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.