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

Write and publish with love and fury.

Writers: Saving Money and Making It (Part 1)

This week we’re going to talk about writers and money.

Mostly, we’ll talk about not having any because that’s reality for most of us.

Forget the clichés about how writing in a garret or a ditch lined with beer-vomit fuels us creatively. Poverty sucks. Worrying about income and outgo all the time drains us creatively. As a guy who’s basically been unemployed for two years, I have a lot to say on this subject, but let’s start by saving you $1,200 a year or more with one phone call.

You use the Internet for research (I hope). Call whoever supplies you with TV, Internet and your phone. I did this last week. I started the conversation with, “When I leave Bell, do you guys come get the satellite dish and leave holes in my shingles or how does that work exactly?”

“Why would you want to leave Bell, sir?”

“Because I just found out a buddy of mine in the same neighborhood with roughly the same services is paying $100 less a month than I am!”

This is true, by the way. This isn’t about scamming any company. It’s about solving the problem of being overcharged.

The guy I spoke to in Billing was befuddled as to what to do with me so I took the direct approach and said, “You want to transfer me to the Retention Department now.” That’s where the magic happens. The people in Retention are authorized to massage your bill and squeeze out money and happiness for you. The communications market is becoming more competitive and they don’t want to lose a customer.

Next I spoke with a helpful fellow who went through my communications package with me. I was paying for ten features on my landline. I don’t even know what those ten features could be. I dumped all but voicemail and caller ID.

If it were up to me, I’d dump the landline altogether, but we have to keep it so obnoxious telemarketers can harass us about buying gold and cleaning our air ducts. I also dropped my long distance plan. Use Skype for long distance. Skype is free. 

We’re on the net constantly so there were no services to reduce. However, Retention guy “put a promo on it”. That means he knocked $6/month off the price because I bothered to call. That’s $72 a year on one component of the monthly bill, just because I said my bill was too high (which it was.) We also edited down the satellite package. Everybody gets a lot of channels they don’t watch. Kill them.

We haven’t noticed any loss of services or channels, but that one phone call (which took about half an hour) knocked those bills down precipitously. I haven’t got the first bill yet, but I will save about $1,600 in the next 12 months. Your mileage will vary, depending on how much you’re getting screwed to the wall by your service providers already.

In Canada, we no longer have pennies. Sure, a penny saved is a penny earned, but I’m talking about a significant amount of dough. I “earned” $1,600 in half an hour. Make the call.

Part 2 of this week’s series for writers will be about Writing and The Day Job. Stay tuned.

For an article about gratitude, readers and sneak peeks of This Plague of Days, click here.

Meanwhile, if you’re reading This Plague of Days as a serial, Episode 3 is out now!

Episode 3 of Season 2 (not Season 3 yet!) is now available. Click on the right sidebar to grab the complete Season One and Two.

Episode 3 of Season 2 (not Season 3 yet!) is now available. Click on the right sidebar to grab the complete Season One and Two.

Photo on 12-05-23 at 4.39 PM~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute. I wrote a couple of books about an autistic kid versus the zombie apocalypse. Sure, that sounds ridiculous, until you understand that it’s also an international thriller and a Latin primer. This Plague of Days, Seasons One and Two have both achieved bestseller status. I’m still broke, but that will change.

Filed under: authors and money, Rant, What about Chazz?, What about you?, Writers, , , , , , , , , , ,

Author Blog Challenge 20: What writers owe (and an insider secret is revealed)

Garley the Persian cat

Garley the Persian cat (Photo credit: arash_rk)

I used to dream that when I finally became an author, I’d write a short acknowledgements section to myself. “Screw you all!” I’d scream. “In your face! I did this myself and I don’t owe anyone anything! Ha!” Then I’d retreat to my hermetically sealed office under a volcano within my island fortress guarded my my loyal ninja monkey assassin clones. I’d have a monocle and a white Persian cat to stroke while I ordered Hellfire missile strikes to rain down upon my enemies. As you can only imagine, that’s almost exactly what my life is like except for the thing about acknowledging people who have helped me on my publishing journey. Unexpectedly, I have the attitude of gratitude. I’m happy to have a deep stock of Hellfire missiles to protect my tropic realm and I’m grateful for all those people who have assisted me in putting out my books.

Yesterday, after my big free promo day, I sat down and wrote a little letter to a bunch of people who have been helpful along the way. Somebody slipped me some dough so I could keep going. Someone else helped me with formatting the first time I attacked the beast. Others were consultants about suitable explosives…”Um, for my crime novel’s plot!” he added hastily.

A lot of people have the wrong idea about self-publishing.

They focus on the self part.

Hitchcock said that a painter only needs a brush and a writer, a pen, but a film director needs an army. These days, indie writers need small armies, too, and many of them are volunteers. 

The key thing is: self-publishing is still publishing. You either need a graphic artist or you need to be one. You need to learn a lot about tech and promotion as well as craft. You can write a good book, but if it has a lousy cover, no one will read it. (The converse is also true, of course.) That’s why I prefer the term “indie” to “self-published”, though to the consternation of a few angry people, I do use those terms interchangeably as a concession to common parlance.

My Beta readers are volunteers. I’ll pay them in lollipops, acknowledgements in the book, a copy of the paperback and, when they’re ready to go indie, I’ll be a resource for them, too. I’m confident each of those readers could write a book if they decided to do so. I’ve thanked them all, for what that’s worth. So far all they’ve received is a book they enjoyed for free but I’ll be sure to get those lollipops to them.

I did find an unusual way to make one person’s day though. If you’re writing a book, you may wish to consider doing this (with their permission.) A great buddy of mine is undergoing treatment for cancer. It’s been a scary time that he has handled with a calm and class that I am sure I could never muster. This guy is one brave SOB. As I was writing the first draft of Bigger Than Jesus, I used his name for one of my characters.

Funny story: I called him up on Skype to ask him if I could keep his name in the book. His microphone wasn’t working. He could hear and see me but I could only see him. However, that worked out for the best because he pantomimed his approval. When somebody is that sick and you can make them laugh and smile as much as he did by putting him in your book? Why wouldn’t you? He loved the idea and showed lots of energy in giving me a thumbs up that made me laugh (and, truth to be told, a little weepy, too.)

I talked to him on the phone the other day. Things are looking up and we’re optimistic that one way or the other, he’s beaten it. Not only will he live a long life, but in a way that is tiny and totally useless except for good feelings and a funny exchange on Skype, he’s  immortalized in literature, too. I’m very grateful my buddy will be around to enjoy all the novels in The Hit Man Series and everything else I write. I’m most happy about that.

If you’re reading the Bigger Than Jesus,

my buddy is the guy wielding the SPAS-12.

Sh. Keep it to yourself.

Filed under: 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.

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

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