Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Amazon reviews keep coming

The Amazon reviews keep coming
Book reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi...

Amazon Reader Review #6 (Kindle Edition): I bought this for my holiday...
...but then made the mistake of having a sneaky look at it and it had me rapt from the start... it is not my usual genre of book, I am more a crime thriller reader, but i read a promo for this on one of the forums, read the blurb and decided that I was quite interested in finding out what i would imagine to be the blokie equivalent of "chick lit" would be like. surprisingly enough I wasnt disappointed. in fact I think I went through quite a spectrum of emotions whilst reading it - from rip-roaring laughter to embarrassed cringing... and loads of sympathy with the main character... I thought that the book was well formatted and edited, and the characters and scenarios were all well written and pretty credible... certainly looking forward to more from this author... 5/5 stars

Amazon Reader Reviews #7 (Kindle Edition): The witty ending saves the book
Have to say I am not a fan of lad-lit. This book was on a par with the last one in the genre I read (William Rudd's First Year of Marriage ) with almost identical sense of humour and similar rather unlikely, contrived situations. Writers of lad-lit, it seems to me, view the events of the story as if it is a film they are seeing in their head; if directed well this could indeed make a basis for a funny film. Or a stinker. Mr Scaffardi sits on a dangerous knife edge here; the subject matter is about a guys search for sex, which is not going to be to every readers taste. It comes across a sort of updated Confessions of a Window Cleaner type story. One failing in my opinion of the first half of the book is that because we already know the protagonist is on a drought, we already know that every attempt to get sex is going to end in failure, and the episodes become a bit repetitious. I got to the half way mark and was thinking oh dear, there is a lot of book to go yet. However, his hero is not a bad sort and the book picks up dramatically in the second half when a new element is introduced. The story (and the hero) really redeem themselves in the second half, the ending is well crafted and made me laugh. I have to admit there were several Moments Of Male Truth in the book which men will recognise: for instance the true horror of shopping; and a certain event that happens once a year on a Monday. It is priced very reasonably for the kindle at £1. 3/5 stars

Interview with the Brent & Kilburn Times

Here is an interview with the Brent & Kilburn Times (despite the headline it is actually quite a positive story!)...

Creation of author is not a hit single
by Max Walters

A budding comedian has released his maiden novel detailing a young man's desperate struggle with the opposite sex.

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi charts the journey of Dan Hilles, who, after coming out of an eight-year relationship, finds the rules of single life have somewhat changed.

Mr Scaffardi, 33, a former sports journalist, explained his reasons behinf penning his own novel.

He said: "It was something I always wanted to do but never quite got round to; I first got the idea for the story after watching television with my girlfriend.

"I would see all these men on chick flicks and think to myself 'guys aren't like that in real life'."

Following the separation from his girlfriend and accompanied by his three equally unhelpful mates, Rob, Jack, and Ollie, Dan attempts to muddle his way through single life facing a number of embarrassing situations along the way.

Mr Scaffardi said: "You hear some great stories from your mates down the pub telling you about the ways they've messed up with girls and I thought it would make a great idea for a book."

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

My first sexual offer as a comedian – even if I was third in line!

Laugh them into bed
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #36
Jack Whitehall recently said in a magazine interview that he got into comedy to get laid. Personally, I can’t say that is the reason I got into comedy. Mainly because I have a girlfriend and she might read this. But there is nothing wrong with knowing that you’ve still got it!

I’d heard many a comedian say they did comedy to win over the ladies. It’s like the old saying - you can laugh the ladies into bed.

So you can imagine my frustration after nine months of working the open mic circuit, I have not had a friggin’ sniff! Nothing. Not even a friendly smile. I have even purposely avoided gigs where Guy Manners is doing stand-up to increase my chances of being the best looking male comic on that night!

But that all changed yesterday evening down at The Bowery as one audience member said she was bang up for sleeping with me!

Granted she had already made a beeline for Alex Chapman who looked none too impressed by her advances, before she moved on and invited Mr iPhone 4 Gatis Kandis to join her and Alex in a threesome.

If we’re telling the truth I was pretty much an afterthought as she only really brought me into the equation when prompted by one of the other acts to who else she wanted to sleep with in the room, and she casually pointed me out as “the one in the waistcoat can join in too if he wants.”

Obviously I was none too pleased about this and I let her know exactly how I felt with my response: “I’m in my 30’s so I take what I can get these days.”

But as MC Stu Privett had pointed out earlier in the night, she looked like the type of girl that would rip you a new one! So at the end of the night I legged it, with Alex and Gatis not too far behind! We're pathetic.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Does anyone speak German?!

Amazon Reader Reviews #5 (Kindle Edition): Absolut unterhaltsam und filmreif!
The reviews are coming thick and fast on Amazon on the back of the eBook release of The Drought on August 29! The UK site has four 5-star reviews already!

However, there was a pleasant surprise awaiting me on the German version of Amazon - one 5-star review! I have no idea what it says, but who cares?!

(Actually, if it says I'm giving Steven Scaffardi a 5-star review for being a massive plonker then obviously I might care a little...!)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Interview with the Croydon Advertiser

Today my interview with Sophie May Hayes was printed in both the Croydon Advertiser and Sutton Advertiser. The full article is below or you can read it here.

Comedian Steven in novel approach
by Sophie May Hayes

Steven Scaffardi, The Drought, Stand Up Comedy, Stand Up Comedian, Comedian, Comedy, Lad Lit, Chick lit for men, funny books,
As a sports reporter Steven Scaffardi thought he knew all about scoring. When it came to his private life he wasn't quite so sure.

He found that most of his friends were the same and their banter and bravado were a long way from the way they were portrayed in such programmes as Sex and the City.

So Steven, 33, decided to write about it in his book The Drought, which is due to be published on September 24 and has already been dubbed 'Lad Lit'.

The story centres on Daniel Hilles, a regular guy with regular friends, a regular job and a regular life. That is, until his break-up with Stacy, his girlfriend of three years. Finding himself suddenly single, Dan awkwardly attempts to edge himself back into the dating world and is thrown into a sexual drought.

"When I was writing it, I drew from past experiences my friends and I have had," said Steven. "Obviously some are greatly exaggerated for comic effect, but some are, unfortunately, true. Many of Dan's friends in the book are based on mine, and when they read it, a few recognised themselves... I just hope no ex-girlfriends get their hands on a copy."

So he wrote the book as an attempt to escape what Steven calls the "dark world of media sales", which he moved into after leaving journalism.

He was born in Tooting, but now lives in Carshalton with his fiancée Jade, who he met through the job.

"I hadn't even heard of Lad Lit until after the book was published. I wrote it because I saw some of the stuff my girlfriend watches or reads and I just thought, men don't think like that! I wanted to write something from a man's point of view."

Steven has also been busy launching a career as a stand-up comedian.

"I'm a big fan of comedy and I always wondered what it would be like to do some stand-up. A friend of mine started about 18 months before me and told me to give it a go and I thought why not? If I'm awful at least I can say I tried."

Steven does up to four shows a week and has reached the quarter finals of the Golden Jester comedy competition on October 4 at the Holiday Inn in Sutton.

"I watch my first show back now and I cringe. I stupidly told lots of people to come and got ridiculously drunk. Luckily my friends were there and they would laugh at whatever I did."

His stand-up routine deals with relationships, dates that have gone wrong and the loss of his virginity.

"I just love the buzz of people laughing at your jokes. There is no feeling like it. When I write my new material I'll probably include some stuff about my fiancée, but I'll make sure we're married first so she can't get angry and leave!"

The Drought is published by Indepenpress Publishing Ltd and costs £8.99

First reader reviews for The Drought on Amazon!

First reader reviews for The Drought on Amazon!
Book Reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
The Drought has been on available on the Kindle for the last couple of weeks and has already received some positive feedback and reviews from readers...

Amazon Reader Review #1 (Kindle Edition): PMSL!
Genius! The book is the best I have read in years, every chapter had me in tear's of laughter and addicted could not put it down. The story had everything I expected, if not more and this book did not disappoint in anyway. I can't wait for the authors next book. The Drought highly recommended. 5/5 stars

Amazon Reader Review #2 (Kindle Edition) Soooooo Funny!!
This book is the funniest thing I have read for a while! It just keeps you turning the pages to see what funny situation the main character is going to get himself into next, but the comedy doesn't stop you from following the story or 'feeling' for the characters. The characters and situations are identifiable with people and situations in everyday life, but the author has intergrated all this into the story with ease, keeping it fresh and more importantly FUNNY!! This book is a great price and well worth every penny! 5/5 stars

Amazon Reader Review #3 (Kindle Edition) Very Funny
Very funny and well written - had me creasing up in parts!! Enjoyed the witty humour and attention to detail. This is the funniest book I've read for some time!! Would recommend to all. 5/5 stars

Amazon Reader Review #4 (Kindle Edition) Fantastic debut - very very funny
This is one of the funniest books I've read in ages. Brutally honest and full of great stories and observations, I seriously laughed out loud when reading it on the train. One of the best debut novels since in the beach by Alex Garland this could well become a film in a couple of years - defo a must read. 5/5 stars

Scott Rutterford has a love/hate relationship with his cat - fact!

You learn lots of interesting things about your fellow stand-up comedians while waiting around for a gig to start; preying that an audience will actually turn up on a Thursday evening in the middle of a council estate in Westbourne Park. Take tonight for example at the Retro Bar. A few of us were just chewing the fat and killing time, when somehow the conversation made its way round to Scott Rutterford and his love/hate relationship with cats.

"I hate my cat," Scott explained. "It eats better than I do. Every evening and I get home and have to cook it fresh fish."

Clearly something you would do for a creature you hate - serve it up a delicious bass (as Napoleon Dynamite would say).

"But I thought you said you were a vegetarian?" Aatif Nawaz - our MC for the evening - asked.

"Oh yeah I am, but the cat likes fresh fish. So every week I at the supermarket I end up buying budget food for myself just so I can afford the fresh fish and chicken."

You can almost imagine the James Bond villain going through the same scenario with his cat.

But this was just the start of Scott's rant. For the next 10 minutes, I listened on with fellow comics, including Jonny Freeman and Gary Southam, as Scott explained how down-trodden he felt living with his feline-friend.

"He waits for me to get home from work to feed him, and then he buggers off into my flatmates room. He doesn't even spend any time with me," he continued as the smallest violin in the world played in the background. And for the record, this cat barks like a dog, has a hunchback, and sh*ts on the floor.

"Why did you even bother to get a cat if you don't like them," Aatif asked the question that was clearly on everyone's mind.

"Oh," Scott said waving his hand in the air. "I didn't buy the cat. He just happened to walk into the house one day and because I cooked him a bit of fresh fish, he decided to hang around."

Yep, somewhere out there a small child is crying themselves to sleep every night, hoping her pet cat Tiddles will eventually return. That's what we comedians do - we sprinkle a little bit of joy wherever we can!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Advice for Indie Authors: Media exposure and reviews

Advice for Indie Authors: Media exposure and reviews
The Drought is now less than two weeks away from official publication date. On September 24 my novel will be available to the masses of book lovers everywhere. I can’t wait! The only thing getting in the way of my excitement is that tumbleweed which seems to be hanging around.

Let’s face facts – as an indie author I don’t have the benefit of a well-oiled marketing machine promoting my book and drumming up a buzz that every book launch needs. What I have is me, myself, and I. So what have I been doing for the last few weeks I hear you say? Allow me to explain.

At the start of August I received the first batch of printed copies of my book. As I explained in one of my previous blogs, it was time to sell, sell, sell! I am pleased to say that sales have been going reasonably well with about 60 copies sold already to friends and family. Not a bad start, and to encourage those sales I offered signed copies through my website.

I have been plugging the signed copies at every opportunity via my social network feeds and emails, and as a result I have made sales to people who I haven’t seen in years. It might not be a huge number, but these people are going to be key in my future promotion sales plan. I now have people who have read the book and if they like it, they can tell their friends about it, or like my Facebook page, or Tweet about it. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. These are the people who will write those first initial reviews on Amazon, and anyone who shops online knows how a good review can influence your decision to buy.

However, I knew I couldn’t simply rely on sales to friends and family. After all, I’m not that popular! Sales would soon start to dry up. My next step was to start circulating the press release that the marketing team at Pen Press had put together for me as part of my self-publishing package. I decided to keep it local to begin with. Having a background of being a reporter on a local paper, I know what sort of hook to use when approaching local newspapers to cover a story.

Think about your connection to an area and send it to papers where you live, where you work, where you went you school. Send it to as many local newspapers as possible and make sure to mention early on what your connection is with that local area. Local newspapers want stories about local people – it might sound obvious but it’s amazing how many times people miss an opportunity by not flagging that up early.

From this I have already managed to get some good media coverage. As soon as I had a story in my local paper I took it into my local Waterstones and asked if I could do a book signing in their store. I have now been pencilled in for a Christmas book signing!

The one mistake I made in this whole process was not sending the press release out earlier. I identified other titles and media I should target by matching up the audience I was trying to target with the readers of different magazines or newspapers. I sent it to all of the lads mags and a couple of women’s magazines. I actually had a response from a features writer at Glamour magazine, but they had just put their October issue to press, so I had missed the boat. However, they did ask if I would mind being kept on file if they ever needed a funny male writer, so something could potentially come from that in the future.

You must have an entrepreneurial way of thinking. No one is going to sell your book other than you, so think about what else you can do to open up access to a wider audience. There are a large number of forums out there on the world wide web, full of book lovers discussing what they want to read next. Join these communities and instead of just plugging your book, engage with these people. I have already started selling copies of the eBook and yesterday, someone from Australia came on to my website and bought a signed copy of my book. This marked the first sale of my novel to someone I don’t know – an indication that my marketing plan is starting to work!

Facebook, Twitter, and blogging are a great way of engaging with people who might be interested in your book. Last week I decided to start a competition where I offered a signed copy of The Drought and a £25 Amazon voucher as a prize to one winner (chosen at random) who followed me on Twitter or ‘Likes’ my Facebook page. Using the hash-tag #competition and asking people I know to help promote this on their status updates or tweets has resulted in over 150 new followers and Likes from people I don’t know in under a week. This is all free publicity (well, apart from the £25 Amazon voucher!) and now I have an audience to promote to that I didn’t have a week ago.

This is the sort of promotion you will have to keep on doing long after your book has been published. I am already working on a new strategy that I am about to unleash on the unsuspecting world this week, but I’ll save that for another blog!

This blog was originally posted on

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Return of the Dwarf and a fond farewell to Openmic Matt at The Railway!

Steven Scaffardi, The Drought, Stand Up Comedy, Stand Up Comedian, Comedian, Comedy, Lad Lit, Chick lit for men, funny books,
So long! The final poster from Openmic Matt's
comedy night at The Railway in Streatham
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #34
It was certainly a night of mixed emotions! The last Openmic Matt comedy night down at The Railway in Streatham Common. I owe a lot to this place in my short comedy career as The Railway was the place where I was able to do my comedy apprenticeship in those early days, which basically meant Matt allowed me to go on for as long as I wanted to try stuff out!

In typical Openmic Matt fashion, last night was as shambolic as ever, and that is exactly what has made these nights so bloody brilliant. To start off with, the owner of the pub had gone AWOL so Matt couldn’t get access to any of the electrical equipment to set-up. There was no way this gig was going to start on time at 8pm. Then again, I’m not sure I have ever done a gig at The Railway that started on time!

A pool table had randomly been placed at the back of the room and two guys happily played as Matt tore his hair out at the thought of snooker balls clinking together in the background as the comedians tried to do their jokes.

But none of it mattered. By the time Matt finally kicked the show off at 9pm there was a huge crowd in place, and a real who’s who of top open mic comedians from Gavin Fowler to Ben Adams, Mr Blair and the very funny Tony Milton who I got to see for the very first time.

Matt dived straight into the longest joke known to man and had me in bits as he always does. I was second up on the running order and was hoping for a decent set.

I don’t say it often, but it went brilliantly and at the end of it I decided to re-introduce my dwarf on the train joke. I hadn’t done it for a while because it had been getting mixed responses from audiences, but it had always been Matt’s favourite joke of mine so I decided to throw it out there. And I’m bloody pleased I did as it went down a storm, with Ben Adams commenting that he thought it was “genius!” Maybe I’ll keep that one in for a while…

All in all, it was a great night with all of the comics on top form. Nights like this are the reason why we do open mic comedy. I sincerely hope Openmic Matt starts promoting a new night very soon!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

August 23 - September 6 comedy round-up...

August 23 - September 6 comedy round-up...
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #33
Just a quick post to mention the four Comedy Bin gigs I have done over the last couple of weeks - two at The Old School Yard and two at Dr Inks.

It was the first time I have gigged at Dr Inks in Waterloo. The first night was awesome with a big crowd on hand. The second night was not as good, as despite the bar being pretty full, most people were there to have a chat with each other rather than watching comedy! I tried the whole Don't you know who I am line but clearly they didn't know and didn't care. What a feckin' liberty! I'm a quarter finalist in the Golden Jester for crying out loud! :)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Interview with the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle

Check out this interview with Sophie Tuson in the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.

Writer spots gap in the market for 'lad lit'
Authors debut novel to be published this month
by Sophie Tuson

Steven Scaffardi, The Drought, Stand Up Comedy, Stand Up Comedian, Comedian, Comedy, Lad Lit, Chick lit for men, funny books,
A stand-up comedian and former sports journalist is to have his debut novel published.

Steven Scaffardi, 33, who works in Hammersmith, secured a deal with the Brighton-based publishing house Pen Press which will publish his novel The Drought later this month.

Described as an 'entertaining read' by the Daily Telegraph's David Harrison, Scaffardi's novel tells the story of Dan Hilles who, after emerging from a long-term relationship, finds himself out of dating practice and struggling to play 'the game'. It appears the rules have changed.

In desperation, Hilles enlists the help of his stalwart male confidants as they try to bring an end to his 'drought'.

Scaffardi's creative inspiration came from the desire to challange the male stereotypes he found in his girlfriend's novels.

"I thought, that's not what a man would do," he said. Spotting a glaring gap in the literary market, Scaffardi decided to offer up his own slice of 'lad lit' - an alternative and response to the market-saturated 'chic lit' novels.

A regular on the London open mic stand-up comedy circuit since January this year, Scaffardi said there were definite parallels between his 'on-stage' and 'on-page' relationship-based humour, which he compared to that of The Inbetweeners and The Hangover.

He admitted that much in the novel is 'drawn from personal experiences and then exaggerated.'

Indeed, many of the characters are based in part on his own aqaintances. He said: "There are definitely people in there that I know in terms of personality traits."

After numerous attempts at novel-writing, the publication of his debut novel marks the achievement of a life ambition for Scaffardi. He now plans to write a sequel to The Drought and has already mapped out a possible two further novels.

* The Drought is available from September 24 through Amazon and bookshops.