Consider this a slightly belated congrats to Johnny Temple ’88, the Wes alum and owner of Akashic Books largely responsible for the success of Adam Mansbach’s Go the Fuck to Sleep, which unexpectedly debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list this week. Today, fifteen international editions are in progress, plus a “completely kid-friendly” version, enhanced e-book, and audiobook narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (above).
A Hollywood Reporter article from last week discusses the origins of the “children’s book for adults,” and the viral marketing strategies—by Temple and his Akashic Books—spurring its unexpected success:
Exactly one year ago, Go the F–k to Sleep started as a joking Facebook post by author Adam Mansbach when he could not get his daughter to fall asleep. His friends loved the fake title so much he decided to turn it into a real nursery rhyme-style book with illustrations by his friend Ricardo Cortes. Instead of traditional galleys, Akashic sent a PDF of the book to independent bookstores in February. The PDF went viral, passed from knowing parent to knowing parent, and propelling the book to No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list seven months before publication.
And this is going international?
Akashic called Go the F–k to Sleep a worldwide hit and said numerous foreign editions are in the works, with 15 deals completed and another four in the works. Temple said: “Some of these places are a bit socially conservative. Go the F–k to Sleep is so very American in its colloquialism and its bluntness” that it has been interesting to see the offers come in from a country like Turkey.
Below, footage from German director Werner Herzog’s somewhat terrifying interpretation of the book at a New York Public Library launch event attended by over 400. More at Hollywood Reporter and WesLive.
[thanks to shoutbox for the tip]