The Ocean in My Ears sold out of its first print run in less than three months since it’s publication date in November 2017. It’s become one of Ooligan Press’ bestselling books. While those within the publishing industry attribute their purchases to the
Kirkus Star Review that The Ocean in My Ears obtained, it’s likely that most of our readers found the novel in a different way: from suggested reading lists.
The Ocean in My Ears appeared in suggested reading lists from both Bustle and Book Riot for November 2017. To be clear, there’s no definitive way to confirm the source of Ooligan Press’ success with this book. However, one of the major differences between the marketing of the book—other than the aforementioned Kirkus Star Review—is the fact that The Ocean in My Ears was able to find its way onto these popular media outlets’ must-read lists.
Book Riot is well known amongst avid readers and so their reviews and must-read lists have a lot of influence on their audience. The fact that The Ocean in My Ears was put on a list for general books rather than one specific to Young Adult novels opens up the number of people who will read it and hopefully buy the book.
Unlike Book Riot’s, Bustle’s list was actually specific to Young Adult novels. While this may narrow the readership some by specifically targeting those interested in Young Adult books, Bustle is a media outlet that caters to many different types of people with varied interests, so their readership is already larger. Bustle writers create fashion, technology, food, books, beauty, entertainment, news, and lifestyle pieces. If we consider the diverse audience Bustle is able to reach, it’s likely that even with a very specific list they can reach a large number of people just based on the traffic on their site.
The truth is, there is no way to really pinpoint why The Ocean in My Ears is such a success, other than the obvious: It contains a great, relatable protagonist and a unique yet accessible storyline. But, of course, without marketing, even the best-written book with the most compelling plot will be unsuccessful because people won’t know it exists. While obtaining a Kirkus Star Review is certainly impressive and absolutely played a part in the success of The Ocean in My Ears, it can only account for some of the sales. While some readers know about Kirkus, it’s really more well-known within the publishing community. But it’s not just booksellers and others in publishing who are buying the book—it’s the average reader too. So there must be something else at work in our marketing efforts. And while Ooligan Press certainly worked hard to market this book, it’s safe to argue that being on suggested reading lists from two popular websites deserves some credit for The Ocean in My Ears‘ success.