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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

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

Solopreneur Writers: 10 Nitty Gritty Pickies

Thousands of little details afflict us as artisanal publisher-authorpreneurial Han Solo writer-heroes. A couple of authors publishing books for the first time have asked me about nitty-gritty details to watch for. Here are ten that came up in our discussions of new book launches.

1. When you set your price on Amazon, the calculator will automatically set comparable prices in other countries. Set it lower for India. The “comparable” price would actually buy three books in India (and so, is too expensive.)

2. If you have a list of book bloggers to whom you wish to send Advanced Reading Copies, check their guidelines carefully to see their preferred reading mode. PDFs are free to email but some people don’t want to sideload their e-reader or read on their computer.

The easiest solution is to gift the book to your list of reviewers, preferably during a pulse sale at 99 cents to minimize the cost of promotion. You get credit for the sales and potential reviewers are more likely to check it out with Amazon’s happy, one-click experience.

Smashwords has a solution that’s free: Promo codes. Send the code to potential reviewers so they can redeem it for a complimentary copy. Inexplicably, no other platform has stolen this idea yet. Still!

3. Services like Smashwords and Draft2Digital can upload to multiple platforms at once. However, there is often a delay if you want to change your prices across retailers. This makes a BookBub promotion, for instance, a logistical problem. And by “problem,” I mean a red-hot skewer in the gluteus maximus.

I’ve noticed the worst delays seem to happen between Smashwords and Apple. One of my books took more than six months to show up on Apple. Draft2Digital had problems with Kobo. Those issues are fixed now.

4. KDP Select’s five days of giving your book away for free isn’t the great tool it once was, though other platforms still seem at a loss as to how to promote effectively and boost discoverability. The commitment to exclusivity with KDP Select is five days out of ninety. 

If you are using free day promotions, I suggest you don’t promote for more than two days at a time. Better to stop while sales are still coming in and visibility is high rather than allow the sale to lose steam over an extended period.

Use Author Marketing Club to identify sites that will promote your promotions so you maximize promotion power.

5. Some intermediaries charge much more to upload your book to various platforms. Avoid them. More important than the fee they charge, you’ll sacrifice power over your book and flexibility to promote.

If you don’t have the technical skills to do it yourself, get someone else to help you for a fraction of the cost (and a one-time fee instead of bleeding cash on an ongoing basis.)

6. Box sets are the latest tool for discoverability. I’m involved in one now and, though we’re still at the very early stages, my visibility on Amazon has already gone up.

How it works is, several authors get together. After a cage match, the Alpha who has the most resources and the one they all trust, publishes a sampler. They might give away whole books. Everybody promotes the box set at 99 cents and bam, the tide raises all boats and more readers find you. 

Some people are sneering at box sets, but I think it’s because they misunderstand the intent. It’s not about making money, particularly. This is us playing the long game and working with allies to fire off flares. It’s about raising your rank, giving strangers a chance to fall in love with your work and selling your other books. (So write more books.)

7. Publishing is a business and, despite the fact that we’re all cybering and telecommuting from our worldwide basement headquarters, you’ll still have to run errands. The thing you track least for tax time is mileage. Keep a notebook in the car and track it. Canadians, use a pencil because you know that pen will freeze each winter (August to June).

It might not add up to much, but it’s a lot when you’re making nothing. You wouldn’t burn cash just for fun, would you? Then keep your receipts and track the little things. Claiming a home office may be all that justifies your new publishing venture to your accountant, and your spouse, for the first couple of years.

8. Word was built for office use. Scrivener was built for writers. The program allows you to bounce around your manuscript with ease and format for publication. Get Scrivener. If you’ve already written your text in Word, importing to Scrivener is not a big deal. Yes, there is a learning curve, but it’s worth it.

9. Before you publish and make all the other edits you’re going to make, search the text for two spaces. Those extra spaces sneak in if you don’t scrub them out.

10. Yes, you need an author website, but a simple WordPress site (preferably with your own name) will do. Eventually, with more books under your belt and future changes in the publishing landscape, you may choose to sell books straight from your site. It’s a cool idea that doesn’t really have elegant delivery solutions for the reader (yet).

You can switch your author site to a more complex configuration later, if need be. Don’t worry about that for now. Now is the time to build a base of readers. You could sell straight from your website, but most authors would prefer not to sacrifice their visibility and reviews across the current sales platforms. 

~ There are many more details to attend to, but that’s a start. Hi, by the way. I’m Robert Chazz Chute. Good to meet you. Find me on Twitter @rchazzchute. Connect with me on Facebook here.

Filed under: author platform, DIY, publishing, self-publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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?, , , , ,

Slush Pile Snark

I came across another one of those lists that tell you about common errors that lead editors and publishers to reject manuscripts. But this post isn’t about those lists. This post


manuscript (Photo credit: El Chupacabrito)

isn’t about manuscript tips. It’s about snark. Have you noticed these lists about what you shouldn’t do are sometimes devoid of gentle correction, kind suggestions and sweet-natured guidance? Sometimes some editors and agents strike a certain tone that suggests that somebody needs a vacation from reading the slush pile.

No wonder agents and publishers have such a hard time finding good manuscripts if they’re too eager to put manuscripts down. When I worked at Harlequin evaluating manuscripts, I had to read the whole book, write a summary and a full report. I wasn’t allowed to reject manuscripts with any of the caprice I was tempted to wield. But I was never snarky about it. Being impolite to the group that supplies the crux of the cash flow would have been considered unprofessional. As agents become ever more irrelevant, are some (I emphasize some!) agents becoming more cynical and even more rude? As Shrek said to Donkey, “You’re goin’ the right way for a smart bottom!”

Sometimes unsolicited submissions were irritating, but I never whipped myself into a froth and climbed up into active dislike of writers. Read some agent blogs and you’ll find a few who have become cynical, hate their jobs and seem to hate you. Reading manuscripts takes time and some agents have decided to blame you because bad manuscripts are a part of their job that sucks. As if we all don’t have something about our jobs we like least. For instance, it’s tax season and any day now my accountant will ask if I have readied a pile of paperwork I haven’t even begun to think about and I will threaten to claw out my eyes if she doesn’t leave me alone until I call her instead of the other way around.

Of course, times have changed in publishing. No editor is interested in developing your manuscript (as happened with Stephen King to some extent and to Harper Lee to a huge extent.) Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met nice people in publishing. Nice is the norm. Smart is the norm. It’s just that the nasty ones are so much louder and more memorable.

Filed under: agents, DIY, Editors, manuscript evaluation, publishing, self-publishing, Writers, writing tips, , ,

Etiquette to forget: Podcast, blog and be bold

Grab the newest podcast here! Also? I’m much nicer than I look.

I am very active in social media with the aim of boosting ebook sales, yours and mine. One of the ways I reach out to new readers is my weekly comedy/narrative podcast, Self-help for Stoners, named after one of my books in a desperate, craven marketing ploy (so, no, you don’t have to be a stoner to love it.) I’m upping the stakes and, as of tonight’s podcast (March 1) I’m making a bigger play for more new listeners and readers. Yes, I’ll risk being obnoxious here and there. More on that in a minute. First, a word about attitude and bravery.

We must have a distinctive voice in our blogging, marketing and podcasting. Recently, some bloggers said we should conduct ourselves so we don’t offend anyone. Act like we’re in church and stay relentlessly positive if you expect to sell any books. It’s kindly Sex, Death and Mind Controlmeant  advice, but I don’t believe it. Follow that formula and few people will follow you because you don’t have anything much to say. You won’t make a joke or a point. I say have an opinion and the courage of your convictions. That’s why tonight I turned my podcast upside down.

Your blog must inform or entertain (preferably both.) Don’t sweat someone disagreeing with you. What you really have to worry about is boring them.

I’m not out to make anyone angry about my podcast, though some people will be, especially with the podcast I’m releasing this evening. It’s become an experimental playground. In the past, I started out with reading excerpts from my fiction and doing little comedy bits. Then I slid sideways from reading fictive excerpts to straight narrative, totally improvised and often nakedly honest. I’ve talked about the friend I most admire, losing friends and misplacing friends.  I told a long story about embarrassing myself while mocking someone at Starbucks. I took two podcasts to detail my journey to meet celebrities Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. And tonight? As they used to say on Monty Python, “And now for something completely different…”

In tonight’s podcast (The Buckle Up & Brace Yourself Edition of Self-help for Stoners) I’m opening that envelope further. It took me about forty minutes to record it though after editing it came in at about half an hour. (A little punchier than my usual 40 minutes or so and I talk much faster with a lot more energy.) There was no script. I did not slow down to contemplate. It was a sprint in tiny surreal chunks with no transitions. Besides Skylanders and illiterate solicitors, I talk about why I’m an atheist and I relate an argument I got into with a fundamentalist Christian. This is dangerous territory. Many people would say, “Stay away from religion and politics!” However, I listen to many podcasts, and what I like best about them is authenticity. I don’t say anything I don’t believe just to provoke someone. I do occasionally say things I don’t believe in the service of fiction or a joke, but those instances will usually be obvious. (e.g. Vivisecting those puppies? Wasn’t me.)

I’m no Howard Stern, but this divide does remind me of a tidbit from his movie: People who love Stern listen to his show for about an hour. People who hate him listen for two hours. I’m not nearly that controversial and I won’t be engaging in spanking lesbians on air. (That service is only by request, by appointment and applicants? Please include a picture.)

What if God gives you what you want? What if you win an argument against God?

We worry about saying too much so we’re less than honest and worse? Dull. You may not lose readers or listeners if you’re really careful about what you say, but that’s not playing to win new readers and listeners, either. Playing it safe is sometimes the worst thing you can do. I plan to test that theory with this podcast. The metrics will make it obvious. I hope to get more reviews of the podcast with this format experiment. I hope the reviews will be happy and spur the curious to buy my books. Or they will annoy someone but they’ll know I exist. I’m not worried about the easily offended, but your indifference scares the crap out of me. More iTunes reviews and likes on Stitcher might help put my little weekly podcast on the radar. Is it a long-term shift? I don’t know, though I do like that I bring so much more energy to the podcast when I’m in rant mode. I stammer less when I let go and just go for it. Freewheeling off the top of my head with the little story about the murderous clown under your bed was fun, too.

If you care to check out this and past podcasts, you’ll definitely hear the difference, though I contend that, yes, I always had something meaningful to say, whether I was shouting it or droning in that sporadic Quaalude monotone, my damnable spasmodic Shatnerian cadence. Sometimes that little stammer of mine makes me wince and I think I just want to write my twisty and twisted little stories of suspense. Let people find me instead of putting myself out there. Writing stories is the core and that’s the most fun. But then there’s a cogent thought or a laugh I get from messing around on the mic and I remember that podcasting is some of the most fun I ever have marketing my books. It might be fun for you, too. As Mom used to say to me every day, “You’re a nut.” But more often than not, she said it with a grin instead of chagrin.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is the author of a bunch of weird ebooks of suspense that are full of delightful surprises, like punches in your brain from out of the dark. Take the ebook (or paperback!) Self-help for Stoners, for instance: The first story features a starlet who returns home to a town that hates her. There are bossy admonitions about rebuilding your life and making your dreams come true. Then you learn how to beat a murder charge in Texas with nothing but a skunk and a smile. There’s sci-fi that’s low tech. You’ll really enjoy the gay German dinosaur. There’s a pseudo-erotic story which turns out to be funny instead of titillating. There’s no gore or porn, but you will lock your doors and question your fellow man and think: On drugs? Stop! Not on drugs? Start! It’s simply the best collection of dark fiction you’ve never read and it must be true because I, your ever-loving author, said so.

Filed under: DIY, ebooks, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, , ,

Indie authors unite to help a young man with leukaemia

Click the image to go to IndieGoGo and learn more.

Filed under: DIY, getting it done, What about you?, , , , , , , ,

10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service | Jane Friedman

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction


Filed under: DIY, ebooks, publishing, self-publishing, , , , , , , , ,

Another Day in The Life

Things always take longer than you expect and it’s always later than you think.

My "Seven Swords" Novel Writing Nook

Image by mshea via Flickr

8:00 AM: I’m up and getting the kids off to school. Got to bed early last night, so I’m actually functioning on six-and-a-half hours of sleep. Bonus!

9:00 AM: Kids are delivered unto the local indoctrination centre and nobody’s crying including me. Success.

Coffee x 2. Research some information and loiter over an argument about the merits and sins of book and music piracy.

Autograph a book for a friend who stops by. (This is an event, but I pretend I’m casual about it. “And who should I make this out to?”)

Holy crap it’s 10:30! In my research, someone wrote a blog post on how regurgitating from elsewhere is bad. This strikes me as funny because said article was rescooped via Scoopit! and that’s how I found it in the first place. (I love Scoopit!) Still, I haven’t written an original post on here for a few days, so I fire off a blog post on the virtues that tie the martial art of Hapkido and writing. I wonder where Chang Man Yang, my old instructor is now. After he was terribly impaired in a horrific car accident, I don’t know what became of him or his family.

11:15 AM Post is done and twittered. I follow up with a couple of readers about reviewing my books.

Call Canada Revenue Agency about a tax filing. Despite my misgivings, they are surprisingly polite and cooperative.

Fire off an email to Smodcast about an upcoming ad I’m running.

Lunch. (Nine and a half hours later, I have no idea what I ate. Apparently it was inconsequential. Even to me.)

1:00 PM Revisions to The Novel. It’s going to be good, but my progress is slower than I’d like, though this would be true no matter my speed.

3:00 PM Come up for air. Tend the fire and then grab my script. I’ve already written most of this week’s podcast, so I take half an hour to record what I’ve got. I’m getting more efficient and less tongue-tied on the mic so the podcast is taking less time.

3:30 PM Get a reminder of a writing contest that I had ignored. Inspiration strikes and I grab a couple of old non-fiction pieces to meld together for the contest. It’s all fully formed in my mind so cobbling it together goes incredibly quick…except for the frustrations of getting the files from the old computer (that needs an enema) to the new computer. Also? The main printer is out of toner. Damn.

5:30 PM Contest entry is submitted. I generally don’t do contests anymore, but I’m excited about the possibilities this one presents. Next? Check email, triberr, Facebook, and Twitter. There’s very little I have to say or deal with. Amongst this, the kids and SHe Who Must Be Obeyed have returned with tales of the outside world. It sounds grim out there. I stoke the fire higher and congratulate them for their bravery in facing what, alas, I cannot.

6:30 PM: I’m told to eat. As soon as that’s done, I ask the children to clean up the skinny pig’s cage as I head off into the darkness to Future Shop to get toner cartridges.

6:50 PM: They don’t have all the toner cartridges and I definitely need black. I am instantly reminded why I hate dealing with The World: The couple ahead of me takes more time to complete their purchase than I took to get the sale through on my house. I’m told Future Shop has one black toner cartridge for me. At the other Future Shop. At the other end of the city. While waiting, I have three times picked up and put down a back up drive I’m been debating about for some time. It’s $139.00 but I decide I can’t afford not to have the insurance and ease of the back up. Maybe the slow couple ahead of me work for Future Shop and they’ve just been waiting for me to buy more before clearing the way to the cash register.

9:00 PM Finally back home. Traffic was a bitch, but I have the black toner!

9:10 PM I’m informed the skinny pig’s environs are now poopless. Excellent. If only we could all say that.

I check email. The most important email message is at once reassuring and baffling. Last week I asked BookBaby about getting an ITIN so the IRS won’t hold back 30% from my book earnings. I thought my message had been lost or ignored but it turned out I’m just an impatient dick because they’re very busy at BookBaby these days. I’m informed BookBaby doesn’t hold back any earnings and just gives me the whole nut. Really?! If it’s true, it’s great because it greatly simplifies my tax reporting. I just can’t believe it’s true nor can I divine how it could be true. I will have to confer with my accountant. (INSERT INVOLUNTARY SHUDDER HERE.) 

Bookbaby also informs me that I can easily withdraw my books from all other outlets but KDP Select if I wish, but if I change my mind later, it will be a whole new submission and I’ll be charged again for resubmitting each book to the other platforms. Hm. Okay. My plan is to go with KDP Select for all my books soon and for the long term, so fine. Not great, but fine.

9:44 PM This blog post is done. What’s next? Another chapter to revise or go to bed early tonight? And I do have books to read… Hm.

9:45 PM Decide to throw children in bed at high velocity. Must read a chapter of Eric WaltersShattered to Boy or Boy will become difficult. Will pet the skinny pig briefly and see if I can engage She Who Must Be Obeyed in a taped episode of House before returning to the screen for another go at something or other.

Projected bedtime, 1 or 2 AM, depending. (Do something fun, like writing, and it’s never really work.)


The writing contest thing was an exception to my regular routine and as I write this post, it is clear to me I must spend at least twice as much time on revisions tomorrow, stopping just before my brain refuses to continue.

I need some time on the treadmill.

And absolutely zero time at Future Shop.

UPDATE: The funny thing is that, after writing today’s blog posts, I googled my old teacher. I had done this some time ago but he was nowhere to be found. The last I’d heard, he was in a terrible car accident driving home from a class with a student. I had heard he was be permanently injured. Tonight, after mentioning him in two blog posts in one day, I idly plugged his name into the search engine again. My old teacher is alive and teaching in Halifax! What a great way to end the day!

Filed under: DIY, getting it done, My fiction, What about Chazz?, , , , , , , , ,

The ebook pricing and gifting experiment

Click here for your free story!

Self-published authors have found success in serialization.

Cross-pollination is the cousin to serialization that no one talks about. 

I have some big promotional events coming up, but January can be the doldrums for sales. Many of us, me included, are sifting through our new reading from Christmas and looking forlornly at our VISA bills. Publishing is so easy now, but obscurity is hard. I thought it was time to do something to spark the imagination of readers. It’s time to build my readership and, I hope, new readers will review my books and spread the word.

That’s why, until the end of January, I’m giving away a very special story for free.

I have ebooks selling at various price points: 99 cents, $1.99 and $2.99 and one in paperback for $13.99. When the big promotional event hits, I expect there will be a run on the paperback and ebook of Self-help for Stoners. The Self-help for Stoners podcast is also going well with over 300 downloads already.

But why free and why now?

Honestly, my sales kind of suck so far and I’m trying to light a fire to signal rescue planes.

My gamble is that once I’m picked up, readers won’t want to stop the ride at just one story.

Book sales need momentum. Fortunately, I had just the right story in my holster to fit this pricing/gifting experiment. The story, Corrective Measures, stands on its own. However, two characters from this story appear in several of my other stories in two other books. I won an award for End of the Line, a short about Dr. Circe Papua. Hounded by an unscrupulous bill collector, she uses magical powers of persuasion to get him off her back. That story appears in Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit). Dr. Papua shows up in different incarnations in several stories in that book, but also appears in Vengeance is #1, an ebook on sale for $1.99.

My main character from Corrective Measures is Jack, a serial killer and Dr. Papua’s patient. He tries not to kill anybody unless Dr. Papua says it’s okay, but after a minor argument over a parking space, Jack wants to murder a woman simply for pissing him off. (By the way, The Parking Lot Incident, happened to me. And no, there are no warrants out for my arrest.)

Here’s where the cross-pollination comes in:

Jack appeared in another award-winning story, The Clawed Bathtub, which is the last story in Sex, Death & Mind Control. I love it when stories nest beside each other. In Corrective Measures, there is a reference to events in The Clawed Bathtub that answers a question that was left a mystery in that story. Read one and you won’t notice the seams. Readers who buy them all will get a bigger picture and enjoy the inside jokes. I didn’t write the stories with this strategy in mind. That arose organically. I only write stories I need to write. However, these characters I know so well keep popping up. In The Fortune Teller, Papua is an old seer at a fair. In another story from Sex, Death & Mind Control (The Express) Dr. Papua is the same psychotherapist from Corrective Measures, but she’s dealing with an older version of Paul, the man who is abusive to women in The Fortune Teller.

You don’t need a flow chart or to keep score. It’s just that as I wrote about these characters, I found they had more to say than could be shoehorned into one story. There’s no timeline to follow. It’s about characters who are so compelling, I had to revisit them and explore them further. Each story explores extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances and makes it funny, suspenseful and scary. I found that as I wrote these stories, I pulled back on the gore because, frankly, the battery acid scenes would shock some readers out of the story. The results are tighter, more clever stories that make you think, make you laugh and make you a little more wary of strangers.

Please accept my invitation to go grab Corrective Measures now while it’s still free.

I hope you will be inspired to spread the happy word to your friends and through reviews.

I’ll let you know how this pricing/gifting experiment works out.

Filed under: All That Chazz, book reviews, DIY, ebooks, getting it done, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, readers, reviews, self-publishing, short stories

How Kevin Smith Changed My Life

I had a secret worry.

Our walls are full of books. My curse was that many of my books are about publishing and how to write. There’s a good chance I’ve read every book in English on how to write and edit. My secret worry was that I would die and my children would be left with all these books, each one a reminder of the books I had failed to write. The idea of my wife and children seeing me that way scared the shit out of me. But I still wasn’t betting on myself. I wasn’t all in.

Then in November 2009

(UPDATE: Whoops! That was actually 2010 so I made the jump in one year)

I saw director Kevin Smith onstage in Kitchener.

I expected to laugh a lot and I did.

What I didn’t expect was inspiration. 

I had thought about writing full-time but I only thinking, not doing. I attended writers’ conferences and wrote novels I kept secret from the world. I had a few drafts written but hadn’t polished and submitted them anywhere. I’d won seven writing awards, but hadn’t leveraged that fact. I wrote the back page column in Massage & Bodywork magazine for several years, freelanced some speeches and marketing materials, ghosted a bit and edited for writers and publishers on the side. Still, I hadn’t committed to making a real change for me. I was helping to make other people’s dreams come true. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I was ignoring my dreams and I wasn’t setting goals for myself.

I was waiting for…something.

Kevin Smith

Image via Wikipedia

Don’t wait. Take your shot.

Life is too short to wait to pursue your dreams.

I figured out the math. The risk I wasn’t taking was more dangerous than failing to try.

No matter how this experiment turns out, I can say I tried.

As you can see from the video, things have changed for me.

I’m having more fun. I’m putting myself out there.

Self-help for Stoners, Stuff to Read When You’re High, is now available in paperback.

 The Self-help for Stoners podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher and six ebooks are up for sale just about everywhere.

Look for three novels coming in 2012.

Thanks for the laughs and the inspiration, Kevin!

I went all in before it was too late.

The curse is broken.

Filed under: book trailer, Books, DIY, ebooks, getting it done, publishing, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, Writers, , , , , , ,


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

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

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 can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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