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Valentine's Day? More Like Stupid-Booger-Fart Day.

It’s that time of year again, folks. Valentine’s Day. It’s time to pick out your sexiest outfit, stuff it with crumpled-up newspapers, and then put it in your bed so you don’t have to sleep alone. It’s time to dim the lights, take out the good silverware, and then eat a Hungry-Man dinner across from a framed photo of Glenn Close. It’s time to drink half a box of wine, eat some ice cream with your bare hands, and then wander around town paying panhandlers to say the words “I love you” while giving you eye contact.

In short, it is time for the single grimmest holiday of the year. Or rather, the grimmest holiday of the year for singles.

For people in committed relationships, Valentine’s Day is just another fun reason to go to Applebee’s on a Tuesday. But for single people, it is a day of intense and focused hatred of other people’s happiness. All the things about Valentine’s Day that couples enjoy (flowers, handholding, scented candles, movies in which Reese Witherspoon and/or Paul Rudd almost don’t get to be with a person of equivalent attractiveness but then do, hot tubs, cookie cakes shaped like hearts, back rubs, smiling, doing it, etc.) serve as painful reminders for a single person that he or she is alone, grotesque, and unlovable.

So for all you single folk looking to celebrate this holiday in a manner that reflects your actual mood, why not read a book that explores the theme of frustration and solitude in a cathartic, uplifting way? Instead of crying your eyes out while watching Something’s Gotta Give on TBS, why not feel comforted in your solitude by stories like The Misery of the Conquistador, The Scribes’ Lament, Lie Down and Die, and Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre? Drown out all the trite happiness of your couple friends with 190 pages of gleeful, existential havoc. That’s right, it’s the perfect time of year to read The Great Frustration.

Anyway, that’s definitely how I would plan to spend today, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m going to be making out in a hot air balloon with my fiancée Natasha.

My Sales Figures

Let’s cut the crap. Publishing is a business. The only books that are important are the ones that sell. It doesn’t matter how “good” a book is or how many “pages” it has. What matters is how many people it makes stinking, throw-up-in-a-diamond-bucket rich.

So while I’m very proud of my book’s cultural/critical/artistic achievements (ever since it came out this May it has been playing the zeitgeist like a guitar it bought at a garage sale), the only thing that can really be used to measure its success is huge burlap sacks filled with nasty cash.

That’s why I’ve decided to post my book’s sales figures right here on this blog… The only problem is that everyone who has seen The Great Frustration’s numbers firsthand has been so blown away by its commercial success that they have either a.) moved to the mountains and become hermits or b.) spontaneously ripped their own heads off. So the exact sales figures are not available to me.

But, using the information at my disposal, I have managed to come up with what I feel is a pretty accurate report on the book’s progress:

This Monday (July, 25th) a friend of mine named Shawn told me he was thinking of buying my book, which I’m assuming he later went on to do. The very next day (July, 26th) I spoke to two of my family members who said that they were both also planning to purchase a copy of my book eventually. Therefore, my sales doubled in a two-day period. In business analytics, this is what’s called a “trend.”

Figure 1 (Extrapolation of Trend)

Examining this trend even further, you’ll find that by August 13th over 500,000 people will have bought my book.

Figure 2 (Further Extrapolation of Trend)

And exactly one-third of those people will be named Shawn.

Figure 3 (Proportion of Shawns)

And when you consider the fact that Shawn is not a particularly common name, it becomes obvious that 500,000 is a rather conservative estimate. After all, my book is probably also being purchased by Peters and Susans and Ambers and Jacobs and Sarahs and Angelas and guys whose friends call them Spud and Jasons and Tonys and Chets and Montagues and the list goes on. Amandas and Stevens and Beauregards and Tiffanys and Malcolms and Jamals and Warners.

In any event, the point I’m trying to make here is not that money is the most important thing in the world. Just in publishing. And while its commercial success does not necessarily mean that you will like my book, it does mean that not liking it would make you evil and strange.

End of post!

Don't Spend a Dime: A Guide to Supporting Seth Fried's Debut Collection On The Cheap

Times are tight. In recent years most families have been forced to cut their debut short story collection budgets dramatically, if not eliminate them altogether. But not to worry! There are plenty of ways you can support my forthcoming collection without spending so much as one hot round American dime.

1.) Fill out an acquisition request form at the library.

Even if you can’t purchase my book, you can still convince your library to grab a copy. Most libraries are run by nice people who want you to have access to the books you’re interested in, so they should take your request to heart. However, while you’re talking to them make sure you pronounce it “library” and not “lie-berry.” That will help prevent them from throwing out your acquisition request form.

2.) Only have sex with people who have bought my book.

Not only will this incentivise people to buy my book in the short term, but in a few generations we might even be able to eliminate the genetic traits that cause people not to buy my book.

3.) Give my book a positive rating on Amazon and Goodreads.

I know what you’re thinking: How can I give your book a positive rating if I haven’t read it? But, let’s face it, it’s not like that would make you the first person to post an opinion on the internet despite the fact that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

In order to help you out, I’ve written a few reviews for my book that you can adapt for your own purposes:

“The Great Frustration? More like the great short story collection!”

-Trent Banister, Stairville MA

“If I could travel back in time, the second thing I would do (right after making out with Helen of Troy and right before smacking Adolf Hitler in the face with a pipe) would be to sit down and enjoy this book for the first time all over again.”

-Dr. Leroy Fice, Biosphere 2

4.) Social media the book with social media.

This one is easy. Just Facebook link some Facebook links. Tweet some tweets. Do whatever it is Tumblr does with your Tumblr account. Write a heart-melting love ballad about my book and upload the song to Youtube. Go on MySpace and design a really busy profile layout in which animated gifs of my book bounce up and down to the music of some obscure screamcore band.

5.) Ask a loved one to get you a copy for your birthday.

Happy Birthday!!!

6.) Borrow my book from a friend of yours and don’t return it.

That way the friend will be forced to replace his or her copy and you will have effectively purchased my book.

7.) Send my book good vibes.

If you are a hippy, then you might be in a position to send my book good vibes. If so, please do.

8.) Find people sending my book bad vibes and stop them at all costs.

If you are a hippy who also happens to have a crazy vigilante component to your personality, then you might want to take to the streets and prevent people from sending my book bad vibes.

9.) Make a mental note to check out my book when you’re a little more flush.

Yeah! No big deal. No reason to stress about it right now. You’re going to get that big promotion. I just know it. And when you do, my book will be waiting to congratulate you.

A Complete List of All Books

In order to celebrate the fact that my debut short story collection, The Great Frustration, will be released in about a month, I have decided to compile a list of all the books that have ever been published. In addition to it being a fun opportunity to promote TGF, I figured it could serve as a scholarly resource (which is pretty much how I think of my blog anyway). Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:

Graham’s French to English Dictionary

The Helicopter Joke Book

Jump-Around Howie’s Big Book of Obvious Riddles

The Panther in the Cauldron: A Diaper Lewis Mystery

A Parent’s Guide to Making Your Children Invincible to Witches

How to Tell Which Children Are Invincible to You: A Witch’s Handbook

Mission to Cars: How to Attend an Auto Show

Dr. Paul d'Artagnan’s Low Calorie Workout

Also:

Phone books

It’s pretty humbling to see all those titles listed one after another. It’s enough to make me realize that The Great Frustration will be little more than a grain of sand in an immense desert. Nevertheless, as far as grains of sand go, it’s going to be awesome. Oh, also: Huckleberry Finn.