orientation of science fiction fans and writers might have some similarity to that of scientists whose political beliefs are to the left of the overall U.S. population. See this recent report: http://verdantlabs.com/politics_of_professions/index.html

At the extreme, astrophysicists have 98 Democrats for every 2 Republicans. Astronomers are 93 Dems to 7 Repubs, and computer scientists are at 89 to 11. Even engineers are 71 Democrats to 29 Republicans.

This is an interesting data set. It is based not on survey data but from campaign contribution data from the FEC that includes profession of the donor as part of the metadata. The producers of the data the simply assume that the proportions by donation reflect the proportions by occupation (as explained here http://verdantlabs.com/blog/2015/06/02/politics-of-professions/ )

I think the data needs to be treated with some caution as it doesn’t tell us for any given profession how many actual data points there are in the stats. For example a 80%-20% split in a given profession is less impressive if it only represented 5 people and was a 4 person to 1 person split. Continue reading “More Petunias: some extra data [updated]”