Monday, January 9, 2012

The Return Of Harry The Sofa King

I spent much of last week clearing out and organizing my file cabinet (a January kind of job). I went through every file of every book I've written, including a few I got paid for but the book never got published.

It turned out my favorite things to discover were reversion of rights forms, when my book hadn't sold enough copies for the publisher to want to have anything to do with it, so back all the rights came to me. I'm sure every time it happened, I felt, if not depressed, then at least saddened, but now I look at those pretty little letters and say, I can put this book on Kindle! Or Nook! Or anyplace else I want, once I learn how!

Learning how is among my January jobs, although with January flying by so fast (thanks to the incredible warm sunny weather we've been having all winter), it may end up being a February job. But it's definitely on the to do list, and should I ever succeed in doing so, you'll be the first to know.

I found a lot of other things in my files, but one of the things that made me happiest to locate was a copy of my manuscript, Harry The Sofa King. I told you all about it quite a while ago, but for those of you who don't commit my blog entries to memory (and shame on you if you don't), here's a link to the entry where I mentioned it (and a few other things).

I really truly loved Harry The Sofa King, but the last time I mentioned it to my agent, she said there was no market whatsoever for it. None. Nary a one.

I trust her to know these things, but that doesn't keep me from true love. So what I figured I'd do is type out the entire manuscript right here and right now, so anyone who stumbles by can read it. It was meant to be a picture book, so you'll have to imagine the illustrations.

All right. Here goes. Harry The Sofa King by Susan Beth Pfeffer Herself.

Once there was a small country with a king named Harry. Harry was very lonely for a king.

Harry knew why he was so lonely. He could never invite people to his castle because it was full of sofas. There were wall to wall sofas, sofas floor to ceiling.

When Harry wanted to take a bath, he had to carry seven sofas out of the bathtub.

No wonder Harry had no friends.

One day Harry had a great idea. The best thing about being a king is you got to order people around.

And now Harry knew just what he wanted to order people to do.

King Harry sent word throughout his land that every man, woman, and child in the kingdom had to come to his castle and bring all their money.

Soon all the people in the kingdom had lined up with their money. King Harry took their money from them and gave each of them lots of sofas.

By the end of the day, King Harry had a big pile of money and an empty castle.

It was wonderful to see his floors and walls again. King Harry found two rubber bands, five paper clips, and a sour ball.

He also saw his cat had had kittens.

Harry found a mop, a bucket, and some soap. He scrubbed the entire castle until it gleamed.

Then he took a long long bath.

Without any sofas, the castle looked kind of empty. But King Harry was sure once he made friends, the castle would be full and busy.

Harry stood at his window looking outside. But nobody came to visit him in his nice clean castle.

Harry spent every day cleaning his castle and taking baths. Sometimes he played with the kittens. But he grew lonelier and lonelier.

One afternoon, after taking his bath, Harry got dressed and went outside. He took some of his money with him, so he could buy an ice cream cone.

Harry walked over to the ice cream stand. On his walk, he saw people carrying sofas.

The man at the ice cream stand looked very nice. He smiled at King Harry.

"I'd like a vanilla cone please," King Harry said.

"That will be four sofas," the ice cream man said.

"I don't have any sofas on me," King Harry said. "Just money."

"I'll give you a cone this time," the ice cream man said. "But you'd better go home and get some sofas if you want to buy anything else."

King Harry went back to his castle and searched for sofas. But all he found were rubber bands and kittens.

The ice cream man had to be wrong, King Harry decided. He'd walk around his kingdom and find out just what was going on.

First he went to the supermarket.

"Here's your change," the grocery clerk said. "Two plaid sofas and a loveseat."

A street vendor was selling jewelry. "Ten sofas for this watch!" he shouted. "Twenty at a store."

Lots of people were buying his watches.

"Mommy, mommy, can I have a sofa?" a little boy cried. "I want to buy some gum."

Things were really busy at the bank.

All throughout the kingdom King Harry saw people with sofas piled on their heads.

They all seemed to have headaches as well.

King Harry wanted the people of his kingdom to be happy. So he sent out word that everyone in the kingdom should come back to the castle and bring all their sofas.

This time King Harry took the sofas and gave everyone back their money.

People smiled and laughed.

King Harry scattered all the sofas in the backyard of his castle. He put big signs up in the kingdom next door.

DISCOUNT SOFAS!!! the signs all said.

Harry put a large neon sign in his yard. it said SOFAS R US!!!
All the people from the kingdom next door bought the discount sofas.

King Harry kept two sofas for himself. One he kept in his living room for himself and his cats.

And he put a plaid sofa bed in the den for when his friend, the ice cream man, slept over.


Anonymous said...

I love it, and I con picture the whole story. :P

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry, that was meant to be a :)

YOURYOUNGESTBIGGESTFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said...

hahaha love the story!

Nora Durbin said...

So cute!

Jamie Cline said...

There is a market for it! Look at the success of hit shows like "Hoarders" and "Hoarding: Buried Alive".

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thank you to JulieB, YourYoungestBiggestFan!, Nora Durbin, and Jamie Cline. You all have excellent taste.

I hadn't thought of Harry The Sofa King being a sofa hoarder, but you're right, Jamie Cline. It's a whole new market for what is clearly a classic tale!

Abigail said...

Love the new blog format! its very cute! :)

Anonymous said...


I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

Pls try to keep posting.

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Best regards

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Abigail and Anonymous-

All I meant to do was put in a new background, but everything seems a little different.

I think I'll play around with it some more. Maybe it's time for redecorating!

Lisa-Marie Jordan said...

What an utterly charming story! I could totally see it illustrated and everything.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Lisa-Marie Jordan-

I can see it illustrated also. In fact a couple of the lines could probably be eliminated, with pictures doing the work.

But we'll have to do the hard work of imagining it!