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The Accidental Pornographer [Kindle Edition]

Gavin Griffiths
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 280 pages
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Book Description

The Accidental Pornographer is about a man getting into trouble. It's the true story of how a wannabe entrepreneur bought his way into a famous erotic magazine and slowly got sucked into the fetid underbelly of the adult entertainment industry.

It's a tale of thwarted ambition, of highs and lows, and even lower lows, of finding yourself, losing yourself and then finding yourself again. Along the road, strewn with tatty feather boas and broken dreams, he meets a host of characters including exhibitionists, opportunists, a Welsh dildo salesman, spankers, strippers, phone sex operators, a few masters of the universe and a couple of his all-time heroes.

As well as peeking behind the curtain of a hidden world, The Accidental Pornographer is a real life case study in throwing your chips in the air and living the entrepreneurial dream. A story of hope and fear, opportunity and adversity, friendship and loyalty. Sort of like an epic Greek fable. Except without washboard stomachs. Or Minotaurs. Joined by an intrepid team of fellow adventurers, he sets sail into the unknown only to be undone almost immediately.

But I'm giving too much away already. Buy it. Read it. Sail with me on my erotically charged journey to the end of the world.

Gavin Griffiths
email :
Tweet : @GavinGriffiths

This book first came out in paperback and was published by those lovely people at Wileys. I have updated it a little as my perspective has altered slightly in the past couple of years. But here's what some people have said about it first time round:

"Hilarious, Heart–warming foray into porn." (Scarlet Magazine)

 "With its saucy matter, colourful cast and cheeky tone, it′s easy to forget that this book is about a business start up." (Daily Mail)

"...the tale of [a] shipping magnate who brought The Erotic Review...and amusingly failed to make a living out of it." (The Independent)

"Griffith′s brazen and jovial attitude to failure is refreshing and many of us could learn a thing or two from it." (EN Magazine, November 2008)

"...excellent book ...written in a fresh, breezy style" (Erotic Review)

Product Description


"Hilarious, Heart–warming foray into porn." (Scarlet, October)

"...excellent book for business beginners...written in a fresh, breezy style" (Erotic Review, September)

 "With its saucy matter, colourful cast and cheeky tone, it′s easy to forget that his is a business book. What makes it genuinely interesting is that it′s a business book all about failure." (Daily Mail, September 26, 2008)

"Honest and amusing...inspiring in a refreshingly personal way...This book is perfect for anyone starting up a business" (Start Your Business, October, 2008)

"...the tale of [a] shipping nagnate who brought The Erotic Review...and ammusinglt failed to make a living out of it." (The Independent, October 10, 2008)

"Hilarious, Heart–warming foray into porn." (Scarlet, October 2008)

"...excellent book for business beginners...written in a fresh, breezy style" (Erotic Review, September 2008)

 "With its saucy matter, colourful cast and cheeky tone, it′s easy to forget that his is a business book. What makes it genuinely interesting is that it′s a business book all about failure." (Daily Mail, September 26, 2008)

"Honest and amusing...inspiring in a refreshingly personal way...This book is perfect for anyone starting up a business" (Start Your Business, October, 2008)

"...the tale of [a] shipping nagnate who brought The Erotic Review...and ammusinglt failed to make a living out of it." (The Independent, October 10, 2008)

"Griffith′s brazen and jovial attitude to business failure is refreshing and many of us could learn a thing or two from it." (EN Magazine, November 2008)

From the Back Cover

"My name is Gavin Griffiths, and for over a year I was a pornographer "

So begins the uniquely entertaining account of the author s business experiences as a co–owner of The Erotic Review.

An established favourite with men of a certain age, The Erotic Review was a saucy magazine with a circulation of 30,000 at its peak. But the magazine was running at a loss. In the wake of the dot–com boom, Gavin Griffiths was enticed by legendary editor, Rowan Pelling, to go into business. They bought the magazine and its debts for £1.

This compelling account of Gavin s entrepreneurial adventure is both amusing and informative. He was a newcomer to both publishing and the world of erotica, but he wanted to succeed. A fast learning curve followed, embracing a colourful cast of characters, exotic products, and the emotional and practical highs and lows of running a business.

The Accidental Pornographer is a personal journey that offers such insight into the perils and pitfalls of buying and running a business. It is not a success story but is a tale of commercial realities, and it contains valuable lessons for every entrepreneur. From the legal requirements of starting a company, to the hidden perils of advertising and marketing, cash–flow woes and personnel matters, and the looming reality of debt and insolvency, Gavin Griffiths tells it as it really is. He also provides some amusing insights into the world of glamour magazines along the way.

" It was a year that money could not have bought. I learnt more about business, people and myself than in all the years that preceded it."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 394 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Microvar Limited (19 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XI0SRC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #316,416 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Hi, my name is Gavin Griffiths. I've never really thought of myself as an author but I've written a book so technically this is what I am. But like many people referred to as author it's not what I do. It's not my day job. It was something I did once, and it's something I would like to do again. I'm also a husband, a dad, a dog owner, a business owner, a motorbiker, a dreamer... lots of things really. So the tiny bit of me that is an author finds myself staring at a blank screen thinking about what to write in my "Author Biog" page on Amazon. Rather than give you a load of boring stuff about me I thought I would just tell you why I wrote the Accidental Pornographer. Here's how it came about:

I once met this woman who had started a wildly successful chain of coffee shops. This was shortly after launching my first publishing business, about 10 years ago, when I had fire in my belly. I would meet everyone I could. I'd just ring people out the blue that I liked the sound of and have coffee with them. I don't know why I'm not like that now. The first internet bubble had burst but there was still an electric atmosphere in London, a feeling that you could do whatever you liked. I contacted this coffee shop woman who was bringing out a book called 'Anyone Can Do it'. I had this idea for an entrepreneur magazine and thought she might want to get involved. A crap idea in hindsight but at the time magazine publishing was still a great business and I was into them. We talked for a while, there was some minor interest, and we went our separate ways, me clutching a copy of the book she had written. 'Anyone Can Do It' was a book about how straightforward it is to set up a 100 strong chain of coffee shops that turns over 30 million. She had done it with the help of her brother (an ex city broker) and her dad (a multi millionaire businessman), she herself was a highly motivated, intelligent, extremely attractive and charismatic ex lawyer. So after reading their own biography's it was pretty clear that these people were special. I mean they were big hitters in the world of business and finance. I didn't even finish it, thinking that these elite people were really pretty far from "anyone". We weren't dealing with your Mr average Joe Bloggs here.

Now fast forward 18 months from this meeting. The publishing business hadn't worked out at all (you'll need to read the book to find out more about this). So nursing a broken ego, at home with Katharine, my wife, and toddler Olivia, I decided to write the anti- success book. A book about how bloody hard it is. A book about what happens to those 1 in 3 businesses that doesn't make it. Forget about all those Dragons Den folk, or Richard Branson. Business is full of failure yet nobody ever talks about it. I was going to do the opposite to 'Anyone Can Do It'.

So I wrote three chapters, printed them off and send them off to 100 publishers. Every single one rejected it. Many didn't even reply. After a year or so I was about ready to give up on the writing idea when, as is often the case, something serendipitously landed in my lap. I hadn't hung around trying to make a life as an author and in the meantime I had launched a new business, a magazine called Scarlet Magazine, which was a sort of lads magazine for girls. It made quite a stir in London and one afternoon I had a call from a senior editor at Harper Collins who wanted to come and have lunch to see if there were any book ideas we could work on. So we had a few bottles of wine and threw about some thoughts and a book concept developed over the course of the afternoon. It was a book on the hundred best vibrators in the world, artistically photographed and heavily styled in a coffee table format. The concept was approved at the highest levels of Harpers and they signaled they wanted to move on and publish it. A book deal had landed on my lap. It was recommended by Sarah Hedley, famous editor of Scarlet and dear friend, that I find an agent to ensure I wasn't getting shafted by this publishing Goliath, what with me being the gullible sort of David that I am. She suggested contacting her agent, Gordon Wise, of Curtis Brown. Gordon agreed to represent me in my negotiations with Harper Collins and so it was that I had found myself one of the best agents in the business. They had represented Charles Darwin with his little book Origin of The Species! You could never have planned this. Opportunity comes knocking at the most unlikeliest of times. He negotiated the deal for me and after it was put to bed I wasted no time in sending him my first three chapters of The Accidental Pornographer. I waited nervously for his feedback which took about a week. I was convinced the delay in reply was because he was finding a way to politely say it was rubbish. But it was the opposite. He thought it was a great idea. Within a month he had found a book deal with Wileys who went on to publish it in hard copy in 2008. I updated it and published the digital version myself in May 2012.

The experienced of getting published by a large publishing house is incredible. I was a special guest at the big book awards called the Nibbies and I got to sit at the same table as Anne Diamond. Another time I was wheeled out at The London Book Fair and plied with champagne. Wileys threw a huge party for me in Soho when the book was launched. It was like being a rock star for a few weeks. Then everything got back to normal and that was that. Like 99 out 100 books it wasn't a best seller. It wasn't made into a movie and the money it made never enabled me to become a full time author. I switched from publishing magazines to publishing websites and with the kids getting a older we left London and moved to Stratford upon Avon where I run a small digital publishing house.

This book is one of a handful of working endeavors that I'm really proud of. I haven't found anything commercially as pure as someone paying money for something that has come from inside my head. You've purchased something that could only have existed because of me and it's a very special relationship that you and I have. It sounds corny as hell saying it but every single sale is like a tiny victory - in my head I crack open a little bottle of champagne to celebrate, yay! Here's to you!

Oh and one more thing. Writers love being contacted (unless you're one of those mad reclusive writers like JD Salinger, which I'm not). If you have any questions on the book, or your business is going through the ringer or your business is going great guns or you want to know how to upload a book or just fancy saying hi then drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some accident 12 Sept. 2008
Nobody sets out to fail. Everyone setting out on their own takes courage from those self-made millionaires who've started with nothing and ended up wealthy beyond counting. Even those who've not read the biographies take heart from BBC TV's Fools and Horses' Del Boy who constantly reminds his audience that "this time next year we'll all be millionaires".

So it is totally refreshing to read how Gavin set up his stall to succeed and did everything but. Who else but someone starting out on a career in shipping would give it all up to write fictional biographies for a website called "PoshTotty"?

This book is Gavin's lifetime compressed into the two years he was Managing Director of The Erotic Review Magazine. What a life! If there's any justice, fame and fortune should follow this piece of open hearted frankness.

If Carlsburg did books, this'd be one of them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A business book you can't put down 11 Sept. 2008
I was a bit sceptical at first to read a book about a failed entrepreneur, being an entrepreneur myself, but found Gavin's story not one about failure but about believing in your ability to succeed. Extremely well written, you feel a kinship with all the real characters who gave their all to try and do the best for a project they all believed in. A book you can't put down and an inspiration to any entrepreneur out there that if at first you don't suceed ....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever book 2 Oct. 2008
This was the best book I have ever read. This was educational, funny, startling and an extremely easy read. I read books when on the bus to and from work each morning and found myself praying that we'd get stuck in traffic. I couldn't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 2009 Gavin Griffiths left his job in shipping and bought an erotic magazine for a quid. No - he didn't buy the magazine off the top shelf of a newsagent, he bought the magazine as a going concern. His plan was to become the Ghengis Khan of the publishing world and trample his enemies beneath his sandalled feet. A year later he sold the magazine, no richer but a good deal wiser.

Now, let's be clear. The one genre of writing I would NEVER buy is the "entrepreneur shows you how s/he made it to the top" genre. I can't think of anything less interesting (well, there's the sparkly vampire genre, but we won't talk about that...). I admit then it was the possibility of reading a bit of smut that attracted me to the book (along with it's bargain basement price, of course).

Smut there is, tastefully presented (for the most part) and not overdone, but prudes and minors should not be reading this. It does also turn out to be about an entrepreneur and he does indeed tell you how he "made it"... Well, not quite. As I hinted, his venture into the world of top-shelf publishing was not exactly successful. What makes this book so enjoyable is that the business lessons are presented within a framework of excellently humourous writing. This really is a laugh-out-loud book (although this tails off towards the end somewhat) and if Griffiths fails in future business ventures, he has a great career ahead of him as a humourist.

This is probably a little too superficial to be a proper "Entrepreneurship 101" for budding businessmen. On the other hand it's always good to learn from someone's mistakes and there are plenty of those here. The lessons and experiences are presented clearly and pithily but they are often quite specific to the world of publishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erotic Review Review 22 Feb. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a simple tale of woe describing how the author and Rowan Pelling bought and ran the Erotic Review ultimately failing after loosing a fair bit of money. It is easily read in a day or two and provides a welcome diversion from the "I am an outrageous success" style epitomised by the bearded wonder and the nursing home supremo. Also it is honest unlike Coffee Republic who had great fun, as did this team, but who lost shareholders on AIM money (I am not and have not been a shareholder in CR). Buy it to read by the Red Sea as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining read 6 Aug. 2010
By butwhatdoiknow VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book entirely by accident, but it turned out to be a happy one. This is a very well written book - a witty, honest account of failure that actually inspires. Coincidently, I was at school with Gavin (though we never stayed in touch) and was also in the magazine publishing business in the late 90s/early noughties. So I was familar both with the Academy Club, The Erotic Review and the business challenges similar to those encountered by Gavin so painfully. I bought this new from a remaindered Amazon retailer, so I fear this book hasn't met with much commercial success either... a real shame since it is truly one of the best business books I have read, written with flair by a natural entrepreneur. Gavin, hope you are back on track to drive that Porsche/fly that plane/show off at dinner parties etc. (and if not now, you clearly have the drive and passion to suggest you eventually will) from a fellow Warwick 88'er!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wicked! 19 May 2010
I totally loved this book.
I heard about Gavin through a mutual acquaintance and then bought this book because I thought it was so outrageous that someone could buy a magazine publisher's for £1 and then fail to make money! Sex sells, surely!?
Sex didn't sell in their case, or rather the type of 'sex' they sold to the type of readers they had and tried to attract. It's a really gripping read and well written in an easy-to follow prose without patronising the reader. It has its laugh-out-loud funny moments (how does one find girls who pass as "posh totty", agree to be snapped in their underwear for peanuts and don't have chavvy tattoos and trashy knickers?!) and it made me feel naughty reading a book with "pornographer" in the title in public places.
Really, you should buy it and enjoy the ride. Whether you're into business or sex, it has something for everyone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Every day is a school day
A lesson in business intertwined with many insights into the pornography underworld.
I have never dabbled in the later and it has to be said from Gavin's account, I don't... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend This Book!
Without wanting to sound like a cliché review, I simply could not put this book down. It had me laughing out loud on the bus to work and most impressively it inspired me to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Lolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it.
I'm not o e for reviews, so here it is.

Just buy it and enjoy a fantastic story from a man who knows how to write a fantastic story. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Christine
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Intrguing
This was a very easy book to read - I don't mean that it was simple, but that the style was natural and engaging. Read more
Published 24 months ago by morelearning
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Loved this book!! Show's you hard everyone worked through this book, they put everything on the line lol!!! But it shows you how much work goes into a magazine
Published on 15 Mar. 2013 by Elisa McCann
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
Have you ever wanted to venture out by trying your hand at your own business? Have you ever thought of purchasing an erotic magazine for £1 and attempting to make it flourish? Read more
Published on 18 Sept. 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant excellant I laughed out loud !!!
I love this book!
Honest and refreshing really made me laugh out loud....
( I feel terrible laughing at his misfortune but Gavin survived ! Read more
Published on 12 Sept. 2012 by MBA
3.0 out of 5 stars Fraught with mishaps!
This is the story of a man who decided to become self employed, an entrepreneur, and buy and run a magazine. It happened to be The Erotic Review! Read more
Published on 5 Sept. 2012 by Ignite
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!!
What a super book !

Really enjoyed and very easy reading. Im not 100% sure its a 'business' book... Read more
Published on 27 Jun. 2012 by Ice Cream Boy
4.0 out of 5 stars The trials and tribulations of business writ large and hilarious
This is one of those books that intrigued me just with the title and the short blurb. It's not very often that I get taken in like that, but I'm glad I was. Read more
Published on 12 Jun. 2012 by G. Robbins
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