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

Write and publish with love and fury.

TOP 10 in Publishing: What’s changed again? Amazon.

If hope you enjoyed my interview with Simon Whistler on The Rocking Self-publishing Podcast (see the post below this one for details if you missed it.) We recorded the episode on July 4. It didn’t take long at all for some details to change since the interview. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Yes, on too much coffee, I can get pretty manic. Also, some of the interview was edited for excessive Sean Connery impressions.

2. I was in Kobo briefly. I made $27. Finally and at last! I can retire! …Mm…no, actually, I pulled the plug on Kobo except for some short stories.

Everybody agrees. The folks at Kobo are nice people. Then I heard a horror story of someone who couldn’t move books on Kobo even when Kobo promoted them! I was to meet with the good people of Kobo in Toronto. After evaluating the track record and potential, I blew off the meeting so I could stay home and write and edit my next books. The trip literally wasn’t worth the gas. I do hope things will improve in this regard in the near future for Kobo and several other platforms. Amazon needs healthy, not anemic, competition.

3. Kindle Unlimited was introduced soon after the interview. Seeing so little movement on Kobo, I promptly pulled out and slapped my books back into KDP Select. With their value added proposition, suddenly there is more marketing juice to squeeze out of Amazon. 

4. Kindle just announced they will reward early adopters of the program by relaxing the 10%-read-to-get-paid rule on the first round. They also added to the shared fund for borrows. I missed out on the money bump when they introduced KDP Select in the first place. I wasn’t going to miss out again.

5. Since returning to Select, My KU earnings frequently surpass my regular sales. People are taking to the program. This is especially nice because This Plague of Days, Season One is a whole book, the first in the trilogy. It’s selling at just 99 cents. More readers are willing to check it out through the KU program. That pays roughly a couple bucks per borrow instead of 30 cents. Am I a huge success, yet? No. However, I’m getting exposure that other platforms can’t seem to give.

6. This Plague of Days is getting promoted on a couple different lists by Amazon. Seems it’s getting some traction with teens most, science fiction second and fantasy third. (Interesting, yes? Maybe I should revamp the sales descriptions to skew away slightly from horror since its layers and appeal may lie elsewhere.)

7. Amazon just upped the ante in the value added column by opening up the pre-order button to little guys like me. Holy crap! I have some thoughts on how that could be useful, but I’ll save it for another post once I’ve gone through their submission process firsthand.

8. When we recorded the interview, Simon and I discussed whether the Amazon-Hachette debacle would still be a thing by the time the interview aired August 14th. As I recall, neither of us were that optimistic the battle would be over by then and we were right. In an attempt not to bore the audience or appear dated too soon, we largely avoided that discussion. We’re all suffering Amazon versus Hachette fatigue, aren’t we? Looking forward to the titans figuring it out for themselves.

9. We had a great time with that interview and I hope you laughed along with us. There’s some good information sifting through that hour of self-publishing talk. The field is growing and changing so fast — or at least Amazon is changing their game so fast — several things changed in a very short time.

The other platforms? Um. Can anybody name an innovation from any of the other platforms in the last six months? (There must be something, but nothing strong has stuck with me.)

10. What didn’t change? Pretty much everything else. I’m still glad I serialized This Plague of Days but I don’t intend to serialize again (too many gears and pulleys and cons versus pros on that machine.) 

What’s next?

More series (not serialization) and another omnibus edition. 

Stay tuned.

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

Laugh Riot: The Rocking Self-publishing Podcast

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)I’m on Episode #60 of the Rocking Self-publishing Podcast with host Simon Whistler! Hoo-freakin’-HA!

We talk about having fun with book marketing. In fact, the whole interview was really fun. I laughed a lot. Simon edited out all the instances where I made him laugh milk out of his nose (I swear.)

Listen for the jokes, stay for the marketing discussion. Available everywhere!

Here’s the link to The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast.

Enjoy! I sure did.

(Curious about my blog and podcast network? You’ll find that here at AllThatChazz.com.) 

Follow me on Twitter here. I follow back for writers and readers.

Join me on Facebook here.

Thanks!

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Author Armand Rosamilia hates Canada

Dying Days 3Let’s not talk about Armand Rosamilia and the horror books everyone knows. Let’s talk about the secret Armand Rosamilia no one knows.

1. What’s the scariest movie you ever saw and why?

I always tell everyone Beaches with Bette Midler, but it’s really Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo.

2. Why do you write about horror when you could be writing about unicorn and puppy erotica?

Who says I don’t use a pen-name for that stuff? But I hate puppies so I don’t write that crap.

3. What’s your secret to being so damn sexy and does that get in the way of your writing career or help your fame grow?

Being so damn sexy is actually a curse. I can’t even go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and order three McDoubles (plain, please) without someone asking for my autograph on the credit card receipt.

4. If you could remake a horror movie with two iconic monsters, which ones would you put together on screen and who would win? 

This might be my first serious answer… hmm. Tom Cruise (with creepy smile) against the C.H.U.D.’s. I would like to see the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground

Armand Rosamilia

Armand Rosamilia

Dwellers win.

5. What stars would you cast in the movie of Dying Days (note: Not all characters can be Richard Simmons.)

Since you took the obvious answer away from me… Alyssa Milano as Darlene Bobich, even though she doesn’t look like her… I just want to finally meet my next ex-wife. And then a bunch of dudes I have no use for. Like the dreamy Drew Carey and Orlando Bloom (who people mistake me for all the time).

6. Celebrity author death match: Dean Koontz versus Stephen King in a cage at the Superbowl half-time show. The soundtrack is the fight music from the original Star Trek Spock versus Shatner fight to the death. What weapons do Koontz and King use? How does the fight go down and who wins?

Koontz uses his toupee as a secret weapon, using it at the last minute to break off King’s giant choppers and forcing them down his throat. King’s Ramones t-shirt is ineffective against Koontz.

7. In your spare time I understand you’re an internationally recognized belly button lint sculptor. How did you get into that and what’s your favorite piece of lint art?

My Abraham Lincoln is frighteningly life-like, but my Mel Gibson sculpture of his belly button lint from Lethal Weapon 2: Electric Bugaloo is also amazing.

dying days cover8. What was your personal, secret, behind-the-scenes role in bringing down Mitt Romney in the last US election?

I actually went out for a few banana bread beers with him and told him, truthfully, ‘Westeros will have an election next year. Hold out for there, or Margaritaville. Either place could use you.’ Then he got into his spaceship with Bigfoot and they went to hang out with Elvis and Fatty Arbuckle.

9. What does “Rosamilia” translate to?

In Italian the literal translation is ‘Man with Giant Penis Who Knows How To Use It’. Or thousand roses. I forget which one.

10. If you weren’t a horror author, obviously you’d be bent on world domination. What would your plan to become our overlord be?

First thing I would do would be to sink Canada (sorry, Chazz) back into the Hudson River, and then destroy the New York Yankees with a meteor (sorry, um… idiot Yanks fans) and then all radio stations would only be allowed to play Steel Panther or Bloodhound Gang songs. Then I would ban all literature except my books and Watership Down. And then we’d turn the pyramids upside down and make them giant swimming pools and I’d charge $5 per swim. And then… OK, I got nothing. 

Filed under: Author profiles, , , , , , , , ,

Author interview with Robert Chazz Chute

Over at Forgotten Realms, a fun interview awaits, including why the people at Staples were so mean to me last week.

I’d never been asked free association questions before. Tarek asked  “Child?” I thought “Money.” “Ocean?” “My answer was, “South Pacific”, but I meant the musical. My next thought was SpongeBob. Of course I also talk about Higher Than Jesus: bigger, even funnier, more hardboiled, more skip tracer tricks and The Major Chapter of Sex will melt your wallpaper.

By the way, Bigger Than Jesus, the first funny, clever, hardboiled thriller in the Hit Man Series is free this week! That’s right! FREE, until Nov. 9. Click it to grab it. If you love it, please review it. Thanks! 

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

My interview with Patrick Satters

 

I’ve been away from my desk for a few days, but the hilarity continued. I have a nice chat about The Hit Man Series with Patrick Satters:

What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?

Bigger Than Jesus is the foundation book for a series of crime thrillers. Twenty words or less? Jesus Diaz is a luckless hit man who wants to escape with his girlfriend and a stolen mafia fortune. That’s nineteen words. Laughs. That’s twenty…

 Read on here!

 

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Kit Foster Fiction: Robert Chazz Chute explains how to raise an army of assassins

Via Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

Fun author interviews come from fun questions. Kit Foster interviewed me at his blog. Swing by at the link below. (Kit’s an author and a great graphic designer, too!) Great graphic of my monkey army of ninja assassins! ~ Chazz

Via kitfosterfiction.blogspot.co.uk

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , ,

The Writing World: Author Interview- Robert Chazz Chute

Via Scoop.itDevolution

This was a big bucket of fun. RaeBeth McGee over at The Writing World interviews me on my weaknesses (carefully hidden), my books (mostly obscure but gaining ground) and the bodies (corporate and otherwise) strewn behind me.

Fun interviews are one of the perks of this job. I love having fun with author interviews. Click the link to The Writing World and have a laugh. ~ Chazz
Via raebethmcgeeswriting.blogspot.com

Filed under: All That Chazz, Author profiles, Books, publishing, Useful writing links, What about Chazz?, What about you?, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , ,

Author Profile: Anthony Bidulka’s Date with a Sheesha

Anthony_BidulkaAnthony Bidulka’s mystery series tells the story of a world-travelling, wine-swilling, wise-cracking, gay Canadian PI living a big life in a small city. The Russell Quant series is a multi-award nominee including for the CWC Arthur Ellis Award, and was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Men’s Mystery. Anthony Bidulka has enjoyed time well-spent and misspent in the worlds of academia, accounting, footwear, food services, and farming. In 1999, Anthony Bidulka, BA, BEd, BComm, CA, left a decade-long career as a chartered accountant to pursue writing.

The Russell Quant books are: Amuse Bouche (2003), Flight of Aquavit (2004), Tapas on the Ramblas (2005), Stain of the Berry (2006), Sundowner Ubuntu (2007), Aloha, Candy Hearts (2009), Date With a Sheesha (2010.)

CW: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

AB: Pretty much as soon as I could put pen to paper. As a youngster I was completely entranced by the power of storytelling and my greatest wish was to be someone who could do that. Instead of spending my allowance on candy or toys, I’d buy books and comics. As a teenager, I began writing and illustrating stories for my nieces and nephews. In truth, those were the first books I authored.

CW: Tell us a little about your books.

AB: I write a mystery series, which is not exactly what I set out to do. My first serious attempt at a book—as an adult—was a thriller. While I was waiting for the offers to pour in, I thought it might be a good idea to spend time on something just for the pure love and fun of writing. I created the world of Russell Quant, the first and only half-Ukrainian, half-Irish, wine-swilling, world-travelling, wise-cracking, ex-cop, ex-farm boy, gay, prairie-dwelling, Canadian private eye being written about today anywhere by anyone! (I dare anyone to contradict me.) That was ten years ago. Russell Quant has been my literary companion ever since.

The current release, Date With a Sheesha, deals with a young Canadian researcher travelling to the Middle East to buy antique carpets. Unfortunately, he’s found dead in a Dubai souk wrapped in a carpet. Russell is hired by the young man’s father to discover whether this was a simple tourist mugging gone bad as the authorities insist. (Of course, it is anything but). What follows is a magic carpet ride of an adventure from Saskatchewan to the frankincense fields of Oman and scorching sand dunes of Saudi Arabia.

CW: What research was involved in your book’s development?

AB: In each of the Russell Quant books, although much of the action takes place in Saskatchewan, Russell always finds himself embroiled in some sort of shenanigans in foreign locales. He’s been to the south of France, New York, Africa, Hawaii, and now, the Middle East. Each of the locations is chosen because of time I have spent there snooping about and wondering if this is a good place for murder and/or mayhem.

CW: What’s your writing process?

AB: I am very much an outliner. I like having at least a basic structure on which to build. I like knowing where I’m going. That said, I also think the most exciting—and sometimes nail biting aspect of writing fiction is the unknown. Although I create outlines, they are only the bare bones. The flesh is all the rest of the good stuff that comes out as you write the story, develop characters, create a world that only you control. Heady stuff, it is.

Once I have a first draft, I’ll go through a number of revisions until the piece gets to the point where I think it is the best it can be. Then I send it to my editor and she tells me why it isn’t.

CW: What’s the most surprising thing you discovered writing this book?

AB: I’ve sometimes wondered if writing a series would get boring or formulaic but I don’t findDate_with_a_Sheesha that to be true. I’m writing the eighth and I’ve attempted to give each of the books in the series a slightly different flavour. One is more romantic than the others. One is more of a caper. Another is more of a thriller and one is the scariest of the bunch. It’s a delicate balance because, to maintain the essence of what people liked about the series and characters, you don’t want to change things up too much. My hope is to keep the series fresh, the readers engaged and on their toes. That keeps me interested and excited to write more about Russell.

CW: What’s the hardest part of the publishing process?

AB: Today I think the most difficult part of the publishing process is keeping up with the speed-of-light changes in the industry. How we write, read, publish, and promote the written word is changing into something that was unrecognizable only five, ten years ago.

CW: How has that changed your book marketing?

AB: Extreme change had just begun to show its face as my first book was being published. Oddly enough, this has been a boon to me. I have only known upheaval in this industry. Just looking back over the past eight to nine years, one of the biggest changes is that the majority—the majority!—of small independent bookstores at which I gave readings in Canada and the US are now gone. They were the ones willing to give a new Canadian a chance. 

Oh yes, the world has changed and we must evolve with it. We used to give away electronic copies of the books for free, thinking that people would never read an entire book on screen, but perhaps it would entice them to buy the hard copy. Many of my colleagues now produce trailers for their books that rival those of blockbuster movies.

I have always seen the key to marketing a book as developing an ever-changing toolbox full of tricks. You try ten things and hope two of them work well. And even so, those two things will likely have to be tossed and replaced with something else before you blink. Daunting? Yes. Exciting? Yes. The essence is to be creative, be communicative, never give up trying.

CW: What do you most enjoy about being an author?

AB: There are so many enjoyable parts of the writing life. The firsts are top of the list. Getting that first signed contract. Seeing your book in galley format. Seeing it in a bookstore window. Getting emails from readers (who aren’t related to you!). Having your book reviewed in a major newspaper or magazine. Flying into a city you’ve never been to before and having people actually show up at a reading just to see you. It’s all so wonderful and fun and a truly unique experience.

CW:What advice would you give unpublished writers?

 AB: Get involved in the industry. Join writers groups, go to conferences, meet other writers, volunteer on boards and committees. As I’ve discovered in every part of my life, when you give back, you get back ten times more.

CW:What’s your next book project?

AB: A brand new edition of the first book in the Russell Quant series, Amuse Bouche, is being released soon. I’m currently working on a few different writing projects, one being the eighth Russell Quant mystery, tentatively titled Dos Equus.

CW: Thank you, Anthony! For more information, please visit www.anthonybidulka.com.  

 

 

 

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Author Profile: Sue Kenney & My Camino

CW: Most authors I speak to know they want to be a writer in childhood. That wasn’t true in your case. Tell us about that. 

SK: After being suddenly downsized from my corporate telecom career, I walked 780 kms on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a medieval pilgrimage route in Spain on a search to figure out what was important in life. When I came home I started telling stories about my journey. It was during this time that people asked me to write a book. I kept saying I wasn’t a writer. Over time with the encouragement of many people, mostly strangers, I felt it was something I was called to do.

CW: It sounds like your audience found you first and demanded you write about your journey.

My Camino

Sue Kenney

SK: People told me they wanted to read more about what I was thinking about and how my perceptions changed as I walked. The book is the true story of how I confronted my deepest fear. I start talking about the events that led to my decision to walk the Camino and why I went alone in the winter. Then, I tell stories about the people I met, the experiences I had, what I was thinking and how it impacted my perspective on life.

CW: How did you begin?

SK: I researched the Camino’s rich history extensively, the pilgrims (modern and pilgrims of old), miracles and the folklore. I took a course at Ryerson University in creative writing before I wrote my first book. My process was to sit down and write 1000 words a day for 2 months to complete a first draft manuscript of at least 50k words. I was disciplined about keeping to my goal and I met it.

 CW: How long did it take you to find a publisher?

SK: I went to Toronto’s Word on the Street and found three publishers who were interested in my idea. I was asked for a writing sample by one of the publishers but I hadn’t written anything. Fortunately, I had a storytelling CD called Stone by Stone I recorded. I transcribed those stories. Then I picked the longest story and gave it a chapter number and title. I sent it as my writing sample along with a strong marketing plan. White Knight Books agreed to publish My Camino the following year. The whole process took about six months because I was insistent on having the book published quickly and I delivered what was requested by the publisher on time.

CW: What surprised you the most about the writing process?

SK: If I surrendered to writing the truth then I was guided in the process. When I tried to control the process, I had more struggles. Early on, I decided to surrender to the creative process and I was completely surprised that I never experienced writer’s block.

CW: What was your biggest challenge you experienced through this book?

SK: Editing the book was a big challenge and an inspiration. Initially, I wasn’t impressed with the way the publisher edited the book because I felt as though my voice was being changed. He agreed to let me look for another editor. I found Bruce Pirrie. He hadn’t edited a book before, but he was a professional screen/stage/television writer who worked on The Red Green Show. He had also directed several Second City comedy shows. I took a chance on him and it proved to be the right decision. Bruce would give me notes, I’d make the revisions and then he would read it to me out loud.

When I asked him why he wanted to do that he said, “How do you know what it will sound like?” The inspiring part of this story is that I believe as a result of reading the book out loud, it is more visual. This was important when we pitched a screenplay adaptation to Pierre Even, (C.R.A.Z.Y.) a producer in Montreal. The book is now in development as a feature film. Bruce and I co-wrote the screenplay. In five years I went from being an Account Executive in the telecom industry to writing two books, a stage play, a screenplay and recording a storytelling CD.

CW: What was the hardest part of the publishing process for you and what did you most enjoy?

SK: The hardest part was getting the bookstores to keep copies of the books on the shelves. The big box stores want to sell volumes of books and being a first-time author, I didn’t have a well known name.

The part I most enjoyed was doing the book signings and readings. Often authors loathe doing this but I love it. In the first year, I did 54 author events. I gave free stones to people walking by and this always stirred up interesting conversations. When people find out I walked 780 kilometers across the north of Spain alone in the winter they’re intrigued. It took me over two years to become a Canadian bestseller but I never gave up. I believe my life purpose is to tell stories to inspire people on their life journeys. At book events I get to live my life purpose. It doesn’t get better than that!

CW: Any advice would you give unpublished writers?

SK: If people ask you to write your story, do it. Set a goal and write every day until it’s done. NaNoWriMo is a great event to help develop discipline. Don’t worry about getting a publisher or how you are going to sell books. Just get the story down on paper.

CW: Have changes in the book industry altered how you market your work?

SK: It’s easier to market now. I can blog, Facebook, tweet and send out my newsletter with updates. When I wrote a second book about the Camino called Confessions of a Pilgrim, I decided to use a self-publishing house because it gave me everything I needed to get a book on the market quickly and efficiently.  

CW: What’s your next project?

SK: I’m narrating an audiobook version of My Camino this month. This allows me to use my “voice” to share stories, something I’ve wanted to do since the book was published. In January, I’ll be offering a download version of the book on my website www.suekenney.ca initially for FREE co-incident with the launch of my new website. The CD audio book version will be launched on International Woman’s Day on March 8, 2011. I’ve penned the first draft of a novel about a woman who travels to India in search of pure love. I believe there is a correlation to walking and creativity so I walk every day.

CW: Thanks for doing this, Sue.For more on Sue Kenney, go here:

www.suekenney.ca

mycaminobook@gmail.com

Facebook: My Camino

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

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"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.

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