"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ah-hem... tap-tap... is this thing on?

What does a girl have to do to get noticed? Better yet, what would Erma do?

That would be Erma Bombeck, humor writer extraordinaire, who, if she didn't pave the way for slice-of-life humor essayists, at least smoothed the path for those of us who followed. Erma died too young, at 69, due to complications from a kidney transplant. I imagine if she had lived, we'd still be reading her in magazines, seeing her on TV, and looking for her books in the stores.

On a side note, I just read the previous sentence and was struck by how I wrote that we would be "reading her" instead of "reading her stories." That was the heart of Erma Bombeck - we were always reading HER. It was always her voice telling us tales of her life. Whether they were funny or poignant, or even exaggerated to the point of no return, we felt like we knew her by the end of every 500 words.

Not only do I love humor essays, I was born on her birthday: February 21st, which makes me feel very close to her even if I'm not.

So now that I have been a humor essayist for six years, I thought it was time to put out a book of my columns, which I've talked about here. I named the book What Would Erma Do? because it was, and is, a common mantra of mine.

Me: "Should I do x or y?"
Me Again: "I don't know. What would Erma do?"

I realize that you have to advertise and promote and sometimes give free samples in order to build your audience. I gave 5 free autographed copies out at Goodreads, which was fun. I've also offered free e-downloads at Smashwords until March 9th.*

Here's the thing - I've only had TWO people take me up on the free download offer. Really? Really, people? The cool thing about Smashwords is that you can download in any format. Kindle, pdf, rtf, lrf (for Sony e-readers), Nook, html, plain text, you name it, they've got it. And it's free right now. FREE.

Just go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/40096, select your format and enter XW39W for the coupon code.

My only request is, if you like it, please either post a review on Amazon, or leave it in the comments on my blog, or email your nice words to me. If you don't like it, I don't mind a bad review if it's 1) a thoughtful analysis of what you didn't like; or 2) funny, although snarky. I don't want to hear that I'm ugly and my mother dresses me funny. Preaching to the choir, kids.

*Why March 9th? Because it's the first day of Lent, so I thought I'd offer the freebie while I was still feeling celebratory.


Helen Ginger said...

Wish I had an eReader.

Something seems wrong when you can't give away a book.

Gayle Carline said...

But Helen - you don't need an e-reader. You can download it to your COMPUTER and read it THERE!

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.