You navigated all the work and worry and frustration of getting published; you avoided all the pitfalls and hurdles, the traps, mistakes, and numbskull moves, and you can't imagine how. You have a book in your hands and on the spine there's a real publisher's name!
But you're a self-defeatist, and dammit, you wanted to fail! So, you ask yourself, surely there's still some way I can f*** this up?
Yes, indeed there is. You already know how positively maddening it is to your publisher to receive several phone calls from you in a single month. So of course you'll be sure to call them with many questions, and phrase the questions so as to imply that your publicity person isn't doing her job well. Done and done.
But harassing publicity people fresh from sorority life until they cry may or may not torpedo your book. How can you really undermine things? Well, it may seem obvious, but your book will be selling in bookstores... unless you can prevent it!
While you may be tempted to simply try to hide copies of your book behind the shelves or scatter them in the toddler play area to let nature take its course, the really efficient tactic is to make the booksellers themselves hate your book.
This is much easier than you think. First you should come on all nice and eager-newbie-like and get the person in charge to take a copy of your book to review it. Booksellers are such patsies, they'll fall for this over and over again. They know they have far too many important running-the-bookstore tasks to realistically get your book read, but they'll promise they will anyway. Suckers.
Now's the fun part. Start calling that person every week or so asking if they've read the book yet. That's all. It's really that simple! Whereas waiting a couple of months before reminding them would inspire guilt and feelings of indebtedness, calling them almost immediately (and relentlessly thereafter) will take the bookseller directly to feelings of indignation, followed quickly by mounting irritation, disbelief, and actual rancor.
Cross that bookstore off your list. If they even stock the book, they'll do the hiding of it for you. Choose a good, connected bookseller, and you might be able to cross several bookstores off your list—and better yet, the bookseller will complain about you to your publicity and marketing departments!
When your publisher realizes you're making yourself unpleasant to everyone (not just to your publisher), they'll definitely write you off. No more promotion, actually irate booksellers, and really no chance of being published at that publisher again!
When you can't even find copies of your book on remainder tables because your publisher has sold them off as high-fiber livestock feed, you'll know you're a truly successful failure! Congratulations!