C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

The publishing revolution already happened.

Here’s a different way to engage new readers

There is an alternative to getting feedback through reviews and it’s actually pretty awesome (though we all need the happy reviews, too.) Recently, I did a Bookbub giveaway. About 20,000 people picked up the This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition. That’s three novels in one big book. Not only am I hearing more from readers who dig my flow, but I’m engaging with them through email plus giving them another free book. I’m thinking long-term and building a readership, but it has helped in the short-term, too. Here’s how:

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)

At the back of the Omnibus is a link to a video that asks readers a question about a secret revealed in the saga. Once they comment on the secret YouTube link and email me their address, I send them the gift of another book, Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes. I also let them know there’s another book coming at Christmas called The Haunting Lessons. If you liked TPOD, you’ll probably love The Haunting Lessons.

IVBT FINAL 2D cover

You can’t generally engage with reviewers without the risk of being accused of bad author behavior, but these people are coming to me. They’re a happy bunch (only one grump among the many emails I’ve received!) and they’re happy to talk about This Plague of Days. I also take the opportunity in their gift card message to encourage reviews.

Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes (my autobiographical crime novel) also secrets behind the story. The back of that book has a blog post link readers can access with a password on my author site, AllThatChazz.com, so they can get some of their questions answered.

If this seems like a long, expensive process to find new readers, I have three answers: 

1. Long? Not really. I was writing the books anyway. I’m in this for the long haul with many more books on the way.

2. Paying for advertising in the form of gift books to a TARGETED audience is miles cheaper than any other approach I can think of.

3. Contrary to what you may have read from other authors recently, I’m finding that gifting does lift my other book sales. 

This won’t help you much if you don’t have more than a couple of books to sell, but free isn’t a concept to throw away quite yet. I’m happy with this twist on free because I’m making happy readers happier instead of throwing business cards out of moving cars and shouting at annoyed strangers.

I’m loving it most because, unfortunately, there is occasionally a hostile, suspicious or impatient dynamic between reviewers and authors. As a writer, it’s great to hear back from the people who get what you’re doing, are friendly and engaged. The conversations I’ve had over email are delightfully empty of power trips and ego. It’s fantastic to me that people just want to talk about the story’s emotional impact or the philosophy or psychology that form the underlying themes of This Plague of Days. That’s cool. (You know how some reviewers seem to hate reading? Not this crowd. They are so in!)

I think this approach works because:

a. Hey, I understand they read to the end of a long epic saga. It figures they’re more committed than the average bear.

b. People love to know secrets and behind-the-scenes stuff.

c. People love free stuff.

d. When I talk about TPOD on video they’re getting to know me as a human being.

e. When they read the secrets in the secret blog post, they’re invited into my little club. I’m touched that they got involved enough in the thriller to want to know what’s fiction and what’s not.

Your mileage may vary, as they say, but keep experimenting with new approaches. You might even stick a secret link in the back of your next book and watch the happy readers show up in droves.

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Why are we so worried about failure when it’s so common?

I’ve been reading another round of articles from the usual suspects saying how much indie books suck. I ran into a reader who said one of my masterpieces was pretty good “for an indie book.” Yeah, well, piss on that. He only knew I was indie because I told him so. I now have two questions to wrestle: why am I still reading these biased articles that rely on old news and nostalgia? And why do I bother telling anyone but other indies that I count among their number?

We live in a post-empire world.

Indie and niche is a great place to be now, but the bias of what was once true still carries the heavy weight of lazy inertia. I have had lots of jobs, but it wasn’t until I became a writer that people started asking if I was making any money. (Kinda rude, huh?)

Yet myths continue to abound about indie versus trad.

For instance, some people still believe that big publishers must have more brains than small publishers. I worked for big publishers and I can tell you, some of them are really bright, but no more than the rest of the population. I know what a book costs to make. One in twenty of my former employers might know. No indie of my acquaintance would be dumb enough to try to sell an art book without pictures. (Yes, that happened.)

More money means bigger investors, not more brains.

In fact, when you have more money to sling around, you can find some pretty stupid uses for it, like paying rent in downtown Toronto or New York or throwing money at CEOs while reducing editorial staff drastically. When you’re really profitable, you might even be stupid enough to get your lawyers to cheat your authors out of royalties. (Oh, nickel and dimers will do fine for a while and the big wigs can congratulate each other over a round of golf. But reputations and brands will be damaged and then the authors’ lawyers will come. Peons pushed too far become dangerous so Evil isn’t a smart longterm strategy.)

Are there lots of bad books out there? You bet.

Indie or traditional? It matters not. Ninety percent of anything isn’t so great. Mediocrity is not unique to us. In fact, mediocrity and failure is no big deal. Look around. It’s everywhere. Ninety percent of politicians and agents and naturopaths and plumbers suck. There are no exemptions. Have you ever belonged to a class where everybody got an A+ on everything? 

But that’s the beauty of finding your niche and your tribe.

No matter what we do, somebody’s going to love us. (Charles Manson has a bride now.) Someone will eventually fall in love with your voice even if you sing a little flat.

We must all do our best, of course. This isn’t a call to embrace mediocrity.

It’s a call to do your best without getting overly dramatic when someone doesn’t dig your flavor. It’s a reminder that we will all fail with most of our books. It’s a plea to write the next one anyway. I’m making fewer mistakes. I’m getting better with each book. Everybody improves if they don’t quit. My tribe is getting bigger.

Keep calm and carry on doing your best. Write and enjoy yourself. Chill. Failure is expected. One of these days, you’ll write something that will strike a cord outside your niche and, for a moment, you’ll think you have arrived. There is no arrival. There is only the next book and the Sisyphian joys of the labor itself.

When you write, do you ever make yourself laugh or cry or chortle at your genius?

That’s what to go for. Let’s stop being so precious about winning and losing and relax about the numbers. When the work comes from love and you continue to strive, your aspirations are never hopeless.

~ Speaking of turning the legend of Sisyphus upside down, I wrote over 50,000 words in 20 days and NaNoWriMo helped me do it faster than I would have otherwise. I now have a first draft I love. Take that NaNoWriMo haters. The writing process was full of self-congratulatory chortles and laughter. It’s going to be a lot of fun for readers, too.

 

 

 

Filed under: author platform, publishing, self-publishing, writing tips, , , , , ,

Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014: John O’Brien’s New World

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The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog

Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or

teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as

well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

 

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list.

Storm cover large5

 (Editor’s Note: NSFW words to follow in the excerpt, so you may not want to read it aloud at the office…)

Excerpt from A New World: Storm

As we make our way along, several exits lead into darkened interior hallways. Each of

the wall corners are rounded and house nurses’ stations. I look behind one to find a figure on

the floor, clad in the torn remains of scrubs. Dried blood covers the floor and is splattered on the

walls. Staring at the sight, I’m confused. The building entrances and perimeter didn’t show any

evidence of night runners, but the bodies and the other evidence points to the fact that we may

not be alone. I’m not sure how they are getting in and out of the building.

I peel away an escape route plan taped to one of the walls. Sending Red Team to the

next intersection of hallways, I motion Jan forward.

“Where is the lab?” I ask.

She studies the map, and points to a large room in the interior.

Taking the map, I advance to the next hall, where Red Team is standing guard. Looking

down the corridor, I see that it intersects other hallways. The ambient light doesn’t reach far,

leaving the corridors and rooms beyond in a deep gloom. The interior halls will be in the dark.

“Looks like this won’t be the walk in the park it seemed,” I state to Lynn.

“What do you think?” she asks.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to assume that we aren’t alone. We have a safe corridor along

the outer halls, but who knows what we’ll face in the darkened hallways.”

“Do you think the equipment is worth the risk?” Lynn asks.

“I have no idea. Seems that is happening more frequently. I mean, what if we get her

equipment and she finds an answer to the night runners? If she does, then yes, it’s worth almost

any risk. However, I sadly lack the ability to see into the future. Sitting here staring at darkened

halls, and knowing how much I love hospitals, I would say we turn around. But, it’s about the

chance, isn’t it? If we don’t go, then there is zero chance,” I comment.

“Are you having a nice conversation with yourself?”

“No, not really,” I answer.

I stand at the intersection, pondering. It seems that I always knew what to do in the past,

was able to see the right choice. I momentarily wonder if the move hasn’t altered my ability

to choose clearly. I may be thinking too far ahead, to finding a truly safe haven in the midst of

all this chaos. And with that looming possibility, I may be taking the easy route instead of the

right one. If that is truly the case, then I’m in no condition to be making decisions. I’ve second-
guessed decisions in the past, but not my whole reasoning ability.

Shit, even these thoughts bring more doubts.

Taking a deep breath, I shake my head. “Okay, fuck it. We’re going in. Red Team, you’re

at the next intersection covering our six. Lynn, you’re with me. Have Black Team cover Jan like

At the next intersection of hallways, Red Team covers the corners. Although there is a

faint amount of illumination, the area is still cast in a deep gloom. There may be enough residual

light to keep the night runners away from this position. Only a couple of feet into each branching

corridor, the light ends completely, leaving only darkness.

Lynn and I turn the corner. Assuring that my carbine is set to auto, I raise it and creep

into the hall leading to the lab. I sidle near the wall, stepping silently. Slowly, I make my way

down the hallway, Lynn keeping pace on the opposite wall. My heart feels like it’s in my throat

and I slow my breathing to calm my heart rate. Once again, I find myself snaking down a

hospital hallway. The air within is stuffy and cold.

All of the doors along the hall are closed. I pause at the first one, listening. Reaching

down, I slowly push on the handle. It’s unlocked. I’m not sure that night runners have mastered

the art of doors, but I’m not chancing it. It would be my luck that I run into a pack that can

saunter in and out of them with nary a thought. After all, they must be entering and exiting the

building somehow. That is, if they are leaving at all. Perhaps they are feasting on the food within

the hospital. Of course, the evidence I’ve seen could be from weeks ago.

I nod at Lynn, open the door, and step silently into the room. I’m not sure what the room

is used for, as curtains are pulled in places. No shrieks or sudden movements accompany my

entry. I exit and slowly close the door. Lynn checks a door on her side with the same result;

there’s no one inside. We creep down the corridor, checking the rooms but never leaving the

doorways. Black Team follows quietly behind.

Reaching the doors that Jan indicated as housing the lab, Lynn and I stack against the

wall. It would really suck if night runners were inside and we had to start shooting. Knowing my

day, I would put a round into every piece of equipment she needed. Of course, if there are truly

night runners within, we’ll just turn and run for the light.

We check the door and verify that it’s unlocked. On a nod from me, Lynn swings the

door open and I dart in. The room is large, with long counters and stations along the walls and

in the center. I check the dead corner as I make my way along the right hand wall. Lynn follows,

sweeping left. We pause half way down. There’s nothing inside except beakers, vials, and

equipment. We head back to the entrance and motion Black Team forward.

“The room is clear. This has to be done quietly. Don’t disturb anything, and gather the

equipment Jan indicates,” Lynn tells them.

They enter. As Jan passes, I grab her arm. “Do this quickly?”

She nods and enters with the rest of the team. Lynn and I station ourselves in the

corridor. She holds the door open and we both cover farther down the hallway. Even though I’m

on the opposite side of the hall, I still hear very faint whispering coming from inside the room.

Other faint sounds emit as they gather equipment.

Fucking keep it down, I think, hoping there aren’t any night runners nearby that can hear

A little way down is another intersection of hallways. For some reason, the ambient light

that reaches the intersection behind us doesn’t reach there. It could be that the hall doesn’t

reach the outer corridor. Minutes pass that seem like hours. I hear the clang of something

metallic come from within the room. It’s a soft sound and not very loud, but to my ears, it sounds

like a train crashing into a semi. Lynn turns her head sharply to the interior. Shrieks erupt,

coming from a side hallway; they sound close.

Fuck, that doesn’t sound like a night runner shriek, that’s more like a kid screaming, I

think, tightening and pulling my M-4 tight.

“Lynn, get Jan and the equipment out, now!” I sharply whisper. “Head for Red Team and

get to the outer corridor where there’s light. I have our six.”

Lynn calls inside, softly yet sharply. Black Team exits, surrounding Jan, who is pushing a

steel cart loaded with gear.

What the fuck?!

“Go, go, go.”

As they quickly retreat down the corridor, I rise and being backpedaling. Lynn stays with

“Go,” I say, rising. She shakes her head.

“Dammit,” I mutter.

John O'Brien

John O’Brien

Screams fill the interior, echoing down the hallways. Amongst the din, I hear feet

slapping on the linoleum. As I step backward, I have my carbine aimed near the corner where

the night runners should appear. My aimpoint is aimed where their heads should be. They round

the bend in a hurry. As they come into sight, my reticle is above their heads. I lower my barrel a

touch and begin squeezing the trigger. Their ghostly pale faces register.

Fuck, they’re kids.

There are six of them, all dressed in torn and deeply stained hospital gowns, looking to

be about ten or twelve years old. I feel sick to my stomach as I watch, unable to pull the trigger

as they streak down the hall. I am backing up as fast as I can, but they are rapidly closing. For a

split second, I tightly shut my eyes.

Fuck this…dammit!

Placing my glowing crosshair on the nearest one, I fire, almost point blank. The child’s

head snaps to the side as my bullets strike. Blood sprays from the multiple impacts. With

feet flipping into the air, its head hits the hard floor with a whack. Strobes fill the scream-filled

hallway. More kids fall to the ground under the torrent of rounds fired by Lynn and me. In

seconds, six small figures lie bleeding in the hallway. Another shriek rises and a larger night

runner female, dressed in scrubs, appears at the intersection. Upon spotting the young ones

down, she pauses, then screams like I’ve never heard a night runner shriek. Other smaller

figures appear behind her.

Screw this, I think. Lynn and I turn and run.

Racing down the darkened hall, with shrieks sounding behind, I’m reminded of a similar

chase with Lynn. This time though, friends await at hallway intersections. Black Team is

nowhere in sight. I yell to Red Team to pack up and go. Rounding the corner, hard on the heels

of Gonzalez and company, we reach the full light. Behind, the night runners continue shrieking

I feel incredibly sick. The sight of those small faces, pale or not, will haunt me to the end

of my days. My legs feel weak and I sink to my knees.

“That was messed up…I mean, really messed up,” I say, panting.

 

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What Birdman got right (and what it says about writing books)

If you haven’t seen Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, you’ll find no spoilers here. It’s a very unusual film and there is a lot to love in it, not least of which is the cinematography. It’s also one of those rare films I’ll need to see again before I can figure out how much I like it.  Today, I want to talk about what I loved (and how it might apply to writers and books.)

1. The movie is a tutorial in acting without self-consciousness.

Many of us are too self-conscious to try something bold in our writing. That’s too bad, I think. I like bold choices in books. The expected is too ordinary and easy. The expected is…expected. You’ll also love the instruction on the power of motivation, emotion and brevity.

2. The film is comfortable with ambiguity.

As much as I enjoyed the summer romp that was Guardians of the Galaxy, there was no need to discuss it by the time we got to the parking lot. Birdman leaves so much ambiguity, you’ll find a lot of people arguing over clues in the film. What happened and what did it all mean? That could irritate you, or you could decide it’s finally a film worthy of discussion.

3. Birdman is working on several levels.

You can take it for what it is or you can take it for what it might be and, no doubt about it, this is a story that demands some patience from its audience if they decide to try to decode it. I like books that are doing one thing while you think they’re doing something else. That’s the rich depth I look for in my reading and writing, no matter how superficial an entertainment you might expect. (For instance, shocker: This Plague of Days is less about zombies and more about you.)

4. Birdman is Art (capital A) that defines its audience.

If you’re an optimist, you’re going to want to interpret the story one way. If you’re a pessimist, you may have less fun in the movie but you’ll enjoy the discussion over coffee after the movie.

5. Pop culture references.

The movie is front loaded with some contemporary references that are pretty funny. The movie isn’t afraid to define itself by a particular time with those pop culture references. Publishers have long run screaming from books with such references for fear readers won’t get it and the book will be dated too fast. Here’s what I’ve found (especially from feedback about my crime novels): Lots of readers love pop culture references and readers don’t scare off so easily when you’re showing them a good time. Will it get dated? No. That’s just a label and what you call a thing is not the thing. (Don’t buy that? Okay. How about this: eventually, everything is a period piece.)

6. The movie talks a lot about what it means to make Art and struggle with commerce.

What we all do as artists is kind of a brave thing to do. Maybe not storming-the-beaches-at-Normandy brave, but we’re taking risks and putting ourselves out there. It’s nice to see that affirmed somewhere instead of mocking entertainment as an effete thing to do when you could be out drinking and brawling or doing nothing. I believe Art matters. So does Birdman.

7. The movie criticizes and acknowledges the power of social media.

That’s surprisingly evenhanded and grounds for more discussion about what matters and how to get to what matters. Many of us are divided on the power of Twitter and the distracting lure of YouTube. I don’t think the answer is an either/or binary, so, through the ranting, the movie has a very thoughtful core.

8. Any artist will appreciate the critique of the role of the critic: how easy, risk-free and shallow it can be.

I heard a couple of professional critics mock this aspect of Birdman. Clearly, they weren’t listening closely or their egos got in the way. Whatever else you may dislike about this film, if you’ve written a book, you’ll love that exchange.

9. Birdman is, in part, about legacy and relevance and striving.

We can all relate to that, can’t we? If you can’t, get out. You’re taking a squat in my church.

10. By turns, Birdman looks like a French art film somebody dragged you to in college, one of those movies only film students pretend to like while they’re really thinking about Star Wars.

Then Birdman does something different. In other words, if it were a book, it would be cross-genre. It’s a film that isn’t easy to categorize and define. Therefore, it’s harder to sell. They made it anyway.

Filmgoers have been crying out for films that are refreshing and different. Audiences have been moaning at Hollywood for years, “Oh, for God’s sake, give us something besides another empty sequel and come up with an original thought!” Well, you asked for it and Birdman is what the answer to that request looks like.

You know what? I take it back. Now that I’ve written this list, I can see it now. I did like Birdman a lot. I think I might love it.

 

Filed under: movies, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Number One in #SciFi #Free today: All 3 Seasons of This Plague of Days!

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)

The First Season is The Siege. The Second Season is The Journey. The Third Season is The War.

Think The StandStranger in a Strange Land + The Walking Dead.

That’s the This Plague of Days Omnibus.

Free. 

Today.

You know what to do.

Bravery is not required. Action is.

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#NaNoWriMo: How to make writing a novel easier than it looks

I write drafts for my novels at a rate of 1,000 words per hour. I can string more of those hours together if I plan ahead with a general outline, but I usually pants it rather than plot it. 

I think of my writing time in terms of word count and hours. Here’s why:

When I wrote This Plague of Days, I didn’t think in terms of hours then. I didn’t budget my time or work to a word count like it was a job. I just put my head down and wrote and revised many times, stealing time here and there without a real schedule. I can’t tell you how long it took to write that epic saga because I went through so many revisions. Also, because my approach was haphazard, I wrote slower then. Though I worked from an outline, the project took longer than it could have.

I was buying into the meme that slow cooker writing was the only way, despite Stephen King’s suggestion that three months ought to do it (and look at the size of his books!) If I wrote that series now, the first draft would take about 300 hours of actual writing time. That’s less impressive than saying it took me years to write TPOD, but it’s more accurate.

(By the way, I just found out the This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition has advanced to the second round in the Writer’s Digest Self-published Ebook Awards! Yay!)

When someone says it took them two years to write their first novel, that’s not true.

Two years equals 17,531.62 hours, including time spent sleeping, showering, goofing off, playing with children and pets and holding down a job, and procrastinating etc. Authors can write as fast or as slow as they’d like and each process is unique. However, there is no direct correlation between speed of production and quality. In fact, for the first draft, quality is nigh irrelevant.

Quality comes with subsequent drafts.

I find most of the jokes in the second revision and the plot problems to be fixed become clearer by the third revision.

Take NaNoWriMo, for example…

I’m planning 55,000 words for my current WIP. That means 55 hours for the first draft this month. As my current schedule allows, I’ll be done well before the NaNoWriMo deadline as long as I continue to protect my writing time.

Fifty-five hours sounds much less intimidating and more realistic, doesn’t it? What’s one work week to you? Forty-four hours? I approach my writing like a job. It’s a job I love, but there’s no waiting around for inspiration to come to me. I hunt inspiration down. Inspiration and efficiencies are habits learned by writing more and doing so consistently.

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry.

For my crime novel, Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes, I’d planned on looking for the exit to the book around 50,000 words and topping out at 55,000 words. It took me an extra 17,000 words to wrap it up neatly at 67,000 words. Still, 67 hours to a first draft sounds like much less drama than saying it took me a month. That’s just 16.7 hours per week to come up with a first draft. (For a while in the ’90s, that’s about as much time as I committed to watching television.)

I’d give you a measurement of editing and revision times if I had them, but that varies too widely depending on the book. For instance, I’m putting my time travel novel on hold because I’m not happy enough with it yet to release it. I’ll come back to it in 2015. However, I expect to have my current WIP out in time for Christmas (assuming I still love it when I’m done.) 

Write as slow as you want to or as fast as you can. It doesn’t have to be a job. Hobbies are good, too, so write at the pace you choose.

My point is, we don’t have to be drama kings and queens about the writing process. When you hear of writers putting out a lot of books fast, that’s not really quite as hard as many would lead you to believe. Writing is a time management issue first. The other skills required come into play after we commit to investing the hours.

But it can’t be good because it was written too fast!

Writers who cherish writing slowly have my utmost respect until they insist others write at their pace (and many people write much faster than I do.)

On the Road, Casino Royale, The Gambler, A Clockwork Orange, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and As I Lay Dying were written in less than six weeks. I wonder if any of those famous books were actually written in less time than that if the authors had tracked their hours.

Fast writers manage fear because they think about each book project in terms of a formula:

Word count goals + hours x perspiration (divided by distraction)

Prolific writers manage their time, that’s all. No drama. Inspiration usually arrives at the keyboard at about the same time we do.

Write. Revise. Edit. Enjoy throughout. (Now don’t tell anyone how easy it is to get to big word counts or they might start to think that writers aren’t special snowflakes!)

~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute and I just published my 15th book. Imagine how many more I could have written if I hadn’t been sucked into the vortex of “Must See TV” back in the day. 

Filed under: My fiction, publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anti-NaNoWriMo Rants – Shut Up Already

Chazz:

Author Armand Rosamilia is from Jersey.

Originally posted on Armand Rosamilia:

I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo. I do it most years as an added writing exercise because I try to hit the goal each month regardless. I have fun because many of my friends also do it and we encourage one another, I get a chance to go out around town and meet other writers who are doing it, and it is just a fun time. 

Then I read a bunch of posts bitching about how stupid it is and writing is not a race and they wouldn’t be caught dead doing it because they are seemingly too good and write all year and blah blah blah. 

Shut up.

The first year I did NaNoWriMo I was working a full-time 60 hour a week job. I wanted to see if I could do it. I was far from becoming a full-time writer and I just wanted to finish a…

View original 158 more words

Filed under: publishing

Top Ten: I wasn’t going to do #NaNoWriMo but…

I’ve published three books in the last month.

HJ COVER FINAL LADY IN RED

PLAYBOOK COVER FINAL

IVBT FINAL 2D cover

 

I’m revising an ambitious time travel novel that I want to get done in time for Christmas. I already write a couple thousand words a day minimum and edit plenty. Every month is Nano for me, so why National Novel Writing Month?

1. I’m always excited about the next project and I have a new book I was going to work on that is going to gain a lot of visibility. Slowing the process is putting off success for later.

2. I was going to write this new book anyway, but doing it in conjunction with NaNoWriMo will help me speed my timetable.

3. I’ve published fifteen books in three years, so the back catalogue is solid, but I want to reach out to new readers with the next project. When this new one hits, all my work will get more attention.

4. I need to take Ex Parte Press in a new direction. At first I thought the new idea wasn’t for me. Then I realized that, just as happened with This Plague of Days and Intense Violence, Bizarre ThemesI could do something unique with a familiar genre.
This Plague of Days S3 (2)

5. I have another huge book waiting to be edited. I’m proud of it and it’s going to be strong, but it’s also a stand alone book, more literary and packed with Shakespeare. It has to wait while I do something with wider appeal that is the basis for a series. (Don’t sniff. Literary is just another genre and I love it all.)

6. This new book is an urban paranormal fantasy with a realistic context. It’s still my style of creepy and scary (with jokes), but I want to finally write a story with a female protagonist. My books definitely aren’t for dudes only, but it’s time for a book from me that resonates even more with female readers.

7. As I write this post, all my Internet friends are challenging each other to do writing sprints and get in on the fun of NaNoWriMo. November is the one month of the year when a writer can feel part of a large community of fellow toilers. It doesn’t have to be such a lonesome pursuit.

8. Competition and fun fuels forward motion. I want to harness that power.

9. Spurred to write now instead of wait, I started this morning. My word count on the first draft of the new project is 3,812 words. I just reread it. They are good words. I’ll keep most of them.

10. Most of those people who claim to take years to write a book are counting procrastination time. NaNoWriMo blasts through that mental block and propels us forward so we write now right now. We free ourselves of the perils of the inner hypercritic and finally get the story out. We can perfect it later. Free your mind and commit to the risk of NaNoWriMo. It’s writing, just as it ever was, but this time it’s with friends cheering us on through the process. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Filed under: My fiction, NanNoWriMo, , , , , , , ,

Okay Pirates, You Win

Chazz:

Reblogged for your consideration, eyes open. Though I don’t personally agree with her conclusions, I’m sympathetic to her pain.

Originally posted on Tammie Painter:

This week I learned my recent release, The Trials of Hercules, has been pirated. Initially I thought only a couple illegal download sites had it and that the wound could be staunched, but I’ve since learned that old Herc is bleeding out through his femoral artery because the book is on at least 20 pirating websites.

It’s No Big Deal, Right?

pirateFor those of you who don’t think pirating is a big deal, let’s put it in perspective. I’ve worked for over a year on writing, editing, formatting, and promoting this book. An average year’s wages in the U.S. are somewhere around $40,000. Now, $40,000 can buy you a pretty decent car, so let’s say you take a year of your work and buy a car then, the very day you get your car home, it gets stolen.

How pissed off are you? Add to that anger the attitude…

View original 995 more words

Filed under: publishing

How to twist a psychological thriller into something new and different

If you’ve read This Plague of Days, you know I go for unique takes on familiar genres. This is how I cut new grooves in an old record and made new word music.

IVBT FINAL 2D cover

 

1. There are no new ideas, but I have novel ideas that play with reader expectations. Always do the unexpected (usually within the confines of the genre, but certainly not always.)

2. Make it meta, commit and have fun with it.

3. Break the fourth wall and talk to the reader. Sure, Italo Calvino did it plenty. Why not you? (But not so much there is no story.)

4. Focus the psychological in psychological thriller on the protagonist. Done right, the reader will share in the pain and therapy.

5. Be the main character (yes, you!) and put ‘em through the Poisoned Corridor of Shame and Rusty Carrot Scrapers. 

6. Sift in some weird facts readers won’t think are true (but are.) Realistic context makes fiction feel like non-fiction. Cover your tracks and always let them wonder a bit what and how much to believe. Being a writer is a fine thing. Be a magician, too.

7. Give regular readers some Easter eggs with crossovers from other books. (New readers won’t notice, but the regulars will love it.)

8. Make the confrontations with self and others real and honest. There is underlying truth that’s bigger than mere facts.

9. Stir in plenty of action to push readers along.

10. Add pop culture references, nostalgia and funny dialogue to pull readers along. Make room for jokes. Be different enough to be memorable, but not so different readers hate you. Stay weird, but not for the sake of weirdness. For the sake of the readers who dig doing the daring.

BONUS

Add a secret link and password at the end of the book so readers can find out more about what’s true and what isn’t. Slake their thirst, but don’t tell them everything, either. You don’t want to dispel too much magic in case there’s a sequel.

This is what I did. I called it Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes, The Autobiographical Crime Novel. I hope you like it.

 

Filed under: Books, My fiction, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You never know what's real.

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Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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