Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Barry Parham - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Barry Parham. He is award winning humorist and short story writer.

Author Genre: Humor, Short Stories

Website: Mooncalf Communion
Author's Blog: the diaTribe
Blog: Google +
Twitter: @barryparham
E-Mail: barry@pmwebs.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Barry Parham is the award-winning author of humor columns, essays and short stories. He is a recovering software freelancer and a music fanatic.

Parham is the author of the 2009 sleeper, "Why I Hate Straws," his debut collection of humor and satire including the award-winning stories, 'Going Green, Seeing Red' & 'Driving Miss Conception.'

In October 2010, Parham published "Sorry, We Can't Use Funny," another award-winning collection of general-topic satire and humor, and the more targeted "Blush: Politics and other unnatural acts." He followed up in 2011 with "The Middle-Age of Aquarius," a growing-old-but-not-so-gracefully vehicle for the award-winners 'Comfortably Dumb,' 'Snowblind' and 'The Zodiac Buzz-Killer.'

"Full Frontal Stupidity" (2012) is Parham's 5th collection of humor, satire and observations, and features more award-winning stories, including 'Skirts vs. Skins' and 'Scenes From a Maul.'

Most recently, his work appeared in three national humor anthologies:
"My Funny Valentine" (2011)
"Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales" (2012)
"My Funny Major Medical" (2012)

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Can you tell us the timeline for your next book release and give us a little tease?

James, thanks to you and the crew at HBS for having me here! Speaking as an indie author with a promotions budget smaller than Kim Kardashian's pre-nup, I appreciate your support.

Currently, I'm working on what will be my sixth collection of weekly humor columns, essays, and short stories, available in paperback and eBook format this fall. I don't have any other formalized details at this time, other than this: in an industry that likes to point out that, in all of literature, there are really only six or seven plots, here's a book that doesn't even have ONE.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Social media is changing everything. In my case, the digital world has presented an entirely new publishing opportunity -- weekly humor columns, available via very affordable online subscriptions. (a new concept which, by the way, is catching on nicely!)

See, as it turns out, I was clever enough to start writing humor columns at a time when newspapers were going out of business faster than heterosexual gigolos. So being able to marketimy weekly columns online has literally saved my bacon, if we can still say 'bacon' without offending anybody.

You do a lot of book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Unless there are any unforeseen indictments (see 'bacon' reference), I'll have appearances and interviews posted online, in season with my next book's release, at all the websites you guys kindly listed in this spotlight piece.

Today there is a buzz in the industry about high rankings on retailer’s lists because of the use of on-line advertising sites. Have you ever promoted your books with paid advertising? What has been your experience?

Personally, I've had better luck buying ads that promote appearances and readings, than I've had purely promoting books for sale in stores or online.

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you! I've been inordinately fortunate to work with some exceptional photographers, creative artists, and cartoonists. And although I've depended solely on their talents for my book's cover design, I've definitely included my readers in decisions about book titles.

You have a great book trailer for Why I Hate Straws. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? They look very professional.

And thanks again! That trailer, for my very first book, was pure good fortune -- the combination of a talented, delightful interviewer, a talented, gracious musician, and a totally oblivious Starbucks franchise, who had no clue that we were filming. As someone once said, "Life is more fun when life is more fun."

I noticed you belong to IAN. What other kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I would give particular thanks to the gang at CPWA (LinkedIn) and, on Facebook, the very supportive Writers of Mass Distraction. Their support, sense of humor, seasoned advice, and patience have been amazing.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

As a weekly columnist, I consider my writing schedule to be almost laughably easy, compared to, say, novelists, and whoever it is that keeps coming up with all these amendments to ObamaCare. My self-inflicted discipline has been to write a minimum of 625 words a week, which isn't much, but every 40th word has to be funny. (also true, as it turns out, for ObamaCare)

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

I sell a lot of eBooks. But I'm not convinced the buyers are actually reading them. I get a lot more reader feedback from paperback sales, both at amazon and from bookstores. And that's not the way it ought to be - technically, it would be VERY easy to allow, say, Kindle readers to provide feedback...right there, in the device...right there, while they're reading.

I also use my online subscription service to push weekly humor columns directly to a subscriber's Kindle - and that delivery method is VERY popular.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

When I've given away books to readers (facebook contests, Kindle Direct, Smashwords, Goodreads), I've seen very little positive effect. However, when I donate copies of my books - to libraries, to charities, for live give-aways, etc. - I can absolutely see a measurable (though short-lived) spike in sales. Absolutely.

When someone on television borrows some of your material, is that the ultimate compliment?

Stay tuned.
When someone on TV borrows my material, believe me, I'll let you know. I'll let EVERYBODY know.

Author's Book List
Full Frontal Stupidity
Praise for Full Frontal Stupidity
"Parham is at the very top echelon of American humorists, equal to Dave Barry or David Sedaris on their best day."
Linton Robinson (Editor, My Funny Valentine)

Humor columnist Barry Parham is back, launching his latest salvo of hilarious, thought-provoking, take-no-prisoners observations.

on being single...
"Single guys buy milk in small, manageable doses, as if they were bringing home work, or morals. It would never cross a single guy's mind to buy an entire gallon of anything, much less some expiring liquid that can mutate into something that smells like Detroit looks."

on auto racing...
"I'm the first to admit that racing takes talent ... not to mention bravery. But, there's bravery involved in putting your hand on a hot stove, too. Sadly, though, after you're done with the stove, there's nothing much left but discipline, and learning to write with your other hand."

on politics...
"Contestant #3 was unable to make it, but he did swing by and vote 'Present' so we would validate his parking, and he would like to remind our studio audience that was for showing up before he was against it."

Includes these award-winning stories!
Skirts vs. Skins
Scenes From a Maul

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Middle-Age of Aquarius
If you're not already familiar with the work of online humor columnist Barry Parham, here's your chance to get to know him...

...to get to know the man the Chicago Tribute has called "the next Mark Twain" (no, they didn't)

...the guy David Ladderman, Jay Limo & others depend on for new material (no, they don't)

...the acclaimed wit known to the staff at the Miami Harold as "the funniest man since Mark Twain" (actually, they never met)

...a man the New Yorker Times considers to be "just a bit taller than Mark Twain" (this is true, because Mark Twain died)

So hop aboard for Barry's fourth collection of looks at play, work, art, TV, cultural norms (a very short chapter, that one), ads, fads, politics, the internet, anti-social networking, and why the end of the world might be late.

And yes, Straw-Heads, the ferrets are back.

Includes these award-winning stories!
Comfortably Dumb
The Zodiac Buzz-Killer

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Blush: Politics and other unnatural acts
Includes the award-winning story "Razing Arizona!"

Excerpts from Blush

"At the Inauguration, a better tone was set when the incoming First Couple met the outgoing First Couple on the steps of the White House. There were hugs all round, and the incoming First Female Significant Other presented a gift to the outgoing First Female Significant Other. This kindness spurred the hovering photo-hounds into a frenzy of photo-hounding, until the Clintons leapt out of the First Shrubbery, stole the gift, and spirited it off to their First Legacy Museum. Bill Clinton then pardoned the shrubbery."

"I'm building a politician, in case you're looking to buy one. For a while there, I was thinking of running for office myself. But I'm not going to lie to you. And there it is. If I can't lie to you, I'm not politically viable."

"During a bone-chilling outbreak of global warming, Barack Obama was inaugurated President of the United States, and got three votes for the Papacy, and won the Rose Bowl. He immediately set the tone for his administration by having world-class musicians fake a music performance, while not paying their taxes. The new President then introduced us to his "twin-teleprompter" speaking style, making him look like he's constantly talking to 2 very tall voters on opposite sides of the room. Later in the month, Congress presented a Health Care Bill that everybody agreed was probably well-written."

Online humorist Barry Parham is back with another acute collection of satire, targeting politics and other, less evil things.

And when Barry's in the beltway, no party or platform is safe.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Sorry, We Can't Use Funny
Following the success of his first book, the 2009 sleeper, "Why I Hate Straws," online humor columnist Barry Parham delivers again. Satire at its best!

Includes the award-winning stories "Actuarial Family Theater" and "Perfect!"

on Fads & Fashion…
In the interest of full disclosure, I admit there's an extant 1970's photo of me and a date, posing for the obligatory parental pre-prom photo. My date was gorgeous, and sane. I, on the other hand, showed up with the hair of a medieval barber. I looked like an electrocuted yak.

on St. Valentine's Day…
Somehow, February got this reputation as a month of romance, maybe because it's cold. Plus, football's gone and we're stuck with the wildly popular sport of bowling, where you almost never get to see any serious violence. St. Valentine's Day contains vestiges of both early Christian and ancient Roman traditions, alongside other time-honored traditions, like hot-dish picnics and mass public executions. Holiday Factoid: "vestiges" is the classical Greek plural of "vest."

on Typos…
A local TV station was updating the community on snowstorm-based church closings. According to the typists at the station, there was a church somewhere called St. Martyer. Imagine - an entire religious sect dedicated to turning people into Ernest Borgnine.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Why I Hate Straws: An offbeat worldview of an offbeat world
Includes the award-winning stories "Going Green, Seeing Red" and "Driving Miss Conception!"

Excerpts from Why I Hate Straws

"I finally decided to try one of the new, non-threatening light bulbs - you know, one of those curly things that looks like soft-serve ice cream, costs more than a tanning bed, and is guaranteed to save me up to 12 cents between now and the formation of any new continents."

"You may be thinking, though probably not, 'how does a mere mortal build a web site?' Well, it's really quite simple. I type normal human words, wrap them in weird code words, and suddenly you're able to download air-brushed pictures of moody Nordic women."

"After thanking himself, and then introducing himself, and then thanking himself for inviting himself, the President actually said, out loud, 'next page.'"

Online author Barry Parham unleashes this set of satire, humor, and indignations. His perorations poke at family, dating, politics, culture, nature, good and bad decisions, and ferrets.

Book Trailer: Why I Hate Straws: An offbeat worldview of an offbeat world

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: John W. Huffman
John W. Huffman is an Award winning Indie Author. He writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers. John is a three time Purple Heart winner. He is a member of the IAN.
Check out John W. Huffman's Author's Spotlight.

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