My name is Zawe Grinder and I am eager to tell you about Tales4Tails, the first catbox filler made entirely from shredded wordy fiction.
Look, there is a growing menace from an avalanche of turgid adjectives in overly-long unsold self-published paperback poetry and novels.
Yes, I started Tales4Tails after failing to peddle even a single copy of my long-winded historical novel probing the underbelly of self-publishing. Stuck with two thousand unsold editions adorning the walls of my writing studio, I shredded the surplus tomes in a personal wood chipper, only to discover that my beloved house cat Mr. Whiskers found the detritus pile a welcoming place for indoor deposits.
Well, from that revelation, I dared to think inside the litter box. I began to haunt local book launches, approaching disillusioned debut authors and offering pennies on the dollar for unsold copies. Leftover thrillers and forgettable memoirs soon filled my garage. The wood chipper hummed. I commissioned a Ukrainian freelancer to design a product bag featuring a smiling Mr. Whiskers sitting atop a pile of novels.
After a while, Mr. Whiskers dropped his clues that not every publishing genre was the cat’s meow. Cats were discriminating users. Some genres didn’t please the pussies; others failed to mask the telltale aroma.
Poetry, for instance, just didn’t grind right. The residue of slim tomes with few words seemed to repel the cat testers. Free verse with acres of white space turned them off. Despite the plentitude of self-published poetry available in unread literary magazines, we knew we had to reach out to more fertile pastures.
Young adult fiction, a proven moneymaker for America’s authors, provoked a dead end response from the felines. Tepid adjectives suitable for immature ears just didn’t light a fire under a cat like Mr. Whiskers.
Sci-fi novels with catchy titles like “Litter Roomba” showed promise, but in the end, these editions lacked the character development needed for a penetrating compost. The residual musky odors left the felines unsatisfied, forcing them instead to drop their deuces in an open bottom dresser drawer.
Adventure thriller police procedurals got a solid reception. The pets didn’t seem to mind badly written plots with demented opioid-addicted former secret agent protagonists stumbling onto black market plutonium hoards during a time warp blackout. My Tales4Tails crew knew they were close to a winner.
We hit pay dirt with the spongy purple prose of amateur romance tomes. Swarthy adjectives, raunchy metaphors, skanky similes, and awkward sexual tension, all shredded down to a highly desirable texture. This preferred underlayment sucked up the most output for the daily input. No matter whether this was an author’s first or seventeenth book, the shred from surplus self-published bodice-rippers allowed cat owners to go days without changing this tattered erudition.
My company profits purred with the sweet smell of regularity. We began sponsoring summer writing colonies devoted to cat erotica. Our success should have the proverbial nine lives. We are convinced that as long as delusional authors click away on laptops at local cafes, availing themselves of the browser’s uninspired adjectival mediocrity and blithely ordering hundreds of soon-to-be orphan copies, the world’s cats can rejoice, knowing that Tales4Tails will always, always be beneath their everyday needs.
John Hewitt is a former Army cook with six self-published novels. He used to share a living space with a tough alley cat named Fred.