Episode # 101 – Romantic Comedies from the Guy’s Perspective…with Rich Amooi

In Uncategorized by Angela McConnell23 Comments

richcovernewRomance author Rich Amooi is making a full-time living bucking trends with his quirky romantic comedies from the guy’s perspective. This week, I talk to Rich about the advice he didn’t follow, the joy of speaking Spanish, his low-stress approach to indie publishing…and we geek out a little over our love of radio. :)



 

Links:

Rich Amooi’s Author Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

goodreads

YouTube

Mentions:

Stanford Continuing Studies – Online Writing Courses

Gotham Writers Workshop

Episode # 96 – Diversification and Dedication with Craig Schaefer

Show notes:

Background:

Rich first fell in love with radio when he was a kid. He was amazed by the deejays, the on-air personalities, who were like “superheroes” to him, entertaining the audience and playing cool music. At some point, he says, he would listen to the radio 24/7, even when he was sleeping and watching TV. Rich soon started calling in on contests and winning prizes, eventually winning over 100 contests.

It was only natural that he would follow his passion into a career in radio, working as an on-air personality for some of the top radio stations in Silicon Valley. Eventually, he started his own business as a wedding deejay after an ardent radio fan convinced him to entertain at her wedding. It went so well that her bridesmaid booked him, and he went on to entertain at more than 1,500 wedding receptions.

In 2010, his wife encouraged him to take some creative writing courses, which he enjoyed so much, he ended up take four classes over a two-year period. Two of his short stories from those classes eventually became novels.

Rich’s first published title Wedding Receptions That Rock: Creative Ideas for Music and a Fun, High-Energy Celebration was a bit of an experiment. He knew he wanted to make a career writing romantic comedies, but he thought writing a nonfiction title that drew upon his experience as a wedding deejay would be a great way for him to learn the publishing process and hopefully bring in a little income as he developed his fiction-writing career.

Since then, he has released two of his “quirky romantic comedies from a guy’s perspective,” and has segued successfully into a career as a full-time author.

Bibliography:

Wedding Receptions That Rock: Creative Ideas for Music and a Fun, High-Energy Celebration – 139 pages – published April 2013

Five Minutes Late: A Romantic Comedy – 346 pages – published August 2014

Dog Day Wedding – 291 pages – published January 2015

Bucking Trends

When Rich started out, he discovered that there was a universe of advice, guidelines, tips, and must-dos awaiting him as a new author…everything from, “Don’t even think about approaching an agent until you’ve got 10,000 Twitter followers,” to “You have to use a pen name; romance readers won’t buy from a man,” to “If you want any kind of success, you must write series.”

Rich is still working on those 10,000 Twitter followers, but you won’t see him querying agents anytime soon. He likes doing it himself. In fact, aside from possibly an Amazon imprint, he really has no interest in traditional publishers.

As for his decision not to use a feminine pen name, Rich just decided, “Well, I’m me, and I’m proud of what I write. And I love romantic comedies and it’s a part of me, and I want people to see that.” He also felt he had a unique perspective as a male romance writer, one that would appeal to readers. He was right. His first book now has 148 reviews, and his second, 186 reviews. His average rating is 4.5 stars — definite signs that he’s hitting a sweet spot with readers…not to mention he makes a full-time living from his books.

In terms of writing stand-alone novels instead of series featuring recurring characters, Rich decided to simply write what he enjoys reading. He likes stand-alone novels akin to the conventions of romantic comedies on the silver screen. He enjoys meeting new characters in a new situation and having it wrapped up with a Happily Ever After.

It seems to be working out all right for him. :)

Business Philosophy

When Rich decided to pursue a second career in writing fiction, he asked himself, “What’s the easiest way for me to do this where I can have a lot of fun and I can have low stress?”

For Rich, “low stress” means doing something fun, something creative, being his own boss, and making the decisions that shape and grow the business. He’s always lived a low-stress life, he says, and so he makes business decisions that take stress level into consideration.

For instance, while it would seem to make sense for him to narrate his own audiobooks with his background in radio and broadcast, he points out that it is a very long and tedious process. Ultimately, it was simpler and easier to hire a professional to handle it and focus his energies on writing new books.

The same goes for foreign language translations. Even though Rich speaks fluent Spanish, he says he would not attempt to translate his own work. His focus is on making fun, entertaining stories.

The Next Big Thing

More fun and quirky romantic comedies! Rich has three new books coming out this year. He’s also got his eye on maybe getting into an anthology with other rom com writers and possibly teaming up with a UK author or two. There are also plans to ramp up his YouTube channel this year with more videos and comedy sketches with his wife. Sounds like fun. :)

Quotes:

On taking his work too seriously: “I look at my writing as fast, fun, and fluffy.”

On the decision NOT to use a pen name: “Well, I’m me, and I’m proud of what I write. And I love romantic comedies and it’s a part of me, and I want people to see that.”

Action Steps:

  • Analyze your various tasks you conduct as an indie author and decide which ones you don’t want to do, don’t like to do, or aren’t that great at it. Then either eliminate those tasks, or hire someone to handle them for you. Remember, your most important role as an indie author is the authoring bit. So get writing!
  • Write what you enjoy. If you’re not having fun at this, you’re probably not doing it right. (This should always go without saying, but I’m saying it again. :) )
  • Continue your education in craft. There are countless online courses available to help writers hone their skills. Your readers will thank you.
  • Trust your gut. Despite all the standard advice Rich got, he stuck to his guns and made it his own way.

Simon Asks:

What is the best and worst advice you’ve gotten as an indie author?

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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Angela McConnellEpisode # 101 – Romantic Comedies from the Guy’s Perspective…with Rich Amooi
  • Very interesting and entertaining episode. I like how Rich is doing his own thing and having success with it. One question that he might be able to answer if he’s reading these comments: I was wondering, since you are a male writer, if you get any (more) male readers as well, or is it still mostly women? It’s probably hard to find out, but I was curious.

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Anja, thanks for the comment, if Rich doesn’t see this shortly, I’ll pass it onto him :).

    • Hi Anja!

      Great question and it is something that I do pay attention to. The majority of my readers are female, around 95%. I have received letters and reviews from males who have enjoyed my romantic comedies but I think it’s the comedy aspect that draws most of them in.

      • Thanks, Rich! I wonder if these 5% are higher than in other romance subcategories that have less of a comedy aspect. I certainly find the male perspective intriguing and will be checking out your books.

  • Catching up on the last few episodes, and the bio-writing thing made me hop over to leave a comment. I had to do a sort-of bio writing/letter of recommendation class in school, and the biggest hurdle to get started was the fact I had to write in third person (and the art of the humblebrag, which I never mastered)

    • SimonRSP

      Ha, yes, I actually just re-did the About Me page for this site… although I refuse to write in the third person 😉

      • Rich runs to check out Simon’s new bio.

  • Chris Podhola

    To be honest, I haven’t put much thought into the male versus female aspect of writing. I publish fantasy novels under my real name and I also write under a male pen name. This topic has me wondering if I shouldn’t experiment with publishing under a female pen. Is this a recommended approach? (I do fairly well under my pen name, but not enough to live off of).

    • SimonRSP

      Hey Chris, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way of doing things, but there are conventions in genres (as Rich and I discussed in the episode). Experimentation though… that’s always something I’d recommend if you can have enough titles to experiment with 🙂

      • Chris Podhola

        I did ask the question as I was listening to the episode, before that topic was discussed. Of course there are plenty of titles to choose from. The pool of ideas is infinite and fortunately I have written more than I have published. I’ve already begun the process and I’m curious to see how it works out. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised to hear that women readers prefer women writers. I should be more surprised that I didn’t think of it myself.

        • SimonRSP

          Keep me posted, I’d love to know how it works out 🙂

          • Chris Podhola

            Sure, no problem.

            So far, the story I’m referring to went live yesterday and the free promotion I ran on it started last night. The results are not too bad, but so far, they are no more impressive than they would have been if I had published it with my male pen name. I also have a newer one with the male pen name that is going off free promotion after today. To date, that one has hovered within the top 20 to 30 rankings within its category for the duration of the promotion. We’ll see if the other one can best that.

          • SimonRSP

            Wow, cool. Talk about taking action… 🙂

          • Chris Podhola

            Update:

            Well, so far, I see no immediate advantage to publishing under a female pen name. Under my male pen name, I have almost twenty titles. Typically, while under free promotion, they all have had similar results, reaching top twenty status during the promotion. So far, the female pen name is tracking along those same lines. While I don’t think this is absolutely definitive being only one title, it seems plausible that the advice of ‘publish romance under a female pen’ may not be founded upon reality.

          • I love that you took the time to test that out.

          • Chris Podhola

            How could I not? I think I may continue to publish some stories under the female pen when I feel like those stories are more suitable, but I must admit that I’m not disappointed to know that I can publish stories under my male pen name without being penalized for being a man. lol

          • That’s very cool!

  • mtr amg

    Great chat, guys!
    how can Rich have more than one wedding in a series? unless you write from the POV of the wedding DJ or photographer? And doesn’t everyone say you need 5+ books to get the series benefit?
    keyword kidnapping? so unfair… I don’t download samples… *frowns worriedly* omg… I’m doing amazon wrong!
    twitter? I unfollow people who just tweet the same book cover everyday. Ugh.
    Nicholas Sparks writes romance but it doesn’t get shelved as such, so he doesn’t get the negative tag of ‘romance’ author – it’s called ‘literary fiction’ and he gets a huge number made into movies. I think the comedy aspect does make a difference with a male author. There is so much conflicting advice about pen-names. I like Rich’s attitude of doing it the way he is. If you have to work at comedy maybe you’re doing it wrong?
    Some big writers share their video courses online.
    http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/brandon_w2012/

    this is brandon sanderson’s 2012 & 2013 series – fabulous advice – epic fantasy based but relevant to all

    • SimonRSP

      Haha, well, there is always divorce… But that’s probably not the upbeat tone that Rich is going for ;D.

      Oh, and I thought I was normal doing the sample thing, but apparently not. Yet to meet someone else who does it quite as much as me!

      And thanks for the links!

    • I think even if you have 5+ books that ARE NOT in a series, you get a benefit too. I’m only at two books right now but here’s one piece of advice I did agree with: writers write.

  • Richard Keller

    Rich and Simon, I have much in common with both of you. Rich, I’m currently a DJ, they call it a mix programmer, at our local radio station. It’s non-profit, so I get to pursue my dream of playing anything I want, as long as it’s radio-friendly. Simon, I’m also a lover of romantic comedies and decided to produce a bunch of them under my name (self promotion alert: Coffee Cup Tales). I don’t think it would matter if I used a pen name because people would probably recognize my writing style from other books.

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Richard, glad you liked the show, and good to hear form another audio person 🙂

    • The very first radio job I had was when I was 18, working at the community non-profit station KKUP in Cupertino, California while I was attending broadcasting school. They would not let me play my favorite Top 40 music because it was too mainstream, so the closest thing I could find was country/blue grass music. One day a week, Sundays from midnight to 6am. It was a great experience and helped me excel past the other students in the class. After I graduated, I got my first paid radio job a week later in Top 40. Yee haw!