Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Gig Number 50: Golden Jester Comedy Final

Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #48
 After nearly a year of performing and 49 gigs later, I am getting ready for next weeks Golden Jester Final and my 50th stand-up gig.

It's a nice round number and it would be great to finish the year on a high. So please come on down if you can on Wednesday, December 7 at the Holiday Inn in Sutton from 7.45pm. It is certain to be a great night - click here for more details!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

It's been a quiet month...

Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #47
Hey, long time no speak! I know that I have been a bit quiet lately, and that is basically because I have had nothing to say! I have not been gigging in November at all apart from the not so great night in Green Park for the Laughing Horse competition.

Open mic stand-up comedy

So this month has not exactly been the best preparation for next weeks Golden Jester comedy final, but hey, shit happens! The truth is the real world took over this month and unfortunately I had to give way to the day job. Plus I have been moping around with man-flu. Still, there is one more gig left this year so time to go out with a bang - hopefully!

Last night was the second semi-final for the Golden Jester so I now know that I'll be facing James Alderson and Darren Walsh from my quarter final, along with Vahid Jahangard and Chris Blackmore from my semi final. I'm gutted Gemma Beagley didn't get through last night, especially as I know how good she is, but it is a tough line-up but fingers crossed it'll be alright on the night!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Interview with Flavour Magazine

This month I was interviewed by Melody David from Flavour Magazine for their Young & Ambitious section. It's not often I get called young, let alone ambitious, so I was more than happy to talk about my experience on the stand-up comedy circuit, and The Drought. You can check out the interview below or click here to read it on the official site.

Young and Ambitious – Steve Scaffardi
by Melody David

Steve Scaffardi may be a stand-up comedian but his self-publishing efforts are no laughing matter. Flavour catches up with South London’s funny man about self-publishing The Drought, a hilarious novel about a young man going through a dry patch

When did you realise you could make people laugh? And what makes you laugh?
I have always been a bit of a joker within my group of friends. The things that make me laugh are everyday situations. People are funny, whether they’re trying to be or not.

You’ve been doing stand-up gigs since January, what was the first gig like?
I was so nervous! I brought down lots of friends to support me. Someone filmed it for me and its funny watching it back, mainly because of how bad I was!

Which came first, the comedy or the writing?
The writing, I studied journalism at university and worked as a journalist for three years. I’d tried to write a book several times and then I had the idea for The Drought.

You chose to self-publish your novel; how did you discover self-publishing?
I’d tried getting my book published the traditional route by sending my manuscript to literary agents but I got the standard rejection letters. Then I spoke to a friend who had self-published, and the more I found out, the more appealing it became.

Can you explain briefly the main steps in self-publishing a novel?
Self-publishing is D.I.Y. So after you have written the book, you can either pay a company to help you or go it alone. A self-publishing house will do things such as proof read, edit, design the cover, arrange the printing, registration and get you on Amazon. Self-published books are printed on demand so when someone orders a copy online, the book gets printed and sent out.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to write a novel?
Be prepared to work hard, put lots of hours in for little return, and develop thick skin but you need to enjoy it. When I was writing The Drought I came home and wrote every evening and every weekend for three months. You need to write everyday but you also need time to just think of ideas.

What do you think are the advantages of self-publishing over a traditional book deal?
The big advantage is that you have more control over what you write and publish. A big publishing house may force you to make changes you don’t want to make.The book is about a young man, who goes through a dry patch in his love life after a break up, how much is based on your experiences as a single man? Unfortunately quite a lot! There was a period a few years ago where I had basically forgotten how to talk to women. The book contains real-life stories from my own attempts with girls and some from friends. Some of the stories are exaggerated for comedy affect, but sadly most are true!

His friends are pretty bad at giving him advice, what help did you get from your friends when it came to writing your book?
I got help from my male and female friends. I would basically listen to their horror stories over a pint and then write about them. The girls simply confirmed my suspicion of how rubbish us guys can be when we’re trying to impress a girl.

It’s a very funny story, what has the response been like from those who’ve read it?
Most of the guys who have read it have said they can relate to the stories and situations, which is what I wanted. I think the funniest stories are the ones you can relate to.

Which authors would you say have inspired you?
I am a big fan of Danny Wallace. I also like Mike Gayle as he writes about relationships from a man’s point of view, and that is certainly something I have tried to do with The Drought.

What does the future hold for Steve Scaffardi?
I’ve just got into the final of the Golden Jester comedy competition. I’m now in the final five so hopefully that will lead on to some bigger gigs. As for the writing, I am already planning a sequel to The Drought and I would love to turn the book into a screenplay as lots of people have mentioned it reads like a film.

You can buy ‘The Drought’ now on Amazon in paperback & e-kindle version.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Lad Lit Book Reviews! Love... From Both Sides by Nick Spalding

Books For Men Book Review! Love... From Both Sides by Nick Spalding
Being an author of lad-lit (or chick-lit for men) myself, I always like to do a bit of research to see who else out there is writing the same genre of books as my own debut novel, The Drought. I already knew about the Mike Gayle's and Nicky Hornby's of this world, but Nick Spalding I was not familiar was a name that kept appearing on Amazon whenever I did a search.

Just last month Spalding signed a three-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton on the back of the success of his self-published novels.As a fellow indie author, it is great to see someone like Nick Spalding so bloody well! It gives you hope...!

So I decided to take the plunge and see what Love... From Both Sides was all about, and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

I have to say that I wasn't gripped from the first chapter, and I have seen a couple of reviews say similar things, but keep faith with it as I did because it is very funny from there on after. The first chapter describes quite an awkward sexual encounter for lead character Jamie Newman. Perhaps I just didn't know Jamie well enough at this point to appreciate the comedy value Spalding tries to get across. It's a bit BANG in your face!

However, what follows is a very clever concept of inter-changing chapters as told by Jamie, and the other main character, Laura McIntyre, as they go about their single lives looking for love. The benefit of getting both the male and female perspective works really well, and this is an idea which has been used by Mike Gayle since in his novel The Stag and Hen Weekend.

Like most novels in this genre, you know where things are heading and that the two main characters will eventually meet and get together, but in a way you don't care, because by the end of it, you want them to be together. The laughs come in the middle and how they get there.

Spalding is clever in that he keeps it simple. You can relate to the trials and tribulations that Jamie and Laura go through during the dating period, and he is great and conjuring up those feelings you have felt during those times in your own life, which perhaps isn't a surprise seeing as Spalding says he has based it on 'real-life of dating disaster and relationship blunders'.

All in all, a really good read, especially for those boring train journeys to work!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Advice for Indie Authors: How do I get those reviews?!

Advice for Indie Authors: How do I get those reviews?!
A couple of weeks before my novel was published I got busy identifying certain publications that I could send my book to for reviews. The nature of my novel - a story about a guy trying to get his leg-over - would appeal to lads. So I opted for lad mags like Shortlist, FHM, Nuts, Zoo, and Loaded.

But I have also had good feedback from women who have read the book, as they were intrigued (and a lot of the times appalled!) at what goes through a mans head. It was often getting called chick-lit for men so I sent the book out to a few of the womens magazines like Glamour.

I also decided that some press coverage would be nice, but perhaps the readers of The Times or The Guardian were not ready for my book- not yet anyway. I went with my own advice to stick with the local papers. After all, I had been given some pretty good coverage in the local press so far. I sent copies to papers such as The Evening Standard and the London edition of the Metro.

That was two months ago and guess how many reviews I got? That's right - a big fat zero!

It is tough. A lot of these publications are inundated with similar requests, and unfortunately there is still a stigma attached when it comes to self-published novels. Maybe because publications get so many self-published novels that they have to draw a line, maybe a lot of the really badly written self-published novels harm the chances of those well-written novels, or perhaps there is an element of snobbery. I would guess one of the main reasons is that it is a much safer option for a publication to review a novel by an established author or to accept work from a big publishing house.

The guys at Glamour magazine did actually reply, but they had already gone to press and therefore missed my publication date so the opportunity had gone. I learned a valuable lesson though, and that is to make sure you send copies of your novel out at least 4-6 weeks prior to publication date.

So now I was back to square one. I had yet to get my book reviewed anywhere other than Amazon - and then I had an idea! When you look at reviews on Amazon you will often see certain reviewers have a ranking such as Top 100 Reviewer. These are the people who have not only reviewed the most products on Amazon, but they have also been ranked the most helpful by other customers. In other words, people trust these reviewers.

If you have a bit of time on your hands, then it is well worth searching through the list of Amazon's Top Customer Reviewers and looking at the type of items they most commonly review. Most of the reviewers will have contact details, so I contacted a dozen reviewers and asked if they would be interested in reviewing The Drought if I sent them a copy.

Two replied and said they would be happy to review it, but offered no promises in terms of giving it a postive review. They would read it and give it a fair and honest review. I was more than happy with this arrangement - after all, this is what a review is all about. You have to be confident in your work.

I sent the copies off and I am pleased to say that this week I had my first review from one of the Top Customer Reviewers. It was given a five-star thumbs up and as an added bonus, in turns out that this particular reviewer has her own book review website and uploaded her review at

I could not have hoped for a better review, but it also made me realise that there are dozens of independent online book review websites - all with an audience of keen book readers. This is now starting to get interesting again!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Fantastic book review at Best Books To Read!
I have been trying my best to get The Drought in front of as many people as possible in recent months, and today I was delighted to get a cracking review on Here is what it said...

If you like crude, rude, and true - you will love this!
Occasionally I receive emails from authors asking if I would be interested in reading their debut novels. Steven was no different and to be honest when I checked out the bio of him I was a little shocked. Yes I had heard of ‘Lad Lit’ but to be honest had never really delved into the world of the Mike Gayle’s and the Nick Hornby’s. I figured that as I was being offered a chance to read it free, then why not. What I didn’t realise was that Lad Lit is the perfect combination of humour and reading for me and my dry and crude sense of humour!

When I read the synopsis I realised that Lad Lit really is just that; Lad lit! The stories regarding love and romance; albeit from a slightly different perspective than that of a woman! As soon as I started reading a few things became apparent. The first was that this author’s humour was right up my street. Brash, crude and direct but laugh out loud funny. Dan Hilles is a ‘typical’ bloke. In the beginning of the book we see him break up with his terrifying girlfriend (blimey, she was enough to give all us women a bad reputation). Dan was a likeable bloke though and it didn’t take me long to realise that Dan’s life was not going to be as easy as he thought.

The whole idea of the book is that we see Dan struggle through single life on a ‘drought’ meaning no sex and even less female interaction. I read a review on Amazon which said that the book was repetitive in its nature and that the reader knows that Dan is on a sex drought. Well I have to be honest and say I was confused by that statement. Yes we know he is on a drought, that’s what the whole book is about, and believe me it is very funny.

Yes, you certainly have to have a certain type of humour, but I cannot imagine one of my friends not liking this book. Obviously if you are somebody who prefers to read books that don’t involve swearing or sex, then maybe pass on this one. If not, do yourself a favour and give this book a chance.

I was reading this book on the train on my journey home and actually managed to spit my tea out where I was laughing so hard. The man opposite me was not impressed! As the story moves forward we see Dan’s attempts at getting some female attention becoming more and more daring, and to be honest more and more of a failure. This book had me cringing, laughing and smiling all the way home. I read it in a day and a half and have already started telling my friends about it. The women will (like I did) laugh at the shocking truths some of which will be close to home, and the men will laugh at the sheer truth of it all.

I can tell you now that I didn’t know an awful lot about the author until after I had read the book and I checked out his website. I was shocked to realise that he self-published. Maybe, having not read any other ‘Lad Lit’ I cannot compare his book to others in that genre but I honestly think this would be a fantastic author for a publisher to pick up! All I can say Steven, is I seriously hope that even if you don’t sign a publishing deal, you continue to self-publish because I will definitely be buying the next one.

Overall, an absolutely cracking debut novel and I will be waiting for the next one. HIGHLY recommended!!!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A couple more reader reviews from Amazon...

A couple more reader reviews from Amazon...
Book reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi...

Amazon Reader Review #12 (Paperback Edition) The Drought
Refreshing to have a more accurate perspective on life for the modern man. The Drought is a real page turner - Highly recommend this for your next holiday read. 5/5 stars

Amazon Reader Review #13 (Kindle Edition): Not bad, made me laugh
When I read this, it was like reading a friend's diary. I could actually see some of my friends as the male friends. The one who is the stud, the dumb one, the one who would bang anything and one is who is relatively sane - in this case that would be the main character in the book. It is definitely a book you would read while traveling/commuting. Would I read another one of his books? Yes I would. 3/5 stars

I blame it on the man flu!

Last night I went crashing out of the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year 2012 at the first round heat stage! I had not exactly been feeling great all week as I had come down with a severe case of man flu, but I decided to soldier on as I am just that type of guy - brave, tough, a real soldier.

Apparently not very funny though. It was a bit of a car crash to be honest, and although I take my hats off to the guys who got through (including Tommy Barnes and Emile Gavroche), I didn't really feel that I did myself justice.

But good luck to all of those who went through and back to the drawing board I guess.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Lola & Lulu Show: ONFM 101.4 - my first radio interview!

This morning I was in Hammersmith and in the ONFM studios for a chat on the Lola & Lulu Show to promote The Drought and my stand-up comedy.

It was good fun as the girls questioned me on a whole range of subjects. There should hopefully be a podcast uploaded soon that I will be able to post here.