As Monty Python says…and now for something completely different.
You may know comedienne Marcia Wallace as the talkative receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show or as the Emmy-award winning voice behind Mrs. Krabappel on The Simpsons–or from any one of a number of other roles on television. You may know her as a breast cancer survivor, public speaker, or even as a memoirist.
But for sure you don’t know Marcia in her latest incarnation–a subject we talk a lot about here on Suspense Your Disbelief.
Like many other writers, Marcia Wallace is entering the brave new world of e publishing, making her memoir, DON’T LOOK BACK WE’RE NOT GOING THAT WAY! available digitally. The move coincides with a Simpsons contest to which fans will flock. And there are other reasons Marcia decided to do this now, not least because *not* having your book available digitally is quickly becoming less typical than having it available that way.
Is everyone rushing to the e frontier like pioneers to the gold rush? Or is this decision borne of a certain uniquely Marcia quality–an ability not just to invent but to reinvent herself, then reinvent again, as many times as it takes, to reach continued levels of success, no matter how many rocks life strews in her way?
I was lucky enough to get to speak with Marcia Wallace, and here is what she told me.
“Everywhere I go, I ask about vertigo.” Vertigo is one of those rocks Marcia has kicked aside, and when she met CUPCAKES, LIES, & DEAD GUYS author Pamela duMond (who just happens to have a healer’s touch as well) Pam had a light bulb moment: Marcia’s memoir should be made available electronically. You can’t ask for a better writer’s companion than Pam, and before Marcia knew it, she was striding into the e spotlight.
It’s funny because Marcia isn’t necessarily an e book reader herself. “I love to hold a book in my hand, love bookstores, libraries, real books, even real newspapers,” she says, a sentiment all of you know I can relate to. Call her a “reluctant but willing book whore” but still, “However people read my book, I’m honored.”
And DON’T LOOK BACK is well worth reading. I’ve just begun, but it has a catchy, immediate style with such a ring of truth to it that anyone who has ever faced life down–or tried to–will get something out of this read. Making DON’T LOOK BACK available as an e book just plain makes sense because so many people are reading that way these days.
Because this is Suspense Your Disbelief, I had to ask Marcia what her Made It Moment would be. And because Marcia is Marcia she gave me a brave, unexpected, truer-than-true response. “I don’t think I look forward to that Moment. If you don’t come up with other things…new things from what you set out to do…The thing is to be excited about something,” she said, before concluding, “but have no expectations.” Then she paused. “And I always try to do what scares me.”
Does Marcia have expectations about what her e book will do? Will publishing this way gain her a wider audience?
Marcia originally self-published, and has gone on to sell over 6000 copies of her memoir, many of them after public speaking engagements. The question she’s wondering about now is whether this brave new world can offer her a limitless, virtual speaking engagement–a chance to connect with fans and new readers in a whole new way.
Whole new ways are what Marcia is all about. When her first agent pulled a disappearing act and moved to Utah, Marcia found a friend in New York Times bestselling author Bruce Cameron (A DOG’S PURPOSE: A NOVEL FOR HUMANS), who helped her learn the self-publishing business.
So in some ways the progression to the new e frontier was natural, just Marcia as usual. Nevertheless, she suddenly found herself going on Facebook–something she never expected to do–having a fan page and a website. Learning a whole new world.
Which, as Marcia would be the first to tell you, in her book or in person, is what she’s always done best.
Prior to her current Emmy award winning role as Edna Krabappel, Bart’s fourth grade teacher on THE SIMPSONS, Marcia was best known as Carol Kester on THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. She reprised that role when she guest starred as MURPHY BROWN’S 66th secretary, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She reunited with Murphy as a member of her breast cancer support group, with her old boss on GEORGE AND LEO and has had a recurring role on SEVENTH HEAVEN, FULL HOUSE and CHARLES IN CHARGE. Marcia’s voice has also been heard on several animated series, films and commercials.