Author’s Revenge

Amazon’s Bestseller Book
Contains Not a Single Word

When Shed Simove sat down to write his next book, he had only his lifetime dream of becoming a full time author, a couple of published books that had utterly failed to turn him into a household name, and a catchy title. What he had no idea was what the book should be about, or that he wouldn’t need to write much, to turn it into a best seller.
What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex” reached #44 on the Amazon charts, helped by a clever if homemade publicity campaign and the drive of someone who clearly had a (good humored) bone to pick with the publishing industry. But what’s the most stunning about this book is its blank pages. In fact, the book IS blank. Not a single word, comma, or period is printed on it. Just a bunch of white, empty pages.
Now, if you move beyond answering the question its title proposes, and assuming you didn’t know that another blank book has being on print for the past 30-odd years, you hit that kind of straight wall Simove must have hit by the time the book existed only in his own mind: what now then?
As Simove himself would be glad to tell you, the answer to this question brings to focus a lot of what no one likes to discuss about personal success: that it’s mostly a story of ambition, drive and the expected gullibility of whoever the work is directed at. In other words, persistence. And luck, lots of it.
His two previous books, “Presents Money Can’t Buy,” a quasi-novelty collection of cheap ideas for gifts, and “Ideas Man,” a somewhat more ambitious work of self-confessional literature which, according to him, took over five years to write plus two more to convince a publisher to take in, are both still out, and one should expect that they’ll finally begin to sell.
By this time, Simove had also become an artful creator and seller of novelty items and, one assumes, able to pay his bills solely with the fruit of his ingenuity. He’d also become blase about the whole publishing thing, it seems, and his next idea proved to be his best so far: what about publishing a book not for reading but for, well, just buying.
Full disclose: we haven’t actually asked him about any of that. We’re just making these wild assumptions directly inspired by his far-out enterprise, because his story became the story, much more so than how he got to the point of having one to tell, or where does he go from here. How McLuhan is that?
As he readily admits, all he did was using what was not available at the time of old Marshall, but that the old sage had already foreseen: the means of production, these days, are cheaper than ever, and hype is way more important than content. Facebook, YouTube, Tweeter, and you dare to wonder what this all is good for?
With the big plus that no one needs to waste any time actually reading anything; they just read the blurb about it and forward, or rather, fast-forward it to 500 of their own closest friends. It’s truly a work of genius and we’re in awe of how simple and how clever it is to manipulate the system.
Except that Simove, unlike so many millions of malicious ware designers and high-tech gossipers and professional self-indulgents, only uses it to comment on the state of our gullibility, circa 2011, without even wanting to make any comment about it at all. In fact, he didn’t even wanted to write anything about it. And by not writing it, he got thousands of people to read it. The feeling of being in the joke must’ve helped too. Genius, really.
He solved a lifetime quest of becoming a bestselling author. Good for him. But for everybody else, there’s also a very big, very positive effect, one he generously laid down at our doorstep: no one else will be able to do the same.
With a tweaked dream and a clever device, he single-handedly exposed countless pretenders, phony literati, poseurs, and all-around liars, hopefully preventing them from ever attempting to fool us again. And we’ve got to thank Simove for that.

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