Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Blanking Good Book

By now, I assume you’ve heard about THE book, Go the ____ to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. I’ve not read it, but it’s all over the news, including The New York Times.

An article in the NYTimes described it as an “irreverent and foulmouthed parody of a children’s book, written in rhymey verse with profanities sprinkled throughout, giving frustrated voice to a universal problem for parents of small and stubborn children.”

One thing you might not have heard is the tale of the publisher, Johnny Temple of Akashic Books, a small operation in Brooklyn. Temple received an email proposal and almost shrugged it off, but instead sent it to his wife, who responded with the words, “I’m weeping.” Then a friend with the New York Public Library told him he absolutely had to publish it.

Once the buzz came out about the book, other major publishers tried to license the rights to the book, even offering Temple close to $1 million. He turned them down and it looks like that’ll pay off for him.
… Akashic has already printed nearly 300,000 copies and sold more than 50,000, many in preorders, since the book does not officially go on sale until next week. It has already spent 43 days in the Top 100 on Amazon.com, reaching the No. 1 spot weeks ago.
And that’s despite a few stores refusing to carry it, even though a moon on the cover hides the “offensive” word.

You can’t see me, but I’m holding up a champagne glass to Mr. Temple and Mr. Mansbach. Good for both of you!

26 comments:

  1. I thought it was clever and that most parents would relate to it. Kind of dreading the inevitable copycat books, though!

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  2. Hahaha, I had a good laugh at that title. The small press does it again ... I'll join your toast, and raise my coffee cup in a Cheers :)

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  3. Good for them!

    I'm really intrigued about this book now... :)

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  4. I will also raise a glass to this book, its creator and publisher - I read about it in the Globe & Mail on the weekend and went Hurrah! I like the pub's wife.

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  5. It's a coup for the little guys. Clever writing.

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  6. Always great to hear about small presses having huge successes! :)

    Judy, South Africa

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  7. This is the first I've heard of this. Where was it about fifteen years ago?

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  8. Hoisting a glass with you, Helen. This is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.
    Karen

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  9. I went to a talk recently about how books become best sellers and HYPE is the key. This one really picked a winning title.

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  10. Cheers to all! I'm drinking water this morning, but I'm still toasting.

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  11. Wow, Helen, guess I AM out of the loop ... never heard of the book ... anyway, sounds like quite the success story ... sigh.

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  12. I saw this author on TV where he talked about his loyalty to his publisher. I give him big kudos!! I also learned that his previous books are about religion and politics. Talk about departing your blanking genre. :)

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  13. Everyone is so right about the hype and how it can sell. I hope this book lives up to all the buzz. And I agree that the author did a good thing by sticking with his publisher.

    I noticed visiting bookstores on my recent tour that irreverent and "naughty" books are really popular. Saw some with funny titles and were obviously aimed at the audiences who like movies like Hangover and Hangover Two. Some were clever and well written, but others were a bit lame in my opinion. Just going for the shock value.

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  14. Shock value does sell, but I hate to see some of these books in the hands of kids. Irreverance has almost become a religion.

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  15. It's amazing what sells today. This particular book is sold as for adults only. But there are some books out there that make you scratch your head and wonder how and why they got published.

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  16. Akashic Books has a fine reputation. I've read several of their books. Glad they had the smarts to hang on to it.

    I can so understand the reason behind the title and have heard that phrase uttered, under her breath, by a very frustrated niece trying to get a very rambunctious 4 year old to stay in bed and go to sleep, lolol!

    Nothing wrong with clever.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  17. Never heard of that book. Seams like I need to do some research on the Internet >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  18. Now that's funny! If I were a parent, bet that's how I'd feel. Toast to Mr. Mansbach! He could have a whole series of these I'm sure.

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  19. I thought the book was hilarious. With three kids, I've had quite a few of those nights. I was a little disconcerted to see a discussion among parents about this being a kids book. I'm guessing they heard about it, but didn't really get the concept.

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  20. Who woulda thunk a book like that would be a hit? I have to admit that it's something that most parents can relate to. We reach that point where we're over the edge and blurt things out!

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  21. It is funny. I read an interesting post from an editor today who criticised it. It should be lain and not laid, and do you know what? I hadn't even noticed. I just enjoyed it for what it was, a fun read. It shows if the hook is strong enough the little errors get overlooked. (Unless you are an editor I suppose)

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  22. Sounds really easy to relate to, and nicely out of the box.

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  23. I tip my hat to this guy, but a small part of me is kicking myself for not thinking of it first!

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