Social Media Storm: Behind the Success of 'Go the F**k to Sleep'
The parody children's book "Go the F**k to Sleep" is not even out yet, but it's taken the Internet by storm and has quickly become a best seller ahead of its June 14 release date.
Author Adam Mansbach — the father of a toddler who struggles to go to sleep — has written a bedtime story for adults wrestling with kids to get to bed each night, and the online response has been dynamic to say the least.
TechNewsDaily spoke with Mansbach and illustrator Ricardo Cortes about how social media shot "Go the F**k to Sleep" (Akashic Books, 2011) to No. 1 on Amazon's best seller list a month ahead of its publication and how the book's message has captured the hearts of parents with a sense of humor everywhere.
The book is everywhere these days. Did you guys make a conscious effort to use social media to promote the book or did it just happen?
Adam: It actually just happened. The book blew up before there was any "marketing plan," and even if we'd had a chance to make one, it probably would have been, like, "Let's just chat up women pushing strollers until they call the police." But it makes sense that social media has played such a big role. What do people with young kids do at night, instead of going out? They screw around on Facebook.
Ricardo: Where the buzz started is a mystery. It seemed to begin right after Adam did a reading of the story to his first listening audience in Philadelphia. The place went wild, and those folks who received the first glimpse may have been the first tweeters , emailers, and Facebookers to get the ball rolling.
How would you describe the impact that sites such as Facebook had in getting the word out?
Ricardo: There's no question that social media sharing helped catapult the book to the heights it has reached. Aside from all of the media attention and the tens of thousands of "likes" that the book has gotten online, the Facebook page has rapidly turned into a community hub. Fans keep posting on the wall to share parenting woes.
Adam: It's been tremendous and really gratifying. I'm getting emails from people all over the world, thanking me for articulating what they've been struggling with, making them laugh and helping them feel less alone.
Did you expect this type of success so early on, even before the book has been released?
Adam: I never could have anticipated this. I knew the book was funny and that it resonated with people, but this is like stepping into some type of sitcom dream sequence. It still feels very possible that I'll wake up and find myself in a junior high Earth Science class or something.
A pirated PDF version of the book has popped up on the Internet. What's been your reaction?
Ricardo: As the book's illustrator, I felt slightly let down to know that many people would first see the rich images via a low-resolution PDF file. Every artist wants their creation to be enjoyed in the most optimum setting or format. I was taken aback quickly, however, to see how fans devoured the first taste and proceeded to demand the real thing. Adam and I made a great package — the writing and illustrations really have a lot of heart and soul — and I think that's coming through to the people who've seen the pirated story.
Adam: All I'll say is that I hope people who do read the book online will decide it's worth buying — or, at least, that it's bad form to print out and staple together a bootleg PDF and give it as baby shower present or a Father's Day gift.