Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How a Clever Underdog Can Win the Publishing Game

Guest post By Robert Chazz Chute 

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

I am inspired by underdogs peacefully confronting authority. When the Occupy Wall Street protest began, it was a big idea among few people. The media ignored, dismissed and ridiculed them. A lot of people didn’t “get it.” But from one person to another, word spread. The movement grew until their cause could no longer be ignored. “We are the 99%,” they said. “And the super-rich 1% need to be taxed.”

When police denied protesters the use of megaphones, the 99% came up with a brilliant solution so their message could be heard. The speaker yelled his or her message to the crowd. Then whoever could hear it, shouted the phrase back to the larger masses in a loud chorus. There was a Battlestar Galactica “So say we all!” rhythm to the call and response that I loved. Underdogs must be clever to overcome obstacles and to confound authorities.

Occupy Wall Street is so inspiring to me because I’m feeling like an ignored underdog who has to be clever, too. 

I just released two ebooks: Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit) and Self-help for Stoners, Stuff to Read When You’re High. When I told a woman at a conference I planned to e-publish, she asked me why I wouldn’t go with a “publisher with integrity.” I’m sure she meant “traditional publisher.” However, since I’m the publisher, I was a bit vexed that she thought I shouldn’t trust myself.

Besides oxygen and a willingness to stay very still at a desk for long periods, self-published authors need unreasonable confidence. Trust yourself. Believe your message. Hope word will spread. We don’t have big microphones. However, if our work strikes a chord, straight to the bone and heart and mind, word of mouth can make a big impact. 

I don’t need or want help from Authority. Authority and I don’t get along. Instead, I prefer friends and readers and believers.

If you’re a self-published author: Breathe, chain yourself to your desk, and believe. And make some friends. Even if your noble quest fails, at least you’ll have friends.

While I don’t like people telling me what to do, people who lead by example inspire me. Director, author and raconteur Kevin Smith has attributed his success to surrounding himself with Why Not? People. There are plenty of naysayers whose automatic response to your calling and ambition is “Why?” I don’t think they get as much done.

I’ve written Self-help for Stoners. It’s a bucket of fun with twisty fiction and brain tickles. But it’s also about taking control of your life. It’s how I’m taking control of my life. I don’t want to share the wheel. I want to put on my big-boy panties and drive myself. And I don’t think I’ll need a big megaphone. My friends (thanks, Jeff!), believers and readers are enough. The word will spread. The message will grow.

~ Editor, author and journalist, Robert Chazz Chute lives in Canada’s frozen, suburban wasteland. His ebooks, Self-help for Stoners, Stuff to Read When You’re High and Sex, Death & Mind Control (for fun and profit), released across all digital platforms today.


  1. Great Post, Chazz. Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. I Am self-published as well, so I take your encouragement to heart. Did remember a funny scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian, though. They're in the back of the crowd, listening to Jesus, and those in front are passing the message back. When it gets to them, it's "Blessed are the Cheesemakers."

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Marsha. Come back often. I have a really good post coming Monday that will be very helpful.

  4. That's such a good point - you have to believe and you can't let others bring you down.


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