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

Write and publish with love and fury.

The Book Biz is Busy

Many writers have faced the problem I’m up against. I don’t write in only one genre and it’s been a while since I did something new for the Hit Man Series. How can I breathe new life into the series and get that readership back? How do I find new readers? When you don’t publish in a single genre for a while, it’s too easy to become forgotten. Whatever happened to what’s-his-name?

Here’s the part of my strategy built around publishing new books. (There’s more to it, but this was a good start, I think.)

CORRECTED LEGS HITMAN AD

This week I released three books. I hadn’t worked on Hit Man for years. I was too busy writing other books. When readers think of me (if they do), it’s probably for This Plague of Days or another of my apocalyptic epics. Noir fun is also my jam and I missed playing in the Hit Man sandbox. So, here’s my strategy to get more eyes on my prize:


Step 1. Write a new novel in the Hit Man Series that can be read as a standalone.

 


Resurrection, A Hit Man Thriller, loops back to the beginning of the series with Jesus Diaz’s ex-girlfriend, Lily Vasquez. The events of books two and three have happened and Lily is still alive. Maybe not for much longer, though. She’s being chased by the mob. Too bad for them, she’s scary deadly. However, when you’re going up against an army of bad guys, it helps to have Jesus on your side. He’ll do anything to protect her. She’ll do anything to stay alive and free.

Fun stuff, right? Here’s the killer cover:

Ressurection 1

 

Step 2: A Bulk Binge

I do a lot of research for my science fiction novels. However, crime thrillers come much easier (as a result of my terrible childhood). I enjoy writing tales of vengeance, violence, and redemption. I don’t do police procedurals because, frankly, bad versus evil interests me much more than good versus evil. I share Jesus Diaz’s dark sense of humor so the writing and revising fly along at supersonic speed.

That’s grand, but how could I get readers back into the flow of a series I haven’t boosted with a new book after so long? A rerelease. The box set is Bigger Than Jesus, Higher Than Jesus, and Hollywood Jesus set at 99 cents for a limited time.

I also added a healthy dose of a sneak peek of Resurrection at the back. Besides providing the usual links to all my books, I put in a page dedicated just to my crime fiction, complete with descriptions. These are crime thriller readers so I put special emphasis on Brooklyn in the Mean Time, The Night Man and my new anthology (below).

The Divine Assassins Playbook 3D (Large)

Value added

Not everybody loves reading huge box sets on an e-reader. I put The Divine Assassin’s Playbook together as a paperback that will remain up forever. This omnibus is three books plus the sneak peek of Resurrection. That’s 495 pages of violence, adventure, and jokes for $24.99. Pretty damn good deal for many hours of entertainment, right? I’ve got my eye on another author’s book I plan to read this summer but it’s just one book for $40. My work is very competitively priced.

Step 3. Sometime Soon, Somewhere Close

CORR Sometime Soon, Somewhere Close

Short story collections generally don’t sell as well as novels and series, sure. However, the form is not dead. I can knock out great short stories pretty quickly. (Must be my time as a journalist working the crime beat added to that terrible childhood I mentioned.) The tales are clever, gritty and witty. I love action, banter, and comeuppance. Sometime Soon, Somewhere Close delivers on all that and it was a gas to write.

For this single-author anthology, I wrote seven stories, sent it off to me editor and published the ebook at 99 cents. This one will stay at 99 cents. The paperback, priced friendly at $6.99 and weighing in at 92 pages is a great page-turner that could be devoured in one (long) sitting. It’s a fast read, not a skimpy one.

I love the stories in Sometime Soon, Somewhere Close, especially the one set in a coastal village not far from where I grew up. Nova Scotian witticisms share a lot of connective tissue with the Irish sense of humor and the Irish sense of being put-upon. (Despite my French name, I’m Irish all the way back on me mudder’s side.)

At these prices, I’m obviously not out to make a killing (no pun particularly intended). The point is to entertain first, and then possibly find new readers who haven’t heard of me in this genre. I provide links to all my books, of course, so they can continue feeding their new addiction. However, since it’s aimed at readers of crime fiction, I give them a page of book links devoted to the genre (complete with a little description to whet the appetite.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately. The book biz keeps my days and nights full but I’ve never had this much fun being this busy.


For more, here are the latest links to articles from my author blog, AllThatChazz.com. (Hey, pick up some books!)

This Deal’s for You

Bang! Pow! Resurrected!

Punch, punch, jab, jab, hook

Overwork, Suffering and Canada

 

 

 

 

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , ,

Sanity: Another reason to write more books

Do you ever feel like you’re reaching for success and someone is slapping your hand? Does every Monday feel like Thwart Day?

I just had one of those days that drains energy. I read a review from a guy who apparently thinks I believe in the supernatural because I often write about it. (Fiction, people! Fiction!) A cop stopped me today. He was unnecessarily dickish. That put me in a dark mood. I haven’t been feeling great so I had to go for some medical tests. A nurse was in a panic over my paperwork and apparently trying to panic me, too. I’ve got a big birthday coming up which I’m not excited about. I feel pressure. Sometimes, despite my big plans, it seems time is running out and the news for indie authors seems to be all whoa and woe at the moment.

Therefore, it’s not time to give up.

It’s time to put the hammer down (because I was thinking of doing terrible things with that hammer) and remember what’s working. To review:

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)

I got this letter today:

“This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition was awarded an Honorable Mention for Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published e-Book Awards in Genre.”

Whoo. Also? Hoo!

Check out the Top 100 Kindle Short from my coauthor Holly Pop

Check out the Top 100 Kindle Short from my coauthor Holly Pop

I’m collaborating with several authors and a publisher in 2015. The first was Holly (Pop) Papandreas, author of Ouija

We wrote The Haunting Lessons. In this fun and dark fantasy, a girl from Iowa discovers she has amazing capabilities. The world is a richer and more dangerous place than she ever imagined. Parts of it may remind you of This Plague of Days, but the tone is lighter and the pace is lightning quick. Don’t miss out on 81 lessons to survive Armageddon. I like you and I want you to live.

Just released for Christmas reading!

Just released for Christmas reading!

My friend and author of Butterfly Stitching, Sher Kruse, has invited me to participate in a non-fiction anthology.

51bbcGqD3aL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

More on that in 2015.

I’ll be contributing to a horror anthology for a publisher and working with another author friend of mine on a secret book project to take paranormal readers by storm. I also have big plans for several books in the Ghosts and Demons Series, a big standalone book and more Hit Man books.

It’s been a big building year for me. I put together six books in 2014, so Mom and Dad will have to take back those accusations that I’m too lazy to live. 

PLAYBOOK COVER FINAL
It’s so fun and gritty and fast, I’m very happy with Hollywood Jesus, the third adventure in the Hit Man Series. The John Leguizamo joke alone makes it for me!

"Perhaps the most underrated crime novel of all time." ~ Robert Chazz Chute

“Perhaps the most underrated crime novel of all time.” ~ Robert Chazz Chute

 

And, maybe best of all, I wrote my criminal autobiography!

That's one adorable bear holding that bloody knife.

That’s one adorable bear holding that bloody knife.

And I’m part of the Horror Within Box Set with some very heavy hitters in horror fiction.

Horror Within Box Set

In other words, it’s been a productive year. It seems I have a lot to live for, after all. I can’t wait to get more of my ebooks into print, too. So stay busy. It will keep you out of trouble. Works for me. When you’re feeling down, write another book. That’s what I do. I’m all nerves a lot of the time, obviously. Writing soothes me and keep me from acting on impulses to hammer things.

Writing works that way for many people. Writing or reading, I hope you find escape, as I do, in imagination.
Merry Christmas.

If you had mixed feelings about 2014, let’s make 2015 better, hm?

Filed under: author platform, Horror, publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Solopreneur Writers: 10 Nitty Gritty Pickies

Thousands of little details afflict us as artisanal publisher-authorpreneurial Han Solo writer-heroes. A couple of authors publishing books for the first time have asked me about nitty-gritty details to watch for. Here are ten that came up in our discussions of new book launches.

1. When you set your price on Amazon, the calculator will automatically set comparable prices in other countries. Set it lower for India. The “comparable” price would actually buy three books in India (and so, is too expensive.)

2. If you have a list of book bloggers to whom you wish to send Advanced Reading Copies, check their guidelines carefully to see their preferred reading mode. PDFs are free to email but some people don’t want to sideload their e-reader or read on their computer.

The easiest solution is to gift the book to your list of reviewers, preferably during a pulse sale at 99 cents to minimize the cost of promotion. You get credit for the sales and potential reviewers are more likely to check it out with Amazon’s happy, one-click experience.

Smashwords has a solution that’s free: Promo codes. Send the code to potential reviewers so they can redeem it for a complimentary copy. Inexplicably, no other platform has stolen this idea yet. Still!

3. Services like Smashwords and Draft2Digital can upload to multiple platforms at once. However, there is often a delay if you want to change your prices across retailers. This makes a BookBub promotion, for instance, a logistical problem. And by “problem,” I mean a red-hot skewer in the gluteus maximus.

I’ve noticed the worst delays seem to happen between Smashwords and Apple. One of my books took more than six months to show up on Apple. Draft2Digital had problems with Kobo. Those issues are fixed now.

4. KDP Select’s five days of giving your book away for free isn’t the great tool it once was, though other platforms still seem at a loss as to how to promote effectively and boost discoverability. The commitment to exclusivity with KDP Select is five days out of ninety. 

If you are using free day promotions, I suggest you don’t promote for more than two days at a time. Better to stop while sales are still coming in and visibility is high rather than allow the sale to lose steam over an extended period.

Use Author Marketing Club to identify sites that will promote your promotions so you maximize promotion power.

5. Some intermediaries charge much more to upload your book to various platforms. Avoid them. More important than the fee they charge, you’ll sacrifice power over your book and flexibility to promote.

If you don’t have the technical skills to do it yourself, get someone else to help you for a fraction of the cost (and a one-time fee instead of bleeding cash on an ongoing basis.)

6. Box sets are the latest tool for discoverability. I’m involved in one now and, though we’re still at the very early stages, my visibility on Amazon has already gone up.

How it works is, several authors get together. After a cage match, the Alpha who has the most resources and the one they all trust, publishes a sampler. They might give away whole books. Everybody promotes the box set at 99 cents and bam, the tide raises all boats and more readers find you. 

Some people are sneering at box sets, but I think it’s because they misunderstand the intent. It’s not about making money, particularly. This is us playing the long game and working with allies to fire off flares. It’s about raising your rank, giving strangers a chance to fall in love with your work and selling your other books. (So write more books.)

7. Publishing is a business and, despite the fact that we’re all cybering and telecommuting from our worldwide basement headquarters, you’ll still have to run errands. The thing you track least for tax time is mileage. Keep a notebook in the car and track it. Canadians, use a pencil because you know that pen will freeze each winter (August to June).

It might not add up to much, but it’s a lot when you’re making nothing. You wouldn’t burn cash just for fun, would you? Then keep your receipts and track the little things. Claiming a home office may be all that justifies your new publishing venture to your accountant, and your spouse, for the first couple of years.

8. Word was built for office use. Scrivener was built for writers. The program allows you to bounce around your manuscript with ease and format for publication. Get Scrivener. If you’ve already written your text in Word, importing to Scrivener is not a big deal. Yes, there is a learning curve, but it’s worth it.

9. Before you publish and make all the other edits you’re going to make, search the text for two spaces. Those extra spaces sneak in if you don’t scrub them out.

10. Yes, you need an author website, but a simple WordPress site (preferably with your own name) will do. Eventually, with more books under your belt and future changes in the publishing landscape, you may choose to sell books straight from your site. It’s a cool idea that doesn’t really have elegant delivery solutions for the reader (yet).

You can switch your author site to a more complex configuration later, if need be. Don’t worry about that for now. Now is the time to build a base of readers. You could sell straight from your website, but most authors would prefer not to sacrifice their visibility and reviews across the current sales platforms. 

~ There are many more details to attend to, but that’s a start. Hi, by the way. I’m Robert Chazz Chute. Good to meet you. Find me on Twitter @rchazzchute. Connect with me on Facebook here.

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

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

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

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