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Why I'm Not Worried by Ebook Piracy

Why I'm Not Worried by Ebook Piracy | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
It seems that ebooks have become the latest creative medium to be hit by digital piracy. According to one report, ebook publishing is being undermined by pirates in the same way that the music industry has been.
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fiction, adult, horror, psychological horror, literature, ebooks, self-publishing
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Potato Chip Math: Size Matters

Do you like a nice long blog post or do you prefer something without as much size? Is it important to you that you target a specific price per word?
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Though I still believe the concision of a Seth Godin blog appeals to many in our harried world, blogger buddy Andrew Butters at Potato Chip Math makes some interesting arguments and observations about book length, blog length and reader appeal at the link. 

Have a look and see what you think.

 

~ Chazz 

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Authors Showcase features horror by Robert Chazz Chute and romance by Dimitri Sarantis

Authors Showcase features horror by Robert Chazz Chute and romance by Dimitri Sarantis | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
The Book: This Plague of Days: Season One The Author: Robert Chazz Chute The Story: Jaimie Spencer is an autistic boy who rarely speaks. He's obsessed with words and Latin dictionaries and his world barely intersects with our own.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Ooh! This Plague of Days on the Authors Showcase at Venture Galleries! Yay!

 

But wait, there's more!

 

You guys know that This Plague of Days is my serialization experiment. What you don't know, until now, is that authors Caleb Pirtle and Stephen Woodfin have invited me to serialize another book at Venture Galleries! Holy crap! So happy to be on a site with so many awesome authors serializing such interesting fiction. And they get a ton of well-deserved traffic.

 

More on the Venture Galleries serial soon. 

 

In the meantime, think on this: What new opportunities can you create to connect with readers? What can you do in a cooperative with other writers to reach new audiences? We need to work together to get over the wall. 

 

Big things are on the way.

 

~ Chazz

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The Book Marketing Maze: Wrong Turns & How To Avoid Them | Bestseller Labs

A guide to the 22 most common book marketing 'wrong turns', and how to avoid them - so you can start selling more books.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

This article by Jonathan Gunson from Bestseller Labs cuts through some issues and slaps many of us across the face. It's a good wake-up call.

 

As writers, many of us are introverted and so busy, we don't interact with book reviewers enough until we need them. We spend time on social media too aimlessly. We write in too many genres.

Okay, it's confession time: By "we" I mean me. I do a lot right, but Mr. Gunson's post irritated the crap and lymph out of me because it hits too close to home on those three points.

 

(Ahem...so...yeah, if you're interested in a review copy of This Plague of Days, email me at expartepress [at] gmail [dot] com.)

What planks in your platform do you need to shore up? Learn at the link!

 

~ Chazz

 

PS This is Part One with 11 points to work on. Be sure to subscribe over there so you don't miss Part Two and get 11 more points to make our book marketing course corrections.

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USA Ranked 23rd in World for Time Spent Reading. But guess who's #1?

USA Ranked 23rd in World for Time Spent Reading
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

You'll find the chart of the number of hours spent reading per week by country at Galleycat (link below).

 

This is important information for the forward thinking author and publisher. For instance, do you pay attention to Amazon India much at all? Have you considered finding a way to translate your books into other languages? Kobo is in more countries, so we won't be able to pretend the international book market is a static add-on forever.

 

The USA is still a huge market, of course. But there are other markets and they are growing.

 

Ponder it.

 

~ Chazz

 

PS Happy Independence Day to my American friends and readers. I hope those two groups are always in one circle on the Venn diagram.

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Sharon Bakar's comment, July 6, 2013 3:33 AM
Suceed in English first and then you'll find those Asian publsihers looking to translate you. It's not your job as a writer. And don't forget that the country with the most English speakers in the world is China. Perhaps the concern should be how can you create content that is of interest to readers in Asia?
Robert Chazz Chute's comment, July 6, 2013 7:07 AM
Actually, as an independent, it is my job. This is timely because Joanna Penn was just speaking about finding translators (and how one might make that deal work) on the Self-publishing Podcast. There are alternatives to waiting for others. Exciting times.
Sharon Bakar's comment, July 6, 2013 11:06 AM
Good luck with that anyway, hope you do manage it.
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Cool Armand Talks about being in the Zombie Business

Cool Armand Talks about being in the Zombie Business | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
Cool Armand Rosamilia, uber zombie guy! We talk about Armand’s books, The Walking Dead, George Romero to 28 Days Later to Shawn of the Dead and much more.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Author Armand Rosamilia was my first interview on The Cool People Podcast. Cool guy with interesting ideas about his genre, writing and the business of zombie.

 

Have a listen.

 

~ Chazz

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Book Selling Strategies For Success, What Works, What Does Not!

National book marketing and publicity expert, creator of JenningsWire online magazine, Annie Jennings, queried authors to find out what SOLD books - what worked, what did not!
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

You've got plenty of book marketing strategies to consider at the link below. This is an extensive list of options written by Annie Jennings (at Jennings Wire, The World of Success). Enjoy!

 

I suspect the failed strategies will generalize well. 


I suspect the strategies listed as effective won't work for everyone because there are so many variables. For instance, speaking at events can certainly sell books, but factors such as your book, the audience and how well you speak can handicap your sales efforts.

 

You'll notice intimacy, connection and selling one-to-one appear repeatedly. That makes a lot of sense. One of the things we should do is get out of our houses, go to readers and meet them individually. That's one of the few dependable constants in selling books. Go to where readers are instead of hoping they come to you.

 

What's worked best for you? (Before someone else says it, yes, we know. "Write the best book you can.")

What book marketing strategies do you like least worked best for you?

 

The answers to so many of our problems reside outside our comfort zone because to get different results, we have to do something different. 

 

~ Chazz

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Writers' Union of Canada's attitude to indie authors upsets Maia Sepp | Self-Publishing Advice

The Canada Writers' Union's announcement of a two-tier memberships for traditional and independent authors is rejected by Canadian indie novelist Maia Sepp.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Check out this excellent piece by Maia Sepp at the link to ALLi below.

 

I've reported on the proposed acceptance of indie authors into The Writers' Union of Canada in previous posts. However, the author at the link goes into details about peer review of which I was not aware. It's a tad fuzzy what peer review might mean, but it does appear to be a throttle to keep the union's legacy membership from being overwhelmed by We The Carpetbaggers.

 

I think she's right. I don't like the aura of being on a "second tier." I get enough of that in every other facet of my life. I won't accept a lower rank in one of the few things I'm bloody awesome at doing. It's a digital book revolution, not an evolution. Despite the proposed vote to include us, as details emerge it still seems a bit behind the times.

 

I also noticed, as Ms. Sepp points out, the announcement by TWUC had no hint of what was in it for indie authors. I wonder how many indie authors they spoke to?

 

Last? Subscribe to the blog at the link. Lots of useful articles there.

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Giving It Away: Why Fiction Authors Should Offer Free Ebooks by Jason Kong — The Book Designer

Giving It Away: Why Fiction Authors Should Offer Free Ebooks by Jason Kong explores the reasoning that suggests new authors spread their work as widely as possible
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Check out Jason Kong's rationale for free book promotion on The Book Designer at the link below.

Regular readers of this blog know I've gone back and forth on this issue and I still get conflicting reports that make me shake my head. However, I made up my mind to get back on Amazon's KDP Select train recently. This Plague of Days is exclusively on Amazon, at least for the next three months and I plan to use free promotions in a very limited and strategic way. (Also, my approach won't be for everyone because a serial gives me new options I didn't have previously. More on that after I conduct the experiment.)

What solidified my resolve was finding out precisely how the Amazon algorithms work. I read David Gaughran's Let's Get Visible. I found his take reassuring so I can still use free properly and feel good about it. If you haven't read David's book yet, you know the drill.

 

BEYOND THE ISSUE OF FREE: LOUSY COMPETITION

The other thing that made me sure of KDP was the abysmal state of Amazon's competitors: unfriendly user experience and lousy search capability that works against indie authors. David explains in his book why that persists. The short answer is the other platforms are still trying to play the short game to profitability. Amazon is customer focussed and so they're crushing. (I knew Stupid had to have a rationale, even if it's not working and hurts them in the long game! Seriously, read Let's Get Visible for details.)

 

I have some books on other platforms and they aren't moving significantly. I'm not saying I'll stick everything on Amazon forever, but I need the other platforms to show me something different and better before I migrate all my work to those platforms.

 

This Plague of Days is a lot of grim fun and an immense undertaking. I will not put it on a platform that goes out of its way to hide my books from customers. Amazon's not perfect, but my work has a chance there.

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Laura Brown's curator insight, June 21, 2013 6:40 AM

It's more about perspective than promotion. If your books are already selling and you have a fan following it is easier to give away free books. If you don't have sales and no one reads your books then giving them away just looks sad and desperate. I think it's better to ask at least a dollar than to give them away. 

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Win a Contract to Write a Dark Crystal Novel - GalleyCat

Win a Contract to Write a Dark Crystal Novel
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Here's a strange and maybe a wonderful opportunity for authors. Do you even remember The Dark Crystal? The movie's from 1982, but maybe there are some Dark Crystal fans out there (or new fans waiting to be born with new blood and new life in the franchise.) Even if you don't know the movie, they'll provide you with what you need to know to bring life to the vision and recreate their world.

 

1982: I got together with my first serious girlfriend and travelled far from home for a summer for the first time. Rocky III and Asia's "Heat of the Moment" was playing constantly...on my tape recorder. Remember those? I was young and free and nobody carded me at bars even though they definitely should have. 1982 was one of the best summers ever in the history of the world.

Ancient history, and yet, the Gelflings are gathering again. Deadline for entry in this contest is Dec. 31st. Check out the details at the link below to Galleycat. (Article by Jason Boog.)

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BOOKRANT: The Publishing Industry Forgot The Only Thing Worth Remembering

I'm back, Bookworld! I'm back to rant about more of the stupid, stupid things you're doing. Sorry for my hiatus from my rant column, not that you cared or even
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Libbie Hawker rants at traditional publishing at the link. Even if you aren't open to being convinced, you'll probably be entertained. Enjoy.

I've opted out of this debate and haven't posted about respecting indies for some time. The SP versus trad thing often gets silly and repetitive. I'm not sure anyone convinces anyone of anything, either. Minds are hard things to change. However, propaganda requires a reply that uses facts. In the anti-SP camp, The Guardian and Salon have, with few exceptions, declared their allegiance with traditional publishing's party line. That's why I decided to link to this article today.

 

There's a lot to consider here, like how much help the writer recruits in the editorial process. How much help is needed? Are most self-published books crap because the majority of everything is crap? Since Libbie Hawker's piece is as lengthy as it is thought-provoking, I'll hold back on that topic today and let you ponder those issues at the link.

 

~ Chazz

 

 

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The Masquerade Crew: Vote best cover: Girl with a gun. @RChazzChute VS himself

The Masquerade Crew: Vote best cover: Girl with a gun. @RChazzChute VS himself | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

After promoting books everywhere you can think to do so, it's especially fun for an author when something nice comes along that you didn't expect. Book promotion can be a cheerful exercise or it can be a frustrating chore, depending on what you're doing. Not to get all unicorns and bubble, bubble, toil and trouble on you, but when help arises organically, it feels kind of magical and makes my heart grow three sizes. 

 

The first time it happened, I stumbled across a conversation about one of my books through Google Alerts. Two readers I didn't know were talking about a book of mine in a favorable way. When that happens, it's almost like I don't need cocaine. It's such a happy thing, the world has a caramel coating and the spinal columns of my enemies hang decoratively from sentient trees singing Bohemian Rhapsody.

Then yesterday I noticed my Twitter stream blew up with Cover Wars from over at the Masquerade Crew. A couple of my covers from the Hit Man Series were doing battle to the death in a poll over which was the better cover. Cue the Kirk versus Spock combat music and click the link below to cast your vote.

 

Both were created by Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com, so no matter which one comes out on top in the poll, he wins. The Hit Man covers are an ode to James Bond paperbacks from the '80s and I love them both. (A later version of Bigger Than Jesus added the tagline: "Thou shalt not steal" and I got a nice cover blurb from Claude Bouchard, author of Vigilante.) 

 

Many thanks to the Masquerade Crew for this pleasant surprise and promotional bump. I love it when things like this come out of the blue...and when singing, sentient trees rip out the spinal columns of my many enemies. I'm so happy, the pine tree by front step just burst forth with a medley of Queen's songs from Highlander. It's an awesome feeling. Later I'll go shovel what's left of my rude mail carrier into a mailbox.

 

Follow the Masquerade Crew, go to KitFosterDesign.com and have a happy and surreal day!

 

~ Chazz

 

 

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How to Make a Cover Designer Cry

Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

This post by India Drummond at The Writer's Guide to E-publishing is funny and sad.

 

I sent the link to my graphic designer immediately. He'll enjoy it, I think, but I told him that if I was guilty of any of the above, I didn't want to know. 

 

Learn what not to do at the link.

 

~ Chazz

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39 Awesome Tools and Resources for Blogging and Social Media Marketing | Jeffbullas's Blog

Social media and blogging has gone from being an activity you did for just fun and pleasure to serious business.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

At the link you'll find an interesting list by Jeff Bullas of jeffbullas.com. I was pleased to see I've read four of the books he recommends. (4-hour Workweek; On Writing by Stephen King; Rework; and the War of Art. You've probably read those ones, too. If not, hearty recommendations!)

 

One thing that caught my eye in particular was e-junkie. An evolutionary step I believe we must take as authors is selling more of our stuff straight from our websites. Mr. Bullas notes that e-junkie is for downloadable content. I've heard good things about e-junkie. However, I'm planning on selling t-shirts, print books and some e-content, so perhaps I need something a little more comprehensive.

Are any of you selling stuff from your sites and what's your experience? I'm considering Shopify. (I want to source the shirts myself, so I'm avoiding the usual suspects. For instance, my experience with CafePress was underwhelming. Also, someone in the know told me they didn't care for CafePress shirts' graphic reproduction. Someone else informed me that Zazzle raised their rates recently so they take a deeper cut.)

Any thoughts on which e-store tool is best for authors? 

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Horror Authors And Religion

Horror Authors And Religion | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
This post is a bit more 'controversial' than my normal ones, in that I talk about something I swore I'd never talk about... religion. I also will not talk about politics, and will never bring up th...
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

(Sorry! I had to post this again because reblogging it screwed up spacing in Wrodpress. Scoopit! is superior. Trying this again..)

This is timely. In a recent review, a reader said the serial's atheism was cringeworthy. That's interesting to me because in This Plague of Days, the husband is an atheist (with growing doubt as doom is threatened) and the wife is a die-hard believer (with growing doubt as her faith is tested.) Both character's views are challenged. Considering that their conversations take place in the context of a massive plague, it would strike me as really weird for them *not* to discuss their beliefs and try to resolve them. Surrounded by death and destruction, issues around spirituality come up honestly. When doctors fail, the next visit is from the priest. We are all searching for meaning, through faith or reason. The debate is natural and honest.

 

I have no doubt that some readers will say I'm preachy when the wife has her say and a raging atheist if they focus on the husband. I've been a member of an evangelical church and I'm now an atheist. I try to give both sides their due. We all read through our own lens, so some atheists may think me a traitor to the cause and some believers will be sure I'm evil. I think most readers, because they are readers, are curious and can be entertained by the narrative without feeling threatened. (And if anyone really feels threatened by a work of fiction, perhaps they should spend more time evaluating or shoring up what they believe.)

 

I believe in readers. I think most will weather that sprinkling of a debate throughout the series. Just as sci-fi isn't about how to build a warp engine, horror is about the people and how they face mortality.

 

There are millions of books to read, so readers who don't agree have lots of other great choices. I'm sorry to see them go, but I don't write for everybody. I write for me. The likeminded who want to board my crazy train and come along for the ride are for later.

 

Love this post, Armand. Reblogging!

 

~RCC

 

PS I also have a couple of crime novels with titles that appear at first glimpse to mock Jesus. Most Christians who contacted me about that choice had a sense of humour about it and since those novels are (often) funny, it turned out okay. Not all atheists are open-minded and not all Christians are close-minded. It's just that we hear a lot from a vocal minority. I don't think writers should censor themselves for a minority who aren't predisposed to enjoy much of anything anyway. We're writers. We tickle brains and follow Art where it leads.

 

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LynneQuisition: Passive Guy

Everybody’s got their own go-to list of blogs, but one that seems to turn up on just about every indie author’s list is The Passive Voice. Passive Guy (the
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

So that's who the Passive Guy really is! If you don't folllow The Passive Voice already, you definitely should. Read his interview at the link below.

 

If you needed another reason to subscribe to his blog, I just found out minutes ago from The Passive Voice that JK Rowling is secretly the author of a detective novel. It was received well when they didn't know it was her. Now I suppose the snark and knives will come out.

 

I read the article to She Who Must Be Obeyed and quoted Rowling (with a few edits.) So this quote from Rowling: "I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,"


became this quote when I read it: 

"I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience from the nits and pricks  who unfairly criticize any of my books that aren't about a wizard. They can piss right off."


Of course, Ms. Rowling is a classy lady, so that's all me projecting. However, some of the reviews of A Casual Vacancy suggested to me that they'd have preferred to intimidate Rowling into silence after harry Potter ended. Some critics are wait in the weeds to attack when any author challenges convention or tries something different or writes anything else  after a huge success. You'll recall Harper Lee never wrote anything after To Kill A Mockingbird. Tragic. I think the literary media can take a bit of the blame for that.

Stephen King expressed similiar disappointment when his secret identity writng as Bachman was exposed. Look, I know these folks are nigh-impossibly rich so we aren't supposed to feel bad for them for anything. However, I do feel bad for any author when nasty reviews are unleashed for bad reasons. (Note: Rowling and King are two of the most generous rich people on the planet. Not all of our betters are equal.)


It's like when reviewers talk about a $200 million dollar movie and debate about whether it's worth that big budget. What I want to know is whether it's worth the price of admission and a medium unbuttered popcorn. I suppose Ms. Rowling will have to brace herself. Yes, the detective novel's gargantuan increase in sales will be a quantum of solace, but critics who go after the author instead of the book still suck.


I have spoken.


~ Chazz


(Tomorrow on the blog, Hugh Howey! Also, Episode 5 of This Plague of Days by yours truly is released. In the meantime, go read Lynne Cantwell's interview with the Passive Guy at the link.)

 

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101 Quick Actions to Build the Writer Platform of Your Dreams | #1 may be most important.

What does it really take to build a writer platform? Learn the most important aspect to building your writer platform, and 101 quick ways to get started.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

This article by Kimberley Grabas at Your Writer Platform is solid. Even as I struggle with questions about how effective social media is and isn't, I see value among these strategies.

 

As you look through the list, undoubtedly something useful will jump out at you. Some items may never have occurred to you. (I hadn't thought of Google authorship.) I felt righteous when I saw YouTube on the list. You may have noticed I'm using more video in my book promotion for This Plague of Days. Between Vine and video, my work is more animated lately.

 

Maybe PicMonkey will be the revelation you needed today. Finding new ways to monetize is always good. A chance at a new partnership has just fallen into my lap and I'm pretty excited about that. (More on that later.)

 

Kimberley Grabas' first action item on the list is "why". She's absolutely right. We have to identify our unique selling proposition and operate by an defined philosophy. Once you have your Why, you will overcome any How. Number 1 is Priority One.

Enjoy the article at the link below. You'll undoubtedly find a plank in your platform that needs shoring up. I did.

 

~ Chazz 

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Stephen King Responds To ‘Under the Dome’ Changes

Stephen King Responds To ‘Under the Dome’ Changes
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Jason Boog at Galleycat reports King's thoughts on Under the Dome's adaptation at the link below. (I enjoyed the book very much and liked the pilot.)

 

It's interesting how adaptations are handled. I recently heard an author wring his hands over how his precious book might be changed to appear on the screen. In my opinion, that's acting too precious and picky because somebody will transform your apple into an orange.

 

Sure, you want the spirit of your work to translate from book to screen, but if it doesn't translate, you still have the books and something new for readers to discover once they see your title get wild publicity.

 

There's a vast difference between Dexter the TV show and Dexter the book series. (That's an unusual case where I actually prefer the version on screen.) However, Jeff Lindsay has gained a much wider audience because of the show. Similiarly, tons of people are discovering the joys of fantasy because of Game of Thrones. It's not exactly like the books, but it's a different canvas. And the TV show is selling a buttload of books. A dragon's buttload.

 

Instead of begrudging any changes to the original text, authors so lucky to get a movie or TV deal should be grateful. I sure plan to be grateful when Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Dakota Fanning and Justin Beiber star in This Plague of Days.

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Free Scrivener Templates To Structure Your Novel - GalleyCat

Free Scrivener Templates To Structure Your Novel
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Regular readers here know I love Scrivener. I write all my books with this software. It has a steep learning curve at first, but it's worth the effort and will save you much more time and money that it costs.

 

Check out this Galleycat article for free Scrivener templates at the link below. Looks useful.

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Cool Eden's Erotic Talk on The Cool People Podcast

Cool Eden's Erotic Talk on The Cool People Podcast | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
Stay tuned for a frank and NSFW discussion about writing sex versus writing erotic stories...and Charles Bukowski.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Author Eden Baylee is a friend of mine. We got together on the Cool People Podcast to chat about the business of writing erotica. Enjoy!

 

~ Chazz

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Why your interviews don't work and how to fix the problem

Why your interviews don't work and how to fix the problem | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it

The Questions with Robert Chazz Chute: Writer on dSavannah Rambles

Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Most author interviews don't get read. If they are read, they are lightly scanned. Too often, the same questions are asked and worse, the same answers squeak out to an audience that does not care. There are people who care about where you get your ideas or how you started writing. Those people are your mom (maybe) and the fans who are already into your books. No conversions for you!

 

Regular Interviews Don't Create New Readers

 

Regular interviews bore old readers. They convert no one. Some author interviews make me wish they'd preserved the mystery and shut up. Mostly, I just delete, ignore and move on to see if the Internet has any playful cat videos (like you). Author interviews as they are generally practiced are lousy promotional tools. If you're going to bother with an arduoous guest blog tour for your book, break the old paradigm.

The Solution is Umbilical Lint

 

Writers should avoid cliches, so enough about (slurp) how much coffee we drink. Tell us about the Hunter S Thompson acid trip you took in Juarez at spring break. Tell us about your hilarious colonoscopy (I did on the All That Chazz podcast). Share news. News is new. Be entertaining and don't go for the standard questions and useless answers.

 

This week, in my post "Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada" we got a lot of hits, retweets and comments. People had a good time with Armand's fun answers to my silly questions about his secret life as a belly button lint sculptor. We made people laugh and intrigued them. Getting read, whether it's in your books or for your book tour, starts with getting people interested. Don't lead with "How long have you been writing?" Who cares? Those sorts of questions are for authors who are already on the NYT bestseller list. (And even them, yech.) 

Don't be Afraid to be Bizarre...or Honest

 

In my latest interview with dSavannah (at the link below) I give honest answers and some of them are funny but uncomfortable. Some answers involve time travel to save my childhood and career. I give an honest answer that involves my mother's death. (I didn't kill her. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Be honest, informative, helpful, make jokes and use more imagination. You do that when you're writing your books. Do that when you talk about your work, too. Just don't be so earnest! To sell art, be more artful.

 

If You Want Nice Fans with a Sense of Humor, Be One of Them 

 

Another example? Listen in to my giggly interview with cool Jessica McHugh at CoolPeoplePodcast.com. You might hate me but you'll fall in love with her and you'll want to check out her books. Our books are extensions of our personalities. Have one. That gives a reader hope they'll like your books.

Read Armand Rosmilia's audacious Fatty Arbuckle reference in his post here. Armand looks like a death metal biker dude, acts like a teddy bear and is a fun guy. We got such great feedback on "Author Armand Rosamilia Hates Canada", he told me that in his next interview he plans to bomb Alaska. I think that's something we can all get behind.

Entertainment is the first step to engagement. Are you not entertained?

 

If not, the author interview failed.

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13 Utterly Disappointing Facts About Books

SO SAD.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

The other night I ran into a guy on Vine who is obviously a reader. They are out there and they are among the most interesting people you could ever meet. Here's the thing: when you read the Buzzfeed article at the link below, if you're so predisposed, you may feel a stress headache and depression settling over you like a shroud. The news for books does not look good in many ways. The economy still sucks, millions of distractions pull at our time and eyeballs. The world of entertainment is a fractured mosaic.

 

Resist that depressive impulse. Facts are facts and they are interesting facts delivered in an entertaining way on Buzzfeed (with pictures because who reads anymore?). If nothing else, the next time somebody hits you with the Big Five's awesome power to curate important books and direct our culture from Central Command, you can smack them right back with Snooki and Justin Beiber. But there's more to the resistance than schadenfreude and a debate point.

 

The readers that are out there? They are a dedicated cult. They love good books. They love discovering new authors. They appreciate a rainy Sunday afternoon so they can pull a book over their heads and be transported. They turn off the TV. They read beside forgotten cups of cold coffee. Deep readers get comfortable on the couch as they settle into another world. As they read, they forget this disapoointing reality and invest themselves in fiction. They know books are time machines that can slow the Earth's spin with a well chosen phrase or even make their doctor's office wait or subway commute whiz by. The characters may not be real, but they feel real and books make people feel emotions like no other medium. Good readers know the regretful joy of immersing themselves in a great story and purposely slowing down so they don't finish the book too quickly.

Authors are in the brain tickling business. We don't need everyone on Earth to feel this same rapture over books. Sure, it would be great if they did, but what I'm looking for is a cult. A small army would be fine. I'm looking for a group of people who dig my take on existence. People who like my books are interested in questions that don't necessarily have answers. My readership doesn't have to be "5 Billion served". A dedicated following is all any author needs.

The readers are out there. I'm sure of it. Believe. I'm one of them, too.

 

Oh, and the guy I met on Vine the other night? He's interested in This Plague of Days. He spread the word to his followers so more people would  give my books a chance. He could be one of the Chute Book Cult priests. Or a captain in Chazz Army. Or a new friend. 

 

"We are strong. 

We are coming. 

You deserve us. 

The chaos in every day you have left will be so scintillating.

We make history and a new future."

 ~ from This Plague of Days by Robert Chazz Chute
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COOL PEOPLE PODCAST - WE ARE THE DROIDS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR

COOL PEOPLE PODCAST - WE ARE THE DROIDS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

On this week's edition of the Cool People Podcast, I talk to author Jessica McHugh about many aspects of writing: Readers' expectations about sex versus violence, marketing and more. It was a really fun interview. Check it out at the link and enjoy! (Also on video at the YouTube link at CoolPeoplePodcast.com.)

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The ‘Billboard’ That Can Make Or Break Your Book's Success | Bestseller Labs

How to design an attractive book cover that will successfully sell your book in a book store or on Amazon
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Jonathan Gunson talks about what makes a great book cover at the link below to Bestseller Labs. Learn at the link!

Book covers are much on my mind today as my graphic designer (Kit at KitFosterDesign.com) and I make the final tweaks to Episodes 1 - 5 and the Season 1 covers for This Plague of Days. There will be a different cover for the print version, as well. (Still super secret and amazingly ambitious, but if anyone can pull it off, Kit can.)

Some graphic deisgners welcome less back and forth on covers. Kit isn't happy until I am, so the covers always arrive at a good place. I don't know how Kit does what he does. His art is amazing and he's a multiple award-winner. I trust his skills and sensibility to guide me toward creating covers that grab eyeballs.

 

I know what I look for in a good cover:
 

1. It has to pop at thumbnail size as well as full-screen.

2. Contrast. Too many covers out there are tough to read.

3. Author branding. The author's name goes big because there are many titles but the author brand remains as an identifiable anchor to all the books. Ultimately, I want readers to be searching for my name rather than titles. That way, the fans of what I do buy all my stuff.

4. Clean typography that reflects the nature of the work. (If you've just written the great American novel, you probably don't want Comic Sans for a font on your cover.)

5. I want my covers to convey something about the book without trying to tell the whole story on the cover.

For the Hit Man Series, for instance, the covers have the look of the James Bond cover makeovers from the eighties with a saucy tagline that tells you it's going to be serious fun. My Cuban assassin, Jesus Diaz, is no James Bond, but he falls in love too easily and my heroines are worhth the long drop into doom. (Adding taglines from the 10 commandments was Kit's brilliant idea. Great tweak!) At a glance, readers have an idea what they're in for and with titles like Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus, I had to give them a heavy clue they're crime novels.

Jonathan Gunson touches on this issue in the link, too, and it's crucial. Readers judge books by their covers and the covers for This Plague of Days convey isolation, desolation and civilization's collapse. This serial is  a serious story about an autistic boy and his family fighting for survival in the face of plagues of zombies that's taking over the world. When I reveal the covers (soon!) you'll get instantly that there's plenty of trouble and a journey ahead. The title elements, blurb, tagline, art, typography and color all say something about what This Plague of Days is about. (There's even a hint at a big secret that isn't divulged until a long way down the road.)

The mood, colour and look of the cover for the first episode actually reminds me of a Neil Gaiman book. That's what we all crave: unique, eye-catching images that evoke the happy familiar and draw readers of similiar books in the genre. Kit's working on finalizing the covers as I write these words and I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

Big stories and great covers build exciting times! 

 

~ Chazz

 

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10 Tips for Writers Reading in Public

10 Tips for Writers Reading in Public | Writing and reading fiction | Scoop.it
Don't fall in love with yourself. It is a rare author who can read from their book for more than 8-10 minutes without engendering a tune-out from the audience.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

Randy Susan Meyers imparts great advice about doing a reading at Huffpo at the link below. Enjoy!

 

I must point out that if I wasn't in love with myself, I couldn't do a reading at all. (I do alternate between raging narcissism and self-loathing, so it balances out.)

A couple of persnickety podcasters who shall go unnamed once complained that they don't like it when an author looks like he's enjoying himself too much at the podium. If a writer got too much into acting out the reading, they shuddered with too-cool-for-schoolness.

 

This is blatant hipster posing. If the author acted miserable, said podcasters surely would have said the reading was too flat. They were a couple of poos who shouldn't go to readings if they're just there to bag on people to make themselves feel better.

 

I say a reading is a performance. People expect to be entertained. If you can't act, be funny. If you can't be funny, read something really good poorly or get someone else to read it for you and just answer questions afterward.

 

I agree with Ms. Meyers about this: Your audience doesn't care about your stagefright (unless you can make that funny, of course.)

 

Most people go to readings to meet the author, get a signed book, enjoy themselves and drink red wine in an atmosphere where no one calls you on your raging alcoholism.

 

Now get out there withyour book and kick ass.

 

Thanks to cool author (and soon-to-be-guest on the Cool People Podcast) Jessica McHugh for the tip on this link.

 

~ Chazz

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Amazon looks pathetic by excluding porn from its search engine (but still selling it) – Telegraph Blogs

Over the weekend, without warning, Amazon removed the ability of anything rated "adult" to show up in a search on its main website.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:

As I write this, "erotica" is still available on Amazon US but, as reported by The Telegraph at the link below, it's deleted as a category from Amazon UK. If readers want it, they have to go searching by book title instead of by category. No word if this will happen elsewhere on Amazon. Perhaps this is a trial balloon to gauge reader reaction. Policy formation at the mighty Zon is an opaque thing, so if it happens, it happens to you without warning, polling or discussion. 

That's their right, but this is an odd choice on several levels, and hypocritical at that, since Fifty Shades is still for sale loud and proud. I'm confounded. Amazon generally gives people what they want. That's why they are so much more successful than other players. The move is a blow to reader choice, author free expression and zaps my backup plan for the fall if This Plague of Days doesn't take off.

 

B&N has had issues with erotica, too, limiting an erotic book's ability to rise past a rank of 126, as Wool author Hugh Howey discussed on his blog recently. I've never understood this conundrum: all kinds of violence is fine but get sexy and we have to put a leash on you.

 

(Thanks to loyal blog reader M.L. Sexton for the tip about Amazon UK!)

 

~ Chazz

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