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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

Seven tips about book marketing very few will heed

What can we do to market our books better? Here are my ideas for a happier 2013:

If you don't go for new year's resolutions, you can still get tips and inspiration for your writing life with Crack the Indie Author Code.

If you don’t go for new year’s resolutions, you can still get tips and inspiration for your writing life with Crack the Indie Author Code.

1. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed the power of Twitter losing traction. Since Triberr loosened the chains, there’s too much to retweet so we’ve had to get very picky about what we retweet so Twitter timelines don’t become spam sluices. Getting pickier is a good thing. I’ve blocked a couple of people and, for a retweet, I’ve got to be confident my following will appreciate it. I read articles before I retweet them.

World Literary Cafe Tweet Teams remain a healthy approach, though I encourage more people to participate so the reach extends beyond hitting the same Twitter followings too often. I appreciate the people who retweet my stuff very much. New people in the mix makes this approach stronger. 

2. I’ve gently encouraged my fellow authors to provide more in their tweets than the title of their book and Amazon links. We need content with value. Write something your readers want to read and keep in mind who your audience is. For the aforementioned WLC tweet teams, I more often than not tweet links back to my blog posts rather than trying to send strangers straight to Amazon. It’s a noise versus signal battle. Noise loses.

One writing guru went so far as to actively discourage others from blogging about writing (though she does) because writers aren’t your market. I say, blog your passion and write books about your passion so your marketing chakras are aligned. (I write about writing and publishing and turned several years of blog posts into two books on the subject, so there’s that. My next step is to snag more strangers who aren’t writers. More on that in a sec.)

More tips and tricks to steer your authorship.

More tips and tricks to steer your authorship.

3. Whatever you write, your unique voice comes through. It will probably be at least somewhat consistent. Ergo, sexy on the blog means sexy in your books. Funny here, hilarious there, and so on. When you provide a valuable link back to your blog, you’re inviting people into your home. Give them more to look at and book covers to click so they can buy and read more of your stuff if they’re moved to knock back more of The Magic That is You. There are many bookselling platforms besides Amazon. The most effective one, where there’s no immediate competition for their attention, is here on my first bookselling platforms: ChazzWrites.com and AllThatChazz.com.

4. Innovate. Most writers don’t have podcasts, therefore I podcast. I actively encourage more authors to join me, but since most of you certainly won’t, I’m secure enough to be honest with you. My personal podfather, Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting, recently pointed out that the marketplace for blogs is millions upon millions. Podcasts? There are only a few hundred thousand and they’ve become easier to access and enjoy than ever. The barrier to entry can be really quite negligible — don’t try to do it free, but you can do it cheaply — and potential readers are on treadmills right now with headphones in their ears. They aren’t hearing about you though, are they? Not yet, anyway. (That’s my strongest, boldest and borderline rude pitch for you to consider podcasting. If that won’t give you pause, I don’t know what will.)

5. Be different. The All That Chazz podcast is vamping and amping. I’ve serialized my fiction on the show and will do that again. I’ve incorporated the use of more music and I’m getting in touch with my inner badass. That translates to less crying from me and more value to listeners. The first year of All That Chazz was therapeutic and I got some stuff off my chest. Expect more interviews, more value for those who are not-me plus a new attitude: I’m coming for you, worldwide. Being different means daring more.

"A quick-moving plot with lots of surprises and a clear-eyed examination of addiction."

“A quick-moving plot with lots of surprises and a clear-eyed examination of addiction.”

6. Go deeper. There’s much more to be done with my author site besides making it prettier. I’ll soon serialize my first crime novel as blog posts chapter by chapter once a week as I dive into Higher Than Jesus a la audio.

There’s much more coming: I’m beginning a new challenge to add to the author site. I’m using bio-hacks and (some would say) extreme measures to get to phat from fat. The past year of working full-time as a writer has been awesome, but the sedentary nature of the work has taken a great toll on my health. Weight loss and life improvement are issues a lot of people face so I’m going to blog and podcast about that at AllThatChazz, too. I’m taking steps to widen my repertoire of subjects as I narrow my waistline and bring down my blood pressure. That’s a rabbit hole I’m sure a lot of people will follow me down. Why? Because I’m still blogging my passions, whether it be writing and publishing on this blog or my journey to lose 90 pounds at AllThatChazz.com.

7. Grow up. We love the idea that we can just write good books and our throngs will magically find us. When there were fewer media options, long ago when most of us were de facto quasi-Amish, that might even have been a slim possibility. It’s not now. Get over it. Give up that idea along with hopes for your privacy and that the profession of milkman will make a comeback.

The key to growing an audience is selling yourself, but being honest. Abandon any delusions you aren’t part of the marketplace. Whatever you do, you aren’t just selling your book. You’re selling you. Spare me any complaints because, inevitably, whiners confuse an Ought with an Is. This is the marketplace and if you’re out to make a big splash with ripples, you’re in it.

This is my promise to you:

In my fiction, I’m a great liar. On my blogs and podcasts, I’m brutally honest about myself. 

This is your call:

Whatever your hobby, career, quest, challenge, problem or greatest aspiration, get in the game. Blog, podcast and write books about your passion and be honest. Your audience will find you, but you have to put yourself out there.  

 

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

Author Blog Challenge 12: How to not write your book

Good thing I wrote a self-help book full of motivation in the form of fiction or this post would really bum me out.

Today’s Author Blog Challenge prompt is:

What’s the most challenging part of your book process?

1. Facebook has some pretty cool memes, I bet. I better check before I settle into the real work.

2. My podcast helps me market my books, so that’s sort of like writing, right?

3. Can I really start the day without watching my recording of last night’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart first? If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right, baby!

4. What can I do about my book while still listening to my favorite podcasts: The David Feldman Show, The 40-year-old Boy and The Joe Rogam Experience? Oh, and look, there’s a new Best of the Left and The Jimmy Dore Show! And, oh, look, it’s bedtime.

5. Reading is research, right? I should read another book before I write another chapter. Just to be safe.

6. I hear food screaming up in the kitchen. It’s in distress and I need to smother it with my colon to put it out of its misery.

7. I could do some laundry or feed the skinny pig or make even more coffee.

8. If I don’t get the dishes done before She Who Must Be Obeyed gets home, she’ll give me The Look.

9. Maybe I should go take care of some errands because once the kids get home it will be too late. (For what, I’m not sure.)

10. I wonder if there’s anything else on the Internet? And what time does Twitter close today exactly?

The most challenging part of my book process is everything but my book process.

Oh, look! There’s that helpful fear of cataclysmic failure! That train is always on time. 

Gotta go write.

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

Self-publishing: The gold rush is not over. Believe.

Logo of LIFE magazine.

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of indie publishers have expressed concerns about the whole self-publishing venture lately.“Concerns” is too weak a word. They’re talking like the self-publishing revolution is over and already lost, an infant succumbed to Crib Death. It was, they say, a gold rush and only those who got in early with paranormal romance and lame thrillers made it big (or at all.) As I embark on a new career in self-publishing, it’s pretty scary to hear people you respect talk like they might fold their cards and curl up like cute little hedgehogs poked with a stick.

Writing a great book is always the main problem. If you don’t have that, there really is no hope. Then there’s the problem of obscurity. How will people find your great book? The easiest way to be a bestseller is to already be a bestseller, so that’s no use to most of us. What to do? Nobody knows how to make anything “go viral” unless it involves a basket of kittens in danger of being crushed by an anvil. (You wince at that image, but you’d click that link on YouTube, if only to express your outrage.)

Self-publishers must believe in themselves and their work, especially when it is unreasonable to do so. To be heard, to go viral, to get any attention at all, we must engage with others, often individually. Such promotional activity eats up a lot of time, but I don’t know any other solid way to do it. (Actually, I do have some other ideas I’m acting upon, TBA soon.)

If your self-publishing strategy isn’t working, you’re going to have change your strategy. Evaluate what you’re publishing and then evaluate again. Do your covers suck? Are you publishing to your taste without regard to your audience? Do you have an identifiable audience you can reach out to? What do you have to do differently to make this crazy Scooby Gang scheme work? (Hint: It’s not what you have been doing, more and louder.)

If you don’t find that hope you once had, what will you do? Take up selling real estate and self-loathing? No. We write because we must write. It wasn’t really a choice. Giving up and doing something else is a choice, but if you’re here, the writing bug sank its fangs in early and that burning venom never leaves the body.

No whining or blaming. I’m sympathetic to problems in self-publishing, of course. I was in traditional publishing for years, sold a lot of books for others and eventually got fed up with the hierarchy. Now that I’ve switched to self-publishing, it’s all shiny and new and I’m full of foolish missionary zeal and silly hope and I haven’t been worn down by grim reality yet. I get that. But what are the alternatives to getting fatigued by the Sisyphian task of promoting your books in an environment where most people think your babies are ugly and your promotional efforts are spam?

Start with unreasonable hope. Move on from there to taking a refreshing break (possibly with peers over scotch) and some reevaluation time to figure out how you’ll change your game. Don’t put down the slush of ebooks that obscure your precious work. Rise above it by being just that damn good. If what you’re doing isn’t working, find alternative paths to indie success. Retitle your book to something catchier. Get a power endorsement from someone you might now think is inaccessible. Figure out what successful people are doing and model your strategy on theirs.

I haven’t sold a lot of my books yet. I’m maintaining the delusion that I will until I make these lies I tell myself true. Steve Jobs had a Reality Distortion Field to motivate himself and others to believe they could accomplish big things. We need to energize our own Reality Distortion Fields. That’s what gets this crappy reality bent to the reality you want.

Comfort yourself in knowing that the gold rush isn’t over. It’s barely begun. When I go out in the world with my Kindle, people still slow down and say, “What’s that?” Last Christmas, readers got a big boost. There will be another big boost this Christmas in e-reader sales. Buck up. Believe.

Remember when you started self-publishing and were innocent of the struggle? Find that person in the mirror. You’re going to need him or her to face getting that big rock up that big hill. If it be a failure, make it glorious so you’ll know you really tried. The most powerful words I know are, “Begin again.”

If you’re indie, you are not a cute little hedgehog.

You are a lion.

Click here to get your free sample of Self-help for Stoners, Stuff to Read When You’re High

Filed under: DIY, e-reader, ebooks, getting it done, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: The trick to keeping your resolution

Goal

Image via Wikipedia

We make resolutions to diet when we are full. I resolved to diet many times before I got into the right mindset to lose 40 pounds. We depend on excitement, instant gratification and short-term thinking, which is why we got fat in the first place. Much the same is true with that resolution of yours to write your book this year.

You don’t need short-term thinking, but you do need short-term focus. You need long-term planning and short-term action. Each day you work toward your goal is a little course correction. Just as you drive and make tiny movements of the steering wheel along the way, each time you don’t get distracted and write another 500 words instead is a step toward finishing your book.

Sure, we can make big announcements. “This, I swear by all that is holy, is the year I will…” But it’s the little things you do, the day-to-day commitments to your goal, to yourself, that will make the difference. 

Why did your past resolutions fail? Think about it. What happened? Was your goal clear? Did you write your goal down? Did you tell somebody you trust to help you remain accountable? Did you track your progress? Did you make a game of it? Did you set up small rewards along the way? Did you set up a bet or a competition with a colleague to spur you on? Are you feeding your goals with information that helps you? Are you cautious to protect your time from short-term rewards that are really sabotaging you? (And if so, spend some time working out why you’re okay with settling for less.)

These are all useful strategies, but it comes back to the reaching your goal one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. Keep your resolution. Resolution means focus.

Too often we suffer from JOM Syndrome. JOM means Just One More.

Just one more cupcake. Just one more day off the diet. Just one more day without writing. Just one more day before I really start. I deserve a break. I deserve something less than my ultimate goal.

Translation:

I deserve to earn the reward without putting in the work.

Real-life answer:

No, you don’t.

Forget your grand pronouncements while your energy is high and your belly’s full. Instead, do what you can today to reach your goal (whatever it is.) Forget your entitlements. Do the work and no whining is allowed. If whining worked, you’d be done by now.

That sounds tough, but it will get better. You know why? Because the toughest part about writing is simply to begin. After you get started, you’ll be okay. You just have to keep on starting. Again and again and again, every day.

When you fail, begin again.

When you give up, begin again.

People will criticize your writing. So what? Don’t let them say you don’t write. Writers write. If you weren’t a writer, you wouldn’t have come to the end of this post.

Filed under: Books, getting it done, publishing, Rant, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , ,

Friday Bonus: What Really Motivates Us

Filed under: getting it done, 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.

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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