Baboon Fart Story is now available, for free.
Though, I’d like to ask that if you do want to grab this to please take a moment first and deposit a few chits and ducats — even just a dollar! — to one of the following charities:
The African Wildlife Foundation: Donate here.
The Colon Cancer Alliance: Donate here.
StoryCorps: Donate here.
Donate for the baboons. Or the colons. Or the preservation of story.
(All three charities rated three or four stars by Charity Navigator.)
To download Baboon Fart Story:
The Story, So Far
If you missed the, ahem, thrilling narrative —
The other day I said a thing about how technically, yeah, self-publishing has no gatekeepers, meaning: you could upload a book containing only 100,000 instances of the word “fart” — just slap a baboon urinating into his own mouth onto the cover and voila, upload that mad bastard right to Amazon. (That post: “Self-Publishing Truism Bingo.”)
Then, a lovely gentleman with whom I was previously unacquainted — “Phronk,” AKA Mike, a dude who has a PhD in Psychology — decided to do exactly that. (I was unaware of this, nor was I consulted. I did not compose the arrangement. Most I did was signal boost.)
And so, Baboon Fart Story reached Amazon.
It lived there for about 12 hours.
It attracted over 30 reviews, some from notable authors (Daniel Abraham, Tiffany Reisz).
It landed about 21 sales, give or take some from foreign Amazon installations.
It ended up at an Amazon ranking of #14,246.
And at #9 in: Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Books & Reading > General.
Then, earlier today, it got pulled from Amazon by Amazon.
The reason given to Phronk was:
“We’re writing to let you know that readers have reported a poor customer experience when reading the following book: Baboon Fart Story.”
He asked them to reconsider, and they told him, in short: “No.”
And that was that, though it gained some traction across social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter). Some folks found it hilarious. Some found it just plain stupid. Others found it mean-spirited or damaging to self-publishing efforts. A sampling:
@ChuckWendig wait. If BABOON FART STORY becomes a best-seller does that prove or disprove your theory? I’m so confused.
2/17/14, 10:29 PM
BABOON FART STORY, a metacritique of self-publishing that is “fart” 100K times, has 18 reviews on Amazon. Well, there goes my soul.
2/17/14, 11:49 PM
Somebody takes @ChuckWendig at his word. And the word is ‘fart’ written out 100,000 times. And its selling on Amazod. http://t.co/N67PfMq9M1
2/18/14, 9:27 AM
The word ‘fart’ 100K times with a baboon pissing in its own mouth on the cover is now outselling my novel on Kindle. http://t.co/wdrrnpAtfa
2/18/14, 9:29 AM
Arguably the highest achievment of humanity — or baboon. http://t.co/jv9YnQshe7
2/18/14, 9:32 AM
I bought a Kindle copy of the Baboon Fart Story before Amazon took it down. THE BIDDING STARTS AT $5,000. Ultra-rare! CENSORED BY AMAZON!
2/18/14, 9:45 AM
I suppose this’ll become a new freedom of speech issue. No, I don’t think it’s fucking funny at all. I’m not 12. http://t.co/ggx6y3r2xp
2/18/14, 9:53 AM
Congrats on throwing DIY back into the dark ages.
2/18/14, 9:53 AM
Dear traditional writers: if Baboon Fart Story proves anything at all, it’s that self-published books can’t get away with crap.
2/18/14, 2:12 PM
Heard Apatow was in a heated bidding war for BABOON FART STORY. Maybe that’s why Amazon pulled it down?
2/18/14, 12:47 PM
The whole baboon fart story debacle is making me howl with laughter. The reviews were even more hilarious. Pity someone spoiled the fun.
2/18/14, 10:21 AM
Charlie Stross had some things to say about it (“Baboon Fart Odyssey“).
The Daily Dot ran a story.
So did Metro NY.
It now has a Goodreads page.
It’s all a delightful bit of silliness that proves very little but, it seems, has invited some conversation just the same. On the one hand, it would seem to satirically criticize the unmanned gates of self-publishing, but on the other hand could not exist without the unmanned gates of self-publishing. The more interesting focus is maybe on what it says about Amazon — there, a rather epic bastion of self-published works, reportedly itself an unkept gate except, as of late, they’ve been kicking various authors and stories out of Eden (monster porn, certain varieties of erotica, STORIES ABOUT BABOON FLATULENCE). And this one seems to have been pulled because people complained — folks that I think (having followed a few Twitter conversations) might’ve been some indie-pub authors who were a bit bristly over the whole affair. Which then makes me wonder if you can get any book pulled if enough people complain. Curious.
And that is that. I admit now that I wish it had remained, if only to become a receptacle for what were truly some of the funniest reviews I’ve read on Amazon in a long time.
You can find an archive of some of those reviews at Kay Camden’s website.
Thanks, Phronk, Kay, and everyone else for making this, you know… really, really weird.
High-fives and baboon farts all around.