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How ‘Diary Of an Oxygen Thief’ Went from Self-Published Obscurity to Bestsellerdom

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This article originally appeared on PublishersWeekly.com. IBPA welcomes your feedback in the comments section of this post.


By Rachel Deahl

“You may not know what Diary of an Oxygen Thief is about, but you might have heard the title. Or maybe you saw a picture of the book on Instagram, or read a discussion of it—positive or negative—on Twitter. And that’s by design: a design carried out by the book’s anonymous author over 10 years.

The slim novel, which details the travails of a broken-hearted, alcoholic, and bitter misogynist (who is also an unreliable narrator), was self-published in 2006. After selling nearly 100,000 copies—predominantly in trade paperback and e-book—the book was acquired by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint in May, and re-released by the Simon & Schuster imprint on June 14. In its first three weeks on sale, the title has gotten off to a respectable start, selling roughly 14,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. The book’s unlikely rise, from underground hit to Big Five-published novel, is due predominantly to the marketing efforts of its anonymous author. He pulled off a savvy publicity campaign that prioritized, above all else, getting the book’s title shared on social media.

The author, who asked that his name be kept out of print, spoke to PW from his apartment in New York’s East Village about the long, strange trip of publishing —and promoting—Diary…”

Read more at PublishersWeekly.com.


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