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Here is a short sample from the book:
“Why do I feel the need to succeed in an art form that’s doomed to extinction?” Evan asked, in despair.
“Just because I don’t read novels doesn’t mean they’re doomed,” said Heeb, as he unwrapped his Snickers bar.
“Look, novels made sense as an entertainment form back in the 1800s, when the closest you could get to a soap opera was Dickens and Balzac. Today, you can get dicks and ball sacks on Internet porn, so even soap operas don’t cut it.”
Heeb was somewhat distracted by his Snickers chocolate bar now. Compared to the hospital food, it seemed to Heeb as if it were the quintessence of pure and natural food – grown organically from the earth and full of goodness for the body and spirit. His mouth began to salivate, just looking at the large bar of chocolate and imagining beneath it the nutty and creamy filling that would provide his mouth with an instant orgasm.
Somewhat pained by the social obligation of having to offer some of this heavenly treat to his neighbor, Heeb extended the bar out to Evan while hoping that Evan would decline. To Heeb’s substantial relief, Evan quickly shook his head, almost irritated with such a frivolous interruption of their all-important discussion.
“You’ve got interactive games, DVDs, Internet, 3D films, and an ever shrinking attention span,” Evan continued, as Heeb proceeded to take an enormous bite of his chocolate bar. “Novels don’t stand a chance against such easy and immediate gratification. These days, people just consume whatever gives them the fastest form of amusement, without any concern for the long-term effects that these empty pleasures may have on their constitution.”
Heeb blissfully focused for a moment on the easy and immediate gratification of his Snickers bar, as he methodically chewed on the large chunk of candy bar that filled most of his mouth. He wasn’t at all concerned about its long-term effects on his constitution.
“Are you listening to me?” snapped Evan, somewhat irked that his neighbor seemed so untroubled by the social and technological trends that would doom literature.
Heeb’s mouth was obviously stuffed, but it was clear that Evan wanted an immediate answer.
“You gotta have sex on the cover,” Heeb blurted out, rather unclearly, with his mouth full.
“Sex under the covers?” Evan asked, trying to make out what Heeb said.
“No. Sex on the cover,” Heeb replied, with his words just as garbled by his glutted mouth.
“Sex undercover? As in, undercover sex?” Evan asked, trying again to decipher what Heeb said, and now impatiently convinced that whatever Heeb was trying to say was going to be an annoyingly irrelevant, inappropriate, or unsatisfying response.
“No.” Heeb shook his head and took a few more bites before trying to speak this time. “You just have to have the word ‘sex’ on the cover.”
“What do you mean?” Evan asked, still not sure that he was hearing Sammy correctly. By now, Sammy had finished most of his chewing and could enunciate properly.
“I mean, the book can be about sex on the covers, sex under the covers, or undercover sex. Or anything else really. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’ve got the word ‘sex’ on the cover.”
“You mean the cover of the book?”
“Yeah. Even better: make sex the first word in the title. Like Sex and the City did.”
“But that was television.”
“It doesn’t matter. If it’s a novel about racecar drivers, call it ‘Sex and Speed.’ Or if it’s a work of historical fiction set in antebellum Texas; call it ‘Sex in the South.’”
Evan looked like a priest hearing sacrilege from a proud atheist for the first time in his pious career.
But the appalled expression on Evan’s face only goaded Heeb on more: “Suppose you’ve written a mystery thriller about an evil scientist who changed his identity into someone totally unknown. Don’t just call it ‘Unknown’; call it ‘Sexual Unknown.’”
“Sexual Unknown?” Evan repeated, incredulously.
“Yeah, that still works.”
“How could that possibly make sense as a title?”
“Look, if the disguised scientist is now generally unknown to people, then he’s probably also sexually unknown to them.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding.”
“OK, maybe that’s not a good example,” Heeb conceded, before continuing, undeterred. “Take a novel about a man’s self-discovery. A good title for it would be something like ‘Sexually Searching Self.’ You get the idea. Just have the word sex in there, and make it prominent enough so that it’s the first thing that people see when they see your book.”
“Sammy, you’re more full of bullshit than a Texas ranch!” Evan exclaimed, in an agitated, high-volume reaction.
“All right, maybe I’m overstating things a little. Look, I’m a math guy, not a literature guy. So I’m looking at this from a purely statistical perspective: all else being equal, your novel is more likely to sell if it has the word ‘sex’ in the title than if it doesn’t. That’s all I’m saying.”