How to create an erotic best seller: The Diamond Club

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Ok, sure. We all know Fifty shades of Grey already. But did you read The Diamond Club, the new erotic best seller which immediately rocketed to the lead of the iTunes sales charts? You know, the Patricia Harkins-Bradley book, the one with the elegant and mysterious cover, with the übertrendy character, with lots of sex scenes…?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. Because The Diamond Club is actually just a prank by the authors of the humorous webshow NSFW, who after being shocked by the outrageous sales of the E.L. James’ trilogy went on to do just what we all thought of: they wrote a porn book. Quite. Brian Brushwood and Justin Young did even better, asking their followers to send in randomly written chapters, and assembling them with a big copy&paste which begat a 31 pages-long ebook. Then they put it on iTunes for 99 cents and shot a brief video where they explained the prank and asked everyone to buy a copy and leave a top-rated review.

The result: after one week The Diamond Club is still in the Top Five of one of the world’s major digital bookstores, it was reviewed everywhere (including legitimate newspapers) and keeps on being downloaded more than many real books. Its non-authors even received an offer to edit a real erotic series. As they explain in this NSFW episode, what started out as a simple joke ended up showing that the king is very naked. In other words, how the smallest promotional push can be enough to create a purported literary phenomenon out of nothing – even when there is literally (and literarily) nothing behind the cover. Or how people choose their readings just by the number of reviews, without even reading them. Or even – as I suggested in my Fifty shades of Grey review – how the ebook revolution let the hypocrites of the world loose, and how feverishly they are grabbing up whatever “forbidden” stuff they can just because they finally can read them in secret.

In the meantime, Fifty shades darker and Fifty shades freed keep breaking every sale record too…

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