The Author slept fitfully.
“Bloody Harry Potter,” he mumbled in his sleep.
For some, the arrival of the eighth Potter story was a welcome thing, a celebration for the book industry. Certainly the new book was flying off the shelves just like one of Harry’s magical owls.
And yet, for others – particularly the authors of struggling or “sale-challenged” books like our dozing Author, the appearance of the new Potter tome was a cause of consternation. Even, shall we say, jealously.
It wasn’t necessarily true that there were a finite number of book sales to be had in the world, and that the success of Potter and friends meant woe for everyone else.
But to The Author in his irrationality, people were only going to buy so many books –there were only so many sales around to be had – and every time someone bought Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, it mean The Author was cursed with a disappearing sale. It was like good book reviews: there was a finite supply in the world.
And J.K. Rowling was hogging them all.
How dare Rowling fulfil the dreams of millions of adults of children around the world with her addictive fiction?
Suddenly there was a fluttering of wings.
Then a thud.
For a moment The Author thought he was still dreaming. Perhaps he had imagined one of Rowling’s griffins had flown through the window, a sack of cash from fresh Cursed Child sales in its beak. Or huge Hagrid had just burst through the door.
But, as he sat up in bed, his thoughts about Hagrid weren’t entirely wrong.
Or, at least, the idea of some large, ungainly, male intruder.
For sitting at his computer, dressed in an ill-fitting pink tutu and with wings protruding from his hairy back, was a large man.
“Who … who are you?” gasped The Author.
The intruder briefly stopped typing on the computer and turned to face The Author. His face was that of a heavy-set middle-aged man with a particularly tough job.
“What … you’ve never seen a Book Fairy before, mate?”
The Author gasped again.
“A Book Fairy, mate, a bleeding Book Fairy,” said the figure in the tutu, turning back to the computer screen. “After all, you called for one.”
“I called for a Book Fairy?” said The Author, confused.
“Of course you did, mate,” said the Book Fairy cheerily as he brought up the Amazon home page on The Author’s computer screen. “I’ve got the work order. ‘One plaintive cry for unappreciated author wanting to improve his sales and his Amazon ranking. Order to be fulfilled post haste.’ So here I am, mate. One Book Fairy as ordered.”
“Oh,” said The Author, still not knowing what to believe.
“I can see you’re still confused, mate,” said the Book Fairy. “Think of me a bit like the Tooth Fairy … who, I hate to break it to you, doesn’t exist. Paying money for someone’s teeth? That’s just disgusting, mate.” The Author could see that the Book Fairy had accessed his book details on the Amazon website.
“Nah, what me and my mates do is help struggling authors get their Amazon rankings up.”
“I’m not a struggling author,” harrumphed The Author.
“That’s not what Amazon says, mate. You’ve got some good reviews, but you haven’t exactly set the world on fire with your sales, have you? Not like, say, J.K. Rowling …”
“Bloody Harry Potter,” muttered The Author peevishly.
The Book Fairy laughed. He had a laughed like a lorry driver. “If I had a dollar for every envious author who slagged off Harry Potter, I’d be a bleeding millionaire, mate. Anyway, let’s get down to business. Book business.”
The Book Fairy reached for a credit card from a wallet in his pocket. “Right then … let’s buy 10 copies of your military thriller, shall we? That should give your rankings a welcome boot up the fundament.”
“Ten copies?” asked The Author.
The Book Fairy flashed him a look. “What, 10 copies not enough for Little Lord Fauntleroy here? Who do you think you are, mate, J.K. Rowling?”
“No, I …”
“You know how many authors me and the boys will be visiting tonight? How many critically acclaimed but critically undersold sci-fi novels, military thrillers, cookbooks, Young Adult potboilers and Old Adult autobiographies we’ll be putting on the credit card? We’re not made of cash. We’re not …”
“J.K. Rowling?” quipped The Author.
“Are you taking the piss, mate?”
“No, no I …”
“Because if you are, you can fuck right off.”
The Author waved his hands. “No. I’m not. I apologise. Yes, 10 sales would be very welcome. That is very generous of you.”
The Book Fairy smiled. He then pushed “enter” on his order for 10 copies on The Author’s novel.
“That’s all right, then,” he said, mollified. The Book Fairy then stood up. The Author noticed the Book Fairy had a long wand in his hand. “Me and the boys will enjoy reading your book, I reckon. Keep up the good work. And remember … not everyone can be J.K. Rowling.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind, Good Fairy.”
“Nah, mate, I’m not the Good Fairy, I’m the Book Fairy.” The Book Fairy pointed his wand at himself. In an instant he was gone.
The Author looked around his apartment. There was no sign that the Book Fairy had ever visited.
His email pinged.
There was a record of the 10 purchases of his military thriller.
He quickly clicked onto Amazon.
Yes, there it was … his Amazon ranking had zoomed up in great strides.
The Author felt satisfied, proud, powerful … honoured.
Maybe Harry Potter was right.
Maybe magic was real after all.
The Book Fairy says it would make his job easier if you bought a copy of my ebook military thriller The Spartan.