So, my new book has been out for a couple of weeks now — long enough to get a little bedded in on Amazon — and already, a strange and worrying pattern has begun to emerge. For every ten sales of The Beach Diaries 2012, eight or nine of these come from UK customers, while America, with all those untold millions of Kindle owners, lazily chips in with the other one or two. Tempted as I am to yell “Thanks, Obama!” and fold my arms like he just kicked in the back door and farted on my gun rack, this is merely the continuation of a life-long trend.
To help us examine this gulf more clearly, please point your eyes at the diagram below, illustrating the sales percentages of my entire catalogue of work, from 2006′s Frantic Planet: Volume I, right up to my most recent release. I’ve represented the nations with their most iconic figures, namely, the Queen of England, and ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Observe.
Quite obviously, this is a big problem for me. There’s an enormous audience out there that I’m not reaching, and unless I want to die in a ditch, I need to get to the root of why America hates me. Generally, we’re led to believe that America loves British things. “British comedy is so great!” they often say, quoting that bit where the knights go “Ni!” and wryly remarking that Stephen Fry should have been the new Pope. Yet here I sit, a hilarious British writer, with one of those accents America thinks is awesome, watching as 313 million people thumb their noses and effectively tell me to go hang myself.
I have to ask why? I have my suspicions about the cause of this painful rejection. Because of my status as a nostril-flaring, rain-soaked, “Ooh, love a duck!” Englishman, I’m quite obviously shouldering the blame for this…
Well, yes, he is awful, and we Brits are very, very glad to have gotten rid of him, but believe me, I had no say in the matter. If I had, he’d have been shot into space inside some kind of air-tight, urine-filled dustbin, where he’d have been no bother to anybody either side of the Atlantic. As damaging as the arrival to your shores of the world’s biggest prick was to the relationship of our two nations, I feel I should remind you, America, of some of the great things Britain has given the world.
* The Beatles.
* Monty Python.
* All those actors you love to make cutesy/frighteningly sexual Tumblrs of — Dr. Who, Benedict Cumberbatch, the guy who played Loki in the Avengers, etc etc etc.
* Mr. Bean.
* Bespectacled boy wizard, Harry Potter.
* Sex. We invented sex. Before we came along, the rest of the world was cluelessly using their genitals to hang their hats on, or to hide valuables from passing brigands.
* Sandwiches. The literal saying is that the best thing ever is sliced bread. The Earl of Sandwich? British as fuck. He had a foreskin and everything.
* THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. You know, that thing that you speak, and that all your books are made out of? Good luck with the morning Starbucks order when there’s nothing coming out of your mouth but a spittle-flecked collection of random, howling vowel sounds.
So here’s the deal, America. If you’re going to blame me for Piers Morgan when you’re perusing Amazon’s Kindle store, then you should also be crediting me with all of the good things, and factoring them into your purchases. $3.99′s a pretty bargain price for Ian McKellen and the BLT. But cultural exchanges aside, as my sales figures wither on the vine along with my chance of eating this year, there’s yet more that I can do.
One big part of selling yourself is that you’re supposed to know your markets, so I figure me and the US can get over our little misunderstanding with some simple, regional variations on the cover. Here’s my first attempt.
It’s good, but as a hands-across-the-ocean plea for friendliness between our peoples (and sales in my bank), I feel I could somehow push these ideas further. I asked myself “What does America like?” The answer is of course “America.” As a people, they’re super proud and patriotic, and as such, I’ve drafted a second updated cover, to appeal to their sense of chest-beating national pride; a symbol in itself of my empathic understanding of the way the wonderful American public thinks.
Again, it’s good — great even — but still not enough. I’m desperate here. I need America on side, and if that’s going to happen, I have to move beyond hollow, foot-stomping patriotism and fully embrace everything that America loves. This is it. This is where I do what Robbie Williams never could, and crack the States. Six months from now, I’ll be floating down from the skies of the Hollywood Hills on a Mary Poppins umbrella, and it’ll all be thanks to our glorious American cousins, who will love me, DO YOU HEAR ME?
OBSERVE MY NEW COVER AND LOVE ME!
Now I just sit back and watch the sales roll in. Peace out, America, my friend. My best, best friend.
The Beach Diaries 2012 on Amazon.com (Don’t let me down, America), $3.99
The Beach Diaries 2012 on Amazon.co.uk, £2.99
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