Sheridan Simove’s new book What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex took just nine days to conceive, write, design, self-publish, and ascend to #44 on Amazon.co.uk’s bestsellers list. Writing was the easiest part. The book consists entirely of blank pages.
Throughout his life, Simove has wanted to be a bestselling author, someone whose name circulates and carries immediate recognition. In a Real Business article Simove discusses his two previous books: Presents Money Can’t Buy and Ideas Man. Both, he says, “took a long time to write and persuade a publisher to jump on board.” The first book “bombed,” while the second “hardly sold at all” in spite of media coverage, strong marketing, and international tours.
Perplexed, Simove wondered what caused such failure. This is a reasonable response. If we lived 800 years rather than 80 (assuming we’re that lucky), we might have some time to waste. But given life’s fleetingness, it seems natural to avoid time-wasting endeavors — or at least keep them to a minimum. So Simove drew on his successes as an inventor of “novelty products.”
These products include everything from a body scrubber called “Martin Loofah King” to a prank Twitter T-shirt declaring “I TAKE IT UP THE TWITTER.” Simove has sold over one million items. More products are on the way. He’s currently seeking someone from the food industry to help manufacture a butter-sculpted Buddha known as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!”
Literary success, it turns out, is another novelty. Simove decided his previous books were too conventional. After all, gift books and memoirs flood the market, so what would compel consumers to buy Simove’s versions of these genres as opposed to somebody else’s? Seeking “a totally new concept,” Simove “joined two ideas that aren’t normally placed together” — the idea of a book and the idea of a novelty joke product.
What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex is the result of his experiment. The book seems to have particularly exploded at Nottingham University, where students use copies as notebooks. It’s impossible to predict how long this craze will last. But Simove is already planning his next blank book Reasons To Trust Politicians. Maybe that one will spread across the United States.