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

The publishing revolution already happened.

Writer’s A, B, C: Free tools for finding happy new readers

1. Anonymity is the problem.

2. Discoverability is the issue.

3. Being broke is the obstacle.

4. Prolificacy is the strategy.

5. Generosity is the solution.

Today, I’ll give you three strategies I’m using to sell more books. First, there’s this:

Murders+Among+Dead+Trees+1121-1

This book of suspense is FREE until midnight, March 7, 2014. Have a look, if only to read my favorite three-star review of all time. You might also enjoy it so see for yourself. 

Okay, we all know we can do giveaways to increase our visibility by lowering the risk to new readers, but how to promote it? Here’s what I’m doing:

A. Stop ignoring Facebook groups.

I didn’t mean to ignore anyone. In fact, I’m quite active on Facebook and have made new friends there. After the release of a new book, there’s often a flurry of new friend requests and it’s great fun to interact with readers there because they’re enthused and friendly.

Over time, I’ve joined several relevant Facebook groups. If I had a spare moment (more rare these days) I’d lurk more than I’d participate. Mostly, I’d concentrate on the main news feed. That’s what draws the eye. However, there are plenty of groups to join where you can connect with like-minded people. I’m paying more attention now, making new friends and finding potential readers there.

B. I’m using Wattpad.

It’s a free platform for interaction, improvement, encouragement, feedback, sharing and promotion. Best of all, writers are welcome. Wattpad is not new, but I’ve pretty much been ignoring it. That stops now. It could be a great addition to your platform, too.

Several authors I’ve spoken to have not felt that Wattpad led to conversions. However, like me, they weren’t really active on the site nor did they promote it. To build an audience for the long-term, go where the readers are. Since these readers are also writers, you can expect respect there. It’s a friendly atmosphere.

So, for instance, you can get a sneak peek at my new book now. It doesn’t come out until spring, but I’ve put up the first chapter (The Prelude) of Season Three on Wattpad. It’s not for the faint of heart. Click here to get the link to see the big opening and you’ll also find out what Batman has to do with the apocalypse.

Wattpad’s membership is young and vibrant. I joined early but I wasn’t over there enough. I’m paying better attention now and encouraging my readers, new and old, to get that free sample there. But remember, it’s a social platform. Follow people. Read their stuff. Interact. If you find yourself having fun, congratulations. You’ve just discovered another social medium that’s for you.

I plan to use Wattpad for developing book ideas and finding new authors to read. It would be fun to write short stories as prequels and sequels. Best of all for me and for readers, I’m interested in writing more stories within the worlds I create. 

For instance, This Plague of Days takes place across continents. It’s a vast and sweeping story of the fall of our civilization. Beyond the books, there are many facets I couldn’t tell within the stream of the serial. I’d like to try out Wattpad for stories about minor characters. What happened to Brandy before Jack finds her at the opening of Season 2? What happened at the Joint Air Base in Charleston, before we get to it in Season 3 of This Plague of Days? Stories like that are fun and lead new readers back to all the work you’re selling. (Mental note: Write more books.)

But Chazz, I hate free. Free is evil.

Pre-sold readers are the best audience for any work. Free short stories are a powerful way to find them. If you hate free, write them on Wattpad and, when you’re ready, delete them from Wattpad. Then put your book up for sale as you normally would. That way, your work is doing more work for you while you’re creating it! You might even get valuable feedback through the process as you gain new potential readers for the rest of your books. Considering all that, do you still hate free?

C. Find your audience with more coopetition.

Horror authors Armand Rosamilia and Tim Baker put their talents together in a scary pack two novellas for only 99 cents. Click here to check out Dying Days: Siege 1 and 2. Working together, these guys are louder and reach more readers. That statement about being loud is also affirmed by their weekly radio show, Friday Night Writes. See you in the forum there tonight. Don’t forget to tune in at 8 pm EST. (I use the TuneIn app so you can listen to Surf 17 in Flagler Beach, Florida no matter where you are.)

Next logical question:

Got a novella or some short stories? Who are you going to team up with so you and another author or authors can get more visible?

Triberr is free, too.

I’ve already suggested Triberr as a way for authors to promote each other more effectively and systematically. This week I was invited to join a new tribe that targeted my readers. It’s a good fit because the niche is more specific and my tribe mates are all really strong bloggers.

This is coopetition (a phrase coined by author Joanna Penn, I believe.) The bloggers with whom I’m cross-promoting share similar interests so, as we tweet together, we expand our reach. Blogs generally aren’t very powerful tools, but Triberr is a fulcrum to gain leverage.

Do it right.

Lately I’ve noticed that a few “gurus” in the business are coming off…well…a tad dickish. “Prideful” my Baptist minister grandfather would say. The barrage of narcissism is off-putting and surely hurting them in the long run. I’m worried they might break their arms clapping themselves on the back that hard. That’s why this is such a great time to be generous and humble.

This isn’t about cheap marketing strategies. It’s an attitude that will make you happier. It’s about being the sort of person who elevates their circumstance by helping others instead of stomping them down and standing on their necks. To quote Patrick Swayze as Dalton from Roadhouse (again!), “It’s nice to be nice.”

Better Twitter.

Every day I scan my Twitter stream for people doing cool stuff. It might be an enthusiastic book review or a factoid or a joke. I don’t care what it is as long as it’s cool, fun or helpful. Retweet freely. Too often, I think we’re looking at Twitter’s “Interactions” stream. That’s a mirror. Look out the window instead. Look at what other people are doing and promote them to your followers to expand your view and your visibility. Your followers will appreciate the curation effort and you’ll have more fun with Twitter.

I’ve also made a conscious effort to go find new cool people I want to get to know. How do we find cool readers who are hot for our work? Hashtags are search handles. Use key words to find and follow avid readers of your genre. Active is faster than passive.

By sharing more, we all get to eat and have a more enjoyable meal. 

~ You read all the way down here? Oh, Sweetie, Baby, Cookie, Honey! For your endurance alone, you deserve Murders Among Dead Trees by Robert Chazz Chute. Click!

Filed under: author platform, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We now interrupt this program with tofu goats and what can be done about the Apocalypse

Free until tonight at midnight! Enjoy the last Christmas giveaway while you can.

Free until Friday at midnight! Enjoy the last Christmas giveaway while you can.

And now, to avoid the Apocalypse, I’m asking for a small sacrifice:

Could you please go to this link for Murders Among Dead Trees and click it to get it?

(In the UK, use this link to drink my hot chocolate stories of Bad versus Evil.)

 This collection of short stories is free

until Friday, December 21st at midnight

and packed with awesome fiction about friction. It’s often paranormal or at least strange. Everything looks normal until you look closer. I revised, edited again, added a sneak peek of a future book and topped it off with lots of behind-the-curtains commentary. 

Also appreciated:

Click the LIKE button or add it to your wish list. Even if you hate my stinking guts and won’t get it or ever read it, this is a rare situation where wishing helps. Finally, you could even click the “Agree with these tags” button toward the bottom of the page. These things help get Amazon’s attention.

It’s that or the Mayan Apocalypse, people! Or send a virgin goat to appease me…oh. That sounded bad. I should be clear that I intend to eat these goats, so a virgin tofu goat would also do nicely. Thank you.

That’s right. I’m so damn powerful, I can stop the Apocalypse, but to move up the Amazon rankings by giving away stuff for free? Surprisingly difficult. These are some quirky superpowers I’m rocking here.

Okay, look. I don’t want anyone to worry and I’m not going to lie to you. Whether you help out or not, I promise to save the earth from the angry Mayan god, Lex Luthor or Galactus or whatever. I don’t really expect payment for doing the right thing. Like Spider-Man, “Action is his reward” and all that. Sigh…still…well, just so you know I’m not totally douchey, that’s all. Thanks for your help if you so choose. Thanks for your consideration.

PS: Virgin Tofu Goats is the new name for my band. 

PPS: Won’t it be great to get past this? We’ve had a year of talk about the Mayan Apocalypse and after this, we’ll never have to hear a word about the Mayans again. You’re a footnote of a hoax of history and superstition! Take that Mayans! You and your funny plant hats. Ha!

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

“You will laugh your ass off!” ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

~Robert Chazz Chute is a crime novelist and suspense author who just received two new five-star reviews for the Hit Man Series books, but his bestseller is still Self-help for Stoners. (You don’t have to be a stoner to love it.) He’s still feeling so good about these developments, he’s writing about himself in the third person. Weird. And all that goat talk steered in a disturbing direction for a moment there, didn’t it? Hear his podcasts or learn more about all his books at AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Slice of the Writing Life: Everlast is my soundtrack

A quick-moving plot with lots of surprises and a clear-eyed examination of addiction.

A quick-moving plot with lots of surprises and a clear-eyed examination of addiction.

Listening to: Everlast‘s I Get By

Thinking about: My to-do list

Wishing I had: A to-don’t list

Regretting: How much Christmas shopping I had to do at the Dollar Store

Impressed by: How much Christmas shopping I did at the Dollar Store

Believing in: The power of Coffee and what we can do for each other

Daunted by: How many steps I have to take to satisfy the Fitbit‘s demand of 10,000 steps today

Looking forward to: Writing Hollywood Jesus

Feeling bad about: My little boy asked if I would work through Christmas Eve (No. I’ll be with you and the family, son. Promise.)

Grateful for: Readers and listeners

Hoping for: Happy buyers, Likes & getting added to Wish Lists

Waiting for: A mailing address to send off a promo copy of Higher Than Jesus

Scared of: Revising my apocalyptic coming-of-age thriller (It’s ambitious and huge)

Glad of: Completing the last (and maybe the oddest) All That Chazz podcast of 2012

Sad about: Newtown

Happy about: The Masquerade Crew helping to make My Year in Indie Publishing: Lessons learned go viral

Ecstatic about: ChazzWrites.com is a finalist for Best Self-publishing Blog of 2012 (and please consider reading the blogs on this list.)

Getting: Back to work

Murders+Among+Dead+Trees+1121-1~ Robert Chazz Chute is a crime novelist and suspense writer who has eight books for sale, one of which is free until Friday at midnight. Get a detailed rundown on the paranormal suspense and strange contemporary fiction in Murders Among Dead Trees here.

Or take a darn chance and download Murders Among Dead Trees free here. 

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

AB Challenge 25: The 10 Worst Book Acknowledgements. Ever.

Available soon on Amazon!

I’ve thanked the usual suspects for their contributions privately in emails and publicly on my acknowledgements and dedication pages for all my books. With that attitude of gratitude well established, I’m going to take some liberty with the Author Blog Challenge writing prompt to acknowledge (not thank) a few of the elements that have contributed to my books:

1. Thanks to the elite secret military organization in which I attained the rank of Commander at the age of six. I kept talking to myself in the mirror, and addressing myself as Commander, until my late 20s. Hey, I grew up in a small town. Whatever gets you through the tough times. More despair = more talking to myself.

2. Thanks to the bullies who fuelled my revenge fantasies. My work is full of a lot of revenge fantasy and you started me on the path. Sorry about those groin injuries, boys.

3. Thanks to my Hapkido instructor for showing me the ways of skilled violence. I know what chipped teeth, broken bones and a smashed nose feel like. My experience of combat is not theoretical.

4. Thanks to the small town in which I grew up. In my fiction, you are Poeticule Bay, Maine. You can sample my small-town claustrophobia in The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories, coming out this week on Amazon. The town almost becomes a character in the Poeticule Bay stories. A bad character.

Paranormal persuasion and scary stories.

5. To my third grade teacher. I murdered you in my mind a thousand times. After the first couple of hundred delightful excursions in blood and righteousness, I explored more clever and fantastic ways to achieve a satisfactory death for you. Now in my fiction, people sometimes die in unorthodox ways. In death, you contributed to literature in a lasting way that you never equalled in your role as a teacher.

6. Thanks to Anger. (You got me through when I had nothing else left but #7.)

7. Thanks to Sadness. When I told my mother I was depressed at age thirteen, she replied, “You are not!” (Loop back to #6.)

8. Thanks to Sex, Movies, Books and TV, which broke me out of that awful #6/#7 loop.

9. Thanks to Fear, you ugly son of a bitch. Go ahead. Keep chasing me. You are my motivation.

10. Thank you to all my enemies. I will crush you in everlasting literature. If I haven’t gotten around to you yet, wait. You are on The List. Buy my books and keep an eye out for clues.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Series is Born: Free ebook and Parting Shots, a new short story

Have you taken advantage of the COUPON CODE at my Goodreads blog yet? Get Asia Unbound for free! The coupon expires Jan 1.

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, but wait there’s more! The new short story, Parting Shots is what happens the morning after the events that occurred in Asia Unbound. The stories are complete and can stand alone, or read both to discover the weave. Parting Shots is available at my Smashwords page.

In Parting Shots, Marcus in the Morning gets into an argument about God and the nature of the universe,

proving that sometimes when you win, you lose.

Poeticule Bay, Maine is a mix of towns I grew up in on the east coast. Think Stephen King minus the fun clown in It and you have the flavor of my childhood. The small-town claustrophobia and dark family dynamics kept showing up in my fiction so much, I had to succumb to the call and admit escape, redemption, sacrifice and the twisted and twisty were recurring themes. There’s no sense fighting the muse. I look forward to writing many books that will take place in my favorite foggy inlet tucked away from the world. Even though it’s tucked away, Poeticule Bay is not immune from the world’s ills. Instead, its small size amplifies the darkness in a microcosm. Check out the books now and you’ll see the evolution behind the suspense series.

The Poeticule Bay stories evolved organically, so some characters recur across the Fictionscape. The novelette, The Dangerous Kind, all takes place in Poeticule Bay. Asia in Asia Unbound was born years ago in my imagination. However, an incarnation of that character, Legs Gabrielle, returns to Poeticule Bay to confront her past in Self-help for Stoners. If you’ve read the short story Context, at the end of Self-help for Stoners, you might have picked up on the clue that the alcoholic cop is Asia’s uncle in Asia Unbound. I’m working on a Poeticule Bay novel that brings back several characters from these stories: Sheriff Rose, Joey and Jason (from The Dangerous Kind). Legs Gabrielle from Self-help for Stoners is the main character in the novel. (More on that later.)

Please check out all the books through the Smashwords link above.

But Chazz! I only read paper books! Sure! Check out the Self-help for Stoners paperback here.

I hope you enjoy them all. Happy Boxing Week!

Filed under: All That Chazz, Books, ebooks, getting it done, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, , , , ,

My new short story: Asia Unbound

Hey guys! What do you think of this cover? Let me know. Thanks!

CLICK TO GET IT AT SMASHWORDS

In this suspenseful and disturbing short story, Asia is a Hollywood star who returns to her hometown for her uncle’s funeral. The paparazzi has followed her home and so has her high school boyfriend. Soon all her secrets will be exposed and she will have to find a way to escape. But no one escapes their own truth, no matter how shocking. (Only $1.99 on Smashwords.)

Filed under: What about Chazz?, , , ,

The Big Authors Begin To Bolt – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

A photo of author and political commentator An...

Image via Wikipedia

This will blow you away. $30,000 a year for a short story? And to think I have boxes of short stories around the house to hold the edges of carpets down.

The Big Authors Begin To Bolt – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.

Love the delicious little dig at publishing at the end of Sullivan’s article. Hm. I’ll have to read more from Sullivan on this topic to see precisely what he’s on about.

Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, DIY, ebooks, links, Media, publishing, Rant, writing tips, , , , ,

Writers: The short form is roaring back

Ernest Hemingway's Grave

Image by gharness via Flickr

I met The Fab Rebecca Senese (I think of her as TFRS at all times) at the Writers’ Union symposium. We went to Tims and went through that excited decompression phase. You know the one. It’s where you are packed with new information to mesh and meld with your old data and you talk fast to get it all out and solidify new, useful neuropathways.

She made an observation that really got my attention:

Amid the hubbub, TFRS said that e-books were a sure opportunity for the short form to make a strong comeback. Got a short flight or need a distraction over lunch? Read a short story or two. If you just want to gulp down a tale but don’t have time for a whole book, enjoy a novella after work.

Makes sense to me. I love short fiction. For instance, it’s a mystery to me why people say they love Ernest Hemingway‘s books, but I do like some of his short stories very much.

Short stories have been relegated to the back of the bus (read: unread literary journals.)

Until recently people have been buying books by weight, so publishers laughed at their puniness and demanded big doorstops they could sell. Length is an issue with paper, constrained as it is by the strictures of the printing press and bookstore manager’s expectations.

Novellas are ignored by many professional critics who often don’t take it seriously because they think the short punch packs less heft behind it. As if we all feel that way all the time.

A good short story takes talent to write and in some ways is a different skill set from the novel. (These critics must be those same twits who scoff at Twitter just because they can’t put together one clever coherent thought in less than 140 characters.)

Now with e-books, the answers to those objections are: Who needs publishers for that? What’s a professional critic and what is this “newspaper” thing you’re babbling about? And lit journals? What’s that? Is all this stuff available online?

Click this link to see  Rebecca Senese’s short fiction.

Please do take a look.

Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, Books, ebooks, self-publishing, short stories, Twitter, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things that Happen When You Win a Writing Contest

You get the letter or the phone call. You’ve won a short story contest!

What happens next?

1. Dance.

2. Call your spouse. “I knew you could!” they say. “This makes all those times I watched the kids while you wrote…almost worth it! Dinner’s on you tonight, Snoogums!” Get your freak on.

3. Call your non-literary friends. “Congratulations!” they say. Then, “I have to get back to work. I don’t hang around a home office, alone all day celebrating like some people I know.”

4. Call your literary friends. “Congratulations!” they say, through gritted teeth. Make encouraging sounds. Assure them they could have won in your place, but it’s a subjective business. (True, though you will never, can never, think of these small triumphs as mere luck. To continue as a writer, you must know you deserve it all. Otherwise you’ll come to your senses and start making money doing something more people value, like grouting.)

5. Call your parents. “Congratulations!” they say. “How much money did you win?” For most contests, when you buy the celebration dinner tonight, there goes at least half. (I won $1,000 for a short story once. I blew that on paying taxes. Whoo-hoo.)

6. Go out for a coffee. This is an obvious ploy to tell strangers. They don’t care. Tip the barista well.

7. Wait for the prize and or publication. The prize may come along quickly assuming it’s a legitimate contest. If publication is part of the prize, it will be a long wait.

8. Discover typos or tiny changes you’d love, nay, need to make to avoid immortalizing the coming ridicule. They won’t make the changes. The release you signed but did not read said so in a sub-paragraph. You’ll try to pester someone about it, but the happy people who called to say you won will now no longer return your calls. (This is also when you figure out you gave away more rights to the story than you would have if you weren’t so giddy when they called. Don’t blame yourself. When they called to inform, you were like the zittiest kid at junior prom asked to dance by the prettiest girl.)

9. Before you can tell them you’re pulling it, you shall receive rejections from other contests and magazines for the same story who apparently thought it sucked. (Don’t let the spark of your enthusiasm get drowned out.)

10. (a) Publication and then anonymity as history moves on.

(b) Publication on the net will result in comments (possibly even an awful blog post railing against you as happened after one of my tiny triumphs) from a bunch of bitter losers who can’t believe their genius went unrecognized. Oh, they’ll be mean. They’ll demand the judges quit and express disgust at your existence, you know-nothing poseur!

BONUS:

11. Reminisce about your past triumph, write something else, put something else in the mail and sublimate your rage with a passive-aggressive blog post.

Filed under: What about Chazz?, writing contests, writing tips, , , , ,

Writing Contest

Glimmer Train is accepting contest submissions.

It’s September, so it’s Fiction Open over at Glimmer Train. The reading fee is $18 US. First prize is $2,000. They’ll take short stories up to 20,000 words. Submitted for your consideration.

I just submitted a short story. It makes me feel good, the same way buying a lottery ticket gives you a tiny secret potential.

Filed under: writing contests, , , , ,

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.

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

Write to live

Publish, conquer your fears, inspire others

Build your brand 6 seconds at a time

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

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