Brian T. Shirley has a unique approach to moving his books: integrating them into his comedy routine and selling them after his shows. The author of Make Love Not Warts and Four Score and Seven Beers Ago discusses why he skipped traditional publishing and how he learned to do his own promotion work.
1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?
Both my books are comedy one-liners. I’ve taken old sayings and twisted them around to make some new ones. I also have added some sayings of my own and thrown in some insults for good measure. The second book is a bit different in that I’ve taken some popular song titles and made comedic sentences out of them. These comedic sentences are sprinkled throughout the book. I’d like to think the readers could make up a game of trying to name the music artists in the sentences. Some would be easy, others may take a while. There is also a funny poem at the end of the second book.
I was motivated to write these books when I was going over some old material I had that I was not using in my show. I had all these sayings and such laying around that I had written over the years that I did not know what to do with, then the idea of a book came to mind. Something someone could put in the bathroom or on the coffee table for a good laugh whenever they needed it. I added more lines when I started writing the first one and by the end of it, I decided to make a series of these books. Each one would be a little different, just to add some variety.
2. How have your sales been?
So far I have sold the most books after my performances. I’ve actually had more sales from the books than anything else (T-shirts, DVD’s) I’ve ever sold. Online sales are doing alright, getting the word out as a self-published author has been the biggest challenge. It takes a lot of money to do promotions so I’m doing the bulk of it myself online. Thank God for people like you.