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

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

Grab more business mojo: What Jedis know about Fear

Crack the Indie Author CodeI have more changes to make at Ex Parte Press and those changes involve some of you. (Heh. Didja hear that nervous giggle from across the globe, too?) It’s time to be the Jedis we secretly are, even though we’re Jedi school dropouts and Yoda said that thing about Fear leads to Hate…no wait, Hate leads to Fear and…um…gingivitis? Yoda talked backward a lot, okay?! Stupid syntax!

Anyway, I’ll be unveiling new plans for the Deathstar soon. I’d tell you everything right away, but I have to chaw on it to refine the details and call up a few people to bounce some ideas off their heads.

THE BROAD GOALS

1. Get more subscribers to my email list to enjoy my newsletters and giveaways (please sign up in the sidebar at AllThatChazz.com.)

2. Get my podcast to pay for itself and grow the listenership. (Try any of the current 67 episodes here.)

3. Find more allies, readers and reviewers, build a small cult, raise a large army for world domination and finally fix shit. I’ll start with the first three items on the list (i.e. allies, readers and reviewers) and sell more books. There’s much to do.

THE LONG-TERM GOALS

Eventually? Wi-fi for everyone and use Tesla’s secret plans for free electricity from the air. Everybody gets fed, lives in peace, low calorie ice cream will actually taste good and even make you thin. The new job for cancer cells will be to eat pollution since people will be made immune to the disease through the power of hemp oil. We’re going to cut down on a lot of the fear that rules our lives. That’s the Jedi way! (The Chicago  way — he brings a knife, you bring a gun — bodies everywhere.)

Anyone who doubted me will be cast in a remake of BJ and the Bear and will never be allowed off air, even when they need to poop. (They will, however, be broadcast on one of those cable channels high up no one watches on purpose. Am I not merciful?) Oh, and, of course, all coconut trees will be genetically engineered to sentience and yield coffee beans the size and flavor of coconuts in exchange for hyper-intelligence and all that free wi-fi. See, I’ve thought the big stuff through.

THE SHORT-TERM GOALS

Sure, everybody wants all those tiny miracles, but I’m working on the how of optimizing my micro-publishing empire. It’ll involve a little more technology, dancing outside my tiny comfort zone and opening up other income streams based on what I already do. It will involve calling up people to ask for help and, of course, continuing to smash through those writing and production deadlines. It ain’t all just sit back and be witty for a living, y’all.

THE REQUISITE MARATHON METAPHOR

It’s really about doubling down on this crazy bet I made on myself. It’s about not stopping as I hit the wall at mile 22. (Whispers) It’s mile 22 right about now actually. My shins are killing me.

This is where most people quit, but if I did that, I’d hate myself. There are only a few more miles to…well, that’s not the finish line. It’s the end of the beginning. But up ahead, past this hard part? The slopes are more gentle. Up ahead, I get a bike! The race isn’t as frenzied and I can coast a bit here and there. Sure, eventually we’ll all fall on our knees before our coconut-coffee hybrid overlords, but I’ll reign for 1,000 years first, so it all evens out.

GOOD FEARS, BAD FEARS

I’ll reveal the details when all the hunter-killer satellites’ particle beam arrays are in place. My most important point today is more general. I’ve been listening again to The Four-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. No, as an author, I don’t expect to get all of Ex Parte Press’s business done in four hours a week. However, the book pushes my buttons and tells me where I have operated out of fear. Fear has held me back from projects which could help my work immensely…like that particle beam thingy, for instance. 

In my heart — left ventricle  the big decisions are already made, but the ghostly voice in the back of my head asks: What if it doesn’t work? What if you don’t have enough time? What if it’s already too late? What if you don’t have enough money to make it work? What if it’s all too much? (Smother? Is that you?)

And yet, in the big picture these are small gambles with potentially big payoffs. I don’t have that much to lose and I might gain everything I need. Fear keeps you from doing stupid stuff, like parachuting without a parachute, eating old meat or jogging in winter (or summer).

But fear can hold you back from the most important bets you make on yourself. And when I say “you”, I mean “definitely me” and “maybe, probably you.”

THE CLICHED BUT NECESSARY FISHING METAPHOR

Aspire to Inspire eBook JPGThing is, the good fishing is in the far fishing hole, where most people won’t go. The better fishing hole is not a secret. It’s just that, for many, it’s too far for the hike and the trail is a bit narrower up there. I might fall in and get cold and wet and cry a bit. Chances are better than average I’ll come back with big fish, though.

Stay tuned for more…All That Chazz.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is a crime novelist. They aren’t mysteries. They’re grab-you-by-the-cojones thrillers, with obstacles and surprises, twists and explosions. They’re also funny amid the sex, violence, psychological chaos, bon mots, general smart-assery and the cool hit man with the divine name. Chazz has also written several suspenseful books with bizarre themes. He wrote two writing and publishing guides, too — the only funny ones. The All That Chazz podcast is broadcast everywhere weekly but never weakly. You can get the podcast from AllThatChazz.com, Stitcher, iTunes and you can even receive the kick-ass signal on your braces Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! Join Chazz’s revolution, or suffer the wrath of the chimp named Bear. 

Filed under: book marketing, self-publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What moves books? And what is ‘Parketing’ anyway?

Successful book marketing campaigns often do a lot of things at once, especially at first, before awareness of your book grows. Author Jeff Bennington, for instance, has noticed that online marketing of his books takes an hour out of each day or sales begin to dip. (More on getting you and your books’ global fame in a minute, but first let’s talk attitudes, parketing and my terrible personal deficiencies as a book marketer.)

Someone’s already saying, “An hour a day? Who has that kind of time? When will I have time to write?” You’re an artist, but you’re an artist in business. Businesses need to advertise. You’d make time to send out invoices, so make time to make people aware of your books unless you’re content writing for yourself and your kids. (Fortunately, lots of online marketing is cheap, free and fun, so there’s that.) Down the road, once you reach critical mass, maybe you’ll be able to get away with doing less marketing, but I doubt it. Coke still advertises. Manage your time and make it work.

Here’s one cheap way to promote local awareness of your books: I first heard of parketing (though it wasn’t called that then) at a writers’ conference three years ago. The marketing guru fired lots of ideas at us: blogging, tweeting, podcasts…the usual, though it was all newer, scarier stuff then. Then the guru asked, “How many of you have a car magnet advertising the cover of your book?” Not a single hand was raised, of course. The marketing guru snarked, “Yeah, why would you want to let anyone know you have a book for sale?” Park your car where lots of people will see it with your lovely book cover on it and voilà! That’s parketing.

It’s a digital world, so old-school attempts to market a book are often overlooked, often with justification. However, you may want to consider parketing in certain circumstances. This is one of those advertising strategies that has “short term” written all over it. It could work for the short term because no one is doing it. No one is doing it because your first reaction is that it sounds silly or maybe even naive or worse, beneath your dignity. If you habitually park your car in a high-visibility area (say, outside a bookstore at the mall) it sounds a little less silly. When you consider the number of businesses that do advertise this way, successfully, it sounds even less nuts. If your pockets are shallow, you can still do this. I got my car magnet from Vistaprint for less than $20.

Parketing works much better if you’re prepared to ask a bunch of friends to put car magnets on their vehicles, too. If your pockets are very deep, you could even go for the full paint job. Do that and you’ve got a marketing campaign started in your city and the basis for a press release to local newspapers and magazines. Sure, we market our ebooks globally, but we shouldn’t turn up our noses at getting noticed locally. That’s one way to get critical mass going. People in your own city, especially media, are more interested in local authors because they have a sense of ownership and familiarity with local authors. There’s a business in my city that seems to be everywhere because each employee gets a free paint job on their vehicle advertising the business. Everywhere they drive, they are advertising. It’s not that large a company (or even a particularly good one), but their ad-plastered cars seem ubiquitous, reminding everyone daily, “Here we are!”

The ad on my van gets attention because it’s just so damn weird. There is surely not another author advertising his or her book with a car magnet for hundreds of miles, so people slow down to read it. I’ve watched them slow down to look. Has it translated to sales? I don’t know. It’s just one car magnet for one book, but I do know people are reading the ad. For me, this little strategy is really  just about promoting awareness so I get my name familiar. For what I spent, I’m okay with that. We gravitate toward the familiar, buying name brands instead of the unknown product (which could be just as good or better but you don’t recognize the label.) When I shop the local Asian food market, I’m actually physically uncomfortable with the cans of unknown weird stuff even though I know it’s not weird. It’s merely different. (I’m weird.)

It’s all the other stuff I do that will make the difference in the long term. There is no one way to move books. Online marketing is going to do much more  because it’s everywhere. For instance, I’ve been on the air, or talked about, on six different podcasts recently (besides my own weekly podcast). That will go a lot further toward gaining some vague familiarity with my name as an author than a car magnet will for one book. Plus, I love podcasting, so I’ll always have that.

Have you guessed this post is not really about putting a magnet on your car? It’s about using multiple strategies to get attention to your books. Marketing campaigns that are single-pronged attacks do not move books. Try a lot of things, even the weird ideas if they make sense to you. Experiment and have fun with it if you can. Try to get your name out there, arriving from several places, preferably at once. We must reach outside of our circles of family and friends to move books.

I’m often reluctant to try new book marketing  strategies until I see them tested by others. That’s why I missed out on the benefit of KDP Select while some others made whacko cash last December. I haven’t jumped on Pinterest because I read one blog about their scary terms of service. These are my deficiencies. I’m often too timid about doing things that are good for me. Everything new feels weird at first. Unfamiliar doesn’t mean wrong. Unfamiliar simply means unfamiliar. In our marketing efforts, should we proceed with caution? Sure. Don’t get taken,  but do proceed and make progress.

What are the book marketing basics? Write a good book. Get it edited. Get a great cover design. Price it right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know all that.

What then? Then go buy my buddy Jeff Bennington’s new book, The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. I’m reading it right now and I especially like the things you can do to sell your books that are free. Let him show you the way forward. The best marketing strategies are not static. They come and go and rise and fall so we have to stay current and open to experimentation with new opportunities as they arise.

That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway, and that’s what this blog is about.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is the author of a bunch of great ebooks of suspense with titles he now realizes generally repel you. He podcasts a comedy/narrative show, Self-help for Stoners, every Thursday night. To learn more, go to AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: ebooks, Media, My fiction, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Useful writing links, web reviews, What about Chazz?, What about you?, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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