There were a bunch of people outside the student union today handing out books. From a distance I could tell that they were novels and not bibles so I picked one up. The book was Wild Animus by Rich Shapero. Since I am well aware how expensive self-publishing costs, I asked the girl what the deal was. All the information she gave me was that Shapero decided to hand out free copies of his book instead of spending money on advertising. Made sense to me.
Standing in line for coffee I read the first few pages. I didn't think it was too bad until I started noticing that Shapero's style was needlessly wordy and full of adverbs. I saw a note on the back cover that said that there are 3 CDs that accompany the book and that "the novel serves as an emotional shell" for the music. I don't know about you but when I think of the word "Shell" I think emptiness. I think hollow. Not the best word choice. When I got to the library I hopped on a computer and googled the book. Here's some stuff I found:
- The book has been distributed (for free) throughout the US, Australia and most of Europe.
- The author was born into a rich family and serves as a board director for several different companies.
- The book has 84 one-star reviews on Amazon (out of 134 total reviews).
And some notable comments I found about the book:
"I saw an ad on Craigslist in my city that is soliciting hires for the distribution of this book. I had to investigate and I found this article among many others that detail the curious tackiness of this whole enterprise."
"To make matters worse, Shapero has hired a number of people to distribute the already expensive box set everywhere. Shapero refuses to stop. He hired actors to dress up as “nerds,” and “wave signs and shout negative things about the book” to create controversy and interest. Evidently, he had the goal of distributing 1 million copies."
You can get the first three chapters of the book here if you want to check it out for yourself. All in all, I am going to conclude by saying that I am glad that popularity can not be bought. As a writer and a musician I see what Shapero is doing as tremendously masturbatory.