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

Write and publish with love and fury.

Writing Blog Spotlight: The Muffin, WOW! Women On Writing

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I retweet useful publishing links. A lot! Of all the people I promote on Twitter, I retweet Elizabeth Craig’s tweets most. Here’s the latest on finding time to write (posted by Skyraven.) Take a look and you’ll see why I pay so much attention to this blog.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Twitter, Writers, writing tips, , ,

It’s a New World. Join the Publishing Revolution

I just added a five-star system so you can rate posts, a Digg button so you can “like” posts and several ways to share posts (Twitter, Facebook, Print, Reddit, Email, etc.,…) Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.

Your rare shameless (and fun!) plug begins here:

If you like the blog, please let me and your friends and followers know! Hit the Digg button above the comment box to “like” it. Share on Facebook. Tweet on twitter. I’m above grovelling, but I am willing to ask nicely for your support.

This is the fun part: I have added these buttons in a craven attempt to spread the word about Chazz Writes. I have big plans for the blog. As we get bigger I want to include book reviews, contests for prizes and, ultimately, annex a small tropical island nation whose national drink will be hollowed out pineapples with five kinds of rum. I shall be king, of course, but benevolent in my clothing-optional palace. We’ll be nuclear-weapons free, nuclear-capable, solar and wind-friendly, and establish a very reasonable flat tax. There will be free healthcare for all. We’ll be weed-legalized, jerk-averse and twelve kinds of awesome sexy. And everybody will get a Mac. (Acers for jerks. That’ll teach ’em!) Also, clothes lines are allowed and I’ll keep the needless spending down by force of Nerf bats and exile to lesser, non-Chazz-infused nations. (All that therapy is really nipping my narcissistic megalomania in the bud, huh?) But  I digress…

If you like my stuff, please let other people know. This is a relatively new publishing blog, but I’m not new to publishing. I do have a lot of information to share with writers from a writer’s and editor’s perspective. (Don’t know Chazz and wonder where he gets off talking publishing? Click here.) I just love to talk to people about their writing projects, publishing issues, and that book you’re going to publish some day. Every day I curate the best information on publishing I can find as I search the web for news about writers, interesting stories and stuff that helps writers figure out the best routes to getting published.

I also look for laughs along the way. We need it. The writer’s life can be a grim nobility. Unlike some writing blogs I detest (i.e. a few agent blogs and  angry blogs that mock writers) you are not a minion here. You are a travelling companion and friend. I love books and I love the people who love them.

Return often for updates and keep an eye on that Twitter feed to your right

OR

simply follow me on Twitter @RChazzChute

AND/OR

go to the bottom right and subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!

Like the blurb says:

The publishing revolution has begun.

Join me.

Rare shameless plug ends.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Social Media, Twitter, What about Chazz?, Writers, , ,

How to Get the Time You Need to Write Your Novel

Writers who complete their books often steal time and sometimes buy it. You might have to get up earlier or stay up later (or both) but you’ll find lots of tips here on how to get your first draft written. Don’t get sucked into the idea that you need huge blocks of time to make progress. Sometimes all you can do is little bits, but if you write consistently, the little bits will add up. I have a draft of a novel to edit, but I’ve also started another. Summer is very child-intensive for me, so I have a notebook and every day I make progress on writing the new book with a calligraphic pen. The second draft will be typed, of course, but I’m stealing time here and there to get it done. I can get words on paper at the kids’ swimming lessons. Typing’s preferred, but  getting it done is the higher goal. Find time. Find time to write every day.

Are you losing writing time to petty errands? That may be a sign of procrastination. Resistance can easily be rationalized but it doesn’t serve your goal of getting a draft written (and eventually published.) Outsource where you can. Getting a babysitter for movie night is a good break, but  we also hire a babysitter just so we can get work accomplished without interruptions. I hate to mow the lawn so I hire a teenager to do it for me. For the few bucks it takes to get that done, it’s also saving me valuable writing time. When I hear that mower crank up, it’s also a reminder I should be writing. Buy time.

Maybe you aren’t getting it done because you are not prioritizing. If working out is really important to you, you schedule it, just like a meeting or a dentist appointment. Same with writing. Is it on your calendar? Does your family know writing time is, in fact, Writing Time in big block letters on the family schedule? If you want time, you have to be clear with the people in your life that the time you set aside for writing is sacred. Make time. Value your time. Defend your time.

Surprise tip:

Do not multitask. Doing more than one thing at a time is inefficient.

Find efficiencies. How are your keyboarding skills? Are you a fast typist? Faster is better. Publishers want prolific writers with gestational times more like a rabbit than an elephant. I recommend the Mavis Beacon keyboarding programs to increase your typing speed. If you cannot type quickly, have you tried Dragon or some other dictation strategy?

Don’t ponder. Work from a rough outline so you can plow ahead instead of plod. When we compose, our typing speed typically slows. This is not the way to go. Edit later. Whether you’ve got any kind of plan for what you will write that day or are more of an exploratory writer, punch the keys and don’t stop. The faster you type, the faster your book will be written. Resist the urge to tinker. Messing around with comma placement doesn’t get your first draft done. Save time and write fast. Editing is for later. It is impossible to edit a blank page.Don’t waste time. My general rule is, I don’t watch reruns unless it’s a must-see (bearing in mind that most must-see TV, isn’t.) There are a lot of things I don’t want to do. If they can be avoided, I don’t do them. The biggest time suck is the temptation to surf the net. When you’re writing (at that sacred time you’ve set each day) don’t open your browser and don’t check your email more than twice a day. I type on a little keypad called the Neo. It has 700 hours of life off three AA batteries, it doesn’t heat up like a normal laptop and best of all, it has no internet access. I can take it anywhere and write without even the temptation of internet distraction (read: games and porn.)

A special note about Twitter:

I love Twitter, but as Seth Godin says, “Twitter is never done.” You must be careful how you use it. Here’s how: I post frequently on Twitter. (Plug: you get fresh updates on the latest publishing links on your right of this screen so this blog always has updated content through the day.) However, I never post to Twitter from my desktop. Twitter is for the in-between times. Twitter is for down time. Twitter is productive time when you would otherwise be unproductive. Twitter is for commercials (if you aren’t already saving years of your life by saving your TV shows on PVR and zipping through commercials.)

I use Twitter to:

Follow-me-on-TwitterHelp people find links to useful information.

Say something funny and read something funny. Life is tough. @thesulk makes me feel better about our common destiny as worm food.

Answer questions and connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise.

If it isn’t useful or funny, I’m doing something else.

Please do follow me (@RChazzChute) on Twitter for the latest on the best book publishing information.

BONUS:

Do not consult your thesaurus as you write your first draft. If you’re searching for another word, you’re slowing down.

Compose in sprints.

More on that tomorrow…

Filed under: getting it done, Twitter, writing tips, , , , , , , ,

How to Blog on Vacation (and what does evergreen mean?)

blogging on vacation

blogging on vacation

Don’t blog on vacation. That’s why it’s called vacation. Here are some blogging options.

I just had the longest vacation since I was 12, a five-province tour of eastern Canada in which the blog missed not one beat. I updated my Twitter feed on the blog daily so there was always fresh content and useful links. (Twitter is fun and takes so little time, I don’t count it against vacation time. In fact, finding a place to steal WiFi was especially fun.)

The easiest thing to do is write your blog posts before your vacation begins and schedule them ahead of time. You don’t have to publish all your posts immediately. Stretch them out into the future so while you’re lying on a towel on a beach, the blog is updating itself according to your schedule. Seem like too much? It’s not really. Some days you’ll be struck with inspiration and will want to write more than one post. Bank the evergreen* articles.

Next option, get a ghost. Lots of writers are glad to write an article for you, either as a gust blogger or as a paid writer. Company blogs employ professional writers all the time (though this isn’t technically ghosting. It falls into the category of corporate communications, no matter how breezy a company may want a blog to sound.) If you have a following, a guest blog entry is a nice way for new bloggers to have their voice heard, with links back to their own blog, of course.

There are several options. Don’t blog on vacation. You never want your blog to feel like work. That’s why I can say, “Glad to be back!”

*An evergreen article is a post that is not time-sensitive. The latest drop in a particular stock on the Nasdaq is not evergreen. A timeless post on your feelings about your grandmother’s Holocaust experience is evergreen.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Twitter, , ,

Marketing Through Twitter

I’m over 40 so I don’t make new friends. At least that was true until my wife got me an IPod for my birthday. Through Twitterific app, I kind of fell into  marketing through Twitter. First I was curious what Bill Maher had to say. He hardly ever tweets, but then I was curious who he followed. I began following celebrities, particularly comedians and writers.

Then I hit the mother lode: freelance writers and editors like me. Then I hit the “Nearby” tab on Twitterific to find such people in my city. Then I linked my tweets to my blog so the blog has fresh content throughout the day whether I have time to sit down and blog or not!

And now I’m addicted, but enjoying it. I won’t be signing up for a 12-step program any time soon. Do you Twitter? You know what they say. The only people who don’t like Twitter are those who haven’t tried it.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, Twitter,

Twitter Followers versus Facebook Friends

A guy had hundreds of Facebook friends and decided to throw a Facebook party. One person showed up and that was a stranger. Facebook friends don’t equate to real friends. Real friends don’t tell you they might show up to your party even though you’re in Toronto and they are in Vancouver.

Facebook is useful, but, just like your regular friends, not all of them are such good friends they will help you move. Your posts to Facebook are like posts to a message board. Twitter, by contrast, is a conversation. You can have Facebook friends and never visit their home pages. On Twitter, your followers get your 140-character messages pushed on their Tweet deck. Eyes are on you as opposed to Facebook’s Friend ’em and Forget ’em. 

But from a purely marketing perspective, quantity isn’t really important. It’s about the quality of your friends and followers. Do your interests dovetail? If you’re marketing a book, your business or service, what’s your ROI? (ROI stands for Return on Investment.)

That’s what many businesses miss: a cost/benefit analysis. Are you spending too much time on your blog and not enough time writing? What time and money efficiencies can you find? Do you need to revamp your approach to social media marketing? Do you need to bring in a guest blogger or refocus your content and search engine optimization to get eyes on your page?

Think of your social media approaches as pipes that lead people back to your website. Your web presence is a package. Twitter is a conversation in which you can sell your services after you sell yourself. Facebook has more personality, but first you sell yourself before your services. Your blog isn’t a diary. It’s a magazine.

On your website, the pitch is still somewhat buried in that your provide value and interesting stuff first. Your call to action has to be there if you’re trying to sell something, but don’t come on too strong because  people may find you through your website first. For special promotions or straight ads, consider a mini-website (one page dedicated to your hard pitch or a linking to a separate business website for more of the straight dope on your services and products.)

For instance, my separate (business) website is at the click of the happy pic at www.chazzwrites.vpweb.ca.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, Social Media, Twitter, , , ,

Today’s Blog Marketing Secret

There’s a simple trick to making it easier for the world to find you and your blog. It’s so simple, many people neglect it. You aren’t going to like it, but it’s key, and no, I’m not going to go on and on about keywords (today.)

Make your blog post titles simple because simple is searchable.

Yes, I’ve fallen into temptation for the clever title that makes you feel oh, so smart. Forget it. Put in a title people might actually type into a search engine.

Do not make intellectual allusions to Marcel Marceau in a blog title when the content is about Parisian fashion. Do not mention Henry Miller in the title when the content screams Amish barn bee. Clever is great. I love clever. Keep it on Twitter, Mr. Noel Coward. Be searchable on your website. If your titles are too obscure, no one will find you to find out how clever you are!

Filed under: Social Media, Twitter

Twitter Etiquette

I recently had to unfollow someone on Twitter, and it wasn’t because the information they were linking was bad. The problem was there was way too much of it.

Do not post too often.

I post in spasms of joy when I can, but I try to hold back from doing too much at one time. People love me in small doses. That’s the same way I love people. Some robots on Twitter are relentless and–even if they’re providing some solid links–too much at once pollutes your Tweet Deck and feels like spam. Don’t stand for spam. Don’t sit down and allow yourself to be force-fed spam, either.

BONUS:

Twitter is a conversation. You can talk. You have to listen, as well.

Filed under: Social Media, Twitter, ,

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.

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