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

The publishing revolution already happened.

AuthorStrong Podcast: Meeting Reader Expectations

In this series of episodes from the AuthorStrong Podcast, Mat and Nancy’s topic is about meeting reader expectations. This dovetails beautifully with the previous post about Chris Fox’s upcoming book Write to Market. (Catch that interview on SPRT at the video link below.)

Mat and Nancy break down how Station Eleven succeeded in many respects. It’s assuredly a great book! However, they also discuss a few things we need to be aware of as we write.

If we’re going to defy reader expectations, we should do so judiciously and on purpose.

Click here for Episode 1 of 4 on AuthorStrong.

Filed under: publishing

CHRIS FOX: The SPRT Interview

Here’s the Self-publishing Roundtable interview with Chris Fox. He’s just burst into going full-time, going big and living large. Write to Market will be launched in February.

The Self-publishing Roundtable is live every Thursday night at 10 PM, or subscribe on Youtube to catch interesting panel discussions about writing and publishing anytime.

 

Filed under: publishing

Marketing is Farming, Not Hunting

Source: Marketing is Farming, Not Hunting

Click the link for marketing wisdom from Chris Fox. I hung out with Chris on Thursday night on the Self-publishing Roundtable. He’s got a lot of good information to share and it’s not all the usual stuff you’d expect, either. His next non-fiction book is Write to Market. He’ll teach you how to analyze Amazon and find hungry genres. You’ll write books you’ll love that readers really want.

Filed under: publishing

The Movie of Your Book

People are still reading books, so don’t freak out. Humans are still voracious for good stories. However, that doesn’t mean they want to read words on paper or pixellated pages. We have a lot of competition for our inky offerings. Who has time to read a book when Netflix, Facebook videos and YouTube offer so many diversions to suck up our potential reading time? It makes sense that we leverage that video competition instead of merely combatting or denying it.

Sell more books by selling the movie of the book, too.

You’ve written a book or maybe a bunch of books. Meanwhile, Netflix and Amazon are doubling their offerings of original programming. They need stories. Maybe they need your stories. If you’re beating your brains out trying to make money on online bookstores alone, it’s time to think about expanding your repertoire to screenwriting.

If you’re interested in doing this, get a program to format your script correctly. Scrivener can do it. Final Draft is the industry standard. Final Draft will cost you about $250. Celtx is a free script program (with some paid upgrades for a small fee.) None of the above are terrible.

Amazon made the free StoryWriter App to make the formatting task easier, but it has one other little feature that is intriguing. In addition to saving your work anywhere you want, Storywriter includes a button to submit your screenplay directly to Amazon Studios. Yes, Amazon is serious about competing with Netflix by making it easy to send them scripts. Their desperate search for more original programming and the next big hit means another barrier to the gatekeepers has fallen.

This is not to say that getting a movie made is at all easy. It’s a complex endeavour. Odds are against your grand success, just like with anything creative. But we aren’t writers because it’s easy money. We’re writers because we have stories to tell and we want to reach a wide audience. Video means a wide audience.

Of all my books, I have two series that would best lend themselves to film adaptation, the Hit Man Series and Ghosts and Demons. One is a crime thriller and the other’s quite Buffy. Both would be fun to write so I’m fitting scripts into my publishing schedule this year. 

If you dig this, be sure to subscribe to the Scriptnotes podcast. On Scriptnotes, two working screenwriters educate, explode myths and comment about the art and business writing movies.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Nothing’s easy. I’m saying it’s possible. Maybe it’s for you.

~ I am Robert Chazz Chute and I write suspense, mostly about the apocalypse. Check out all my happy diversions from your doom at AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: All That Chazz, Amazon, author platform, movies, My fiction, publishing, , , , , , ,

What qualifies you to say that?

If you’re looking for a brain surgeon, you don’t want an amateur (and probably not Ben Carson, either.) But there are a lot of topics where “expert opinion” is of questionable validity. For instance, the paid media pundits who predicted Donald Trump would flame out long ago have been proved wrong. Spectacularly wrong. Many still haven’t learned anything from what should have been a humbling experience. They’re still making political predictions based on what they want to be true instead of looking at what’s happening in the GOP primary by the math. (Please don’t take this as an endorsement of Donald Trump. I cab’t stand him. I am pro-reality, however.)

What makes a person an expert?

If it’s for purpose of commentary (as opposed to digging into organs with sharp tools for therapeutic purposes), anyone can be expert and everyone seems to think they already are. A lot of people have instant opinions on topics they’ve given no thought to. Experts, it seems, are everywhere. The number of “Social Media Experts” on Twitter is staggering, and most of the time, that title means nothing.

Recently, Sean Penn was ridiculed by professional journalists for his interview of El Chapo in Rolling Stone. He responded that (a) they were focusing on the celebrity angle instead of the drug war, and (b) he dared them to show him their journalist licenses. It was a clever retort to a lot of envious whiners from a guy who risked his life to go into the jungle to interview a killer.

Whether Penn’s story was well-executed is another issue. The core of it was, anybody who is willing can be a journalist now. I have a journalism degree. It’s hanging in my downstairs bathroom over the toilet, where it belongs. It got me interviews and jobs with major publications but, as a license? Ha! Let’s just say any degree — or no degree — will do now.

Report on any issue you’re of a mind to. Citizen journalism may not be polished, but it often looks more honest. The value of the journalism degree has eroded since the Internet disrupted a once-great profession. It’s not all the fault of the Internet, either. Many outlets have abandoned the journalistic principles that once made the calling worthwhile. For instance, when network news shows backed by defence contractors interview shills for defence contractors and don’t tell you who they’re really representing? Yeah, no good. Many so-called journalists downgraded themselves to propagandists when they decided to help sell a war instead of reporting on it. If those reporters had journalist licenses, they should have been revoked.

It seems that most of the best journalism isn’t accomplished by big media, anymore. The best journalism and commentary I’ve seen in the last few years has been reported by comedians (e.g. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) and web-based shows with vast audiences they’ve earned through authenticity (e.g. The Young Turks.) These models of better communication dig deep, tackle tough issues in an understandable way and they don’t treat their audiences like idiots.

I bring this up because one of the books I’m writing at the moment is non-fiction. Someone (a fiction writer) asked me what qualified me to write it. As a former journalist, the premise of the question struck me as silly. Research any subject thoroughly and you, too, can be an expert. Read a bunch of books, go deep and bang, you’ve got yourself a qualified opinion because you are not informed by one expert, but many. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to have a worthwhile opinion about nuclear power. You don’t have to be a doctor to explain a vasectomy. (Just don’t try this at home, kids!)

I have 24 years of experience with the subject of my next non-fiction book. I’m also bringing in a co-author with  multiple relevant degrees and 20+ years in the subject, too. Our backgrounds will undoubtedly make a better book and we can refer to real life case studies from our work lives. However, you can write a non-fiction book about anything. Okay, if you’re an idiot, maybe not but, in general? To claim expertise, all you have to do is research. To write a book based on that expertise? All you have to do is write the damn book.

Make the world better and better informed. Those two things are one thing.

 

Filed under: DIY, new books, publishing, Rant, television, writing advice, writing tips

#SF COVER CAGE MATCH: Which is better?

Both these designs for the Robot Planet are by Kit Foster of Kit Foster Design.

Which cover grabs you? Which design entices you to buy? Please let me know which you think is more effective in the comments. Thanks!

Filed under: My fiction, publishing, , , , ,

Novel Novella Experiments & a #FREE book

Metal Immortal (Small)

I’ve published three long SF novellas in the last few months. Metal Immortal is free today, so click that beautiful Kit Foster Design cover to get on board for some kick ass military SF reminiscent of War of the Worlds.

It’s a robot uprising that’s pulpy fun. Before Asimov made robots three laws nice, this is what robot mayhem looked like: the Next Intelligence taking over the world, subterranean subs and giant Zilla Class city-killers lumbering across the landscape. Lt. Avery is a Sand Shark pilot on a recon mission in the desert. Things go wrong quickly and get worse. 

What’s different is the experiment: four novellas build one big novel.

I love novellas for their lack of fat. This is action, action, action with nary a break. You’ll love Deborah Avery for her competence and jokes, but characterization comes through action. It’s still hefty enough at 30,000+ words, but it will go so fast, you’ll think it’s shorter.

You can read each of the three novella as stand-alones. The stories are interconnected, true. However, all the threads come together in Book 4 of the Robot Planet Series. The characters that survive the robo-apocalypse  join forces for the final epic battle in book 4: Metal Forever (coming in December.)

As usual, nothing’s usual. Big surprises and fun ahead. Please click the pic to join the adventure and, if you dig it, I’d really appreciate it if you left a review.  Thanks!

Talk soon,

Chazz

Filed under: ebooks, free ebooks, My fiction, new books, publishing, Science Fiction, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: When you’re down dooby-do, down, down…

Book Coer credit: SelfPubBookCovers.com/Shardel

Book Cover credit: SelfPubBookCovers.com/Shardel

  1. Some snooty, snotty gurus will tell you not to write faster than they can. Some fascists will tell you you’re writing too slow. This is why every scout must have their own compass. Don’t get lost. Use your own compass. Get away from the rest of the troop and leave them in the woods to feed the ticks and snakes. Find your way into town and get ice cream.
  2. No matter how much you accomplish, someone will tell you that you should never have tried and you’re doing you all wrong. Don’t believe me? Someone said recently that Stephen King can’t write. Seriously. 
  3. Sometimes, it seems we are surrounded by dream killers, trolls and monsters. Those cowards scatter like cockroaches and skitter under the fridge when you turn the light on them, though. They don’t talk like that to people in person. If they did, Mom and Dad would revoke their computer privileges. Adult trolls would have all their teeth knocked out if they tried that shit in person. Ignore and forget them. You’ve got worlds to build, stories to tell and braingasms to deliver.
  4. We are also surrounded by people who aren’t jealous and who bear you no ill will. These are people who take pleasure in the success of others. They actually want to enjoy your work and they’re ready to be entertained. They want you to succeed and they understand that another person’s success or failure has nothing to do with their destiny. Spend more time with these people. 
  5. I don’t have much for you if you’re feeling downtrodden. Nasty words sting. That’s what nasty words are built to do. However, it will ease your pain considerably to be one of the writers who inspire widely, encourage eagerly, coach privately and applaud loudly. 

The only remedy I know for dickishness is to make sure you don’t add another dick to the pile. Wherever you are, you can bring down Earth’s Dickishness Index today and every day. It’s a beautiful life. 

~ Robert Chazz Chute then nodded and smiled to all assembled, leapt on the back of a unicorn, galloped over a rainbow bridge and retreated to a magical cave to create another fabulous nightmare of the coming apocalypse. Find out more about his visions of our robot, zombie and demon-filled futures at AllThatChazz.com. Cyberpunk? Dark fantasy? SF? Mysteries? Thrillers? That’s all that Chazz jazz. 

Filed under: writing advice, ,

You could get your next book formatted for free.

In a rush?

The questions that will enter you into a draw for free formatting of your next novel can be found at the bottom of this article under “But what’s a fair price?” What’s in it for you is under the subhead, “What’s in it for you?”

Here’s the problem for many authors

I once paid a guy on Fiverr to format one of my first books. He did a good job. The project had a bunch of extras, so no, it wasn’t just five dollars but it was still cheap. When I went back to the same guy for my next book, I had to throw out what he sent me. Sadly, you often get what you pay for. Dependability is worth a lot and outcome is everything.

Lately, I’ve been surveying the field, looking for what a fair price might be. There seems to be a huge divide. You can get a book formatted very cheaply or it can get crazy expensive. I suspect the designers who demand very high fees are wearing monks’ robes and the ink on their blessed stamps is infused with the blood of angels. Yeah, it can get that expensive. Like, it’s-a-cult! expensive. 

I’ve found another solution that gives me a better outcome than trying to format print books with the automated programs currently available. So, great! I have a solution. Now comes the but…

But what’s a fair price? Please tell me:

  1. How much do you pay for formatting your ebooks and paperbacks now?
  2. How much are you willing to pay for text formatting?
  3. Any thoughts you’d like to add?

What’s in it for you?

A company (in which, full disclosure, I have an equity share) will soon be offering a book formatting service. All those who answer the questions above will be entered into a draw. Ten people will win the raffle to receive their ebook and print books, fully formatted and free. You could be among the first to try us out.


Comment below to enter the draw or send your comments to expartepress@gmail.com.


Terms and conditions: Not much. This is just for novels at this time, not non-fiction. No skill testing question bullshit. Just your opinions on what an author should budget for book formatting services. Available to authors worldwide, void where prohibited. (I think that’s pretty much just Quebec. Sorry Quebec.) 

Machines Dream of Metal Gods (Medium)~ By the way, the world is coming to an end again. This time, it’s robots fixin’ to kill us. Check out this cool and crazy interconnected series by your humble servant: Machines Dream of Metal Gods and Robots Versus Humans. Thanks! ROBOTS VERSUS HUMANS (Large) 2

Filed under: publishing

Writing shorter, despite the prevailing wisdom

Machines Dream of Metal Gods (Medium)

So, FYI, I just launched the Robot Planet Series. I think I’m on track to be the Apocalyptic Guy now. That suits my worldview. I’ve got a massive zombie apocalypse, a cool demon apocalypse series and now the rise of the Next Intelligence threatens us all.

I have a deep catalogue of longer work but I’ve moved into writing novellas in a series. Thirty-thousand words isn’t nothing but it’s half the size of my usual novels. When Kindle Unlimited changed terms so we get paid by page reads instead of the 10% threshold, a lot of people decided they’d begin writing long again. I think it’s more about keeping people reading than about length, but to each his or her own.

I could write a full novel every two to three months, but at 30,000 words or so, I can keep the action very tight and publish more often. Sales interest me more than KU borrows. I look at that as an extra, not to be depended on or even thought of much. On the other hand, nobody knows yet for sure but, if projections are correct, I seem to be doing better with KU2 than with KU1 terms.

Coming up with action-packed reads that get out faster is fun and energizing. It also suits a lot of people’s lifestyles (i.e. gimme something that’s a quick read because I’ve got too much stuff to do.) 

Publishing more often also boosts visibility within Amazon’s eco-system. I’ll show up on more Also Bought ribbons. That interests me very much.

It’s up to you.

Write short. Write shorter. Write long. Write even longer. Write however long the story demands. Just have fun with it and readers will climb aboard your crazy train. I’d much rather focus on the story itself than worry about Kindle Unlimited terms.

Writing good books will pay. That’s where my focus remains.

~ Get your complimentary download of a review copy of #1 in the Ghosts and Demons SeriesThe Haunting Lessons at AllThatChazz.com. 

Filed under: publishing

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

All the dark fantasy fun of the first three books in the Ghosts & Demons Series for one low price.

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

You never know what's real.

Available now!

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.

Write to live

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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