This Amazon thread pops up on the pages of successful humor books. It’s full of people recommending their awful-sounding books to each other. I clicked it.
In the original post, Davis Aujourd’hui promotes The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude, an “irreverent and bawdy religious satire that will tickle your funny bone.” His summary:
Sister Mary Olga is a bourbon-swilling, chain-smoking nun who’s always getting into trouble with the Reverend Mother, a reformed prostitute. The convent’s chef is a gay cowboy. Just watch out for the nasty town busybody named Priscilla Bunhead who is always digging in the dirt. There’s plenty of that for her to find on Dinkledorf Drive in the fictional town of Bucksnort, Wisconsin. There’s a lot of hanky panky going on there!
I think I watched this once on PBS’s late-night britcom block. It came on after “The Vicar of Dibley”.
It took five sincere replies, and apparently a few purchases, before someone decided to pitch their own book. Tom Hourie didn’t even bother trying to segue, he just started his pitch with “I have two light humor novels available on Amazon Kindle.” Reminds me of when my baby brother was born, and when anyone cooed over him, I’d get in their face and say “And I’m Nick, and I’m four!” Always be closing!
E. Allen is a little more polite, while still being preeeetty clear about her motivation: “As this thread seems to be attracting a fine blend of readers and authors, of which I am both, I’d also like to offer up my book Who Got Liz Gardner for consideration.”
I think my favorite is Lisa Hoefinger’s Bad to the Bone: Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger [which, the author has graciously told Slacktory, was legitimately published by Citadel Press]. It’s “written through Bo’s eyes about our adventures together over the last fourteen plus years”:
Let’s get this clear right away: I’m a dog. I’m 1’10″ and weigh 63 lbs, and although I’m a mutt on the outside, I’m a purebred on the inside. My good nature comes from the Golden Retriever side of the family, while my stubbornness is clearly from my Chowchow bloodlines. I’ve got Rastafarian ears, a black tongue for licking, and paws that should be on a dog twice my size.
I type 60 words a minute.
My name is Bo, and this is my story.
I mean hey, it’s lovely that these people are being creative, and it’s lovely that other people want their books, so more power to them, I guess.
Except for this guy who pasted his whole pitch with no intro:
Lots of kids had to be funny to make friends and be liked at school. I had to be funny to get my parents to like me. That being said, my first ebook entitled, “Life Seemed Good, But….” is now available. It not only chronicles my life, it also answers life’s deepest questions, such as ‘I wonder what that grilled cheese sandwich is thinking, why didn’t Santa bring me a hovercraft when I was 12, and how do I travel to the future using a big laser and aluminum foil (foil is also good for protecting yourself from psychics).’ Yes indeed, even the cover is hilarious (drunken clowns in a jeep). But don’t just take my word for it, ask Bob! (Bob is busy now but would have told you to check it out.) Most stories are taken from my monthly column in Wassup Local Magazine which I’ve called Modern Fables. Each is one page or less and very easy to read (except for a few big words) and will have you shaking your head in consternation in no time at all.
Sure, great books could be described with this terrible “wacky words!” language. And most great books at some point have had this kind of idiotic treatment. But a real writer is someone who hates their jacket copy. They feel the way Terry Pratchett does about Alice in Wonderland: “Creepy and horribly unfunny in a nasty, plonking Victorian way. Oh, here’s Mr. Christmas Pudding on Legs, hohohoho.” All self-published humorists think they’re Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. No one compares their humor novel to Dorothy Parker. (That’s reserved for us sniveling “wits” on Twitter.)
Other self-promoted titles from the thread:
Ratticus: A True Tale from Critter Corner
Ten Minutes in Heaven (Description: “Imagine, if you will, a different world; one of free-love and pirates; burglary and Noah’s ark.”)
The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football
Z=mc2: Time-Travelin’ Zombies vs. the Garden State (“Einstein’s zombie comes back from the future through a time portal in a dumpster behind a cheeseburger joint.”)
The Diary of Clive Worthington Spank
Illustration: Covers of Kevin Scott’s Las Vegas Adventure, The Diary of Clive Worthington Spink and Z=mc2: Time-Travelin’ Zombies vs. the Garden State