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

Write and publish with love and fury.

Authors: Give success a try, but don’t let it spoil you.

I love talking to people on the way up. Striving for excellence, many authors manage to stay humble and helpful and fun to be around. Nobody knows everything yet and, contrary to what you’ve been told, not walking around in God’s presence is easy on the nerves. Then there are those who think they are gods on Earth.

1. My son was sick on the day a popular author came to his school. The kid was disappointed that he was too ill to attend so, while on a Kleenex box run, I went to the school in search of an autograph for him. The author’s mood could best be described as pissy. He’d visited too many elementary schools and he obviously felt the event was beneath him. He had forgotten what it was like to aspire to his position.

Suggestion: Remember when you imagined one of the perks of authorship was signing a book and inspiring a young reader? If you’re not happy to be where you are, do what everyone in retail does: fake it and smile or don’t do it.

2. When an author is on the way up, he or she hasn’t lost the common touch. The struggles they face are challenges everyone can relate to. When those problems change, some superstars feel they are beyond your questions and bored of the answers. 

Suggestion: Condescension isn’t cool. Kindness is the heavyweight champ who beats the shit out of Condescension every time. If you can’t be nice, Shutting Up can win, too.

3. Some people make so many sales they assume everything they do is gold. (This malady often afflicts those who make too few sales, as well.) It may give solace to know that you don’t have to be a great writer to sell a lot of books. Some people are better marketers than they are writers. Depending on your sales dashboard, that fact may annoy you, too. 

Suggestion: Don’t break your arm slapping yourself on the back. Not in public. That sort of self-congratulatory bravado is only for the people who love you. Maybe not even then.

4. I know of an author who got into a business relationship where he’s the senior partner. He’s very public about this mentoring relationship. He never lets anyone forget he’s The Man making the genius moves. The way he talks about his junior partner humiliates her. Someday soon the student will tire of being treated like a dumb child and she shall slay her master. 

Suggestion: To the master? Continue being a self-aggrandizing dick. I don’t like you. To the underling? Use a sharp blade. When your moment comes, do not hesitate, young samurai. Soon you shall be ronin, free and making your own way.

5. “What if I were to try __________?” asked the young padawan.

“No,” the Jedi said. “That strategy is not for you. It is beyond you. I’m doing that this year, but don’t you try it.”

As the young padawan walked away, head down and embarrassed, he had to wonder if the Jedi was just trying to cut down on the competition.

Suggestion: Successful people inspire others. Discouraging others detracts from success. People remember how you made them feel. Keep reminding everyone how important you are and eventually there won’t be enough sycophants left to buy you that yacht you bragged about.

Many successful people manage to speak of their achievements with grace. 

Look to those who credit luck as well as strategy. I really like people who talk with me. I avoid people who speak down to me. When I feel the need to punch, I always punch up, not down.

The good news is, though it sucks to be a failure, we can always choose to be good people. The bad news is that you may succeed and become a bad person. Beware.

And, please, aspire to inspire.

Filed under: authors, book signings, Books, robert chazz chute, Writers

Just a quick heads up: Hugh Howey Interview

I’m interviewing author Hugh Howey today. This will be for the Cool People Podcast and will air on Monday.

If you have any questions you’d like answered from the super successful author of Wool, please leave them in the comments.

The Cool People Podcast is an organic conversation so I can’t promise I’ll get to your questions. However, I will try.

I’m really looking forward to speaking with him.

 

Filed under: Author profiles, authors, Books, , , , , , , ,

Why your interviews don’t work and how to fix the problem

See on Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

A fun yet uncomfortable author interview: The Questions with Robert Chazz Chute: Writer on dSavannah Rambles

Robert Chazz Chute‘s insight:

Most author interviews don’t get read. If they are read, they are lightly scanned. Too often, the same questions are asked and worse, the same answers squeak out to an audience that does not care. There are people who care about where you get your ideas or how you started writing. Those people are your mom (maybe) and the fans who are already into your books. No conversions for you!

Regular Interviews Don’t Create New Readers

Regular interviews bore old readers. They convert no one. Some author interviews make me wish they’d preserved the mystery and shut up. Mostly, I just delete, ignore and move on to see if the Internet has any playful cat videos (like you). Author interviews as they are generally practiced are lousy promotional tools. If you’re going to bother with an arduoous guest blog tour for your book, break the old paradigm.

The Solution is Umbilical Lint

Writers should avoid cliches, so enough about (slurp) how much coffee we drink. Tell us about the Hunter S Thompson acid trip you took in Juarez at spring break. Tell us about your hilarious colonoscopy (I did on the All That Chazz podcast). Share news. News is new. Be entertaining and don’t go for the standard questions and useless answers.

This week, in my post “Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada” we got a lot of hits, retweets and comments. People had a good time with Armand’s fun answers to my silly questions about his secret life as a belly button lint sculptor. We made people laugh and intrigued them. Getting read, whether it’s in your books or for your book tour, starts with getting people interested. Don’t lead with “How long have you been writing?” Who cares? Those sorts of questions are for authors who are already on the NYT bestseller list. (And even them, yech.)

Don’t be Afraid to be Bizarre…or Honest

In my latest interview with dSavannah (at the link below) I give honest answers and some of them are funny but uncomfortable. Some answers involve time travel to save my childhood and career. I give an honest answer that involves my mother’s death. (I didn’t kill her. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Be honest, informative, helpful, make jokes and use more imagination. You do that when you’re writing your books. Do that when you talk about your work, too. Just don’t be so earnest! To sell art, be more artful.

If You Want Nice Fans with a Sense of Humor, Be One of Them

Another example? Listen in to my giggly interview with cool Jessica McHugh at CoolPeoplePodcast.com. You might hate me but you’ll fall in love with her and you’ll want to check out her books. Our books are extensions of our personalities. Have one. That gives a reader hope they’ll like your books.

Read Armand Rosmilia’s audacious Fatty Arbuckle reference in his post here. Armand looks like a death metal biker dude, acts like a teddy bear and is a fun guy. We got such great feedback on “Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada”, he told me that in his next interview he plans to bomb Alaska. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

Entertainment is the first step to engagement. Are you not entertained?

If not, the author interview failed.

See on dsavannah.com

Filed under: author platform, author Q&A, authors, My fiction, publishing, , , , , , ,

Set Your Internet to Ignore (Psst! The fun is in the parentheticals)

Comment threads and reviews are interesting windows to the human heart. Well, maybe not always the heart. Sometimes the comments come straight from the toe jam.

If you want to be disillusioned with the future of the human race, read YouTube comments. You won’t have to read much before you actually welcome the massive meteor that will destroy Earth this Friday afternoon around 2 pm EST. (Wear a sweater.)

Recently some fool seemed said anyone who criticized a single Amazon policy was against capitalism. No point worrying about people who conflate one thing with a different thing. (“Brainless communists are behind every rock and tree!” is so ’50s.)

In another thread that was very anti-indie, a snarky commenter replied to an indie’s post by correcting a minor typo. The indie made great points about the industry, but the message from the traditional author was clear: A single typo invalidates your argument. (I almost commented, “Bitch move, traddy.”)

But then it occurred to me, I am not a lone genius. If I see it, everyone sees it.

When you read an illiterate one-star review or when someone slips into a screed about  unrelated topics, everyone sees it for what it is. That’s a good feeling isn’t it? I’m even starting to regret that meteor strike burning up all the planet’s oxygen before the next Game of Thrones. (Perhaps I should cancel the order. Hm.)

This week a person of my acquaintance was criticized because, at the end of his post…wait for it…he dared to point out that he sold stuff for a living. As if that’s a bad thing. (Wait! Maybe Communism is coming back, after all.)

Stop worrying

These comments don’t hurt you as an author or blogger. They hurt the snarker. I’ve gone out of my way to block people who are mean to others. I report abusive reviews that libel the author instead of talk about the book. I know who’s naughty and nice. If the offenders are authors, they are banished and I never buy their books. I’ve gone out of my way to purchase books because of egregious reviews.

 

Here’s the math:

Idiot reviewer hates book + nastiness + condescension (+ possible libel) – a kind thought =  it’s probably not a book nasty, condescending idiots enjoy < I’d like to think I’m not an idiot, therefore, I give that book a try. (Was that condescending?)

Don’t act like a knob

No, you don’t have to be sunshine and sweet cakes all the time, but if you’re going to be mean, you better be twice as smart and savvy with facts. (For instance, Scalzi, Konrath and Wendig can be cutting, but they’re always smarter than they are savage.)

Act like a knob and you’ll be treated like a knob should be treated:

I won’t give you more thought.

I won’t think you’re clever.

I’ll set the Internet to Ignore.

~ I am Robert Chazz Chute and I sell stuff. 

Filed under: author platform, authors, book reviews, ebooks, publishing, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The mistake I made with my book cover (and how I fixed it)

Here's the new cover design for my novella. The graphic designer is Kit Foster of kitfosterdesign.com. IF YOU CAN'T SEE THIS IMAGE IN YOUR BROWSER, you can get the new cover image here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/83426

The Dangerous Kind is a top-notch, heart-wrenching novella of suspense (and I don’t just say so myself). Happy with the guts of the story, I put a bad cover on a good book. My reasoning at the time was that I didn’t want to spend money on any book that wasn’t a full-length work. I priced The Dangerous Kind at just 99 cents to introduce my flavor  to new readers. I did not consider that you can’t sell a gorgeous mansion if the front of the house looks condemned.

I created the first cover for my novella using picnik and morguefiles.com. I’m actually happy with some of the short story ebook covers I created, but with The Dangerous Kind? I made a mistake. The original cover makes sense to readers only after they’ve read the story. If I were a freakish hybrid with Bones McCoy after an unfortunate transporter accident, I might say, “Dammit, Jim! I’m a writer, not a graphic designer!” I should have asked for professional help instead of trying to do it on the cheap. I can recognize a good cover, but there’s a big gap between flying the plane and riding in back.

I was shortsighted. Once an ebook is for sale, you get to sell it forever. Why not make the best first impression you can? It will make a better return with a pretty face and you have forever to make back the investment. That’s what a good cover is: an investment, not a cost. My graphic designer is Kit Foster of kitfosterdesign.com (great guy!) so the cost was reasonable, too.

The other good move I made (finally!) was to ask for a cover endorsement from a fellow suspense novelist. I got one from a bestselling author: Jeff Bennington, author of Twisted Vengeance (and more). Jeff read The Dangerous Kind and gave me some nice quotes for the cover. Cover endorsements give readers courage to make that first click to buy our work and get sucked into our worlds.

Thanks Kit and Jeff. I may find new mistakes to make, but I don’t think I’ll be repeating this one moving forward.

Filed under: All That Chazz, authors, Books, ebooks, Publicity & Promotion, self-publishing, writing tips, , , , , , , , ,

VIDEO: Some Quotes from Self-help for Stoners

More quotes from Self-help for Stoners at Quotations Diary.

Or just jump to Smashwords, Amazon.com or find Robert Chazz Chute wherever the cool ebooks hang out.

If you love paperbacks and only read in paperback and hate ebooks with the burning passion of 1,000 suns, then this is just for you, my Amish friend!

Please and thank you!

Filed under: All That Chazz, authors, DIY, ebooks, publishing, What about Chazz?, , , , ,

Between Fact and Fiction: 10 Things I Wish I Would Have Done Differently

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

(Natalie Whipple of Between Fact & Fiction details 10 things she wishes she had done differently on her publishing journey. Good tips here and a good blog. Check it out. ~ Chazz)
Via betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com

Filed under: authors, publishing, Useful writing links, writing tips, , , , , , ,

Russell Blake’s KDP Select Experiment. Is KDP for you?

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

(On the downside, I’m late to the party on finding Russell Blake’s blog. On the upside, I have a new boyfri…er…brother in arms. Click the link below for an excellent and evenhanded analysis/update on the KDP Select phenomenon. I’ll continue to follow Mr. Blake’s blog posts with interest. Bookmark it! ~ Chazz)
Via russellblake.com

Filed under: authors, ebooks, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Useful writing links, , , , , ,

Met Kevin Smith at Live From Behind in Toronto! He and Jay have my book!

Kevin Smith

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I shook hands and had a chat with Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob for those not in the cult). Each now have a signed copy of my book, Self-help for Stoners. They couldn’t have been more gracious, interested, warm or friendly. It was a big moment for me, especially when Kevin recognized the book and said, “Hey! I know you!”

Each got a personalized recommendation for stories they might particularly like from Self-help and it was a genuine pleasure all around. We laughed a lot. As always, of course, Kevin spoke inspired and inspiring words about writing and the creative process.

I’m a bit emotional today. It was a milestone in the evolution, not just of the book, but for me taking the leap to writing full-time. It was just over a year ago that I decided I needed to “stop chasing the puck” and quit my job of twenty years. Things went full circle last night. And now? Onward. Three novels are coming out this year with my name on them. Hoo-ha!

I must make this writing thing work.

Bonus? As I walked up onstage, Jay sang Paperback Writer. Yes!

Filed under: All That Chazz, authors, Books, ebooks, My fiction, What about Chazz?, What about you?, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , ,

Alan Moore’s advice to unpublished authors

Filed under: author Q&A, authors, publishing, Writers, writing tips, , ,

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.

I interview the people you need to get to know.

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