On Saturday, Twitter user bigolas dickolas wolfwood (@maskofbun) tweeted:
The follow up tweet says “*grabs you personally by the throat* you will do this. for me. you will go to the counter at barnes and noble. you will buy this. i will be greatly rewarded”
This is an account that tweets mostly about the anime Trigun to about 14,000 followers. But within days, this tweet would explode in popularity, now with more than 100,000 likes and 10,000 retweets.
And as the tweet exploded, so did the book. It rose up the charts on Amazon, becoming the #6 bestselling book overall. It took up three of the top four Sci-Fi Bestseller spots.
As Bigolas Dickolas put it, “THIS IS THE MOST SPECIFIC THING THATS EVER HAPPENED.”
There is something so delightful about this whole experience. For one thing, the idea of having your book that was published in 2019 become an overnight bestseller because of tweet from someone calling themselves Bigolas Dickolas is difficult to wrap your head around. It’s made even better by the fact that this is a queer sci-fi novella with poetic writing. It’s been popular in sapphic book circles online, but it’s not a title that’s gotten a ton of mainstream hype. What a book to get this kind of treatment!
To me, the most charming part about this is that it shows what really makes someone want to read a book. Twitter is popularly believed to not sell books (unlike TikTok). But this one tweet did more than I’ve seen any one single social media post by a publisher’s marketing department do. It’s a complete fluke, something that is impossible to replicate, but it gets to the heart of what is so great about bookish social media at its best: the unbridled enthusiasm.
What really sells books? Word of mouth. And what is word of mouth? It’s this. It’s someone shaking you by the shoulders and saying “This book just ruined my life, you have to read it!” It’s your friend shoving a copy into your hands and saying, “Just text me when you reach chapter seven.” It’s hearing from someone who doesn’t just recommend the book, but has taken it upon themselves to convince as many people on earth to read it as humanly possible.
Who can resist that? Which glossy ad campaign can compete with that? This is the best of book Twitter, the best of bookish social media, the best part of being in a community of readers. It’s finishing a book and having to yell from the rooftops. The replies to this tweet are full of people just as rabid about their love for this book at the original user.
Twitter is not the best place to be right now. And social media is so often a cesspool. But this has been a breath of fresh air, a demonstration of the weirdest and best things the internet is capable of. So thanks, Bigolas Dickolas, for giving me a little more faith in the book community.