Sometimes when we have guests in the office we need to make a bit of an effort to drop out of our office lingo, which tends to be a string of abbreviations, in-depth publishing terms, military speak and a wide array of inside jokes or references. Over the last couple of years a couple of phrases have emerged in the office which are heard on a regular basis - particularly in our bi-monthly publishing meetings.
The phrases are similar - and essentially mean the same thing, but to an outsider they remain terribly cryptic. We will quite often refer to a book as "the next IJN Carrier" or talk about a book "doing a Finland at war" - phrases that grew out of the runaway success of New Vanguard 109 Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers 1921-45 and Elite 141 Finland at War 1939-45.
Now, after 40 years of working in the industry, Osprey are pretty good at predicting how many copies of a book we will sell, but every now and then a book will fly off the shelves much, much faster than we could ever have hoped. These two books are some of the most notable examples of books taking off suddenly - and are now cited as the major examples of how much demand there is for the slightly more offbeat subjects.
NVG 109 Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers was not the first naval title that we covered in the series, but it's strong performance opened up the series to a huge armada of new naval titles. Finland at War had an even greater impact - it was a title suggested through our website and was selected to go through to the book vote. In the book vote it comprehensively out-performed all other challengers. Now it is used as an example of a small, relatively unknown piece of history, that you are all interested in, that is worth the risk of publishing. Books like CAM 183 Denmark and Norway 1940, and more recently MAA 455 US Armed Forces in China and MAA 447 Czech Legion 1914-1920 may not have happened if it were not for these two books - one of the reasons why we are currently running a series of blogs about the books that you would like us to do, here and here.