1 out of 99 literary critics agree that I, Edward Champion, am one of the great underrated novelists working today. And while the one critic who proffered this plaudit was wildly drunk (this was after I had purchased him several rounds of sangria and offered to pay his cabfare home), the statement was, nevertheless, recorded on a microcassette and the critic in question signed a notarized document attesting to this fact. I can drag this evidence into a courtroom if I am subpoenaed. I might even show up in a suit, if the charges are serious and the dollar amount is substantial.
What you may not realize is that I’ve been secretly authoring a book called Whirlwind, a gripping literary thriller that, for no explicable reason, involves lots of tantric sex, a twenty-page segue on the history of umbrellas, and an underground league of terrorists — all of them named Ralph, in grand homage to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. It promises to be the most engaging piece of contemporary fiction since Nicole Richie’s The Truth About Diamonds.
With these credentials, you might be asking yourself how you could go wrong publishing me. You might also be asking yourself why I haven’t unleashed the first ten chapters of Whirlwind for public consumption. After all, the information wants to be free, right? As a compromise, I offer a paragraph from my masterpiece:
Archer looked down at his right shoe. It was untied. Not just one end of the lace, but both ends. If the shoe had possessed a consciousness, it would have reflected sublime loneliness. The kind of loneliness that punches you in the gut and then punches you in the gut again before you get a chance to recover your breath. Archer wondered if he could live with his shoes untied. It was noon. He hadn’t had lunch. And at this rate, he was going to have a late one. The man with the umbrella was right behind him, hoping to bombard him with pamphlets. His stomach gurgled. The time had come to take a risk. Archer looked both ways, the way that his mother had once told him to when crossing the street, and he bent down, tying the shoe. One shoe, one small accomplishment, one step away from a fate worse than Eichman.
You might be thinking that such stunning prose speaks for itself. But you’d be wrong. I’m one of those misunderstood geniuses doomed to offer my great works in piecemeal on my blog. But I’ve wised up. Taking a page from the Steve Clackson playbook, I’ve decided the following:
Whirlwind can be yours for FREE!
Pay no royalties, no advance!
Whirlwind will be 100% yours.
Publish 1,000 copies or publish just one and sell it on eBay. It’s up to you!
You publish it, you market it and keep all the money!
Well, maybe two. Who’s counting?
To acquire the rights, you have to support my drinking habit. You have to pay my rent. You must donate $5.00 from every book sold to the Edward Champion Belgian Beer Fund. I’m sick and tired of breaking my cousin’s piggy bank for a 40 oz. bottle of Miller High Life. The time has come to live large, live proud, and live inebriated, as the occasion suits me.
That’s it one completed Thriller with a lot of umbrellas, it’s yours if you want it.
Alternatively, you can send bottles of beer to my PO box.
I trust that you, the readers, will make the right call here and recognize my literary genius. I trust that you will see the noble philanthropy at work here and use this as an excuse to stifle your literary acumen!
And besides, who needs the publishing industry when you can get free beer?