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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

Let’s close our ambition gap with social media


Image by burntbroccoli via Flickr

Saturday I dropped into SMarts, the London Social Media Un-Conference, a conference on social media for artists. I picked up a few ideas that could prove helpful in the long-term. No matter who you are, there’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be. Here’s what I’m considering to close that gap:

1. Using YouTube much more for this blog and making my own videos People are visual. If your tweet has the word VIDEO in it, people click through.

2. Using feedburner and hootsuite to make my social media content management more efficient. I checked into hootsuite last summer when a couple social media gurus at a writing and publishing conference recommended it. I had a major problem with the hootsuite interface back then. The bad went to worse when the application wouldn’t allow me to delete the account so I could start again and customer service was nil. Maybe now I’ve recovered enough that I can try another run at it. If I can get it to work right this time, it means saved time. Saved time equals more writing time, more editing time and more time for more clients. (Or a relaxing hot toddy by the woodstove.)

3. I’m thinking about blogging a book. I’ve got several novels written (but the revisions aren’t yet finished.)  That could really be a fun way to go with it.

4. I’ve got non-fiction content about publishing that could be very effective as an e-book. I’m going to research Book Brewer as one possibility to create the e-book. (Mignon Fogerty had a great interview with Book Brewer’s president recently on Grammar Girl.)

5. I need to reach out to more people to engage people in conversation (and so I have.) I’ve contacted four authors so far about doing a profile on this blog. I’m really excited about this for several reasons. I love books and authors. This is an opportunity to learn directly from various authors’ publishing experiences.

Watch this space. Coming soon. Stay tuned.

All that stuff.



Filed under: blogs & blogging, book reviews, Books, DIY, ebooks, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Social Media, Writing Conferences, writing tips, , , , , , , , ,

How Not to Network with Business Cards

The publishing conference was great. Sometimes people serve as excellent models. The people who aren’t great models can teach you something, too. When you’re networking, it shouldn’t look like that’s all you are there for. In fact, that won’t work. You’ll just come across as pushy.

One attendee made sure everyone had her business card, but she was wasting her time selling before even trying to connect. I prefer that people ask me for my card and not the other way around. It’s not always inappropriate to offer a card, but if you have no idea how you could help someone through your work, pushing them on people can do more harm than good.

Yes, business cards are still useful. A well-designed electronic business card attached to your email looks great! (www.vistaprint.com)

Sell yourself first. Your product or service always comes second.

I gave out very few cards this weekend, but each person was a quality contact I made an honest connection to.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, writing tips, , , ,

The Publishing Revolution will be televised, podcasted, tweeted and POD

Publishers want their authors to have these platforms, and with them an established following before they launch a book. They don’t have the skills, resources or inclination to go viral, but they do expect authors to shoulder that job. A good manuscript isn’t going to be enough for publishers, especially as the tech wave gathers strength. Publishers will be changing their expectations because non-English publishers are leading the charge to a revolutionized industry. They want you to have a website, a platform and a ready-made fan base (for the same reasons Hollywood keeps redoing old but familiar formulae, making movies out of old TV shows with varied success.)

This is not news, but it largely applied to non-fiction writers. Now many publishers are expecting the same electronically interactive wizardry from fiction writers as well. You still have to be a good writer, but your teeth should be straight and you should be comfortable in front of a live studio audience. It’s preferable that you be a gorgeous celebrity, so get to work on that if you haven’t already been interviewed by Regis Philbin.

The best case scenario for non-fiction writers is an area of expertise, a writing track record, a platform (preferably with a lot of speaking engagements to large groups.) The killer outline in their book proposal is a must, but so is a business plan and  a business case.

For fiction writers, publishers are going to be looking for many of these elements soon if they aren’t already. In other words, it’s more important than ever that you be ready to do the work of getting the book known. Advances used to be there so the author could eat while he finishes the book. More publishers will expect you to eat bark off trees and use that advance to hire a publicist and do your own tour of the Midwest, thanks very much, possibly in the actual Partridge Family bus.

The economic crunch will mean fewer books. It may also mean better books, but smaller promotional budgets. No matter. Those budgets were barely there unless it was for a book that didn’t need it anyway. (Read: King or Koontz.) As a result, more authors will flee to what smaller publishers who are left, or go DIY.

And what’s next beyond that? A writer friend of mine is writing literary travelogues on his Blackberry. The length of each epistle is determined by the limit of the text message file so it makes for nice uniform chapters. It turns out he’s ahead of his time. Cell phone novels are huge in Japan. They’re typically written on trains ( it’s a commuting culture) by urban young woman from age 15 to 24. Then they are uploaded to websites and followings grow. These romances (featuring lots of sex and violence in fairly simple language) have been picked up by eager publishers who get the cell novels to bookshelves, often at lengths of 300-400 pages. Many of the authors didn’t even consider themselves writers when they started out. Now they’re in bookstores all over Japan. Nobody’s doing something that innovative among the big publishers yet. Look for the phenomenon to catch on in a year or two, and expect it to be reviled by critics who’ll long for the dusty and respectable old days. Meanwhile the kids will eat ’em up.

Self-publishing houses getting more sophisticated. If they are smart–and they’re smaller so they’ll change quicker than the big guns–they’ll work harder to assist authors in promoting themselves. DIY is going huge. Much of publishing promotion has always been DIY since marketing budgets have always been miniscule. The person most interested in selling the author’s books is always the author, anyway. That may mean Do It Yourself marketing, or maybe it means you’ll go whole hog and form your own publishing company with the shipping department organized in your mom’s garage. Or maybe you’ll have no inventory and go Print on Demand in full.

More good news: the short story is coming back. Your audience has a shorter attention span and lots of distractions. They want to read something quick over lunch or on their commute. They’ll take short fiction with them on their MP3 and IPOD. You can serialize your fiction on your nifty new website to keep them coming back for more.

Big changes are coming and if you’re tech-savvy, you might have a good shot over the rest of the herd. If you aren’t tech-savvy, you’ll have to pay to get someone else to do it. Maybe you can teach yourself a bunch of website skills on YouTube.

Another fresh resource:  a book on establishing your platform before you send your manuscript is out by the woman behind Writer Mama. It’s called Get Known before the Book Deal by Christian Katz. I recommend you have a look. No sense letting everyone have another advantage over you. 

How will you survive the coming Publishing Apocalypse? It’s up to you. Literally.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Rant, 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

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