Sometimes bad things happen. This is the unavoidable risk we face each day when we get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it's really bad, like a death in the family, or something you don't want to make public, like crabs from a hooker.
But most of the bad things that happen are things that you can eventually get up and walk away from, and some of those are objectively hilarious. Those are golden opportunities for an artist trying to maintain a social media presence.
Take yesterday, for example. I fell through a goddamn porch.
I was helping my brother move out of his house, taking in one last view from this porch that I've stood on many many times during the nine years that he's lived there, when an entire section of it started to give way. I had just enough time to think, "Fuck, this is going to hurt." before me, that pile of boards you see in the picture, and that rusty-ass barbecue pit were all suddenly nine feet lower than we were a second ago.
I sat for a moment, stunned in a cloud of ancient barbecue ashes, taking stock of my injuries.
I wasn't dead. That was a good start.
Nothing felt broken. That was much more than I'd expected to get away with.
Aside from being inexplicably covered in dust (I hadn't yet worked out that it was ashes from the barbecue pit at that point), I felt pretty good, all things considered.
Then, like a glorious phoenix, I rose from the ashes.
While my brother was rushing over to see if I was okay, I was thinking, "This shit needs to go on my Facebook page right now."
There's a little bit of asshole hardwired into our DNA, which is why conflict is the twisted, gnarled spine of storytelling. We want to see the hero succeed in his quest, but we want to see him get the ever-living shit beat out of him first.
Another nice thing I've found about self-publishing is that your success is an underdog story, and you're the hero. This is why, as I've covered before, you'll find more long-term success in your social media efforts with engaging content than you will with boring book ads.
While I usually like to let my celebratory posts linger for a while, getting as much visibility as possible (especially during a promotion), I knew that pictures of me bleeding from the head and covered in ash would provide much higher entertainment value for my beloved fans.
Opportunities are abundant once you learn how to spot them.
You see a couple of hilariously bad reviews? I see blog fodder.
You see a crazy stalker sending you a bag of dicks? I see a Facebookortunity.
The 'Bag of Dicks' is even better than the porch thing. This story has both a winning protagonist and a losing antagonist. And if there's anything more satisfying than seeing the hero win, it's shithead failure.
When I first opened it, I thought it might have been a joke gift from a creepily zealous fan. The anonymity of sending it via a website which claims to "ruin your enemy's day", and the 'Box of Annoying Sand' he sent ten days later suggested otherwise.
What could this craven, basement-dwelliing twatnozzle possibly have been thinking? That I was going to lose my shit like in that video of the Y'all Qaeda guy over being sent a bag of candy?
On the contrary, this was more akin to the following video of a guy running the wrong way with the football, scoring points for the other team.
1. He's given me clickable, shareable content for both my Facebook page and this blog post. That keeps my current fans engaged, and encourages people who've never heard of me to read my blog, like my Facebook page, and possibly even check out my books.
2. He's given me the satisfaction of knowing that he spent actual money to fail in his attempts at making me wail in agony. According to the prices on the website, he's spent at least $32 on me so far.
3. Gummi Dicks, as it turns out, are fucking delicious!
Please, Señor Twatnozzle, if you're reading this. Tell me what it is that I wrote to incur your wrath, so that I may write more of it. Also, I really really hate giant dildos made of solid gold... just so you know.
What have we learned today, friends?
1. You can make adversity your bitch.
2. Dicks get clicks.
3. I'm fat, but surprisingly durable.