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

Write and publish with love and fury.

ACX: Now open to Canadians. Now what?

I just found out (via author Patti Larson on Facebook) that ACX is now accepting Canadian authors. Finally! I’ve complained loudly about this disparity for years.

Yes, there were complicated ways around it so, technically, Canucks could get in. It was harder for us and didn’t feel right so I kept making ebooks and paperbacks. I waited, hoping that whatever made ACX treat Canucks like the ginger stepchild would go away. Now the wall has dropped. This is great news! Hm…or….

Or is it too little, too late? Too much?

When ACX first came on the scene, it was a very favorable profit split for authors. Then, overnight, they changed the percentage. Many authors pointed to their ACX experience as a reason to stay out of KU. They didn’t want to be at the mercy of a capricious pricing policy change. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the ACX option is finally open to Canadians. I think if they’d waited much longer it would be moot. Within a few more years you’ll gladly let Siri read a book to you. The tech will improve sufficiently that bots will mimic a human voice actor, you won’t even cringe. (I still smile at the human voice actor in one audiobook who pronounced, “analyst” with the emphasis on “anal.” It came up a lot in that book, too.)

Mounting the resources and meeting the expenses of audiobook production is still a challenge. You have to find the right voice actor and work out a deal. If you can afford to pay them up front, that’s better. That option is out of most author’s reach. ACX is a long commitment, so that’s a factor. Audiobooks have weird pricing, too. I always get mine through Audible Daily Deals.

FYI: I’m listening to The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird on Audible. It’s fantastic! If you’re an author (and if you’re reading this you must be) get that book!

I’m excited about this possibility and a bit intimidated, too. I have to pay off a big surprise tax bill and send my eldest to university in September. I’m not in a gambling mood. I’ve heard mixed results from author friends over the years. Some say audiobooks have boosted their ROI immensely. On the face of it, it would seem that offering our work in more formats is a no-brainer. Of course we should get our books out to everyone in whatever format they want to consume it! (But that’s not how spreadsheets and profit and loss works, is it?)

So I throw it out to you, fellow authors. If you’re a Canuck, are you jumping in with ACX? 

If you have produced audiobooks with ACX, would you recommend it or, given your experience, would you go another route? What’s your experience?

Thanks in advance for letting us know!

~ Chazz

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Filed under: publishing

“Real” writers don’t just write.

Listening to a podcast on best publishing practices, I felt the urge to grind my teeth. The topic was about getting paid for our work. This comes up from time to time when numbers don’t appear to add up. Did you get all the money Amazon owes you for reads within Select? Is Pronoun’s reporting of book sales up to speed and robust? Those were concerns I’ve heard before but that’s not really what this post is about. You and I are what this post is about.

The podcast guru scolded writers who are also worriers. In essence, the advice was not to worry about such piddly details as addition. Just write your next book. A “real” writer, so the wisdom went, doesn’t have time to complain or track sales or look at spreadsheets. Trying to hold Amazon accountable for what may or may not be a banking, software or reporting issue is a “waste of precious writing time.” Get back to work.

Thus, the grinding of my teeth. Despite wearing several hats, I have plenty of time to think about business concerns. After I write two to four hours a day, my brain meats are tired and the prose starts sliding toward the goofy. Words become poorly chosen. I can’t write all day and be effective. After the writing, there’s still time to look at numbers and think about how I might change them from red to black (or in the case of Amazon’s dashboard, from red down arrows to green up arrows. Bless the green arrows.)

We are not only writers but also businesses. A publisher keeps a wary eye on the income and outgo. I am both a writer and a publisher. As soon as we wonder if there’s a chance numbers don’t add up, someone will spring up to defend the force of futility. “Don’t worry your pretty little head. Just dance, monkey, dance!”

Don’t tell me to get back to work. Words and numbers are all my work.

I’m working my ass off. Taking care of business and watching the numbers is part of the work. Don’t tell me to shut up and write. I do write. I also fight. That’s how positive change is made. Writers throughout history are among the artists that society depends upon to stand up for righteous causes, big and small. We’ve contributed to combatting racism and freed the imaginations of children who became astronauts. Dictators see us as such a threat of revolution that we’re put on lists and imprisoned.* You don’t think we’re up to fixing a financial reporting glitch by doing battle with Keith, a hipster software engineer sporting a neckbeard and a man-bun? You think we’re weaker than a self-hating fat guy from the Accounting Department named Mort? 

Think again.

Whether you are a traditional, indie or hybrid author, you are a business. It falls to you to make sure you are getting what you are owed. Read the contracts and terms of service. Consult an IP lawyer when necessary. Don’t take what your agent says at face value. Negotiate. Track. Analyze. Do businesslike things.

We don’t have to be the suckers at the bottom of the food chain. We supply the words. We’re the engine that runs this whole brain tickle business. Standing up and being an adult does not make you “less of an artist” or “difficult” or “lazy.” Acting like a business acknowledges that, in a field where most of us don’t make a ton of money, crumbs count. And we’re doing the counting, too.

We are writers. We count.

*I’m not messing around with hyperbole, either. Pen International defends freedom of expression and imprisoned writers. Find out more about their important work at this link.

~ Robert Chazz Chute’s author page is AllThatChazz.com. He’s got suspenseful books, a Patreon page link with featured rewards, podcasts and more. His latest podcast includes a bit about the benefits of floating out of gravity with She Who Must Be Obeyed, naked. So there’s that.

Filed under: publishing

Multiple Streams of Income for Writers

I just watched The Martian again. Loved the book by Andy Weir, too. It’s still the best audiobook I’ve ever heard. The message at the end of the movie (minor spoiler alert) is that things are going to go wrong. Paraphrasing: You can accept that this is your end or you can do the math and get to work.

So it is with author careers. Shit will go south. Then what? Then you have to solve the problem, and the next and the next and so on. Even better, see upcoming problems and plan so a glitch doesn’t graduate to a disaster as soon as it strikes. 

What resources do we need to solve most problems?

To solve problems on Earth, we usually need money, support, information or time. You can buy time by outsourcing and/or sharpen discipline and management skills. You can hire support to leverage time. You can purchase someone’s expertise so you focus on the skills you’re best at. (Don’t major in your minor if you can help it.)

If you don’t have the money but you do have time, digging for information costs nothing extra except for your internet connection. However, the most common denominator here is money. We generally need more of it, especially if time is limited (and, let’s be real, when isn’t it?) Life is short when you’ve got big things to do like write books.

The answer used to be simpler: write more books. I gave that advice myself and once upon a time not long ago that was enough. Now we need more margin for error as we find our way to readers. We all need time to write and ways to find traction in the marketplace. Sure, you can find lots of advice about marketing your books, but how do we get more money to help us with all those variables? How do we pay for a Bookbub to sell more books when the books aren’t selling much in the first place? Advertising and investing in your writing career takes capital (not much, but if you’ve got nothing, not much is a lot.)

Ideally, it’s great to find multiple streams of income that are complementary to your writing career. These might include: podcasting, Patreon, selling t-shirts, selling at conferences, providing complementary services (editing, proofing, book design, formatting), advertising, educational products, ghostwriting, copywriting, publicity, virtual assistance for authors, webinars, speaking engagements, book signings, co-op ventures, organizing book promotions, co-authoring, participating in anthologies, teaching, screenplays, teaching how to write screenplays and Thor only knows what else. Cross-promotion and cross-propagation of ventures makes your other job or jobs a good fit.

What about repurposing material you’ve already created for different venues and audiences? Abel James, author of The Wild Diet, repackaged his offerings in smaller books as well as providing material (and new supplementary info) to nutritional templates he serves up in different ways on the web. For fiction authors, consider publishing prequels, sequels, box sets or an omnibus of your series. (This may not qualify as a reliable stream in your multiple incomes if it doesn’t sell or takes too long to get to market.)

But maybe none of the above appeals to you or you just can’t see a puzzle piece that fits with your writing career. Okay, work the problem. What can you do? How much do you need? What debt can you eliminate? What lifestyles choices can you do without to free up resources? What can you sell or trade? Are you willing to move? What are you willing to do to protect yourself from starvation and insecurity? How will you earn the capital you need to buy writing time, book promotion, marketing and investment in yourself as a writer? (And feed the baby?)

My solution was to take on four jobs. Two of the businesses are mine and I worked it out so I control my time juggling all my projects. Entrepreneurship suits me better than working for a boss. (Me and a boss? That couldn’t end well.) I write more books, yes, but with kids going off to university I need a cushion between me and homelessness as I help them on their way.

Until we can reliably meet our responsibilities with one source of income (preferably by selling tons of great books, entertaining the multitudes and earning fans!) we all have some financial problems to solve. If all you’ve got is a lottery ticket in your hip pocket, please give it some more thought, just in case that doesn’t pan out.

What are your multiple streams of income? Suggestions welcome. 

~ Check out my author site at AllThatChazz.com. You’ll find a helpful podcast and oodles of SF, crime thrillers, apocalyptic epics and a self-help book called Do the Thing! So do the things. It’s sexy to do things.

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Writers: On Confidence

I just listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast with designer Debbie Millman. Good Q&A about designing our lives.  One of the takeaways for me was about confidence. Ms. Millman interviewed many successful people. She encountered only two who didn’t feel like impostors teetering on the precipice of defeat. The confident pair were octogenarians with long records of success. For everyone else, success is a moving target, ephemeral and slippery.

If you don’t feel successful, it’s okay. Even after you have some measure of success, chances are good you won’t feel big enough for your britches even then. On the other hand, I have run into individuals who are stunningly confident. They’re probably deluded examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. According to Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is.

From my experience, the people in publishing who sound most sure of world domination are novices. They tend to look at book publishing as a lottery and they’re a little too positive they’ve got the winning ticket with their first book.

The veterans have seen more failure so they aren’t betting on one book. They tend to look at each book as a journey, an exploration and an experiment. They also tend to look back on earlier efforts with some measure of regret: the writing that could have been improved upon or marketing mistakes were committed. More experienced authors appear more laid back about whether something hits. Even as they do a lot of smart things that make a heavy ROI more likely, they’re sanguine. They keep on producing. They don’t get sucked into review rages, shame spirals, bravado or defensiveness.

As a writer, it’s nice to have confidence but it’s not necessary. Do the work and enjoy the process more. Writing is its own reward first. Turning readers into fans is a separate thing, very different from facing the page and spinning out gold ink. 

Don’t worry about how much self-assuredness you possess or how little you’ve yet to earn. Confidence is a big soft pillow. It feels good until the stuffing gets knocked out of it. 

Just write.

~ I write science fiction, urban fantasy, apocalyptic epics and crime thrillers. Please do check out my books and podcasts on my author site, AllThatChazz.com.

 

Filed under: authors and money, publishing, Writers, writing, writing advice, , , , , ,

Sensitivity Readers & Offensive Narratives

A new phenomenon is out in the ether: hire someone to hold novelists back when we are about to publish something insensitive. In addition to editing and proofreading, another sector is out there waiting to vet your book for narratives that might offend.

Here’s the problem with that: No matter what you write, you will offend someone. Guaranteed. (I just offended someone.)

Whether you use “bad words” or allow bad characters to do bad things (in character) someone out there is ready to object. I can understand the allure of employing a sensitivity reader. Particularly nervous novice novelists might look for another layer of protection against offending readers (or at least have someone to blame when the reviews go south). Writing is not a profession for overly nervous people, though. Writers have something to say. Writers plant their feet and take a stand. Having opinions is how we win friends, earn fans and make enemies. I dream of building better worlds as I accept that this reality frequently falls short of my ideals.

I once gave a reading where a character says something mildly sexist. A woman in the audience groaned. I didn’t stop the reading to confront her with, “Hey! I’m not saying that. The character is saying that! You know, the guy who has a body in the trunk of his car? Not a good guy!” Next time, I swear I will stop the reading and say that. Damn it. I hate missed opportunities.

So, anyway, do you get your money back from the sensitivity reader when you get that bad review from an offended reader?

Employing readers specifically to police our stories just won’t fly on any large scale. Editors and proofreaders and my beta team have held me back here and there and I have taken their sage advice gladly. I have also bulled ahead with plot points that might (will) offend someone. We are writers. We will always offend someone on some point and I’d worry if I didn’t. I’ve written a lot of horror. If my work doesn’t make your skin crawl, I haven’t done my job. (See the coffin birth in Season 2 of This Plague of Days. See the monstrosity when the head vampire finds Shiva in Season 3! Holy crap, I creeped me out in parts of that book!)

The sensitivity of some readers is not a good enough reason to change our stories for all readers. I’m not making anyone read my books and the sales copy does not depict descriptions of kittens chasing butterflies in a peaceful meadow. (That’s a horror story for the butterflies and all who love pretty insects, by the way.)

Attempting to appeal to everyone is a formula for bland books as well as being an impossible task. The internet is an anonymous rage machine so don’t even try to cater to the fringe. Use your best judgment, serve the story and serve the majority of readers who are your readers.

In Dream’s Dark Flight, one of the main characters is an African American woman. When an otherworldly entity swears to enslave her, she tells him she is a descendant of slaves. Heroically, she defies the devil and proclaims that she will never bow. One of my beta readers worried that this was a dangerous facet of the narrative. Was this cultural appropriation? I’d say I am promoting diversity as I serve the character and the story. Many of my characters are of diverse ethnic origin. The alternative is I only write about white guys. I’d rather my fiction reflect the real world: good, bad, diverse, messy, blended and ultimately transcendent.

I will not stay in my lane. I write for the future not the past. In the future, all humans will be of mixed race and the world will finally become what some thought we once were: post-racial, more forgiving and peaceful. 

Peace to you today.

Chazz

~ In addition to posting here, I write horror, SFF and crime thrillers. I also host the All That Chazz Stress Relief Podcast. Find out more on my main website, AllThatChazz.com. In my latest podcast I rant about arguing with people, weight loss and dealing with cravings. Yes, I’m diverse.

Filed under: publishing

Changing my life: Writer Self-care

Since coming down with a wicked flu before Christmas, I was on a roller coaster ride regarding my health. Truth be told, a lot of last year sucked regarding my health (on top of all those dead celebrities I liked!) Life got worse before it started to get better. 

At the turn of the year, my problems came to a head. As my plane descended into Cuba, my left eardrum burst. That sucked a little joy from the vacation but Cuba was my first step in a new direction. Stepping back from working so hard gave me perspective, some time to read and time on the beach to think. It took me a month to fully recover from the ear issue and complications ensued from the medications I was on. Aside from a few headaches, all that seems to be behind me. How is this relevant to writers? Because our sedentary lifestyles and the constant push to write more books faster is killing us.

Killing us. No, that’s not hyperbole. Sitting is the new smoking.

There are plenty of solutions to the sedentary lifestyle and I’ve discussed them in this space before (e.g. cycles under the desk, tread desks, standing desks, Fitbits, Garmin watches, get out and move your ass, etc.,….) It’s not just about motion. It’s also about diet. As Tim Ferriss says, “Ounces are lost in the gym, pounds are lost in the kitchen.” 

Getting better and feeling better takes effort, but I needed a new groove so I was motivated to finally make deep changes.

As writers under stress (like anyone under stress) we often self-medicate. Self-medication can take many forms. Increased alcohol consumption is the classic writer cliche. Overdoing caffeine (that’s me) or spacing out too much with Facebook and video games might qualify as injurious, too. None of those distractions is bad, it’s just a question of how much we do them and what healthy, productive pursuits those activities replace. 

I’ve been very careful about my diet for the last month. I’ll spare you the details except to say I dumped sugar, wheat and anything that comes out of a box. The larger point is, I didn’t realize how sick I was until I cleaned up my act. Sick was normal. Feeling shitty was the daily and the regular. I was eating bad food as a stress reaction. Now that I’m not doing that anymore, I feel the difference between sick and well again. I haven’t felt this good in years. I’ve lost weight, my blood pressure is normalizing and I have more energy for everything, including writing.

Will I write as many books this year as I have in past years? Maybe not but now I think I’ll be writing for more years. (I had an inkling I’d be dead by 54. Now I’m less concerned my life will be cut so short.) My books are suddenly more popular than they have been so I’m very motivated to keep going. I have so many more stories to tell and series to finish. I won’t kill myself doing it, though. I’ve achieved balance and I worry less.

Sure, sure, Chazz, but how?

Everyone will find their own way, but I can give you a few ideas about how I’m doing this:

  1. Write a book about stress management. I did and it changed my life because, after preaching this stuff for years I committed to living up to my book. (The book is called Do The Thing!) In the final chapter, I made my readers my accountability partners. I promised I’d rise to my own ideals. (Accountability partners are key. I needed someone to report to so I recruited someone as well as blabbing about it weekly on the All That Chazz Stress Relief Podcast.)
  2. If you can’t write a book about stress, read one, obviously. Please pardon the shameless plug.
  3. Do the healthy things that work for you. What’s the best exercise? The one you’ll do and enjoy. Which is the best gym? The closest one or the gym on the right hand side of the road on the way home. Can’t face a hot yoga class? YouTube and phone apps have yoga. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the doable. Whatever. Just do the thing!
  4. Seek help if you need it. Help someone else if you don’t need it. Social connection and support is an important indicator of health and mortality, too.
  5. Do not worry about what you can’t control.
  6. Find your solutions with people who get you. One of the things that attracted me to trying The Wild Diet was that the approach was achievable, I could enjoy the food and the rationale made sense to me. However, the factor that really got me going with that book was that the author, Fat-burning Man Abel James, had been overweight and suffered health problems. He isn’t a personal trainer who had always been skinny and didn’t know the struggle. He isn’t the kind of guy who hates fat people and screams 1-2-3-4! (Looking at you, Jillian Michaels!)
  7. Make you a priority. This the the plea to enact the lesson of the cliche: When the airplane is crashing, put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Since changing my lifestyle, I have more energy for my kids. They don’t care about my books, but they do want to hang out with Dad more now that he’s happy.

I could go on, but hey, find out more on my podcast or pick up the book or do whatever else you already know you need to do. Life can be better and longer. I know that for sure now.

All the best,

Chazz

 

Find out more at AllThatChazz.com.

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Free ebooks and a Prize Draw

Not in a Valentine’s Day sort of mood? Excellent! Here’s something we hope you’ll really like*:

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Click here for free ebooks and to enter a draw for a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift cards!

*10 points to Gryffindor if you caught the subtle Rocky and Bullwinkle reference.

Filed under: publishing

Payoffs

Warning: No spoilers exactly but spoilers are hinted at.

As I write this, I’m watching Bates Motel on Netflix. This season is undoubtedly the best of the series. Here’s why I think it stands out and what we might take from it for our own storytelling:

  1. There came a point where a lesser storyteller would have made Norman’s psychologist do a dumb thing. The writers didn’t take that easy turn. Instead, they made him sharp and consistently observant. I hate it when plots only work because a character is suddenly an idiot.
  2. Consistent menace. The writers had me vaguely worried even during an innocent game of croquet. That game has mallets and the scene contained a possibly dangerous conversation.
  3. The end of each episode is addictive, even when it’s not a cliffhanger per se. If this were a book, I’d keep reading. I’m still watching. This book would be a page turner.
  4. Complex characters. People are neither all good nor all bad, like real people. Would-be killers sometimes show mercy. (Chick is a fantastic character who reminded me how much I love complex villains. There aren’t enough of those in fiction.)
  5. Believable detail: Freddie Highmore delivers an amazing performance. More than that, the production really sells the authenticity of his incarceration, even down to the legal nitty gritty of getting out of an asylum (without boring us).
  6. Complexity of plot. The plot unwinds as the pressure slowly builds. Foreshadowing is hinted at here and there. Something terrible is going to happen. Even when nothing appears to be happening, the subtext is rich.
  7. Emotional depth. The plot is good (and by that I mean it matters) because it develops from rich characters. You don’t have to empathize with every character to find each one compelling.
  8. Stakes. There are innocent people (or fairly innocent people trying their best) who will meet bad ends, no doubt. What makes it work is that the secondary characters are about to get knocked off their planned trajectories. No red shirt knows he is a red shirt. He’s got plans for a long happy life until the phaser is set to kill.
  9. Mystery. Confident authors don’t spill their guts all at once. For instance, someone goes missing without explanation of where they went. The payoff is coming. If there is enough going on, readers will wait. (They won’t wait if we don’t give them enough to chew on, of course.)
  10. Every character wants something that conflicts with others’ aims. Not just heroes versus villains, either. People we love can stand in our way for their own good reasons, too.

I have the same feeling about this season of Bates Motel as I do with a good book. I must  keep going to find out where all this will lead. I think I’ll be sorry when it’s over. Compelling entertainment is not ubiquitous.

~ I am Robert Chazz Chute. I write books about AI, zombies, cool anti-heroes and strange apocalyptic scenaria. I make podcasts about how we can calm the hell down. See what I mean at my author page (and pick up a freebie) at AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: publishing

41 Faves & Details

Wallflower (Medium)

  1. Favorite author: William Goldman. Reading him taught me how to write fiction.
  2. Favorite book in my lifetime: The Color of Light
  3. Favorite book in school: Animal Farm. Portnoy’s Complaint was solid, too.
  4. An author I used to like and now can’t remember why: Norman Mailer.
  5. Overrated: Hemingway’s novels. A Moveable Feast is just mean. The shorts are still okay. 
  6. Dead authors I’d like to meet: Robert Heinlein for the sci-fi conversation, Kurt Vonnegut because I wrote a book in which he is a character (Wallflower) and I share his worldview.
  7. Favorite book I wrote: Difficult choice but either This Plague of Days, Dream’s Dark Flight or Brooklyn in the Mean Time (I can’t choose any fewer of my children than that! Geez!)
  8. Best solo podcast: Spalding Gray, Live Recordings
  9. Best news podcast: The Young Turks
  10. Best comedy podcast: The Scathing Atheist
  11. Best movie (comedy): I keep watching The Big Lebowski even though I thought I was done with it.
  12. Best movie (drama) ~ tie: Fight ClubThe Usual Suspects & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  13. Best TV Series: West Wing
  14. Best TV (comedy): News Radio
  15. Best drink ~ tie: Pina Colada & Singapore Sling (Slings used to be a big thing.)
  16. Place I need to get back to: Bermuda. When I was 16, I promised myself I’d go back.
  17. The city I’d live in if I wasn’t where I am: Victoria, BC
  18. Best architecture I’ve visited: The Peace Palace
  19. Most interesting attraction: Hearst Castle for the fascinating conspicuous consumption.
  20. Biggest celebrity I’ve met: A hug from director Kevin Smith easily beats two Canadian prime ministers
  21. Best cake: Black Forest Cake in the Black Forest ruined all other Black Forest cakes forever. Don’t even try.
  22. Podcast I once loved and now it’s hit and miss: The Joe Rogan Experience
  23. First odd factoid that comes to mind: The word for popping out an eyeball is exoculation.
  24. Strange obsession: Obscure words and Latin phrases
  25. Spookiest known fact: With her last breath, my mother waved goodbye from her deathbed.
  26. Movie obsession: At 20, Hong Kong action flicks. Now? Any movie with Humphrey Bogart.
  27. Movies I want to see: A new Iron Man movie each month starring RDJ
  28. Movie star who disappoints me most ~ three-way tie: Gwyneth Paltrow for selling dangerous snake oil, Chuck Norris for his far right political views and Donald Trump for accidentally becoming president by catering to fear. (I say accidentally because even he didn’t think he’d make it this far.)
  29. Movies people think I’d like but can take or leave: Star Wars. (Trek is better.)
  30. Least favorite thing about others: Lack of compassion
  31. Most favorite thing about others: Generosity of spirit
  32. Injuries: A messed up knee, chipped teeth, broken toe (sparring)
  33. Worst injury inflicted on another: Broken wrist (sparring)
  34. Easiest years of my life: University. I was out of the workforce doing something easy.
  35. Worst job: Working for my family in a warehouse and retail.
  36. Weirdest job: Working for Harlequin proofing romances on the night shift.
  37. Best job: Drinking coffee while writing books to entertain you.
  38. Least favorite thing about me: My memory for offences is too good and I lost touch with a lot of friends due to bouts of depression.
  39. Special talents: Frightening and uncanny laser accuracy pinpointing triggerpoints for healing intent or for pain compliance/debilitation techniques, pattern recognition in both threat assessment and postural assessment scenaria, pro jokemeister, witty banter, blasphemer.
  40. If I weren’t this, what would I be?: I’d write and direct movies.
  41. Plan for 2017: Write more books and record more podcasts as I live up to the aspirations and inspirations of my latest non-fiction book, Do the Thing!


Pick a number.

What’s your fave or detail you’d like to share in the comments?

~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute, a writer and wood stove enthusiast. Please check out my author page at AllThatChazz.com for a freebie (Haunting Lessons) and the All That Chazz Stress Relief Podcast. You’ll also see links to all my books there so, hey, you know the drill. Enjoy.

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Filed under: publishing

On Writing What Will Be Read

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I’ve written a bunch of books. They were all passion projects. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my passions. The zombie books sold and continue to sell. I might be summering in Rio if I had stuck with one genre. That doesn’t mean I wish I had only catered to one genre and made it more lucrative. The details are a little more refined than that. Let’s make it simple. If I were starting again, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Pseudonyms only. It makes no difference to the final product but psychologically it’s less stressful on the post-production end.
  2. One genre and, of course, one author page per pseudonym. That separation helps Amazon algos sell books without muddling the reader pool. Readers are more specific in their wants than many authors. If they want zombie fiction, they don’t want my crime thrillers and vice versa.
  3. Build out the series into longer strings of books.
  4. Write shorter books, fewer big bricks.
  5. Focus more of my energies on the series that sell and earn the time and privilege of my artsy passions later.
  6. I won’t stretch out a story longer than it takes to tell it. That wouldn’t serve the readers. However, I wouldn’t be against writing more stories in the same universe and tying it all together. (Just did that with Dream’s Dark Flight, a stand alone that fits with the Dimension War Series.)
  7. Write more of what readers actually read instead of what I want to read. I know the typical advice is to write what you want to read (and it is important to know your genre.) However, I’m a writer. I finally figured out (since working under pseudonyms) that I can write in just about any genre and make it interesting for myself. 

There are many other things I’d do differently, of course, but that would be a good start. Now I’ll retcon and reverse engineer that plan. Or build a time machine. The time machine is coming along pretty well.

~ I’m a writer across several genres, darn it. Couldn’t beat the ADD. I just started a podcast in which I go deep on life management issues. The podcast is complementary to my latest book, Do the Thing! It’s about managing stress, pain, time and energy. Find out more on my author page at www.AllThatChazz.com

new-all-that-chazzstress-relief-podcast

 

Filed under: publishing

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

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Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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