Self-Published Author Celebrates Birthday

herocious

On his birthday,self-published author, Arturo, the non-bestselling hermit behind This Is How We Do It, got up and asked people on his blog, lookbook, goodreads, tumblr, twitter, and facebook to buy his book.

He made his request look urgent, like this:

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK.

Arturo told the mass of bloggers that had gathered at his house to cover the story that he had no intention of leaving his house, eating his cake, or even smiling until someone bought his book.

“But it’s your birthday,” the bloggers said in unison. “You should go out and have fun.”

“You’re right, it is my birthday,” Arturo answered, “and I want someone to buy my book.”

The bloggers secretly admired his stubbornness. It was a form of hustling.

The bloggers walked around his house taking pictures of things.

The bloggers thought about their future post on Arturo.

The bloggers thought about the keywords they would use and the descriptive title that would drive organic traffic to their site.

One blogger thought the following title was perfect:

SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR BEGS INTERNET TO BUY HIS BOOK ON HIS BIRTHDAY

On the dining room table there was a 6.5 X 9.5 inch cake done in the likeness of the cover of This Is How We Do It with 1 candle in it.

The flame wavered little in the stagnant air.

Wax slid onto the frosting.

Arturo sat in front of his computer and watched his Amazon ranking.

When he refreshed the browser, his ranking dropped a little bit more.

Arturo explained:

“In the morning it started out at #17,538, which isn’t a bad number for me. I’m happy with #17,538, but I’d like to see a sale on my birthday, just one, all it would take is one person, and then I can blow out my candle and smile and eat my cake and take a walk around the neighborhood.”

One blogger asked, “But why does someone have to buy your book before you can live your life?”

Arturo didn’t answer this stupid question.

Another blogger pointed out that eating his cake was kind of like eating his book.

Arturo liked the symbolism. He liked the idea of his book as nourishment.

And his ranking slowly dropped.

By 3:38PM it was down to #69,699.

Arturo scratched his head and thought how close that number was to #70,000.

He grew despondent.

Clearly no one wanted to read This Is How We Do It because no one liked him.

Arturo wondered if refreshing the browser so much made his ranking drop quicker than it would if he left his Amazon page alone.

A clairvoyant blogger said, “Amazon penalizes your book more when a page view doesn’t result in a purchase.”

Arturo whimpered.

He needed to rally hard.

On Facebook he wrote the following:

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT MY CAKE.

And then he uploaded a picture of his birthday cake, which was really the cover for This Is How We Do It.

Immediately someone ‘liked’ it and commented, “Love your cake. Very creative.”

Arturo immediately ‘liked’ this comment and wrote back, “Would you like to see a video of me eating it?”

There was no response.

Seven minutes later someone else ‘liked’ the picture of his birthday cake and commented, “I’d watch that video.”

Arturo immediately liked this comment and commented back, “Would you buy my book then?”

Arturo was shameless.

He saw not point in censoring his degree of self-interest.

He knew certain people frowned upon his self-interest, but he couldn’t help it.

Arturo was a self-published writer trying to get his work read, how could he do this without showing self-interest?

He looked at his comment hanging on Facebook.

His comment was sweating desperation.

He considered deleting it.

14 minutes after uploading the picture of his birthday cake to Facebook, someone commented, “Done.”

Arturo’s heart skipped.

He involuntarily scooted back in his chair.

It looked like he hiccuped and sneezed and farted at the same time.

He tried to ‘like’ this comment and comment back with “Thanks!”

Instead, he put his hand to his heart and refreshed the Amazon page.

“Someone bought my book!”

The bloggers gathered around the computer screen for corroboration.

A few of the more enterprising ones zoomed in on the ranking and took a picture of #27,184.

Arturo swiveled around in his chair and looked at the bloggers and said, “Who wants a slice? I’m starving!”

The bloggers followed him to the table.

They sang Happy Birthday.

Arturo blew out the candle.

The bloggers didn’t know what it was about Arturo that made him such a small success story.

Was it his humility? His generosity? His intelligence? Was it the way he used the internet?

Arturo asked the bloggers to take a video of him eating his slice.

Right after he finished, he uploaded a video of him eating his cake onto Facebook and ‘liked’ the person’s comment who said “Done.”

He commented back with, “As promised.”

Then he left the mass of bloggers to do whatever they wanted in his house and took a walk around the neighborhood.

It was a beautiful evening.

September 7, 2011 5:22 pm

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