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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

Grab more business mojo: What Jedis know about Fear

Crack the Indie Author CodeI have more changes to make at Ex Parte Press and those changes involve some of you. (Heh. Didja hear that nervous giggle from across the globe, too?) It’s time to be the Jedis we secretly are, even though we’re Jedi school dropouts and Yoda said that thing about Fear leads to Hate…no wait, Hate leads to Fear and…um…gingivitis? Yoda talked backward a lot, okay?! Stupid syntax!

Anyway, I’ll be unveiling new plans for the Deathstar soon. I’d tell you everything right away, but I have to chaw on it to refine the details and call up a few people to bounce some ideas off their heads.

THE BROAD GOALS

1. Get more subscribers to my email list to enjoy my newsletters and giveaways (please sign up in the sidebar at AllThatChazz.com.)

2. Get my podcast to pay for itself and grow the listenership. (Try any of the current 67 episodes here.)

3. Find more allies, readers and reviewers, build a small cult, raise a large army for world domination and finally fix shit. I’ll start with the first three items on the list (i.e. allies, readers and reviewers) and sell more books. There’s much to do.

THE LONG-TERM GOALS

Eventually? Wi-fi for everyone and use Tesla’s secret plans for free electricity from the air. Everybody gets fed, lives in peace, low calorie ice cream will actually taste good and even make you thin. The new job for cancer cells will be to eat pollution since people will be made immune to the disease through the power of hemp oil. We’re going to cut down on a lot of the fear that rules our lives. That’s the Jedi way! (The Chicago  way — he brings a knife, you bring a gun — bodies everywhere.)

Anyone who doubted me will be cast in a remake of BJ and the Bear and will never be allowed off air, even when they need to poop. (They will, however, be broadcast on one of those cable channels high up no one watches on purpose. Am I not merciful?) Oh, and, of course, all coconut trees will be genetically engineered to sentience and yield coffee beans the size and flavor of coconuts in exchange for hyper-intelligence and all that free wi-fi. See, I’ve thought the big stuff through.

THE SHORT-TERM GOALS

Sure, everybody wants all those tiny miracles, but I’m working on the how of optimizing my micro-publishing empire. It’ll involve a little more technology, dancing outside my tiny comfort zone and opening up other income streams based on what I already do. It will involve calling up people to ask for help and, of course, continuing to smash through those writing and production deadlines. It ain’t all just sit back and be witty for a living, y’all.

THE REQUISITE MARATHON METAPHOR

It’s really about doubling down on this crazy bet I made on myself. It’s about not stopping as I hit the wall at mile 22. (Whispers) It’s mile 22 right about now actually. My shins are killing me.

This is where most people quit, but if I did that, I’d hate myself. There are only a few more miles to…well, that’s not the finish line. It’s the end of the beginning. But up ahead, past this hard part? The slopes are more gentle. Up ahead, I get a bike! The race isn’t as frenzied and I can coast a bit here and there. Sure, eventually we’ll all fall on our knees before our coconut-coffee hybrid overlords, but I’ll reign for 1,000 years first, so it all evens out.

GOOD FEARS, BAD FEARS

I’ll reveal the details when all the hunter-killer satellites’ particle beam arrays are in place. My most important point today is more general. I’ve been listening again to The Four-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. No, as an author, I don’t expect to get all of Ex Parte Press’s business done in four hours a week. However, the book pushes my buttons and tells me where I have operated out of fear. Fear has held me back from projects which could help my work immensely…like that particle beam thingy, for instance. 

In my heart — left ventricle  the big decisions are already made, but the ghostly voice in the back of my head asks: What if it doesn’t work? What if you don’t have enough time? What if it’s already too late? What if you don’t have enough money to make it work? What if it’s all too much? (Smother? Is that you?)

And yet, in the big picture these are small gambles with potentially big payoffs. I don’t have that much to lose and I might gain everything I need. Fear keeps you from doing stupid stuff, like parachuting without a parachute, eating old meat or jogging in winter (or summer).

But fear can hold you back from the most important bets you make on yourself. And when I say “you”, I mean “definitely me” and “maybe, probably you.”

THE CLICHED BUT NECESSARY FISHING METAPHOR

Aspire to Inspire eBook JPGThing is, the good fishing is in the far fishing hole, where most people won’t go. The better fishing hole is not a secret. It’s just that, for many, it’s too far for the hike and the trail is a bit narrower up there. I might fall in and get cold and wet and cry a bit. Chances are better than average I’ll come back with big fish, though.

Stay tuned for more…All That Chazz.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is a crime novelist. They aren’t mysteries. They’re grab-you-by-the-cojones thrillers, with obstacles and surprises, twists and explosions. They’re also funny amid the sex, violence, psychological chaos, bon mots, general smart-assery and the cool hit man with the divine name. Chazz has also written several suspenseful books with bizarre themes. He wrote two writing and publishing guides, too — the only funny ones. The All That Chazz podcast is broadcast everywhere weekly but never weakly. You can get the podcast from AllThatChazz.com, Stitcher, iTunes and you can even receive the kick-ass signal on your braces Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! Join Chazz’s revolution, or suffer the wrath of the chimp named Bear. 

Filed under: book marketing, self-publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: The Power of Small (and why press releases don’t work)

A picture of author Carolyn See

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When I worked in a city newsroom, one of my jobs was to go through press releases to find gems. There weren’t many of those clichéd diamonds in the rough. Reporters see so many press releases, they begin to look upon them with suspicion and even resentment.

What’s an author to do? You want an interview. You want your book reviewed. How do you make it happen? The traditional approach was to send out lots of press releases and books. It wasn’t very effective. In fact, sending out a lot of review copies is expensive.

There’s an alternative:

Go small. Go low-tech. Write a note.

This isn’t a practical approach for in-house publicists working for major publishers (but they usually work in short bursts for particular authors, anyway.) The low-tech, patient strategy is for indie authors looking for ways into the media. Unfortunately, publishers focus on very small windows of opportunity. They are looking to move a lot of books quickly (before the book stores send them all back for credit.) Marketing in book publishing has been long periods of silence interspersed with short frenzies. As an indie author selling e-books, you’re opting out of big, expensive and short-term strategies. This isn’t so much for Wiley (publishers since 1807!) authors. This is especially for wily indie authors.

As an independent author and publisher, you can play the long game instead. You can write a note or two a day. One author/guru Carolyn See made it her practice to write a “charming note” every day to an editor or publisher or agent.* Why not to reporters, too?

But there’s a trick to making it effective. You know how I’m always saying that if you want to hit up an agent, don’t look for the big, established names? Agents fresh from the factory who are up and coming in established agencies are better bets. They are still hungry and not as jaded. They don’t hate all queries yet. They still have hope and the scales have not yet developed over their eyes.

The same is true for reporters. The book editor of a large magazine already has lots of books lined up. The independent author has lots of indie-spirit, but most book editors still look down on them. So screw them.

Work on getting into smaller newspapers. Send a charming note to a general reporter who would love to do a cushy author interview instead of chasing some city council member who doesn’t want to speak to them. I’d rather talk to an author than cover a house fire any day.

You know why it will work?

It will work because you will be charming (“Loved that piece you wrote on the local scaled railroad hobbyists so I thought…”)

It will work because general reporters think entertainment reporters have a cushier job (and they’re right.)

It will work because all journalists also want to write a book some day.

And while we’re talking small, send off a friendly email to book bloggers. That counts as a charming note, too.

Ask to guest blog. Bloggers love a break and crave hits, connection, track backs, links and love.

Ask for an author profile. I profile an author on Chazz Writes almost every week. It’s not the New York Times Review of Books, but since they aren’t calling, how about alerting like-minded people to your creations? If you can’t go huge, you can still be ubiquitous.

Instead of just showing up at a bookstore and asking to see the manager, send a charming note ahead of you to break the ice and soften her up for a reading. Better, be even more charming and offer to organize readings for your local bookstore. (Later this year I’ll profile an author who did just that. Not only did he help many other authors, his own career got a boost from building community among colleagues.) 

Your book needs attention. I’m sure you’re already working on developing and maintaining your audience. Don’t forget that etching away at it a day at a time over the long haul can reap big rewards. With patience, you can build your empire. Don’t underestimate the power of a low-tech, targeted, personal and charming note.

These days, the mail is mostly for bills. This approach is more powerful than it ever was because you hate what’s in your mail box. But when you get a letter, you’re excited. It will work because it has worked.

*Read Carolyn See’s Making a Literary Life for details. Or, don’t fool around and head straight to Amazon to buy her book.

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Filed under: Author profiles, authors, book reviews, Books, DIY, getting it done, links, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, 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.

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

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