Shamwow To Look Now!


We Are The People (Jimmy2sox Remix) – Empire Of The Sun

Two years ago I went to my first fair in LA. As a Shamwow salesman. Obviously.

Sold my first Shamwow to a Neo-Nazi. Mighty.

Also did a bit of moonlighting as a carny. We all have a dark past.

Exactly two years later, I went to my second fair. As an author. Peddling my book.

Oh. Betsy!

All aboot the baby steps! LA Book Festival all the way! On over the weekend in USC. Huge affair. Thousands of people at it. Time to shine! Spread the good word of Randumb! Time to sell some books to… Convicts? What? OK…

Arrive in. Realise how big the whole event is. Books. Stands. Stages. Food courts. Bands. Comedy shows. Bathrooms. Throngs. The whole shebang. Hunt down the Publishing Ireland section. Would I say it was the main stage of the whole entire festival… ? Yes. Yes I would. Depends really on what you call main. Set-up shop. Randumb display. Shine on. Good to go. Now what? Oh yeah… Sell some books!

Marketing Magic!

Stumbled upon a magic formula. How to sell a book in 10 minutes. All you need…

  1. Free Guinness
  2. Mighty music
  3. Hot blonde (Eye-candy. Mastermind)
  4. Amp
  5. Microphone
  6. Gibber talking away like there’s no tomorrow

Initially had a little problem with the mic. Cable wasn’t working. Asked a sound engineer where a band were setting up if I could borrow one of his. Before I could even ask… Hi, just wondering if I could borrow a- No I’ve nothing spare for you. Leave me alone. I’m busy. Cheers, buddy. Cue hot blonde. Kailand… Three minutes later, returns with three different cables. And a bottle opener for the Guinness. Oh men. As an added bonus for the ladies, I decided that for every 5 books sold, one item of clothing came off. (Oddly. No one was bothered with my offer to strip. But they were when I did anyways? Odd.) Within ten minutes of getting on the microphone, first book sold. Every few minutes after, another book sold. Within a couple of hours, sold out. Sell on, sell out! Apparently. Randumb sold out in record time. Fastest ever at the book festival. Apparently. Depends on who you ask. But I trust my sources.

Hungry Hippos

Here’s something I forgot: WeHo (West Hollywood) is some bubble. Seriously. Population: Young folk. Self-conscious. Obsessed. Insecure. Slim. Fit. Tanned. Toned. Waxed. Pruned. Groomed. Beautiful on the out. Highly debatable on the in. Majority, at least. Forgot that the rest of America is diverse beyond belief. All sorts at the festival. Big. Small. Obese. People who kind of only ever walk on one foot. Plodding side to side as they go. Devouring free Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream. Washing it down with popcorn. Free-food starting slow-moving stampedes. Discarding their kids in attempts to get to the front of the queue for a small container of rice. (It’s free! I must have it! Hhhum. Give me another one! And where is my children?!)

Walking through these stampedes while carrying an amp is a lot of fun. Lost kids walking face-first into you. Popcorn faced adults walking knees-first into you. Every second person suddenly stopping to check their pager. Making you walk into them. And by every second person I might mean only one. But she did stop sooo many times. Walked into a bush at one point to avoid her. Lost a shoe a few strides later when it happened again. Fun. Screaming blue murder in my head.

Can't Get Worse Than Vegas?! Oh Right...

Speaking of which, you do meet all sorts. That one guy. Loren. Peruvian. Looked like Snoop Dogg. Told me that he wrote a couple of scripts about Irish banshees. As you do. Really liked the look of Randumb. Just didn’t have the money to buy a copy. Bit of gibber gabber. Then mentioned I wouldn’t believe where he just came from. Tell me? GuessImagine the worst place I was just before here… Strip club? No man, not the best place, the worst! Oh right. Emm… Vegas? It is horrendous. Crap fun but still cra- No maaan. Bad place. Very bad… Ehhh. Ohhh. Penny. Jail? Worse than jail. Prison. State pen. What you think of that?!

About now my palms got a bit clammy. Sphincter. Squeezed. Uncomfortably. Hoped to hear tax embezzlement. Nay. Heard something about murder. Murderers. 27 years. Clammy feet. Ha. Ha ha. Hee. Ha haw. I think that sounds interesting. I also think it’s getting a bit hotter here for some reason. Haa. Hee. Haw. So. Now. Then. Eh. How about those Lakers, huh?

No interest in the Lakers. Just in the blonde mastermind behind the book stand. Said he better leave before he couldn’t control himself. Oh Jesus. (Ah no, maybe leave her alone, she’s not the worst in fairness. Although there was this one with a pager earlier…) Then he left. Nice guy. Reformed by the looks of it. Came back a few minutes later to give me $5. Wanted to help me out. Hoped to see me do well. Pretty sound from a guy just out of jail with no money. Except I did see more wads in his wallet. Maybe he was spoofing. Either way, decided to give him a free copy of Randumb. Book of the people, for the people! All shapes and sizes!


Leaving the fair, en route back to the bubble gum, I realised two further things:

  1. For all the sales I made, I probably made… Ahem?
  2. Not so much selling the book. More that I’m selling myself

Two things. Which have me mulling. Actually made more money selling Shamwows than selling my own book. Maybe down the line I might see some return. But still. Maybe? Great! Perhaps it’s time to go solo Joe. And also. America’s a big old place. As a wise prophidiot once said, perhaps it’s time to go find some more mountains. Go spread the Randumb words all across the US. Tour. On!?!

6 thoughts on “Shamwow To Look Now!

    • Technically he donated $5. I was kind of talked into it before I could say no too. Never know though, ex-cons might be an untapped market!

  1. I cant believe you are not using the power of Crystal Swing to market yourself. Certainly with their new hit making them a household name, having them by your side would propel you to the New York Times Best Seller list. You can thank me for this magnificent idea with an autographed photo of you and the Swing on tour.


    • You are pushing hard with the Crystal Swing angle! I think you might be working their masterful PR campaign. I’ll add it to the Mulling List!

    • Madhur! I remember you well boss, you were lured in by the Guinness big time. Looking forward to reading your review. Laugh on!

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