Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Humor Writer Noah Baird

Noah Baird wanted to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, but his grades weren’t good enough (who knew?).  However, his grades were good enough to fly for the U.S. Navy (again, who knew?), where he spent 14 years until the government figured out surfers don’t make the best military aviators. He has also tried to be a stand-up comedian in Hawaii for Japanese tourists where the language barrier really screwed up some great jokes. On the bright side, a sailboat was named after the punchline of one of his jokes.

He has several political satire pieces published on The Spoof under the pen name orioncrew.  Noah received his bachelors in Historical and Political Sciences from Chaminade University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He knows nothing about hoaxing Bigfoot. Donations to Clarity is his first novel.

You can visit his website at www.noahbaird.com or his blog at www.noahbaird.wordpress.com.

Connect with him at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noah-Baird-Writer/100193913390453.

About Donations to Clarity

The plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.

The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders.  The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully.  You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.

Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?

Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Noah.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

The plan was simple: hoax Bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real Bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female Bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.

The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders.  The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully.  You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue Bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two Bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the Bigfoot and all witnesses.

Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck Bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?

Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I started researching how to promote the book. I got into the habit of keeping up to date with what was happening in the industry by reading the book section of the Huffington Post, etc.

After that, what happened?

I set out a plan on how to approach promoting the book. I set up a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook fan page, etc. I began contacting bloggers to see if they would review the book. I sent out press releases.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

They promoted the book through their website and blogs, as well as press releases. Some of the other writers also interviewed me, etc.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?

I hated the idea of blogging. My first few blogs were of me whining about blogging. Here’s part of the first blog I wrote:

I don’t want to write a blog. I want to write a book. Even the word sounds unappealing: blog. Say it out loud. Boring, right? “Buhlog”. Sounds like you’re trying to get a spider web out of your mouth. I understand the reason I should blog is to connect with a fan-base, get my name out, promote the book, etc. Blogging just seems counterintuitive to me. Any jerk-off with a keyboard can blog. An author writes books. I’m not implying I’m better than bloggers, or that all bloggers are crap, but there are plenty out there digitally converting the mundane into cyber flotsam.

My mental picture of what writers do is probably skewed. I want to do what Hemingway did: drink, fish, write. Maybe run with the bulls in Pamplona. Papa did not blog (I know there weren’t blogs then; just go with me on this). When my publisher told me I needed to start blogging, I told him I wanted to pull a Hemingway: drink, fish, write. We could negotiate on the fishing, but I was going to remain firm about the drinking and writing. Since I’m sitting here writing this blog (and drinking), we can see who won that little argument.

My other issue with blogging is I don’t know how or what to blog about. What’s the theme? Do I write about my life? My life as a writer? I’m not a good enough writer to think I could teach you anything about writing. Someone suggested I blog as Bigfoot; like a Bigfoot celebrity diary. I have to tell you: after writing a book with Bigfoot in it, I’m fucking sick of Bigfoot.

I still don’t know what the general theme of this blog should be. So, for this entry, I’m going to tell you the things I’ve learned since becoming a writer.

I learned local papers don’t review books. There’s one person in a cabin in Montana who reads books and posts reviews on the internet. Newspapers just link to those reviews.

I should’ve practiced my signature. Sharpies make crappy signatures permanent. To compensate for my poor penmanship (or should it be ‘penpersonship’ in this politically-correct America), I doodle dog turds and monkey faces. It was either that or pretend I have palsy.

If you call the newspaper in Ithaca, NY and mention ‘Bigfoot’ and ‘marijuana’ in the same sentence, you will have a long conversation with everyone in the newsroom about Bigfoot and marijuana. I couldn’t persuade them to review my book, but I did get a great brownie recipe.

I don’t think the blogging has done much for the sales. What is interesting is I have a substantial amount of people who follow the blog. However, the people following the blog don’t seem to be purchasing the book.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  Do you find it is or isn’t?

This is another one I’m not so sure about. During the first few months the book was available, I had more fans on Facebook than I had purchases. Social networking may be an effictive tool, but I haven’t figured out the combination that works for me.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I’ll tell you what I did that didn’t work. I updated Wikipedia pages to include my book. For instance, my book has an Elvis impersonator in it, so I added my book to Wikipedia’s Elvis impersonator page. However, Wikipedia would drop my updates to the pages. Whoever owns each particlar page has to approve of your update. In most cases, mine were not approved.

The book also has a chapter where two characters break-up only using Pearl Jam song lyrics. I joined the fan forum through Pearl Jam’s webpage to promote the book, but that didn’t translate into sales either. I would get into these chatrooms, pretend to be someone else, and name-drop the book. I thought a bunch of fans of the band would eat this stuff up, but they weren’t having it.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

I would say nothing I’ve done has been effective enough to call a marketing tool. I posted flyers in coffee shops, read for theater groups, begged every blogger on the web to review the book.

Self-promotion has been much harder than I anticipated. I now understand why the guys in KISS and David Bowie wore make-up and 7 inch heels. I’ve considered turning writing into a performance art. I thought I could type the Star Spangled Banner, light the laptop on fire, and smash it on stage; but these laptops too expensive to trash every night.

What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?

Bookstores don’t have an open door policy for book signings. When my book was released, I checked my local booksellers to ensure they had the book in their inventory. Then I called to offer my availability to sign books in the store. Seems logical, right? Wrong. Some bookstores can be a pain-in-the-ass about letting new writers come in for signings. They either wanted to evaluate the book to see if it’s suitable for a signing, or it was a flat “No” because new writers don’t have a large fan base. Some bookstores are essentially Amazon.com showrooms. They just can’t afford to host signings. It seems counterintuitive to me; meeting the authors in your community was one of the great things about bookstores.

Thank you for this interview, Noah!  We wish you much success!

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