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

Write and publish with love and fury.

How to reach readers in a way most writers don’t

When you think of using video to promote your book, you probably think of a book trailer, like this:

I made the trailer above and it turned out pretty slick, I think. But there’s a better way. A book trailer broadcasts out. I want to motivate readers to find me, not just talk at them. Sure, book trailers can be cool, but there’s little to no evidence they motivate people to purchase more books. (Click on my old post here for thirteen options for using video. I especially like the Scott Sigler strategy.)

Here’s how I added value to This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition.

The better way is to use video is to thank readers and engage them with a question or a reward. I opted to do both with a link to a secret video at the back of the TPOD Omnibus Edition. It’s three books in one, so, for those who care to, they can make one purchase and save a couple of bucks.

Here are the specifics of my latest launch strategy:

1. I’ve just launched two books, This Plague of Days, Season 3 and This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition.

2. I dropped the price on the first novel to 99 cents and marked the second book down to $2.99. I’m selling the Omnibus (three big books in one) for $6. 

3. At the back of the Omnibus, exclusive to those readers, is a link to a private video. In it, I talk about the saga. It’s been years in the making. This is my Star Wars. Putting it to bed is a big deal to me and I give some behind-the-scenes origin information.

4. I ask a sincere question. A secret has been buried in this series from Season One and it pays off late in Season 3. It’s a huge surprise that a lot of people tried to figure out but they only saw it in retrospect. (My beta readers all said the same thing. “Oh! Of course! You dog!”)

5. As long as Omnibus readers answer the question in the comment thread at the private video link this year, I’ll send each of them my next thriller ebook as a gift. Free. No strings or demands for a newsletter sign-up. The new thriller comes out later this summer and it even ties other books together. It’ll be a fun ride and also a solid bridge to my other books even though it’s not in TPOD‘s genre.

6. Video is a more personal way to thank readers. By adding another book to the six-dollar Omnibus, readers won’t just save some bucks. They’ll get four books (three huge ones and one decent-sized novel.) Readers will benefit and I hope to gain readers who are already enthusiastic about my particular brand of crazy. 

7. I know this approach trips some fear alarms for some authors. Please don’t tell me I’m devaluing literature by pricing it too low and giving too much away. I’ve lowered the price, not the value. The literature that is devalued most is that which is read least. Times are tough for a lot of people, me included. But I still believe that generosity and helping others wins over greed. Give more and you’ll attract the people you want to be your readers. When they find you, they’ll buy all your books. Don’t chase anyone. Count the giveaway as the cost of advertising, something any business does. Let readers come to you willingly and they’ll bring you joy instead of heartache. 

How did I do it?

I used iMovie, but you could use a cell phone. It doesn’t matter as long as it uploads to Youtube and designate the link “unlisted” so only those who have the link can access it. It doesn’t have to be slick and fancy or have a kickass soundtrack that sounds like it’s calculated to accompany an invasion of Libya.

Your video might even be better if it’s not slick. I love my energetic little book trailer, but heartfelt and speaking into the camera? Heartfelt is more important than slick.

But how did I sell the TPOD Big Deal Book Launch to readers?

Here’s exactly how I did it.

~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute and no one can begin to fathom the depths of my exhaustion at this moment. I am puddin’. But I’m also happy. Anxious and happy. Mostly anxious. Go make a video. Of love. (No, I don’t mean like that!…okay…maybe like that.) 

Filed under: author platform, book marketing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Kevin Smith Changed My Life

I had a secret worry.

Our walls are full of books. My curse was that many of my books are about publishing and how to write. There’s a good chance I’ve read every book in English on how to write and edit. My secret worry was that I would die and my children would be left with all these books, each one a reminder of the books I had failed to write. The idea of my wife and children seeing me that way scared the shit out of me. But I still wasn’t betting on myself. I wasn’t all in.

Then in November 2009

(UPDATE: Whoops! That was actually 2010 so I made the jump in one year)

I saw director Kevin Smith onstage in Kitchener.

I expected to laugh a lot and I did.

What I didn’t expect was inspiration. 

I had thought about writing full-time but I only thinking, not doing. I attended writers’ conferences and wrote novels I kept secret from the world. I had a few drafts written but hadn’t polished and submitted them anywhere. I’d won seven writing awards, but hadn’t leveraged that fact. I wrote the back page column in Massage & Bodywork magazine for several years, freelanced some speeches and marketing materials, ghosted a bit and edited for writers and publishers on the side. Still, I hadn’t committed to making a real change for me. I was helping to make other people’s dreams come true. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I was ignoring my dreams and I wasn’t setting goals for myself.

I was waiting for…something.

Kevin Smith

Image via Wikipedia

Don’t wait. Take your shot.

Life is too short to wait to pursue your dreams.

I figured out the math. The risk I wasn’t taking was more dangerous than failing to try.

No matter how this experiment turns out, I can say I tried.

As you can see from the video, things have changed for me.

I’m having more fun. I’m putting myself out there.

Self-help for Stoners, Stuff to Read When You’re High, is now available in paperback.

 The Self-help for Stoners podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher and six ebooks are up for sale just about everywhere.

Look for three novels coming in 2012.

Thanks for the laughs and the inspiration, Kevin!

I went all in before it was too late.

The curse is broken.

Filed under: book trailer, Books, DIY, ebooks, getting it done, publishing, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, Writers, , , , , , ,

Here’s a trailer for my books.

Did this on iMovie today. I’d never used iMovie before, but it was fun to play with. Just took a couple of hours, two cans of diet pop and half a bag of salt and vinegar chips…well, those last items might not have been altogether necessary. Books, book trailers, the Self-help for Stoners podcast on iTunes…I’m multimedia now!

Will a book trailer make a difference in sales? Doubtful, from what I’ve researched, but it might draw more attention to my blog and author profile on Goodreads and that’s why I did it. The exposure on YouTube might not hurt, either. I’m sure I’ll do something more elaborate (but just as short) in the future and make each trailer book-specific. For now? This makes me happy.

Filed under: book trailer, Publicity & Promotion, , , , , , ,

Writers: Love in the time of Book Trailers

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

AJ Jacobs: Non-fiction to love

 

I’ve read The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically and The Guinea Pig Diaries. I enjoyed them all (and even interviewed the author once for a story.)

This is research as performance art that manages to be both funny and educational. I suspect AJ has OCD, so diligent is he in his life experiments.

I’ll also add what everybody says after reading his books: His wife has the patience of a saint.

Filed under: book reviews, Books, Writers, , , ,

How Not to Write a Novel: The Bookfomercial

Filed under: Books, publishing, web reviews, writing tips, , ,

Scott Sigler’s Book Trailer for Ancestor

Scott Sigler tweeted me this link yesterday. Good trailer to promote his latest book. Production values in book trailers are really shooting up! Scott Sigler is not just a compelling writer. He used podcasting, web and viral promotion to fuel his success. Publishers didn’t recognize his potential. He proved them wrong. Through persistence and strategy, Mr. Sigler found his way to success by giving. 

I WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SCOTT SIGLER’S SUCCESS STORY.

Filed under: Writers, , ,

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.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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