The world’s worst book proposals, written by one man
by Sal Robinson
There are some pretty weird books out there (I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve seen this one about How To Sharpen Pencils? or this other one where a famous Oulipian tells you about his dreams?), but a genius named Michael Moran has recently been broadening the frontiers of weird books immeasurably on his blog â€ś100 Books Iâ€™ll Never Write.â€ť
As the name suggests, Moranâ€™s not actually writing a book called, say, The Time Management Secrets of Famous Philanderers: heâ€™s just writing book proposals, one after another, for one hundred of the most boring, cringe-inducing, eyebrow-lifting, and frankly hilarious books Iâ€™ve ever heard of.
Take, for instance, the proposal for Tweet: A Homeopathic Novel:
Hereâ€™s my groundbreaking concept for the next LiteraryÂ FictionÂ smasheroo.
The story of online communication has been one of inversely snowballing brevity. Page-long blog posts gave way to 50 word Facebook status updates. Status updates were in their turn supplanted by 140 character Twitter messages. Now even Twitterâ€™s laconic dominance is threatened by wordless Instagram photos â€¦. And yet throughout this turbulent decade the form of the novel has remained imprisoned in a sort of literary aspic.
I want to liberate serious writing from the metaphorical brown pork pie jelly of print, and I know just how to do it.
Iâ€™m going to write a 140 word novel on Twitter and illustrate it with blurry photographs of my local Waterstones from Instagram. Then Iâ€™ll print it out in 3pt Comic Sans on the cheapest, pulpiest paper available and dissolve the pages in a lake.
Once thatâ€™s done, I can make a fortune selling phials of the lake water on Amazon for ÂŁ13.99 a pop. Or selling phials of Amazon water in Lakeland, whichever works for you.
I havenâ€™t quite figured out how to get a liquid-based novel onto the Kindle but believe me I will have done so by publication date.
The world is getting hotter. People are getting thirstier. Imagine if you will, dear publisher, the universal appeal of a work of fiction that one could, in the event of emergency, drink.
Or the proposed content of The Ultimate Book of Fascinating Ficts:
A fict is a nugget of information that looks like a fact, feels like a fact, but is actually nothing of the kind. It has all the satisfying mental heft of an actual fact, but can never go out of date like a fact will. Here are a few sample ficts to give you a flavour of the book:
Fict 15:Â Whales are thought to be at least as intelligent as Humans. They not only have a distinctive language and mourn their dead, they also go on unsuccessful diets every January.
For each idea, Moran has also created a proposed jacket, making able use of pre-loaded fonts and appalling clip art. The jacket for Knackered: How sleep-deprived politicians are destroying America may represent the nadir of this.
Though there are a lot of nadirs on this blog.
The best part? Heâ€™s only at #32. 68 more bundles of publishing glory to go!
Sal Robinson is an editor at Melville House, and co-founder of the Bridge Series, a reading series focused on translation.