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Cult podcast Welcome to Night Vale is getting a spinoff novel, and it’s already an Amazon bestseller seven months before its release date.
Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have been talking about the book for a few months now, but it didn’t go on sale until last night. Before they’d even posted the book’s cover art or plot summary, fans had already pre-ordered enough copies to make it shoot up the bestseller charts.
We’re now in the top 100 overall on Amazon and number 1 in Horror. It doesn’t even have a cover or any info yet. This is fucking unreal.
— Joseph Fink (@PlanetofFinks) March 15, 2015
Instead of telling a story through Cecil Palmer’s radio show like in the podcast, the novel follows two Night Valians named Jackie Fierro (a 19-year-old pawn shop owner) and Diane Crayton (the local PTA treasurer). Fierro is searching for a place named King City thanks to a clue shared by “the man in the tan jacket,” while Crayton is concerned by her shape-shifting son’s obsession with his estranged father.
These two mysteries sound intriguing and characteristically surreal for Night Vale, but people were already ordering copies before the plot summary was posted. Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor could probably release a Night Vale book in a plain brown paper sleeve with no title or information, and fans would still be hyped to pre-order copies.
It’s easy to forget that Night Vale is still a low-budget indie operation. With a core staff of two writers and one voice actor, they upload one episode every two weeks, for free. Their income mostly comes from live shows, merchandise and donations, and they definitely don’t have the kind of money that buys a major advertising campaign. So, it’s nothing short of incredible that this book is currently at No. 32 on the Amazon bestseller chart, based purely on the authors’ announcement and Night Vale‘s online fandom.
Among all the corporate-owned megafranchises and bestsellers with hefty marketing budgets, it’s pretty cool to see this kind of project succeed via the indie route—especially since Night Vale is, by definition, very weird.
Photo via Welcome to Night Vale/Stitcher
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor