On an ordinary Sunday, I took the A train from 14th Street to DUMBO, Brooklyn. The usual mishmash of New York City suspects lined the car when a tall, dashing man in excellent sneakers stepped onto the subway carrying a single paperback book. He launched into a promotional spiel, and unlike dozens of metro peddlers before him (It's showtime! Shoooooowtiiiime!), AirPods were removed from ears, a toddler leaned in wonder and the car fell silent.
"Alex is addicted to newness," he proclaims in a juicy timbre. "Everything around him always has to be new. He doesn't live anywhere for more than six months at a time. He doesn't believe in owning anything because when you own something, it also owns you. He lives off the kindness of women, and he lives well." He leaves his captive audience with the story's cliffhanger, (the main character, Alex, bets his new woman that she'll sleep with him in the first month), offers multiple payment types to acquire his novel (Square, Venmo, Chase QuickPay, PayPal or cash) and saunters on his way.
As he stepped off the train, I was so perplexed. Why was such a well-dressed man taking his work to the streets? Why hasn't anyone discovered him yet? After a quick Google search, I realized I was decades too late. With 20,000 copies sold at $10 a pop, this subway pitch has made $200,000.