An Interview with Pirate Humor Book Authors Tim Bete and Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" MacDougall

Tim Bete (pronounced "beet") began his nautical adventures as a child sailing on Buzzards Bay off the coast of Massachusetts. At age 10, he longed for a small cannon to put on his grandfather's 30-foot wooden ketch - a quick, two masted vessel that is perfect for catching other ships so you can plunder'em. His parents scuttled the cannon idea, saying he "would terrorize other boats with it." That's exactly what he had in mind.

Bete's humorous parenting advice has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including the Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Parent, Big Apple Parent, Northwest Family, FathersWorld.com and ParentingHumor.com. His first book, In the Beginning…There Were No Diapers as well as and Guide to Pirate Parenting were finalists in the Foreword Magazine Humor Book of the Year competition.

Bete’s hobbies include pushing his luck and skating on thin ice. In his spare time, he’s director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. You can visit his website at www.timbete.com.

Captain Billy ‘The Butcher’ MacDougall (pronounced "MacDougall") has been hiding from authorities for most of his life. He lives on his ship, The Frightened Flounder, but can sometimes be found at the Crow’s Nest Tavern. His hobbies include plundering and rum.

About the Book:

In Guide to Pirate Parenting, Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall provides everything you need to know to turn your little powder monkeys into happy, healthy buccaneers! Cap'n Billy answers difficult parenting questions, such as:

* At what age your child should be able to remove a bottle cap by taking out his glass eye and using his eye socket?

* Which offense requires administering The Flying Dutchman Wedgie?

* How do you prevent sogging the quartermaster?

* What is the best place to maroon your disobedient child?

* How do you remove chewing gum or a giant octopus from your child’s hair?

* What’s the difference between “plundering” and “pillaging?”

* How do you convert your minivan into a pirate schooner?

* When should you smack your teenager in the side of the head with an oar?

Each information-packed section ends with “Your pirate’s progress,” a short quiz that shows whether your child is reaching his or her pirate development milestones.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Tim and Cap’n Billy. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Tim Bete: My name is Tim Bete. I’ve been writing for about 10 years.

Cap’n Billy: And I be Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall.

TB: Together we wrote the book, Guide to Pirate Parenting.

CB: But I be the brains behind the book, he’s just a scurvy bilge rat with a laptop.

TB: My humor writing has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including the Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Parent, Big Apple Parent, Northwest Family, FathersWorld.com and ParentingHumor.com. My first book was In the Beginning…There Were No Diapers.

CB: I’ve been hiding from authorities for most of my life. I live on me ship, The Frightened Flounder, but sometimes ye can find me at the Crow’s Nest Tavern. That’s where I met the pale, flabby land-lubber writer.

TB: My hobbies include pushing my luck and skating on thin ice. In my spare time, I’m director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

CB: My hobbies be plundering and rum.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

TB: I decided to write Guide to Pirate Parenting when Cap’n Billy put his dagger next to my neck and told me I was going to write a book for him.

CB: Aye, I have a way of convincing people to see things my way. It’s me dream that thousands of parents raise their little powder monkeys as pirates. Then I can put together a huge crew and plunder to me heart’s content. There’s nothing more exciting than sailing with Cap’n Billy, except maybe a merchant vessel full of gold.

TB: Our book teaches parents every aspect of pirate growth and development -- from baby pirate care through the teen years -- so their kids can become self-respecting swashbucklers of the high seas or suburbs. It answers common questions such as:

* At what age should your child be able to remove a bottle cap by taking out his glass eye and using his eye socket as an opener?

* What’s the best place to maroon a disobedient child?

* How do you remove chewing gum or a giant octopus from your child’s hair?

* How do you convert your minivan into a pirate schooner?

* When should you smack your teenager in the side of the head with an oar?

Each information-packed section ends with “Your pirate’s progress,” a short quiz that shows whether your child is reaching his or her pirate development milestones. For example, if your son has said “I’ll need another ration of grog if you expect me to eat these peas,” or told his teacher his homework was “eaten by a giant barracuda when the family’s ship wrecked on a coral reef near the Dry Tortugas,” you’re well on your way to having a pirate in the family.

What kind of research was involved in writing Guide to Pirate Parenting?

CB: None at all. I’ve been a pirate all me life. When I was a baby, me mother wrapped me in a sail. I teethed on hardtack. I know everything about pirating and raising pirates.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

TB:

I self-published Guide to Pirate Parenting with Cold Tree Press, so I had total control over the cover design. I picked with art and worked with their designer. Since then, Cold Tree Press has become a traditional publisher and they flipped my book. So what started as a POD title is now a traditionally-published one.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

CB: When I pilot a ship, it’s always smooth sailing. Unless of course I’m in battle and firing me big guns at a merchant vessel that refuses to surrender.

TB: The publishing process went off without a hitch. Because it was a POD title, I had control over all the creative aspects. That made it easy.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

TB: It was just three months from when I signed a contract and submitted the manuscript to when I had finished copies delivered. Cold Tree Press is a class act.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

TB: I don’t have an agent. You need one to sell a book to most of the larger publishers but you don’t need an agent to pitch to smaller publishers.

CB: I need an agent so I can sell the movie rights to Pirate Parenting. I think Mel Gibson should play me.

TB: Danny Devito would be more like it. Actually, we’ve had a few movie executives request copies of the book but haven’t heard anything back yet.

Do you plan subsequent books?

TB: I thought about Guide to Ninja Parenting but Cap’n Billy told me that pirates and ninjas are mortal enemies. Then he told me he’d “introduce me to Johnny Corkscrew” if I wrote that book. I don’t know what “Johnny Corkscrew” is and I don’t intend to find out.

CB: You’re a wise man, me hearty.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

TB: I’m a write-whenever-I-can-find-the-time writer. With four kids, it’s difficult to get in any regular writing schedule.

CB: I’m a write-when-I’m-sober kind of guy.

TB: He doesn’t write very often.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

TB: I’d buy a fleet of pirate mini-vans with loud speakers. I’d hired a thousand college students, have them dress as pirates and drive across the country plundering and selling books.

CB: That’s the first sensible idea you’ve ever had.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

TB: Publishers don’t do a good job of promoting books. And even if they do put in some effort, they stop after about six months because they have a new line of books to promote. The author HAS to self-promote. I recently created two short videos to promote Guide to Pirate Parenting. They’re on my Web site: www.PirateParenting.com. They’ve been very effective in generating sales.

CB: I like to go to bookstores and threaten the customers until they buy me book.

TB: That’s an effective technique, too.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

TB: If you want to write, write. Don’t worry about getting published. If you try to write for fame or money, neither will happen. Find what you’re passionate about and write about it.

CB: I’m passionate about gold and rum. Maybe I’ll write The Gold-lovers Guide to Gold. Or maybe I’ll make you write it.

Thank you for coming, Tim and Cap’n Billy! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

TB: Our Web site is www.PiratePareting.com. You can buy an autographed copy of Guide to Pirate Parenting there. You can also buy it at Amazon.com or your local bookstore.

CB: Just remember that I get half the royalties, me hearty. Or else.

ATTENTION: This interview is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for Tim's and Cap'n Billy’s book, GUIDE TO PIRATE PARENTING, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away one FREE virtual book tour or $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who comments on their blog stops during their virtual book tour in July. Leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these prizes! For more stops on the GUIDE TO PIRATE PARENTING VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

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