Putting My Foot Down
February 5, 2017 11:48 AM   Subscribe

A while ago, I put up a fake book on Amazon. I took a photo of my foot, uploaded to Amazon, and in a matter of hours, had achieved “No1 Best Seller” status, complete with the orange banner and everything.
posted by eotvos (72 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a foot stamping on a self-marketing interface — forever
posted by chavenet at 11:53 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


Ack. I wish I'd noticed the Amazon customer reviews before posting.
posted by eotvos at 11:57 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Not a previously, but previously on being an Amazon sub-sub-sub-category bestseller.
posted by effbot at 12:23 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Brent is also the founder of HK Austin, a co-living and co-working space in the heart of Austin. In 2015, HK Austin was the #1 rated hostel in the United States

Ironically I am no longer inclined to assign this any value, so he may count this piece a success!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:29 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Excuse me. My elbow and I need a few minutes to write a book.
posted by freakazoid at 12:46 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Will Amazon feel the agony of de-feet?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:48 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Excuse me. My elbow and I need a few minutes to write a book.

Are you sure you're ready to shoulder that kind of responsibility?
posted by cortex at 12:55 PM on February 5 [33 favorites]


We can have a follow-up to keep us abreast of things...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:57 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Everybody already nose about this kind of scam.
posted by latkes at 1:01 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Amazon best seller, whatever. Will people still be reading him in 300 years? It's not like he's a modern day John Bunion.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:01 PM on February 5 [19 favorites]


These jokes are getting pretty corn-y.
posted by synecdoche at 1:09 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Surely body parts don't need to be the butt of all these jokes
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:13 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


This makes me feel as though my own desire to find authenticity in the publishing world is my personal Achilles heel.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:20 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


Way to sock it to 'em, Brent!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:28 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


You got to hand it to him, doing it through the Kindle addition even though I would have liked to finger the pages. Some find it galling, a real thumbs down on the digital publishing world but I don't have the heart to criticise a man who has armed himself with the skills to demonstrate the barefaced duplicity of the system.

Are we done now?
posted by b33j at 1:28 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Surely body parts don't need to be the butt of all these jokes

We're just all trying to be hip.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:29 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


We'll know who to blame when Amazon starts forcing authors to toe the line more strictly
posted by adamsc at 1:35 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Seems like a waist of time to me.
posted by plastic_animals at 1:43 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Hmmm...

The #1 bestselling book in the Microscopes & Microsocopy category is #160524 overall (and #100 is #2322889 overall), so Gut Bacteria would be the best body part to publish about...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:50 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I found this book hard to digest. The next edition could use a appendix.
posted by lagomorphius at 1:52 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


These puns are getting long in the tooth.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:54 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Nah, they've still got legs.
posted by dywypi at 2:00 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Yeah, there's no need to be so arch about it!
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:02 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


omg stop
posted by quaking fajita at 2:03 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


I'm afraid we're too busy having a ball to fall instep with your wishes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:08 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


it's a foolish tendoncy
posted by cortex at 2:12 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We're all just trying to be hip.
posted by lhauser at 2:13 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I suppose we'll have to knuckle under at some point, toe though
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:13 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


If a book holds the top spot in a category for months, that’s saying something. Hitting it for an hour (which is how often Amazon refreshes its rankings), screen-shotting it, and calling yourself a “bestselling author” for life? Well…

The article itself is interesting too. This stuff kneeded to be said.
posted by bleep at 2:14 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


they're good ebooks, Brent
posted by eponym at 2:34 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


I can't believe how callous you're all being to quaking fajita's request. Ya'll are indefeetigable.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:36 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Best seller my ass.
posted by night_train at 2:36 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Two thumbs up!
posted by Melismata at 2:46 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Meta-tarsal-filter: This joint is humerus.
posted by Zedcaster at 2:49 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Why, this heel isn't selling books at all, he's just pedalling digits
posted by oulipian at 3:16 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


plantar an idea and watch it grow.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:32 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


At least, he doesn't write comme un pied.
posted by nicolin at 3:59 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I assume that the sole purpose of the Amazon listing was to pad out his reputation. If so he nailed it, otherwise it's lame.
posted by Zedcaster at 4:14 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Yes, I hope this doesn't cause his career to stumble.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:22 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Lend an ear: I hear there's an audio version in the works.
posted by mightshould at 4:30 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I can't stomach any more of this!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:31 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Sock it to me!
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:05 PM on February 5


My Left Foot's highest amazon ranking is only #164. And that was made into an Oscar winning film!
posted by Kabanos at 5:31 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I got to #1 in Amazon Australia with my debut novel: Methsnake. I totally owned Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humour & Entertainment > Humour > Satire selling several copies a day for a week or so.
posted by Bubbles Devere at 5:51 PM on February 5


I've always wanted to go to Australia in hopes of ogling the southern equivalent of the "northern lights": the areola australis. Like their northern relative, they are easiest to see during the winter, when the weather turns nippy.
posted by maxwelton at 6:12 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Wait, I can get this as a paperback? At only $7.58 what a steal!
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 6:12 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Yeah seriously, how are there "used" copies available already?
posted by cosmologinaut at 6:39 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Turns out the topic is already well-trodden territory.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:42 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Which is too bad, but this book had at least the stub of a good idea...
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:44 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Some real knee-slappers in here.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:22 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Body part reference joke.
posted by oddman at 7:46 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I came back to Metafilter for this?
posted by davejay at 7:49 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I love it when critics begin with the skeleton of a great idea and then flesh it out like this. Starting with an eye towards dissecting the faux high brow world of Best Seller status on Amazon and then actually demonstrating it by walking a mile in the shoes of a supposed author really legitimizes the satire. This should be a gut check for those looking to take shortcuts in the publishing world and a reminder that scalping gullible consumers to get a book into circulation might work in the short term, but eventually will come back to bite you in the ass.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:52 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole

(Am i doing it right?)
posted by clorox at 8:09 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


I came back to Metafilter for this?

If so, too bad someone didn't caution you before-hand, since forewarned is forearmed. Either way, you're likely to get some ribbing for it (and for my part in that, let me say mea scapula).
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:16 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Trying to come up with something clever, feeling like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
posted by STFUDonnie at 8:31 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Authors who stoop to these tricks are spineless, lacking the intestinal fortitude to face the invisible hand of the marketplace.
posted by adamrice at 8:38 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm just glad it's not out of sprint.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:43 PM on February 5


It's a particular kind of American success story: down-at-the-heel but plucky digital author climbs the ladder of success to stand at No. 1. Underpinning it all is our implicit belief that we can be whatever we choose, treading the halls of greatness with little or no effort, talent, skill or knowledge, solely by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but so too does a journey of a single step begin with a single step, as the author so amply demonstrates in this invitation to walk a mile (or much, much shorter distance) in his shoes.

Instep with our national ethos, this runaway No 1 Bestseller proves that sometimes standing out in a crowd is as simple as just standing up to outmoded ideas of "competence" and "merit," and that even authors who don't pepper their weighty tomes with copious footnotes can still leave their imprint on the publishing world, or at least stand on the shoulders of Amazons giants for a quicker path to glory. We say "bravo!" to this sabot in the gears of publishing hegemony, and look forward to more ideas to keep us on our toes from the imitable Mr. Underwood!
posted by taz at 12:38 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


This took some balls. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Et cetera.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 7:31 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Authors who stoop to these tricks are spineless, lacking the intestinal fortitude to face the invisible hand of the marketplace.

I bet Nate Silver would never resort to these tricks, but then again I'm very pro-Nate.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:32 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that I can put all of the used book sellers offering this book on my "shady practises" list.

Especially the one offering it for $19.24 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. Satisfaction, the seller says, is, "Guranteed".
posted by clawsoon at 8:37 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Surely that should be "guaRUNteed"...?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:25 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I've ordered a physical copy from Amazon. I suspect I'll get handed a print-on-demand book with a picture of a foot and 61 blank pages. Thought it's a bit more than I usually spend on notebooks, I'm happy to kick this guy some change for entertaining me. I'll post a run-down here once it lands on my door step.

The used copies are mighty tempting. I can't quite decide whether my curiosity to see what, if anything, arrives outweighs my desire not to reward such sellers.
posted by eotvos at 9:30 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I noticed form the Amazon page it's out in paperback now! As for me, I shall await the Audiobook (read by the author of course) to come out. The turning of pages is so last century.
posted by prepmonkey at 10:03 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I'd say this is the worst bunch of puns I've ever read on MeFi, butt that ain't toe so.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:09 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Perhaps not the worst, but probably neck-and-neck with the worst.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:19 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


No they defeyenately are the worst.
posted by bleep at 8:20 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I see your point.

but if you comb your hair just right nobody will notice
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:19 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Hello, I'm just calling to see if you still have any copies of I, Libertine in stock? Yes I'll hold.

Wow, okay thanks. I guess it sold out really quickly!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:59 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Glad to see you dipped your toes in the water of self-published books. You really nailed that ingrown business. But must you be so arch? What's your sole worth?
posted by spitbull at 2:50 AM on February 7


I received my copy of the paperback edition in the mail today.

It turns out it's not actually a print edition of the original best seller, but rather a dramatically revised and expanded text. It appears to be professionally bound, bears the imprint of Thought Catalog Books, and has an ISBN bar code.

The book starts with a five page essay about the project, similar to the article above. There follows "Part I," which consists of 20 photos of the guy's foot in front of screens displaying social media or online newspaper content about the piece. "Part II" includes twelve photos of the guy's foot on various outdoor surfaces.

I can see why this is a better item to leave on the counter at an arts space for people who don't know anything about the prank to discover. But, as someone who is already sold on it, and who is a big fan of the absurd, I'm a bit disappointed. Instead of (yet another) incomprehensible thing to stick on my shelf and generate weird conversations, I've got a tidy and contained work that explains itself entirely before you've stopped to consider it.

Still, all proceeds go to 826 National, for which the author deserves praise, even if he did spoil his own joke a bit in the introduction. The question now is whether to modify my glowing amazon review to complain about how inferior this version is to the original first edition.
posted by eotvos at 6:31 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


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