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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

Preposterous Twaddlecock: How to Deal with Writers Effectively in One Easy Lesson

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Not everyone respects writers enough to pay them for their work. Writers are sometimes at the bottom of the list of who gets paid. The light, heat and phone bills get paid on time, but writers? Not necessarily. Yet “content provision” is supposedly the basis of the publishing business. Editors and publishers can’t moan on at length about their respect for the written word if they don’t have respect for the people who come up with those words. Then there’s the “paying your dues” defence, but the people who ask that tend to ask that sacrifice of everyone. Click the link for a humorous rant on a subject that isn’t so funny. ~ Chazz

Via preposteroustwaddlecock.blogspot.fr

Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, publishing, Useful writing links, Writers, , , , , ,

The unorthodox ebook license note:

Don’t worry about book piracy. If someone wants to pirate your book, they will and there’s nothing you can do about that. Worry about obscurity, not piracy. It’s much better to put your time into writing a good book and marketing it well than to slam your head against hard things you can’t control. (That got sexier than I intended.)

Anyway, instead of the usual pleading license notes about all my hard work on my books (releasing very soon now, I swear!) I opted for this as my license page:

License Notes

This ebook is licensed to you for your personal entertainment. Please do not resell this ebook or give it away to others. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.

Ebooks are an inexpensive pleasure — couch change and impulse buys! — that can be enjoyed for hours, so c’mon! Don’t be a douche.

Thank you for respecting art (and starving writers, too!)

Filed under: Books, ebooks, getting it done, Intentionally Hilarious, self-publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , ,

Controversial blog posts, hate mail & puppies on fire

I write a column for a trade magazine. I get a lot of fan mail (he said modestly). I have a folder stocked with happy reader feedback so if I ever need talking in off the ledge, many kind subscribers’ letters to the editor might stop me from the jump to pavement lasagna. But,  of course, it’s the negative reviews you remember.  

What’s surprising about negative feedback is how surprising it is. Let me explain that obnoxious tautology: I’ve written columns I was certain would stick in somebody’s craw. I’m reasoned, but sometimes provocative and I do poke the odd sacred cow through the skull with a nail gun.

But it’s often the posts

I consider more bland which spark  readers’ ire most!

For instance, I wrote a humorous feature that detailed the uses of therapeutic laughter. The tone was light, though I did stir in an interview with a neurobiologist and instructive tips. Most people didn’t just like it. They loved it. We got a lot of really nice letters. It’s a special thing when people take the time to say good things about you. The spur to action usually skews the other way. Angry people write more letters than happy people do.)

As great as the response to the article was, from that same feature there was one letter from the reader who did not just like it. In fact, she loathed the piece (and me.) She objected to the jokes. It was clear she didn’t get the jokes. There are, perhaps, billions of people who don’t share my sense of humor. Not only can I not change that, I wouldn’t want to appeal to the humorless.

People who get all angsty and vituperative about your writing share a common trait. They act like the one thing you write is the sum and totality of your writing. It kind of amuses me (okay, it amuses me after some time passes) when people get bent out of shape from one thing I wrote. I write lots of stuff. Read it all and get really pissed, or realize that if you don’t care for something, there’s always the next page. There’s always something else to read.

Don’t say something you don’t believe just to be provocative. Satire is fine. Parody’s good. Be fun and playful. Be as funny as you like, but make time to be sincere when you’re making a serious point. Don’t pander.

People sometimes accuse Bill Maher of saying outrageous stuff just to get a reaction. Not true. One survey showed that Maher’s die hard fans only agreed with him 14% of the time! He’s funny, insightful and can be cranky. But he’s not a crank easily dismissed. He’s thinking and doesn’t fall to one side of all issues all of the time.

This is counterintuitive to how many people act as they write their (unread) blog pasts. People often think that only people who agree with them will like them. If you’re funny and interesting and reasoned, thinking people will listen. Your blog’s grasp can go beyond the reach of your mom.

When I read blog posts I dislike, I rarely comment on something with which I disagree unless I know the people involved or think it will make a difference. I won’t be phoning Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck to try to disagree with him on air, for instance. People don’t listen to Rush to get ideas. They listen to confirm their own fears and prejudices. Echo chambers aren’t designed for more than one loud voice. Life’s too short to pursue debates with people who will never change their minds no matter what. (And I won’t change my mind on that.)

“Pearls before swine,” as Jesus said.

(Note to Mr. Beck: Jesus is an important guy in the bible whose words are written in red so they are easy to find. Like you, he talks about economics a lot, too. You appear unaware of the things Jesus said. Take a look.)

Real world example: Today a friend linked to a post so I checked it out. I found it utterly vile. The essay was an extreme so-serious-I-hope-it’s-parody, divisive, lying hit piece that underestimated both liberal and conservative thought. I didn’t comment on the post itself because I’m not giving that hateful essayist the satisfaction. Instead I left a comment on the original Facebook link to let my friend know I thought his link choice was disturbing.

To be fair to him, his intent puzzled me. I’m really not sure if he linked to it as an example of a good thing or a bad thing. Whatever his opinion on that issue, he’s still a great guy and a great friend and I’m not writing him off if he shares those (crazy) views. He no doubt has a lot of other views I agree with and I know he is an admirable, heroic fellow. (And no, I don’t know if he reads this blog or not since he’s not in publishing.)

Mental note:

Don’t provide links to hate-filled sites.  

Debate and dialogue of substance? Okay. 

Stupid shit? No time.

The take away? Don’t let negative feedback throw you. If what you write is so bland it never offends anyone, it often isn’t worth writing. There’s nothing new and interesting about your blog posts if every one of them is the equivalent of a basket of puppies. If you’re going to keep readers, you’re going to have to be compelling, informative or at least engaging. Don’t tell me about the weather. Say something you believe. Make me laugh. Make me spew my coffee over the screen. Set a basket of puppies on fire once in a while.

Case in point: You might expect conservative readers to object to me condescending to Glenn Beck. Perhaps defenders of the mentally unstable will chime in on that score, too. You might expect liberal readers to object to any mention of Rush or Beck since they already get too much attention everywhere. Maybe you think people will get angry about the notion of setting fire to a basket of puppies.

Personally? Since a basket of puppies set afire is an obvious joke in terrible taste, I’m betting someone will object to the reference to a nail gun through a cow’s skull. Vegans are fascists worse than Hitler. (Kidding! Kidding!)

As Bill Maher says, “I kid! I kid because I love!” 


Filed under: blogs & blogging, Intentionally Hilarious, Rant, Rejection, reviews, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , ,

The NPR Resignation Redux

Finally, somebody says what I’m thinking about the NPR/Tea Party debacle.

Thank you!

Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, links, , , ,

Writers: Your Thursday afternoon reward

Photo of Greg Proops.

Image via Wikipedia

This week is so busy, it already feels like Friday. Tomorrow guest blogger Rebecca Senese will show you how to use Smashwords to publish your e-books. I can’t top that, so this afternoon, it’s time for an early reward post.

People ask what I listen to for fun and illumination and to escape the aching hell that is the mundane. (I can’t do laundry or go to the grocery store if I’m not armed with my iPod.)

I’m a podcast junkie. Hop over to iTunes and check out my top ten podcasts:

1. Hollywood Babble-on with Ralph Garmin and Kevin Smith: Filthy, funny pop culture.

2. Best of the Left Podcast: A political theme-based podcast that’s a survey course on what’s wrong with Republicans. It’s stimulating, irksome and often funny.

3. I Should Be Writing with Mur Lafferty: Solid writing advice.

4. The Joe Rogan Experience: Explicit, funny and philosophy on weed. If you only know Joe as “The Fear Factor Guy”, you don’t know Joe. He often hosts excellent guests who are either hugely funny stand-ups and or the uber-intelligent. Or both.

5. Slate Spoiler Specials: This is movie reviewing after the fact. The reviewers assume you’ve already seen it so they aren’t coy about spoilers and discussing everything about the move in-depth.

6. Writing Excuses: Each 15-minute episode tackles a theme about writing to help you improve your craft.

7. Irreverent Muse: I just discovered Mike Plested’s podcast this week and now I have 49 more episodes to catch up on. Oodles of publishing advice.

8. The Smartest Man in the World: Greg Proops freestyles his unique brand of comedy. You’ll feel a giddy, hallucinogenic effect listening to him bounce effortlessly from topic to topic.

9.  Smodcast: This is the Kevin Smith/Scott Mosier podcast that started the Smodcast network of podcasts. Funny stuff that’s just bent. Lots of personal stuff and then strange digressions that involve Hitler and the judicious use of time machine technology. If you’re looking for a funny Kevin Smith podcast that’s a bit more grounded, try Plus One, the podcast Kevin does with his wife Jennifer. When they talk about their kid growing up I think of my own kids and get misty right along with them.

10. Slate Political Gabfest: It goes up each Friday afternoon. I find the gabfesters are often a snooty bunch but the topics are often interesting. (I find American politics riveting, unlike just about any aspect of Canadian politics.)

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Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, Media, podcasts, Top Ten, web reviews, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: Love in the time of Book Trailers

Filed under: authors, book trailer, Books, Intentionally Hilarious, publishing, , , , , , ,

Friday VIDEO Reward: Aspiring Writer Meets Writing Advisor

Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, Media, movies, publishing, Rant, Rejection, Unintentionally hilarious, , , , , ,

Book Marketing: What I learned from Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan

Image by Jordan Larrigan via Flickr

Joe Rogan has one of the most interesting podcasts on the net. You might know him as the Fear Factor Guy, or the ultimate fighting commentator or as Joe Guerrelli, the electrician on News Radio who made his own duct tape. (News Radio is still one of the best sitcoms ever, by the way.) There’s a lot more to him than that, though. He’s a walking, talking brain-stimulant. Plus, he makes me laugh my ass off.

I caught his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience,  in which he was talking about the challenges of marketing. It was kind of a throw-away comment about the crazy world of stand-up comedy, but I got a lot out of it that applies to books and writers, too.

As a young comic, Joe left the marketing to someone else. He didn’t see his marketing as his job. He was doing stand-up. He didn’t feel he should have to be hysterically funny, crass and thought-provoking and sell the tickets, too.

When he saw how badly people were selling him—or that no one was selling him at all—he took up that responsibility. Now he tweets his shows and promotes himself through podcasting, YouTube, web presence and appearances on radio, other podcasts, etc.,… Rogan’s got a cult. Rogan has staked out his land. He has followers and fans. Joe Rogan is not melting into the background of the culture’s collage.

Many writers still hope someone else will take care of marketing their books. The truth is, unless you were already huge, in most cases your publisher didn’t do a great job marketing your book. They didn’t send out that many review copies. They didn’t publicize you enough. They probably didn’t have the budget for it and if they did have a budget for your book, it was built on short-term thinking. If your book didn’t take off right away, they were off to some other author quickly to try to capitalize on short-term heat and newness. That kind of thinking is going out the window with technology.

Be fair. Publishers have many authors on their list. You’re just one and so their efforts must be scattered. Who can focus on your book the most? You can. Who can spend money on a book launch? You. (That’s what that piddling advance you got is really for.) Writers have long memories and enjoy nostalgia, so some of us are still in love with the idea of writing our books in isolation and never having to interact with a fan, a hater, or the indifferent. It’s time for all of us to get past that ideal and put on our big-boy underwear and big-girl panties. Whether you’re going indie or are with a traditional publisher, the self-promotion side of the business really has been an indie-spirit proposition for a very long time. Don’t feel bad about it, it’s a common misconception. Instead, embrace the energy of the challenge.

Who is thinking about each book on a long-term sales basis? That would be you because publisher’s talk about “their” list, but that book isn’t theirs. It’s yours. Your name is on it so you care about it more than anyone, right? That means you have to take the responsibility it promote it and help your audience find your story amid a sea of books. Daunting yes, but that’s what building your platform is all about.

Who cares more about your book than anyone else?

No one.

Overcome your fear factor. Get out there.

For starters…got that Twitter account set up yet?



Filed under: authors, DIY, Intentionally Hilarious, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Rant, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: Books versus Internet

The delicious irony is, you aren’t going to see this video in a book. You’re watching it on your computer. While I don’t wholly agree with the sentiment, it is an entertaining video (via Books for Everyone) and you know me. I’m all about the yuks.

Just to be clear on the ebook versus tree book thing, I’m enthusiastic about books no matter what form they take. In fact, a book’s form is beside the point.

(Besides, today is my birthday, so I’m posting this and then running off to goof off for the rest of the day.)

As Kurt Vonnegut said,

“We’re here to fart around. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.”



Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, , , ,

Making VIDEO go viral: It’s all been done

Filed under: Intentionally Hilarious, Rant, Rejection, , , , , , ,


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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