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

Write and publish with love and fury.

UBC TOP TEN: Everything we know is wrong. Stop That!

July 16, 17, 18

The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is FREE 

My son asked me if someone was as smart as they think they are. “No one is as smart as they think they are. A

Click here to get this fun book of suspense FREE until tomorrow at midnight.
Small-town terrors and psychological mayhem in Maine.

guy can be an idiot, but if you agree with him, you think he’s a genius.” It got me thinking what else we often get wrong.

1. Two heads aren’t better than one if the dumb, loud guy does all the talking.

2. Instead of instantly deferring to somebody who says, “Listen to me because I’ve done X for twenty years,” wonder this: Have they been doing it wrong for twenty years?

3. When you correct someone, are you out to help them or to feel superior? If it’s the first, thanks. If it’s the second, shut up. (And no one likes you.)

4. Are you reacting out of fear? Are you worried about terrorists when you’re far more likely to die from heart attack, cancer or a slippery bathtub? (Yes, you’re more likely to die from a slippery bathtub.)

5. Do you feel compassion for others or have you given up already because it’s all just too much and what can one person do? One person can make a big difference with one person. Start small. If you can’t handle actual  human interactions and social contact, start with that lovely person in the mirror.

6. Are you paralyzed by analysis or waiting for permission? Don’t wait until conditions are perfect to change your life. Perfect never comes but the Good Enough Train is always on time. If you’re waiting for permission, chances are excellent you have lots of people in your life waiting for you to ask so they can refuse. (Choose allies carefully. Dump enemies in the river.)

7. Are you certain about something? Beware! Certainty is the cardinal sign that you aren’t as smart as you would like to think. Serial killers are very confident and have high self-esteem. Scientifically, the less informed we are about a subject, the more certain we are in our opinions. (Though I’m not sure about this. Don’t be too sure. Intelligent people are about nuance, which is why they often lose elections.)

8. Are you mad at someone? They know, but are you sure they understand why? They might change their behaviour if they knew. (Yes, I’m saying don’t be so passive aggressive and spineless and state your needs. And, for God’s sake, if they have spine enough to look at you perplexed and apologize, take the apology and move on. Don’t hold on to your resentments. If they don’t apologize, dump him, girl, because if you don’t stop him now, you will be picking up after him forever.)

9. Some people are very negative, hurtful even, and add, “I’m just being honest.” Really? Or are they congratulating themselves for being nasty? You already know the answer to that question if you have one of these miseries in your life. If you are one of these miseries, stop. If you’re putting up with one of these miseries, go back to #8.

10. People put too much faith in top ten lists, don’t you think? They sure sound authoritative. But I’m just another nit on the interwebs, pontificating. You shouldn’t listen to me. (Or am I using mind fu in a cheap ploy to ingratiate?) Make up your own mind about stuff. You can do that as long as you distrust your brain. It’s not just that people lie. It’s that your brain lies to you all the time, mostly to distract you from the existential horror of the abyss. and to protect us froth knowledge that, yes, we really do look that fat in these jeans. In fact, we’re fat all the time. Hm. Maybe a few lies aren’t so bad. Keeps us off the ledge.

Ancient people thought they knew everything there was to know about the nature of the universe. 

Every age is the most modern age and the best minds from each age now sound stupid on lots of subjects.

The chances we now know what we’re doing is, statistically speaking, lousy.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is the author of Self-help for Stoners, The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories, Bigger Than Jesus, and Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit). The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is the foundation of the Poeticule Bay suspense novels that are now in the works. This novella and short story bundle is free on Amazon until Wednesday night. Please go grab it and, if you love it, please review it. Thanks!

(To see all of Chazz’s books, click here.)

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Ultimate Blog Challenge: Considering free ebooks

July 16, 17, 18

The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is FREE 

FREE FOR 3 DAYS.
Small-town terrors and psychological mayhem in Maine.

Last week I read a couple of debates about whether free is good or bad. JA Konrath is all for it. Blake Crouch isn’t so sure. There are good points on both sides of the debate. You’ll notice I’m offering one of my short story collections for free for three days this week in the hope that I will gain some readers who wouldn’t otherwise find me. I do so wholeheartedly and hope you’ll go grab it. It helps to get on lists like “Customers Also Viewed…” and so on. This post is about book promotion. I think Free is still a useful tool, though its edge has dulled considerably.

The root of the back and forth on the issue of using free as a promotional tool seems to break down along two main lines:

1. Argument against free from principle (i.e. Art shouldn’t be devalued and lowering readers’ expectations of price is a stupid strategy in the long term.) Argument 1 might be right in the long-term, but if I don’t get into your consciousness now, there may be no long-term for me as a writer. Also, the exclusivity that KDP Select requires — three months at a time — rubs many authors raw. Amazon has certainly lost some of its shine and if you lose too many sales because you aren’t up on Kobo etc.,… as well, free days on Amazon probably don’t make sense past your first three months of offering the book. It’s also argued, often effectively, that free feeds the trolls of the one-star review brigade who review harshly because they didn’t pay attention to what they were “buying.” Or they’re just it in to be mean trolls, I guess. So you can argue that free hurts not only the cause of enlightened literacy generally, but it hurts author’s feelings and review ratings individually.

2. Argument for free because it works (i.e. If you can write, you can sell books, but not if no one knows who you are. Give away to get new readers.) Argument 2 is weakened because, since Amazon changed its algorithms, free doesn’t work nearly as well as it did a few months ago. People are loading up their kindles, but are they ever getting around to reading all that hoarded goodness so they could, theoretically, become a fan and buy the rest of my books? (If you don’t have multiple books for sale, free surely won’t help you now. Have multiple books going before you dive into KDP Select’s free days.)

So here’s my strategy:

A. I try not to confuse an Ought with an Is. The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is a collection of fun suspense and small-town mayhem in Poeticule Bay, Maine. In the future, I plan a series of suspenseful novels set in Poeticule Bay. Many of my stories have characters who cross-pollinate other stories. (For instance, Jesus Diaz, my luckless Cuban hit man, shows up first in a story in Self-help for Stoners.) There is worthy cross-promotion in this.

B. I added value to this collection. The novella, The Dangerous Kind and several of the stories were previously published individually and sold for 99 cents each. I added two more stories to the collection, including the award winner The Sum of Me (which brought down the house when I gave a reading at a writers conference a few years ago.) The Sum of Me appeals to writers or anyone who has struggled with credit card debt. The usual price of the collection is only $2.99 and for three days, it’s free. Good deal.

C. What I put up on Amazon for free will only be available for a limited time. After my three-month exclusivity contract with KDP Select is over, I’ll put the books up on the other platforms. (As mentioned last week on this blog, Kobo, as one instance, is changing things up and coming on stronger. Keep an eye on them.)

Questions remain: When I read a guru with a big name say we should do this or that to sell our books, I wonder, does the same strategy work for a big name as a small one? Is every bit of advice fungible? Things change. If we were still on Amazon’s old Free List to Paid List formula (and maybe if we weren’t in the middle of a glut of free) I’d already be sitting pretty.

Good strategies are realistic, doable, measurable, timely (and are always declared “good” after the fact and without factoring in luck.) I’ll let you know if this strategy moves the needle.

Free might not be as good as it once was,

but now I don’t know what else to do to get off the bench besides write another book.

I’m already doing that.

PLEASE GRAB THE DANGEROUS KIND & OTHER STORIES HERE

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Ultimate Blog Challenge: Top 10 What I’ll soon do differently with my book promotion

1. Last November I started up my podcast to reach out to new readers. I called the podcast Self-help for Stoners

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

after my book of the same name. The podcast was a good idea, but tying the title to one book when I have dozens in me was a tactical error and I’ll change that soon.

2. This, my main blog, focuses on information, both original and curated, for anyone interested in publishing books.  The blog is not geared to readers. That’s what the author site is for. In the future, I think I’ll post to the author site more often than I do, especially as I have more reviews and events to talk about. I don’t regret writing about writing, though. Some people think authors are stupid for doing that, but I went with my passion. If I had tackled something I was less interested in, I wouldn’t be approaching 1,000 blog posts now and I wouldn’t be able to make two books out of it.

3. My two latest books, Bigger Than Jesus and The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories, are both on Amazon and exclusive to KDP Select so they do not appear in retail outlets. That’s fine for now, but eventually I will migrate them to other ebook platforms. Amazon was great at promotion, but with their new algorithms, they aren’t so great for me anymore. (I hope they rectify this and we, collectively, get through the current summer sales slump to see a more energetic autumn.)

4. In the future, I’ll raise the price of my books. They’re all at couch change for $2.99 now. This is the introductory price and will change, which will also make more sense with Amazon’s new price-based (rather than quantity sold) algorithms.

5. I have several books in revisions that reach beyond 120,000 words. If they were shorter they’d be done and available by now. If it makes editorial sense, I may break the longest books up into trilogies.

6. I will write shorter books. As I wrote Bigger Than Jesus, I discovered that I love to write a book with a high momentum. A fast write (and read) energizes me. The paperback will still clock in at 249 pages, so no one will feel I’m shortchanging them.

7. I will write no stand-alones. Bigger than Jesus is the first of The Hit Man Series. The Poeticule Bay Series is in development. The books are meant to stretch out into long series following certain characters. Stand alone novels are a heavy investment of my time that do not develop a following to the same numbers as a series can. To make more art, I have to make that business decision. What will be fun is when I have crossovers, where many of my characters from different books meet.

8. I will write faster. I wrote Bigger Than Jesus in a month. To perfect it, the editorial pipeline was longer than that, but I find I can write effectively and well at speed. My editor and beta team made that possible and, maybe it’s the journalistic training talking, deadlines are my friend.

9. I will have print versions available for all my books going forward. Currently I just have Self-help for Stoners available as a paperback. The other short story collections didn’t have quite the length needed to make for a paperback with heft. Everything I do from now on makes for a great mass market paperback. I just finished all the book design and print formatting on Bigger Than Jesus today so I’ll have the paperbacks on hand pretty soon. (I’m in love with Georgia. She’s a beautiful font.)

10. I will be less shy about contacting other authors for blurbs and book blogger for reviews. This is more of an affirmation than a plan since I have yet to compose those emails. I’ve sent out a few copies for review, but it’s an issue about which I am still an introvert. (I’m only pretending to be an extrovert here so someone will read my books.)

~ Like my flavor? Listen to the first chapter of my crime thriller, Bigger Than Jesus. I’m

Get Bigger Than Jesus

podcasting the book through the summer. Enjoy! (Or be a hero and just click the cover to grab it. Thanks for reading!)

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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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