Launching a new series is a surprisingly complicated process, and it takes a long time to get things up and running. Command was already being mooted when I first joined Osprey nearly 5 years ago, so you can probably see how long these things can take. Luckily, the commissioning editor working on the Command series, Marcus, is one of the best in the business, and has been involved in the launch of a couple of series himself - including the Fortress series.
One of the complications of launching a new series of books, is obviously making sure that copies end up in book stores - which is one of the reasons why we tend to launch series with really big name subjects. Take for example the Duel series. In the first five books in that series we covered the Tiger, T-34, P-51, Fw190, Spitfire and U-boats, probably some of the most well recognized pieces of military kit out there - even book sellers with only a passing knowledge of history will have heard of most of these.
Once these launch titles have proved their potential we are then able to slowly expand into the areas of military history that are less well known (and in the case of Duel, to start to cover more surprising confrontations). Take for example our book on the FW200 vs Atlantic Convoy, which looks at a whole new aspect of machinery duels, or the Spitfire appearing as its less well known naval incarnation in Seafire vs A6M Zero. Looking to the future the series will continue to expand and diversify - keep your eyes open for the upcoming 2011 title F-105 Wild Weasel vs SA-2 Guideline SAM!
The same strategy stands for Command. Unsurprisingly our six launch titles are well known military leaders, Napoleon, Patton, von Manstein, Rommel, Caesar, Hideyoshi. But as the rest of the titles start to come out you will see a mix of the more familiar names and of commanders and leaders who are perhaps not as well known to the non-military expert.
Montgomery, Lee, Saladin, Garibaldi, Orde Wingate, Hannibal, Model, Eisenhower, Marlborough, Guderian, Lawrence of Arabia, Henry V, Washington, Nelson and Bill Slim are all slated to appear in future Command titles, but as time moves on we are going to be able to get even more focussed.
The plan with Command, as with most of our series, is to generate a list of books like that of our Men-at-Arms series, where 460 odd books down the line you would think we would be running out of subjects. And yet every month all of you send us hundreds of suggestions for MAA subjects that we havent touched on yet.
In fact, on this forum thread you are all suggesting so many great titles we can barely keep up... if only there were more hours in the day!
This month, we are running a Command themed book vote - taking some of the more popular of your suggestions over the last couple of months - it will be very interesting to see who ends up as the overall winner as we pitch Scipio against Shaka, Chesty Puller against Dietl and Gustavus Aldolphus.