Brian T Shirley

Brian T Shirley
Jokers Wild, Atlantis Resort

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Business Cards

We've got Facebook,Twitter,email,IM,texts, faxes (Faxes? Really,still? Yes!) and the good old cell phone just to name a few ways besides talking to each face to face to communicate. How does one pass on all this info to prospective clients,patients,agents,customers and/or sexual partners? Why, the bearer of all important contact info called 'The Business Card",that's how. I happened to see a site one day (Business Card to Business Blog) devoted to these magical business icons and the site owner (Reno Lovison) was asking for submissions (guest blogs) on the subject. Well, I just happen to use these little gems and I have a father who bleeds the ink his are printed with, so here's my contribution.

I was excited about my first business card. I had been doing stand-up comedy for a few years and the business card that said BRIAN T SHIRLEY COMEDIAN made the whole thing seem official.

I still get a kick out of my new stack of business cards. Because of business cards and wanting to make mine stand out, I put Comedian/Philosopher on the third or fourth batch of cards. I almost always got a laugh from people when they read that and now that’s the title of my website. If I had never gotten business cards, I don’t think that would have happened. My card’s now a little more fancy than they used to be, but not too fancy.

My Dad complained about the effects of his networking with business cards. One day he lamented that he would hand his cards out, then sometime later see the same people who he had given his card to at the ballpark, or the Elks Lodge or somewhere else. These people had not called on him for business, yet they possessed his card with all his contact information on the front very easily read and understood. This perplexed and aggravated my Dad terribly. I told him the next time he came into contact with one of these non-contractors, give them another business card. My father questioned the wisdom of such a move and asked me what he should say in the event that one of these folks brought up the fact that they already had one of his cards. I informed my father that he should reply that he knows they have one of his business cards, but it must not be working properly because he has not heard from them. Then say, this replacement card is from a new batch and he’s positive it will work as he’s tested some of them himself.

Thanks to Reno and here's the link to his site:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Crackpot's Potshot at American Politics by Will Roberts | ISBN # 978-1-62295-886-3 | Tate Publishing

A Crackpot's Potshot at American Politics by Will Roberts | ISBN # 978-1-62295-886-3 | Tate Publishing 

 I'm honored to say I'll have Will on my internet radio program The Triangle Variety Comedy Show on Nov. 14th @ 9:30 pm EST. That's not all, he wants me to do his radio show as well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turning a "Negative" into a "Positive"

 I recently got a some what negative review of my 3rd book "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the club". At first I'll admit I wanted to confront the person about his opinion, but the feeling was short lived. I thought about the review and reflected on a few things.

 1) This book was written and put together on the request of Libboo, the publisher. They believed in the book before I did.

2) The illustrator was put in place to design the cover, which he did. He read the stories and enjoyed them so much  he asked if he could illustrate them also.

3) You can't please everyone.

 I've also been telling the stories from the book onstage towards the end of my to to promote it. So far I have not done all the stories in front of a live audience, but the one's I have done have gotten a great response. As a result of the combination of all these factors I've come up with the idea of bringing to book itself to life on stage. I will not tell you the review that helped spark this, you can go to my Amazon page to see that. I will say it made me take a second look at some things, so much so that I'm staying off the road for the rest of the year barring a high paying gig. I'm hosting profession shows locally every week here in Chas.,SC and doing a different show each week by pulling stories out of the book and performing them live. I've also started to add more stories and anecdotes to this new show so that it will have more material than the book. Some stories are more visual and need to be seen and heard live, so they will be included. I'm really seeing why people say "things happen for a reason" and "the Lord works in mysterious ways". I'm also hoping this will help my book sales as, along with the rest of the country, I'm struggling in a mighty way. I feel like I'm trying to crawl out of a huge hole. The bottom line is that I have a new show I'm working on which will be called "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club. LIVE!" This will be more of a storytelling type show with a lot of humor mixed in. I will use the stories to answer a lot of the questions people have about being a comedian. That will be the flow of the show.

 Keep your options open, pray often and dare to keep your dream alive!

Friday, October 12, 2012 - West Ashley Music and Arts - SHIRLEY, HE CAN WRITE - West Ashley Music and Arts - SHIRLEY, HE CAN WRITE

A recent interview I did for the "West Of" paper. This is the second time I've been in this local paper and I want to thank Kristin Hackler for doing a great job. We met at a local club in West Ashley, near downtown Chas.,SC, called The Tin Roof. They do an open mic there on Sundays so it was the perfect spot.

 We got there right at 4pm when they opened and there not any customers there yet. I met Kristin, her husband and the photographer outside on the club's covered back porch and then went inside to the bar. We talked for close to an hour and I think I gave her enough info and stories for 4 or 5 articles. She did a great job with taking her notes and pulling together this interview into a concise look at my third book and dancing around some of my life story thus far. Phone and TV interviews are great and fun to do, but this type is my favorite. I love sitting down with the reporter for a one on one and seeing what they do with the info I provide. A lot of the time these folks tell my story and promote my work better than I can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Awakenings: This Day in History: 9/11/2001

Awakenings: This Day in History: 9/11/2001: A dark day in our history succombed to a series of deadly terrorist attacks striking the areas of New York City and Washington, D.C.  on Se...

Friday, September 7, 2012

D. Jean Quarles: A Funny Thing

D. Jean Quarles: A Funny Thing: I'm so pleased to have an interview with  comedian, Brian Shirley on my blog today. "Brian Shirley has a natural gift of humor and re...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do Authors get depressed after a book is done?

 This is a question for all the authors out there and may give some insight to readers also.I've released my 3rd book "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Club" and now comes the hard part, promotion. This book is totally an ebook, so I can't hold or feel it. I"m  elated on one hand, but depressed on the other. Anyone else ever get that way?

 I think it's because you're proud of what you've done, but you realise that if no one sees or buys it, it was all for nothing. The hard work, decisions about what to leave in or take out. Choosing a cover, looking at illustrations for the stories, talks with your contact person at the publisher, writing a dedication, and afterword, what to say about yourself. It's all done, I should be happy. Do I need therapy or just feedback and enough money to pay the rent next month? Money helps and it can be a validation, but as a performer, I like the applause or the comments also. It let's me know my writing and performance were up to the audience's expectations. Books are different, it may take 4 or 5 until you get results that can at least booster the self confidence a little.

 I also sell my first two books ( Make Love Not Warts & Four Score and Seven Beers ago...) after my shows. They sell good and sometimes the people open the books and read from them right there. When they see a proverb or one-liner they like and laugh out loud, that makes me feel all the better and that they will be happy with their purchase. This book is different, how will I know what they think? I can't be the only one who feels like this. Maybe I'm just tired from a weekend of  performing, driving and thinking. Comments? Questions?

 Here's a link to the book anyway,take a look and give the page a like.Someone may give me a lift today, thanks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dave Schwensen  has 3 books he has written about comedy published, teaches comedy at The Cleveland Improv and puts out a weekly newsletter. We have talked via email several times about topics in his newsletter, he liked my comments on one of his subjects and posted it . Here it is along with Dave's site. His newsletter is great for comedians and public speakers no matter what stage of thier career they are in. There's always something to learn.Here's the post

May 22nd – Don’t be a jerk – respect the room!
The topic was about open-mic comedians not respecting club or booker rules and… well, acting like jerks…
We run an open-mic as a show you have to sign up in advance for. We don’t let too many people on per show, and on the few occasions people have disrespected the room – we just don’t sign them up for a few months. Sometimes I’ll tell them the reason why they’re on probation, others not. It’s not really my business to “develop” people who are disrespectful to me, other comics, venue, etc… – Jerry Jaffe
Another great article – and I’ll take it one step further….
What about being a pro with many years of experience and doing a room that is NOT run the right way? There are reasons a show has a certain cadence. This just happened to me. I will not go into all the mistakes that happened, I’ll just highlight a few.
The guy or guys running it ( I was not sure who was ultimately in charge) had no energy as a host and tried to make jokes with people’s intros that were not working. He also was not even close to getting to the mic after each person’s set. There was a lull between the end of the set and his walking on the stage.
They had a guy go up for his first time ever and do 10 minutes. First time or not, I would have lit the guy at 3 min. And there was a cover charge to this show.
Language and subject matter were wide open and some people walked out.
I closed the show to what people were left. I’ve found that when a pro follows and all amateur line up, the pro looks bad. The people were so used to disassembled sets, that when I gave them good setups and punches, they did not know what to do with them. I still had a good set and the people in charge apologized about everything. They were nice enough and yes, I got the money. I think they learned a little it the process and I gave them some advice, but I bit my tongue because there was so much to tell them. I did not want to seem like a know-it-all or a jerk, plus it was their room. Quite a reverse from what you talked about I know, but I could not help but bring it up. Thanks for letting me vent Dave. – Brian Shirley

 Here's Dave's Site:

Obama on abortion debate.

Here's an email to a relative of mine pertaining to something President Obama said. I will not name them or their relationship with me. I was visiting them recently and we had a frank discussion about the upcoming election We are on different sides of the isle, so it did get a little heated, but in the end we enjoyed the exchange because it's good to get these things out. I made a mistake in saying when President Obama made his " punished with a baby" remark it was in relation to abortion. I got an email correctly me and you'll see the rest. No harm, no foul by the way, just a frank discussion.

Their email to me:

I found it. He wasn't referring to abortion. It had to do with him being against "abstinence only" education that people like Palin were touting at the time. He felt kids at the appropriate age should be educated about STD prevention and birth control, along with the option of abstinence, because he didn't want them to be ignorant, never taught about those things, and then be punished with a baby or STD. Here's the script:

Opponents of Obama's plan are expected to jump on a quote from his Q and A session in Johnstown, Pa., yesterday.
Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown reports that it followed “Obama's earlier comments that he does not favor abstinence-only education but, rather, comprehensive sexual education that includes information on abstinence and birth control.”

“Look, I've got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old," Obama said. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn't make sense to not give them information."

Anti-abortion leaders will be encouraged to make the “punished with a baby” part famous.
My response, and this is not an attempt to embarrass anyone. Just a post to create dialog:

Your missing the point ,he still said "punished with a baby". Whether abortion or sex education, I don't think if you make a "mistake" as he said that a child is "punishment". I'll never accept that concept as being right under any context. Children of a certain age should be told about sex and sexual diseases,I think it's more the parents job than the government, but a lot of parents delegate that to the schools. People should always plan on having a child before they conceive, but, as you know life does not work that way. If someone as powerful as the President , who a lot of people luck up to, sees an unwanted pregnancy and the resulting child as a "mistake", how do you think the parents ( or single mother more than likely) will treat that child. If they perceive their offspring as a burden, they'll drag the infant around be his/her arm (I've seen it), yell or shove a 2-year old out of frustration. They'll leave the child alone at home so they can go out and party, because it' their right to do what they want. People already think this way, what Obama said just reinforces it. "Hell yeah, it ain't my fault the bitch got pregnant. She asked for it, let her take care of the damn kid!" That's the kind of culture this thought pattern leads to. Thanks, always good to have a civil discussion about these things. Take care, see you at Thanksgiving.

Their reply to me answer:

For sure. And I agree with you. I was addressing the point that it wasn't pro-abortion per se. It was still an irresponsible statement.

Yeah man, it was great having you here. See you in a few months!
 This person may vote for Obama, but my point in posting this is if our leaders from both sides of the isle could conduct themselves in this manner, this country would not be so divided.There's no use in me pointing fingers, both sides practice dirty politics and it's getting worse. It's been that way for a long time, but it's starting to really hurt our country. Will we ever see a political party that puts the USA before their (our) own interests? My answer is, we will when we decide to! We can still vote, this is our fault just as much as the backstabbers we put in office. If we stop rewarding politicians by re-electing them, they will get the message!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Triangle Variety Comedy Show 08/08 by Triangle Variety Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Triangle Variety Comedy Show 08/08 by Triangle Variety Radio | Blog Talk Radio We just did our second show and apparently had a big increase in listeners from our debut show. This is my first time co-hosting a radio show and booking guests. I've been a guest on many radio shows as a comedian plugging my stand-up or pushing my books, but hosting is a very different animal. I have found a new respect for the radio DJ's and talk show hosts out there across America. Doing your own radio show is not easy, but I enjoy the work I'm putting into it. I think I've got the rest of August booked pretty well with soem very talented and funny comedians.I'm starting on  booking Sept. and I'm also doing my best to write funny segments and come with more as the show grows. I've had a lot of help from other radio personalities and comedians, which makes life a little easier. For those people who listen in as we try and grow the shop as well as the audience, I'm sure they'll find something/s to enjoy about our little experiment. Patrick Walters is a veteran in many ways and I was honored when he asked me to co-host this show.Triangle Variety Radio is a fantastic network with a proven track record and talented people at the helm. I know I'll make some mistakes in the beginning and hopefully they will become fewer and fewer as the show grows. I'm learning a lot about booking guests, putting together segments and keeping the ball rolling. I welcome any comments and hope people who give us a listen enjoy the show!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here's my comment on the Explosion of Voula Papachristou from the Greek Track team. She tweeted, on her personal site I might add, that " With so many Africans in Greece...At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food." Because of one tweet her Olympic career, for now, is over.

 The joke was not that funny, but that's what is was, a joke.Does not seem fair to do this to someone over a tweet. But that's what political correctness is in the end, mind control. If they can punish people for what they "tweet", how far away are we from the "thought police". I saw a few comments from people on here who loved this decision, those are the real "haters". The joke was more"continentalist" than "racist". She was talking about where they were from, not the color of their skin.The people who decided to expel her don't even know what the hell the joke was about. In my profession, I can't afford to be politically correct, I have to deal with the truth. The next step is jail time or fines. Think about this, had an African said this about their own countrymen, this would not be an issue. But because someone of a different nationality and skin tone ( there are white Africans, but because she's white and the African athletes are black there is where the racism comes in) then it's deemed racists and offensive. It's a great way to keep people of different races and nationalities at odds with each other. Imagine a world where we laugh at each others jokes about the various races, instead of making taboo. That's the ultimate way to be open minded and all inclusive.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Conversation Pieces Online Radio by Conversation Pieces | Blog Talk Radio

Conversation Pieces Online Radio by Conversation Pieces | Blog Talk Radio  I'll be doing an Interview with Cyrus Webb,  Sunday July 22cd @6pm EST. I'll be calling in from Wichita,KS.  on the 3rd week of my month long Loony Bin tour. I also wiil be making a big annoucment for those of you that have not heard the news yet!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Storyteller's Grove: Urban Fantasy Novel to Help Kick Cancer Overboard

Storyteller's Grove: Urban Fantasy Novel to Help Kick Cancer Overboard: Everyone knows that urban fantasy novels involve kick-ass heroes and heroines with a softer hidden side.We write what me know, especially ...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Writing Commando: Author/Comedian, Brian T. Shirley regales us with ...

Writing Commando: Author/Comedian, Brian T. Shirley regales us with ...:    Ah, summertime. A chance to kick back, relax and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of life. If you’re lucky, your days will include a f...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Promotion, the toughest part of being an Indie

  I was emailing back and forth with the editor of the Amock comedy site the other day and he lamented to me about the whole promotion thing. Amock was an online comedy comedy magazine until about a week ago. Now it's a comedy website, which does not bother me I still write for them and hope the site is successful. I was telling him about my new book coming out ( A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the club) and all the promotional work I have been doing. Interviews, setting up future interviews, the whole social media thing, making contacts and just plain getting the word out. He sent me a email asking how the hell I could keep it up because it's just so damn frustrating. He's right, it's a lot of work for no money what so ever....right now. I'm busting my ass for the hope of a future pay off, but then again it's actually for more than that.
  In 2009 I put out my first comedy book "Make Love Not Warts" and thought that once I put the word out I could sit back and relax. WRONG! It barely sold any off the Internet, but this book sold real well after my shows. I was frustrated, but I kept up the faith.

  I then put out "Four Score and Seven Beers Ago.." a couple of years later in 2011. This time I got a lot more involved in the marketing. I worked on my website, got more involved on LinkedIn, twitter and FB. I also started trying to learn as much as I could about book promotion.  I had done an email and press release campaign through my publisher, which I'm still paying for on my credit cards, and I learned that was a mistake. I'm now doing everything myself.

 I'm on the way to book #3 with much more knowledge about this publishing game and the biggest lesson I've found is I still have a lot to learn. I used to get real frustrated with the slow pace of the whole process, but now I try to accomplish something everyday towards my goals. I use any little promotion I get to push the books, to push my comedy career or to push both at the same time.

 I'm using a simple process right now. I follow discussions on LinkedIn that deal with writing, comedy, comedians, authors, entertainers, and writers. I read the posts, comment when I can add to the discussion, offer words of wisdom or words of encouragement. Reading the posts of people that feel just as pissed off as me about their lack of book sales takes the isolation away. I'm the only published author I know. There really is no one to relate to, as far as being an author goes, except on the Internet.

I've also found that I'm really pretty lucky when it comes to interviews. I'm actaully in a book of author interviews that just came out on Amazon. I have found several ways to finding people who interview authors. I read other author interviews then reach out to the people that interviewed them.I also joined a site that sends me an email with 2 or 3 radio shows looking for guests. Sometimes they looking for authors, sometimes comedians, I can do either one. Other times I can't fill the bill, but I've been getting about one interview a week or at least 3 a month with this system for the last several months. Some are on Internet radio, some on blogs and some on regular radio. Being a Comedian and a author makes me attractive to a lot of shows because it's something different.

The best thing is when I get promo for the books, I can use it to push my comedy career. I'm telling the clubs "Hey, if you give me some dates, I'll mention the club in my interviews." Some clubs pay attention, the big clubs could care less, but if feels good to know I have something to offer that's different.

 I hope the authors who take a look at this post will take a step back and realize that writing the book was really the easy part. But there's no need to get dicouraged, find a way to make the promotional process less painful. Try to learn a new aspect of marketing, no matter how small, every day or myabe every week. Make it a game if you have to and reach out to other authors. Just when you think you're the only one who feels  a certain way, you'll see a post that articulates exactly what you're going through.

 The biggest thing I've learned is that there's a lot of talented Indie authors out there who offer each other a lot of support. I've never met these people face to face, but some of them have been a huge help. I've also learned the best promotion I can get is to help my fellow writers as much as possible.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New book by Author Ethen Carrell

In my quest to find ways to promote my books and at the same time pump up my comedy career, I've been doing a lot of author interviews. One of the interviews I did was with a young author named Ethen Carrell. Ethen resides in California and I got the chance to talk to him one night while I was driving home from a gig a few hours away. He's a very positive and motivated young man to say the least. He told me of his ambitions as an author and how he has been very fortunate in meeting many great people since he's put out the invitation to interview writers. I'm glad to have met and talked with Ethen myself, he embodies the fine folks he told me about.Experiences like this makes me believe that no matter how many books I sell, becoming an author has been the best decision I could have made. I continue to learn about writing, promoting and most importantly about other authors. I'm also honored to say my interview with Ethen is one of many included a new book he has published entitled "Author interviews with Author Ethen Carrell Part One." I invite you to check it out on Amazon, here's the link and take care.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Here's a post a put up on a political website. I know this has nothing to do with books, but I'm angry and need to vent. We're getting screwed here in S.C. by a ruling that takes hundreds of well meaning folks off our ballots. I've already voted in a primary and now that vote does not count. This has to do with a simple filing procedure for the candidates. I feel this is a result of to many damn laws on the books and we're just legislating ourselves to death. Here's the post:

If our laws and rulings were clear and simple these things would be over before they began. I say we start electing people who's slogan is " I will not pass another law or create another committee until I've gotten rid of some old one's". ALL of our laws and rulings should be clear enough for the common man to understand in one glance. We should not have to call a lawyer over to explain a law to us every time we want to know what our government is doing. Lawyers have enough work and make a lot of money already. When we elect a lawyer to office, they make sure to pass more laws with all kinds of confusing language so they know they still have a job when they retire from public life! QUESTION: Who do you think is making money of this "fustercluck"? THE ANSWER: Whoever gets paid to examine the laws and rulings pertaining to this particular bag of political bones, A.K.A, A LAWYER!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm excited about my next book, here's the cover!

  I have published two books to date and sales have been less than spectacular on the Internet to say the least. I added "on the Internet" because when I sell them after shows, for the most part it's been a different story. At clubs where people do buy merchandise, I've been pretty happy with sales and these book do better than anything else I've ever sold such as T-shirts,CDs or DVDs. Part of that could be I've grown as a comedian, but we have been in bad economy for few years now and I still sell more items than I ever did.Self publishing is a very tough thing to do though. You don't have the respect of the traditional authors or readers. You pay to have the books published, buy them at a discount to sell them yourself  and you have to pay to even get the books considered to be put inside a major book seller's building. I am available world wide on the Internet, but if no one knows or cares, it does me no good.

  Having laid all this out, I am still very excited about my newest book. For one thing, I was approached by to write this book. I have an illustrator on my team who is willing to work on this project for a percentage of the book sales later on because he wanted to. He was inspired by the stories enough to want to illustrate them. This book is different than my first two in that is a series of true stories and not a long list of one-liners or "jokes". I have chronicled some behind the scenes tales from nearly twenty years of performing comedy on the road. I have poured a lot into these stories, as many are some of the funniest memories I have of this crazy life I lead. This will be an eBook to start with as the young publishing company Libboo is still in the process of setting up their printing process so I am not counting on much in sales to begin with. None the less, I'm just glad to get this book out. I've learned a little from putting out the first two and I have much to learn about writing and book promotion, but it is very interesting. Whether or not this book helps ease the pain of being a struggling comic, I know this won't be the last. I submit for your consideration the cover of  "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Club" as it exists now. All feedback is welcome as I can only grow through this exercise.Thanks.