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

The publishing revolution already happened.

I like you more when your dog dies: Niches, conversations, dead blogs and a contest.

We don’t sell anything unless we tell stories. To sell stories, we must have stories about our books.

Seth Godin’s blog and books sell because they’re short, pithy, smart and he owns his niche. To own a niche now, you’d do better define a new one. Don’t try to take Seth’s purple cow, tribe or incisive observations about case studies. (Note: “Case studies” is the more scientific word for “stories.”)

Define your own niche and you’ve got a better shot at selling more books.

For instance, my next book is about Romeo in a drug-infested, coming-of-age thriller in New York. Shakespeare plays a role in finding the modern Juliet. Coming-of-age and thriller aren’t normally such cozy neighbors. My last book was a zombie apocalypse with an autistic hero and Latin proverbs. Not a lot of competition in that end of the zombie market.

Season One of This Plague of Days is the siege.

Season One of This Plague of Days is the siege.

Familiarity is overdone. Differences define us in the market. (e.g. Bookstores are still crammed with Harry Potter knock-offs, but there’s only one JK Rowling.) Take something familiar and find a way to make it original again and you’ve got something.

Story is the most important thing. Story works.

Podcasts don’t sell unless they’re rich in content and tell stories. From business success to how-to and gee-whiz science, podcasts don’t work as sales engines unless they tell aspirational stories. From the startlingly different (Welcome to Night Vale) to personal confession (Marc Maron’s WTF) stories must be told and be relatable.

I’ve noticed more authors seem to be shifting their cyber-presence to Facebook and away from Twitter. They’re all Twittered out. Tweets are solid tools of discovery and live-tweeting makes the Oscars watchable, but Twitter tends to be less about story and connection. We need a little more space to achieve resonance.

Facebook offers more opportunity for personal connection. FB’s post length helps, but it’s also subtext. On Facebook, you have friends

Twitter is less friendly and more competitive. On Twitter, people have followers and people pay attention to numbers gained and lost. On Twitter you use ManageFlitter and WhoUnfollowedMe. On Facebook, if crazy Aunt Sadie unfriends you, you’re relieved you can swear again and her abandonment confirms your politics are sane.

Personal stories help us plug into each other’s pleasure centres.

The mind often fails to make distinctions among what’s real and illusory, cyber and real world. On Facebook, Story is the carrier wave of connection: “This is my child, my dog, my life!” we tell each other.

Since we don’t know what the hell we’re doing and we’re all scared, our connections reassure us. “Maybe I’ve screwed everything up, but at least I’m making the same mistakes as everyone else in our journey toward a better tomorrow.”

That’s why your photo catalogue of a glorious tropical vacation on Facebook doesn’t fit into the brain’s three-prong plug of connection. People love shared stories of failure, vulnerability and happiness, but only after that happiness is earned by failure and vulnerability. We root for the underdog and rags-to-riches stories, not Donald Trump. Your new car is nice for you, but I like you more when your dog dies. My dog died. Commonality is currency. Because I want to be loved, I love you when you’re suffering insomnia from worry, too. Misery doesn’t just love company. It insists on it.

Though we are each mysteries, we like to imagine we are each other.

Each of us is just as challenged and sad and lonely, but we hope to be rich some day, too. When the money and success roll in, we tend to forget all this stuff about connection. We blame the poor for their poverty, give luck no credit for our rise and trumpet all our hard work to the exclusion of any variable that does not bow to our big ol’ brains.

No wonder the rich and poor hate each other (except the poor want to join the resented rich, too.) Meanwhile, the rich would rip out their own throats with car keys from their repossessed Lexus if they had to get by on less than $100,000 a year.

Our class boundaries break connections. That’s why celebrities seem so otherworldly in person. They lost their shock collars and passed the invisible electric fence! They made it, so we can, too! Unless they’re the children of celebrities. Those lucky devils get a sneer and a Barry Bonds asterisk beside their fame.

Our stories about who we are become who we are.

That quest for privacy? Quaint. Adorable. Amish.

Jonathan Franzen worries about our attention spans, the death of literature and loss of privacy. He worries about the horrors of the Internet, just about every week it seems, in the Huffington Post. Horrors.

Blogs are dead sales platforms.

You have to have an author site, but you’ll get more juice from connecting on Facebook. Twitter will serve you better than a blog because it serves more people.

A blog is too much of a commitment for the reader. Too few blogs are “appointment reading”. A blog is a magazine at the doctor’s office. You only pick it up when there’s nothing else to do and you’d rather be doing something else.

I am subscribed to many blogs. They’re up there somewhere, forgotten in an RSS reader, added to a long reading list I will never get to. The blogs I actually read daily don’t have to be stuck in my bottomless bookmark bin. I go to them.

Blogs fail because signals go out but they don’t connect. Like this post, a bad blog post pontificates. I’m doing it now, connecting less, to fewer people. Still here? You’re already hoping the meta will stop and I’ll somehow pull out of the dive and land a punch and a point in the final sentence. How will I bring us home after such a depressing, meandering trip? I’ll show you. Indulge, a moment more, before the doctor calls you in to talk about those test results.

There are exceptional blogs, still breathing.

You can tell which blogs still have a heartbeat. They have a large and active comment community who aren’t just there to fight. (The Passive Voice is necessary to indie writers, for instance, as is David Gaughran’s blog.) Their lure is a story of aspirational subtext: Read this and you will succeed as we analyze the mistakes and triumphs of others.

And what are comments but the back from the forth? The best comments are more stories, resonating and rising up in conversation.

Commenting as a sales tool is less effective than it once was, back when people still asked, “What’s a blog?” Commenting doesn’t sell, though it can hurt you if you’re a dick. Some commenters never communicate human warmth. They think their intellect and snark will win people over and drag eyeballs back to their own dead blogs. They’re wrong. We only go back to their blogs to see if they’re rude to everyone (yes, always, yes) and make mental notes of what books not to buy.

Living sales platforms are conversations.

Facebook is a bigger sales engine at the moment, coming at you sideways, fun and friendly and under your defences.  We tell stories in conversation with friends. That’s where the connection lies, even if it’s a lie. We share our failures and hopes and dreams and we don’t look at our watch when we’re on Facebook. (That’s how the wasted hours slip away and books don’t get written, too.)

Facebook falls short in some ways, but that’s where I can talk with Hugh Howey or Chuck Wendig or Robert J. Sawyer. Facebook is alive with conversation. That’s the hot, three-pronged brain plug of connection we crave.

So who cares about this shit? Too long to read. Meet me on Facebook and maybe we’ll connect in a conversation. Blogs are dead. I killed it. Just now. I regret nothing.

Season 2 is the quest.

Season 2 is the quest.

~ There is a secret in This Plague of Days. You’ve already read it. No one has guessed it yet. If you suspect you know, DM me on Facebook or DM me on Twitter. Praise and adulation will be heaped upon those who guess correctly. First prize is a signed paperback. Three winners will appear in my next book. Adulation for all will happen on the All That Chazz podcast.

Filed under: author platform, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s ordeal: Insults aren’t a marketing strategy

I talked to a bad sad person today who tried to push me around and deceive.

After a little more research, I figured out he was trying to sell me more of his own services but he wasn’t up front about it. Devious! I responded with reluctance because I hate hard sells and I’m suspicious of verbal sleight of hand. Then he switched from persuasion to an attempt at bullying. Why does any marketer think mean works? I guess he knew he wasn’t getting a sale so he had to get the venom out of his system. (Note: He’s not alone in thinking bullying works in sales. I suppose there are some gym memberships that prove bullying does work, but I don’t recommend it.)

He tried to spin a few dollars into “consulting”, amping a cheap offer ($15) into (I’m guessing) one or two thousand dollars. That’s quite a stretch to the next sales level, isn’t it? If he was as savvy at marketing as he says he is, he’d recognize he’s fishing in the wrong pool. And he’s angry at the fish.

When he wasn’t clear on his offer, I tried to determine if he was willing to work within a budget (any budget!) He went from wheedling to puffery to obfuscation to contempt in four sentences. I figured out what he was up to. What it amounted to was, “That thing I tried to sell you for $15 that I said would be awesome? Tricked you! What I said would be awesome is worthless and sucks, but if you don’t buy the platinum package (which I won’t define) you’re an idiot…” Blah-de-blah. Nonsense and hurt feelings ensue.

So that was eight minutes and ten seconds from hell. Skype tells you exactly how long you’ve been in hell. Convenient. He told me I’d wasted 15 minute of his time. Odd, he wasn’t worried about wasting my time with deception and insults, but we’re all the centre of our own universes, aren’t we?

Here’s my Twitter stream (read from the bottom up) from today’s encounter with the outside world. This is why I hide in my writing cave and avoid human contact. It was a delightful reminder of what not to do. Okay, not so delightful, but instructive. Basically, desperate and mean doesn’t work.

Does this seem mean? I don’t think so. If I were mean, I’d tell you his name. Instead, I’ll say, caveat emptor and hang up faster than I did.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 4.47.17 PM

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 4.45.36 PM

Start here and read up for the details of how not to market.

On the other hand, it was fun getting a phone call through to SPP!

Click here to see how I'm recruiting allies in the struggle to get visible (without dealing with Mr. Nasty Meany Big Time).

Click here to see how I’m recruiting allies in the struggle to get visible (without dealing with Mr. Nasty Meany Big Time).

~ For the record, I didn’t hang up on him because my mama raised someone who’s hopelessly polite. I also believe it’s important to give nasty people enough rope to hang themselves so I can spin the ordeal into a post on my blog. At least I get something out of it that way. Click either of the images above and you’ll see my latest marketing attempt for This Plague of Days. It’s the opposite of what was tried on me today. My approach is to go for win-win instead of deceive-insult. If my approach doesn’t work, I guess I could move to New York and give berating potential customers a try. Okay, now I’m officially letting this go. Have a peaceful day.

Filed under: book marketing, , , , , , , , , , ,

Stuff not to say on your blog

I’m all for free speech. I want to start this post by being very clear about that. I’ve actually paid dearly for my belief in free speech (as in losing a job and a career.) What follows isn’t about censoring anyone. It’s about what’s best for a happier reader experience. In the spirit of honesty — without being brutal about it — here are things make me run from your blog:

1. Please don’t start a post by apologizing that you haven’t posted in a while. Everybody says sorry when there’s a lull, but few readers would notice if you don’t tell us. I see it with podcasts all the time, too. When I see that apology as the lead paragraph, I don’t expect awesomeness to follow and I move on quickly. Maybe you feel bad for letting us down, but it’s blogging, not a kidney donated too late. Ease up on the throat clearing and tell us the crux of your post up front. Have something to say.

2. Unless a hurricane has taken your house away or you’re facing extreme weather bravely (or even in a cowardly manner), your blog isn’t the place to talk about the weather. That’s what Twitter and Facebook are for. (Facebook is for people who at least sort of know you and it’s the place to be funny/political/share grumpy cat pics; Twitter is for strangers you hope to make into friends; blogs are the place for us to be honest/helpful/funny/entertaining/whatever you’re into.) 

3. Don’t make your blog post so short that it feels like a cheat post (i.e. you posted just to post and put no thought or effort into it.)

4. Don’t make it as long as I did yesterday. Confession: I should have broken that post up into three days of blog posts. I was just so excited about my little epiphany, I blurted it all out at once, unable to contain myself, eager to help and share. That was a mistake, but if you managed to get to the end of it, you’re probably pretty happy you snuggled into your blankie with provisions for the endurance read. Sorry about that. I messed up.

5. Snark can be funny, but a steady diet is wearing. Mean can be funny as long as it’s deserved and you’re punching up, not down. However, a blogger of my acquaintance recently went on at too much length about how she’d been wronged. She had a point, but by the time she finished dissecting the person who wronged her, I almost felt worse for the offender than the pedantic victim. Keep it on track and if you feel you have to slag someone in public, be concise. (Better, keep it between you two and try to find a way to work it out privately without embarrassing anyone.)

I’m not big on rules. Break these rules if you want. It’s doubtful, but maybe you can be the first to actually make the admission that you haven’t blogged in a while entertaining. Call these warnings or guidelines. There’s probably lots more neither of us should ever say, but it’s a free country and a free Internet. That’s the beauty of it. It’s the Old West and there ain’t no sheriff to poop on our free expression parade. Usually when things go awry it’s because we somehow managed to poop on ourselves.

Aspire to Inspire eBook JPG~ Robert Chazz Chute writes books. The first few minutes of each writing session are stressful. Then the wings spread.

Learn more about Chazz’s books and the All That Chazz podcast at AllThatChazz.com.

 

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Marketing: World Literary Cafe Tweet Teams and how to tweet more effectively

More tips and tricks to steer your authorship. This book is free to you until Saturday! Please click to get it now.

More tips and tricks to steer your authorship. This book is free to you until Saturday! Please click to get it now.

 You can now vote for the funniest and bestest entry in the Seven Words or Less Contest to determine who gets their name in my next thriller, Hollywood Jesus. Just take a look at the comment thread here and email your vote for the best entry to expartepress AT gmail DOT com. Enjoy!

Do you use World Literary Cafe Tweet Teams? It’s a free promotional tool for authors and, with Christmas approaching, I see a lot of new faces over there today. To use the tool, go to the Tweet Teams menu at World Literary Cafe. Each team has ten members, so you’ll tweet nine others through the day and they’ll tweet you in return. Here’s how it works to spread your word:

1. You will input two Twitter-friendly messages, so make sure you stay under 140 characters. (When people don’t, it’s annoying and I feel bad editing the author’s tweet to make it fit.)

2. Your message must begin with RT @yourtwittername and end with #WLCAuthor

3. Tweet all your team members the same day. Use TweetDeck or some other tweet scheduling program so you don’t beat your Twitter following over the head too hard.

4. You must also tweet the WLC daily tweets as a payment and courtesy to the folks at WLC. They provide and maintain this service free, so do that. They do a lot for authors at World Literary Cafe, so check out all their services. They’re useful for lots more besides Tweet Teams.

5. Please read and reread the instructions carefully to make sure you’re compliant with the rules. Daily tweets are randomly audited to make sure everybody plays fair.

Those are the basics, but I’d like to add something more: Add something more to your tweets besides, “Here’s my book + Amazon link.” I understand doing it that way. I’m not saying don’t. I’m saying do something more and different. If that’s all you tweet, it’s not seductive. I see some curmudgeons handwring over how much Christmas book spam clots our Twitter feeds. As I’ve said before, I’m not some tweet narc telling you what to do. However, there’s stuff you can do to tweet more effectively. For instance: 

People like gifts. Do a giveaway so you’re giving them a sample of what you’re about:

RT @rchazzchute FREEBIE! Write Your Book: Aspire to Inspire Jedi mind tricks to get it all done + much more http://amzn.to/TuXSxB #WLCAuthor 

RT @rchazzchute Free to download Write Your Book Top 10s so writers become authors, #promotip tools http://amzn.to/TuXSxB #WLCAuthor #inspire

RT @rchazzchute #GIVEAWAY Write Your Book: Aspire to Inspire For anyone who wants to #publish http://amzn.to/TuXSxB #WLCAuthor #Amazon #free

Instead of just tweeting “Orangeberry Book Tour”, make it funny or informative: 

RT @rchazzchute Author interview for the #crime thriller Higher Than Jesus  at http://www.ravinaandreakurian.com #WLCAuthor #hardboiled #sex & #violence

 Or send them to a useful link on your blog or a podcast:

 RT @rchazzchute #PODCAST The Death by Ewok Edition #Unicycling is cool http://bit.ly/UQOLYK #WLCAuthor + free book @ #writing & #publishing

 RT @rchazzchute Marketing Your Book: #11 is really harsh. Sorry. http://bit.ly/X2QAzw #WLCAuthor plus a #free book @ #writing & #publishing

Sure, it powers your tweet if you’ve got a podcast or your free Amazon days are on, but you’ve got a blog so bring them back there a bit  instead of just shooting out the sales link without context. Give people a chance to fall in love with you a little. If they like your tone, your information, book covers or even your amazing eyebrows in your author photo, that’s a better shot at a sale.

Some of those curmudgeons I mentioned don’t like quotes from books showing up in tweets. So what? I love quotes. If you love it (and have compelling quotes that nab eyeballs, hearts and minds) then go ahead and do that. And if you don’t love it, don’t do it and unsubscribe. This is the Internet. There aren’t many rules, only guidelines. That’s why I love the Internet. 

Think about what works on you. What compels you to click a link? Then do that.

How about it? Really. What does make you click a link? Does it all come down to the title of the book, area of interest or mentions of sloth genitalia? Today I mentioned that the book that I’m giving away cures bad breath, pigeon toes and athlete’s genitalia. That worked.

"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 the author of books about writing and publishing, the Hit Man Series, suspense and very quirky self-help. Write Your Book: Aspire to Inspire is free until Saturday. Since you’ve endured reading all the way down here, you’ll no doubt grok it. Grab the giveaway here and if you love it, please review it. Cheers!

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

#Promotip: Use Rafflecopter to Manage Promotional Giveaways

Click here to grab Jo’s book on Amazon

My guest blogger today is author Jo Michaels. She knows all about using Rafflecopter, a free and powerful promotional tool you need to know about, too. Here’s her experience: 

I love Rafflecopter. It’s one of the easiest tools I’ve found to gain followers and provide quality contests for my fans. Besides, the icon is adorable. Rafflecopter keeps track of entries and creates a list you can export right to excel and even randomly chooses your winners for you amongst the entrants.

It’s a great tool for building an e-mail list (if that’s your goal) or getting followers on a multitude of platforms. As an added bonus, Rafflecopter allows you to choose other activities people can do like: tweet about the contest, post a comment or have a free entry just because you happen to be feeling all-powerful during creation.

When you log in, you’re guided down a golden path that’s as easy to follow as putting one foot in front of the other. It holds your hand and lets you take baby steps when setting up your contest. It’s an easy copy/paste to share the links with the featured/participating authors as well. Rafflecopter even embeds the contest to a FaceBook page from their website rafflecopter.com with a click of your mouse.

When I used Rafflecopter for a giveaway I did recently, I garnered over 100 entries. I gained twenty FaceBook page likes and ten new Twitter followers. It was a giveaway of an ARC of Lily (releases 10/30) and two copies of Bronya (free on Amazon from 10/27-10/31), the first two books in my Mystic series, and it ran for five days. The first winner was a new follower and the second was an established fan.

I’d have to say Rafflecopter has helped me gain new fans and provide rewards to current ones. I highly recommend using it to manage your giveaway.

Author bio: Jo Michaels writes full-time in her garage while imbibing copious amounts of coffee. Her inspiration comes from relationships, life, friends, passion and her incredible imagination. Jo uses her artistic talents and training to create stunning covers. The fight for achieving her dream drags her out of bed every morning to do what she does best: spin tales laced with high-octane emotion for readers worldwide. Jo has written six books, all self-published. Check out her website, blog and find her on Facebook at facebook.com/writejomichaels and Twitter, @WriteJoMichaels.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , ,

Book sales on Twitter: One click doesn’t work

I’ve changed the way I use Twitter. I’m not about making rules for how people use social media. Twitter Narcs are

English: A pie chart created in Excel 2007 sho...

English: A pie chart created in Excel 2007 showing the content of tweets on Twitter, based on the data gathered by Pear Analytics in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

annoying. However, by the end of this post, I hope you’ll vary the way you try to sell your books. We’re drowning in the sameness of “Buy my books!” We have to sex up our tweeting.

Most book sales tweets have a crippling weakness that’s hurting sales. Twitter is so awesome everyone is using it to sell books in the same way. That makes it anti-awesome for your book sales. Using a one-click approach, sending me straight to Amazon without providing enough information or value, is not working. 

What doesn’t work well:

Title of book. Go buy it. Here’s the link.

What’s only microscopically better:

Title of book. Review: “Scintillating!” Here’s the link.

The problem:

Too many tweets are trying to make sales by just telling us to buy.

We’re so flooded with ugly tweets, it’s too easy to ignore them all.

What I’m suggesting:

Be more clever and change up the ask. Sure, promote however you want, but give me more to go on than generic messages like: “Great book!” “New post!” “Another new post!”

We need more showing, not telling, in those 140 characters. Give me a clue or hashtag the genre. I want to like you, but dress up a little and show me you care about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us.

Best:

Please pull me back to your blog and seduce me.

I’ll buy, but I need more to go on to make that first click toward falling in love with you.

On World Literary Cafe Tweet Teams this week, I didn’t try to send people straight to Amazon. I provided links to my blog posts, a cool graphic, and my podcast (where I’m giving Bigger Than Jesus away for free one chapter at a time). There’s added value to my audience that way.

Examples:

RT RChazzChute Hear the #thriller Bigger Than Jesus as a #podcast. http://bit.ly/TkBSGs #WLCAuthor (Or buy the book http://amzn.to/Nm6xj4)

RT @rchazzchute It’s a meme, baby! Self-help for Stoners #excerpt & #inspiration http://bit.ly/NNhBDI #suspense #fiction #WLCAuthor   

RT @rchazzchute Hear all the suspenseful #fiction & #comedy #podcasts http://bit.ly/OBRMeT #WLCAuthor #whatwaitsinlocker408

RT @rchazzchute #Thought for the Day: #Creation. http://bit.ly/TUTtVX and The Value of #Writing & #Reading http://bit.ly/Pd1JfN #WLCAuthor

RT @rchazzchute Just working on the next instalment in The Hit Man Series. (Excerpt of the hook to Chap.6) http://bit.ly/SPU7on #WLCAuthor

RT @rchazzchute Did Han shoot first? Catch 2 chapters of Bigger Than Jesus for the explanation. http://bit.ly/S8JgDm #suspense #WLCAuthor

RT @RChazzChute WIP Sneak peek! 1st there was Bigger Than Jesus. Next comes Higher Than Jesus. http://bit.ly/S5dHGT #crime #novel #WLCAuthor

RT @rchazzchute Quote Trailers http://bit.ly/OF1YPp & Quote Art http://bit.ly/NlwJM1 promote your books. #WLCAuthor 

More content and seduction is why Triberr works:

On Triberr, everyone on your tribe retweets your blog post summary (assuming they’ve read your post and have no objections.) Information spreads. Something in the summary captures the tweetosphere’s interest so they come to your blog. They find you helpful, funny, sexy or useful. Do that enough and maybe they’ll get smitten, click on a book link to the “Buy with one click” button.

True, if you don’t send me straight to Amazon, it’s more than one click to buy. However, too many tweets that look the same get ignored because it’s an overload of data without enough information or value. Will there be exceptions? Sure. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with announcements of book launches. I’m what you call, “pro-reading.”

But, please, join me in the campaign against Bland. Bland is so Beige and, as we all know, Beige is the Mitt Romney of the colour spectrum. It seems to be everywhere, but no one’s excited about it.

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

VIDEO: Moso, the free Mac app for vlogging

Did I mention that this app is free, free, free?  Also, it’s free.

(There’s the power of the written word over video right there. I forgot to mention the app is free, but it was easy to add the detail of the price using this ancient keyboard thingy.)

More details: You don’t edit Moso, you just do retakes. It’s easy to upload to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, though. I’d say if there’s a social medium that’s underused for authors promoting their books, it must be YouTube. Moso will help you with that.

 Podcasts can be helpful, though access and difficulty of execution/time involved increases the variables in that argument. I don’t think Facebook is as effective for promotion as it could be. Twitter can be effective if used well (but that’s another post.)

Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, Books, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, , , , , , ,

Announcements and changes 1, 2, 3

First, author India (The Great) Drummond will be profiled right here in a few hours. She’s really nice, which I value immensely. And her book sounds interesting, so check her out and order some copies.

(Also, if you’re an author, you know I do author q&a profiles, right? Shoot me an email by clicking my happy pic above and we’ll chat about publicizing your book, too.)

Second, I have a big announcement coming this Friday. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know the broad strokes. If not, follow me on Twitter! Also, here’s a hint: I found a publisher for my novel. More to come on that but it’s all very exciting. Well, especially to me. Lots of new news unfolding over the coming year on the publishing front. You’re used to lots of links, opinion and non-fiction in this space. My fiction will be coming to the forefront in a big way soon(ish).

Third,  I’m changing the schedule of the blog starting next week. You’ll recall I switched to three posts a week (unless I saw something that caught my fancy and couldn’t wait.)

I’m still in the publishing/information/curation business here

and will continue to be.

However, I notice that my Friday post stats take a dip so next week I’ll be posting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Apparently on Friday afternoons, y’all just want to get the hell away from your desks and out into the sunshine! I don’t blame you. Might add or switch in a Sunday post in the future depending on how the stats work. I’m watching how I hit you for optimum impact with minimum annoyance on your part.

The blog is growing faster now that I only post three times a week! What does that say about me? Either a little of me goes a long way or girls just hate it when you look desperate.

Have a great night! Or make it one.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, publishing, Useful writing links, Writers, , , , , , , ,

Writers: What I learned from Kevin Smith about AUDIENCE (they don’t own you)

Follow me on Twitter logo

@RChazzChute

The other day I was feeling feisty and I said something about DIY on Twitter (full of bravado):

Burned bridges with a blog I wrote tonight. Fuck the bridge. I’ll swim. Go indie. Live free or die hard.

Someone shot back with a sarcastic:

Proudly alienate those who are not your fans. Awesome.

Well…yeah. People who don’t get me are not my fans. Why should I chase people who don’t like me for me? I have a particular voice and point of view, in my fiction and non-fiction and my blog, that will appeal to you or it won’t. If it doesn’t, no hard feelings and I hope you find something you do enjoy. However, when I dilute my voice, I lose the little tribe I have and any hope of real fans in the future. I’ve heard the quote attributed to a couple of celebrities, but basically it goes like this:

I don’t know what the secret to success is,

but to guarantee failure, try to please everyone.

Which brings us to my personal icon for all things indie, director Kevin Smith. For years, he argued with people who didn’t love him. If you look at his old tweets, he had a serious anger (and sometimes still does) for media, critics and haters. He would do battle with them and, despite all his success and wealth, would still end up arguing with some loser living in his parents’ basement. People who complained about what he did in his career—sometimes about everything he attempted—really bothered him. (Think on that a second: Some people wouldn’t even give him credit for getting something right once in a while even by accident!) Mr. Smith engaged in flame wars while his lovely wife looked on perplexed saying, “You have a wonderful life and live in a mansion! Why do you care?”

Mr. Smith is more relaxed now. Part of his new attitude is the prodigious amount of weed he smokes, but it’s not just that. He’s been successful for so long that he recognizes the pattern: People who are haters don’t do much else. People who don’t write will tell you how to write. People who can’t do, don’t teach. They snipe and snark.

You don’t find your audience so much as your audience finds you. As you try to build your platform and reach out to express your art, you’re going to dredge up some people who are pissed you aren’t what they’re looking for. We don’t do this with things other than art. You don’t go to the pharmacy and get pissed off because they don’t have coconuts in stock. You go to the grocery store for coconuts instead.

Do what you do. Write what you write. Define your voice through your expression and remember that it is your voice. I think harsh critics think they own your art (even if they haven’t paid a dime for it) because, unlike those coconuts, they take what you write into themselves. That doesn’t mean they own it, though. And they certainly don’t own you. They can react to it. They can criticize it. They can argue with it. They can move on (which makes the most sense.)

People who do nothing but hate think hate is art.

They’re wrong.

Art is a creative force, not a destructive one.

What does matter is your core audience. Now if you write and write and produce and put your stuff out there and very few people are feeling any love for it, that’s a different problem. However, if your core audience can be built big enough, that’s all you need. You don’t have to go chasing after the people who are running away from you. No one gets universal acceptance. Don’t even try for it. Expect obstacles and naysayers and pay little or no attention to them if you can. For everything you love, for everything you think is the best, there are millions of people who sneer and call it shit.

Check the comments on any book you love on Amazon.com. See all those nasty reviews? Now, do you really love that book any less because some guy  you don’t know thinks it’s the worst thing on earth since the rise of Hitler and Pottery Barn?

Great people make you feel like you can be great, too.

Haters don’t do that. They don’t even know how to do that.

Now is the time for all good indies to stand up. You now have the technology in your hands to let your unique voice be heard. You can be read when, just a short time ago, gatekeepers could hold you back. There are no gatekeepers anymore. You don’t have to approach publishing or film or any other art as if you’re going to The Man for a job! You can employ yourself and deploy yourself. You can Crowd Source your financing or  convince a fan of your blogged fiction to spend a few bucks for an e-book that costs nothing to distribute. You can grow your fan base without old media’s distribution system and middle man percentages. You can be the boss if you want to be. Your art doesn’t have to wait and you don’t have to ask permission. Make your art and see who shows up. Whoever shows up and stays is your audience.

Remember Chili Palmer in Get Shorty? Some guy tells him how easy it is to write a screenplay. “We can do this…we can do that…” Chili lights a smoke and says, “It’s really that easy? Then I got one question. What do I need you for?”

Here’s today’s message for you if you’re my core audience:

Not sure how to proceed? Resolve to ask questions, learn and try.

When you mess up, resolve to begin again.

If you’re new here and like it, welcome. I’m Chazz.

If you don’t like it, via con dios, friend. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

If you don’t like it and you choose to stay, well, that’s your own damn fault

because you’re looking for coconuts at the drugstore, you idiot!

Oh, and the person who felt alienated by my Twitter post? I saved her some trouble. I agreed with her.

Then, in honor of Kevin Smith’s fine example, I didn’t just block that bitch. I KA-blocked her.

Filed under: publishing, self-publishing, Twitter, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WordPress people: Textbook, Tips and tutorial links

Let me be clear: I do love WordPress. However, WordPress can be a bit baffling at first. Even regular users may not be familiar with all WordPress can do. I have two recommendations to use this tool to the fullest. First, check out the WordPress 24-Hour Trainer by George Plumley. I met the author at a writers’ conference. He was a nice guy, who, incidentally, got the gig to write a WordPress manual when the publisher put a call out for an author through Twitter. (Some people say that sort of thing doesn’t happen. It does.)

Then there’s this very useful link:

50 WordPress People to Follow on Twitter for News, Tips and Tutorials

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Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, , , ,

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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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