Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scott Nicholson Interview…


  It’s always nice when you get a big name author/writer to come by and Scott Nicholson qualifies in every regard.

Bio:   Author Scott Nicholson has written 12 thrillers, 60 short stories, four comics series, and six screenplays. He's also a freelance editor and journalist. Nicholson has written hundreds of songs and poems and was a musician in a former life. As a newspaper reporter, he's won three North Carolina Press Association awards. Nicholson also won the grand prize in the international Writers of the Future contest in 1999. That same year, he was first runner-up for the Darrell Award. He studied Creative Writing at Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has been an officer of Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. He's had the usual collection of odd jobs: dishwasher, carpenter, painter, paranormal investigator, baseball card dealer, and radio announcer. He lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where he tends an organic garden, successfully eludes stalkers, and generally lives the dream. He's online at www.hauntedcomputer.com.

  Aside from several thriller, paranormal, horror books…too many to list, Scott aids the writer as well with offerings such as: Self-publish or Perish, Seven Bad Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Writers and Why You Need An Agent (Except When You Don't). Spend some time (not much required), and review these articles, some real pearls of wisdom from someone whose been in the business for awhile. Scotts’ gift to you.

  Okay, let’s get to it.

Garry: You’re an accomplished writer...how did you get that way?

Scott: I don’t feel all that accomplished. I’m just a student of the game who has been around long enough to pile up a bunch of stuff. I think I’ve finally figured out how to write a sentence. Ten more years and maybe I’ll master the paragraph. In the meantime, it’s fun to be able to tell these stories.

Garry: Scott, I’m gonna do a one-eighty on you here because writers, particularly self-pubber’s, are always concerned with ‘how best to get the word out,’ and the various vehicles to use, etc., can you speak to that?

Scott: Well, you actually need to be doing that as part of your apprenticeship. As you develop your writing skills, you can be learning about the business and your audience at the same time. That means reading widely, not only in the types of books you want to write, but writer and industry websites. If you hang out in only one or two places, you’ll get a skewed view of things, so sample broadly and don’t fall into the trap of trying to please a few people instead of the big world.

By the time you’ve matured enough to have a novel or book ready to go, you should know enough to get by. At that point, you will need to employ everything in your promotional toolkit—that mailing list or newsletter you’ve been building, the friends in the forums, good old-fashioned advertising and sponsorships, and general visibility. Some of it is traditional—library events and store signings if you’re in paper—and the rest is invention and creativity. It takes more creativity and persistence to sell a book than to write a book. And I don’t mean sell a book to a New York publisher. I mean selling a book to a reader, who in some ways is more discriminating than an agent or publisher. While people in New York merely want to make money off of you, readers want their money’s worth and a good return on the time they invest.

If you are in the self-publishing business, your reader is your customer, and the customer is always right. That one-star review you got? You deserved it, because the customer was right. Think about your reader as an actual human, with all the regular pressing demands of life, and ask why they should spend their valuable time with you. Then deliver.

Garry: Interesting...I, as well as many others appreciate your insight...now, before you go, I want to tap that insight thingy again and ask you for some predictions...it could be whatever you think is important, you know; about the publishing business, trad publishers, distributors like Amazon, B&N, others...whatever you’d like us watch for?

Scott: I’ve gotten out of the prediction business because they all seem stupid and outdated about five minutes later. This is an entirely new thing, a cosmic shift in communication, and it’s out of everyone’s control. I love it. The more radical and freely I approach it, the better I do, and the more fun I have. So I’d say try not to get locked into a certain way things should be, or the advice of people who think they know what they’re talking about, because nobody does. Fortune favors the bold.

Garry: Great...thanks for coming Scott.

For those of you who have commented or have asked Scott questions, he will be back intermittently the next couple days to answer. Alternatively, here is a link to Scott’s contact page on his site with an explanation on how to contact him privately.

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  1. I find the titles of your books most intriguing, How do you come up with a title? What are you trying to accomplish with a title? Are you aiming at giving the reader an insight into what to expect, or are you leaning towards the marketing side, trying to make it so "out there" that they can't turn away?

  2. Usually the title is my gut feeling about the book--the best ones are short and give an idea of genre and tone. Sometimes I change them later but I always have a title even from the beginning. Thanks for dropping in.


  3. Great interview. I totally agree that sales and marketing are the most challenging aspects of indie publishing.

  4. Interesting stuff, makes one aware of just how rapidly the book publishing business is changing!

  5. "I think I’ve finally figured out how to write a sentence."

    Yep. That's a sentence alright. Congratulations!

  6. thanks everyone! And thanks again, Garry, for hosting me.


What are "The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtures?"

Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion and Humility.

.....this is a portion of the "introduction" or prologue to the book (not yet completed)...email with your comments.

The books title; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues, describes my belief these five important virtues (Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion, Humility), are sporadic in use and diminishing in personal character. The books message is in recognizing this “fleeting” nature and from that reinstitute a more virtuous choice in your decision making.

The paradox of the two words; Character Happens, with another two words: “S### Happens”* (decorum prevents use of actual word) is not without merit. My belief is that observed human character is much like, well...s###! This kind of observation can be disconcerting at times. So confusing that society can hardly make the distinction between the two words and there obvious different meaning. Individuals make virtuous and un-virtuous choices/decisions for innumerable reasons, both consciously and without deep thought. If we postulate; can an individual make a 'more' virtuous choice in life’s decisions should they want to do so? Answer—perhaps. How does one 'reinstitute a more virtuous choice' into their personal makeup...making the response more automatic? Answer—practice. With a concerted effort at 'practice' I believe...an individual might just develop a more 'repetitive' decent response...much like grooving a golf swing.

I love golf. I think the game is like no other. The five stories that make up Character Happens! have a golf storyline. Some readers may not be able to relate to the game of golf or its vernacular or for that matter, why people...a large number of people...love golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a game...it can be a life experience. The golf course environment alone is enough to put most people at ease.

Golf is a game played by the individual as opposed to being a member of a team, like baseball. Baseball has umpires who enforce the rules of the game. In golf you are the umpire. Because of this unique method of enforcing the games rules—golf is a “hotbed” for testing the players character...their honesty, their integrity, their courage and sometimes their compassion. And, because all golfers started from knowing nothing about the game; like how to swing, how to putt or chip... they also learn of humility. Now doesn’t it make perfect sense that a book about character would juxtaposition a storyline with the game of golf? Anyway, I thought so.

There are five stories, one for each virtue. The book has six main characters that make up a group of what I call 'golf buddies.' The storyteller, Spencer Madison, in reality is me. Well, somewhat like me...as I have a better golf game than Spencer. The five others vary in age, gender, education, religious beliefs and definitely personality. The 'binder' of the group or what brings them together; golf.

The reader will hopefully discover in their own lives a similar incident with one of the story’s in Character Happens! If not, that’s okay too...as the stories are earnest while humorous, carefree yet compelling. And, I believe each chapter or story makes a 'point' in this wonderful, wacky, dynamic world in the 21st century.

The stories are fictional as are the characters. Names, personalities or incidents are fictional and in no way resemble or refer to a living person. I’ve used paraphrasing of many authors’ ideas and concepts and have referenced them in a special section. Because of these references and the specific genre where the book is to be found, it’s categorized as a non-fictional, personal development book.

for the language but this word best describes the thought I want to convey. In Forrest Gump the term was used to describe situations that happen to all people for no particular reason.