Saturday, March 6, 2010

Free e-books

Considering the issue of free e-books called to my mind a scene from a 1954 invitation to dinner at the home of Dot and El in Queens Village. Dot had been a high school classmate in upstate Binghamton of my girlfriend Ginger, now my wife.
The occasion was memorable for two reasons: for the first time in my life, I was 20, I ate spaghetti and meatballs in a tomato-based sauce. Even though I consumed pizza with gusto, I had steadfastly refused the classic spaghetti and meatballs made by my mother at home or on family outings to Italian restaurants. Crossing that culinary line plunged me into a love affair with pasta that has continued through the years.
And, the second reason: As we entered the little house in Queens Village those 55 years or so ago, the television was playing a commercial pitch that caught El’s attention. He waited until the TV offer was finished before he turned off the set and said with a smirk, “Nothing down, nothing to pay, just come in and take it away.”
El’s words bubbled to the surface of my mind a couple of years ago when I put my novel, THE DREAM DANCER, online as a free e-book. I was in search of an audience since I couldn’t get an agent willing to peddle the book to a traditional publisher. In the interim, I’ve learned that writers often offer their books free online as a stratagem to lure readers to buy their other works. So the free e-book is a good device for a writer in search of an audience and possibly paying readers.
Curious about the source of El’s immortal phrase “nothing down, nothing to pay, just come in and take it away” I Googled it. No hits with full expression, but 1,011 hits on shorter version of “nothing down nothing to pay.”
So, I now credit El as the originator of his wry remark: “Nothing down, nothing to pay, just come in and take it away.”

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

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