May 13, 2011
Kids. You love them. You really do. They’re cute and cuddly adorable little creatures that carry your heart. But sometimes, they make you want to scratch your eyes out.
If you don’t have kids, you don’t know what I’m talking about. And if you do and you don’t want to pull your hair out from time to time, well then you’re not normal. At least not in my world.
So when one of my friends sent me an advanced viral copy of the soon-to-be-published Go The F@*k To Sleep, I immediately opened it. Through poetry, prose and an appropriate number of f-bombs, the author Adam Mansbach beautifully describes one of the most trying times of parenthood – bedtime. One page in and I knew I had met my new parental hero. Two pages later and Mansbach became my parental god. Not only was I emitting odd howls of laughter, but my eye makeup was completely gone and I was sweating…
The windows are dark in the town, child.
The whales huddle down in the deep.
I’ll read you one very last book if you swear
You’ll go the fuck to sleep.
The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep.
I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying.
Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep.
And that’s just a taste folks.
But how it came to be is an even better story. Mansbach first floating the idea of Go The F@*k To Sleep as a joke on Facebook. He received an overwhelming response from friends begging for a book that puts a humorous spin on what often can be an exhausting experience. But according to a recent article in Fast Company, the real reason it’s taken over the number-one spot on Amazon.com a month before it’s available and been picked up by Fox 2000 is piracy. Good ol’ fashioned stealing.
Any music producer, book publisher, film studio or software company will tell you piracy is death to their industry. And I’m not here to argue. But in the case of Go The F@*k to Sleep, piracy gave it the legs it needed to become part of water cooler conversations, and it likely gave big box booksellers a little validation for making room on the shelves. So why is it the “accidental” advanced seeding of this book works and for others it kills sales? Fast Company suggests it’s something publishers should research. I have my own opinion. In this case, I think the piracy success of Go The Fuck To Sleep is threefold.
1. It’s sharable. Yes, on a viral level but more importantly in hard copy. Like Goodnight Moon, I predict this will be one of the top gifts for baby showers. It’s something you want to read time and time again
2. It’s good. Really good. Like a classic you want to keep on the shelf for those days when you just need little Johnny to Go the F@*k to Sleep
3. Consumers reward good. It’s true. Sometimes when something amazing comes along for free, it makes you want to buy it and support whomever created the masterpiece. It’s like a thank you note and an invitation to keep it coming.
That begs the question of who determines what’s good and what’s not? I can’t answer that but I do know if you stumble upon a hard copy of Go The F@*k To Sleep June 14. Pick it up. I promise you’ll f@*ing love it.