Saturday, September 04, 2010

Scott Nicholson on the Never-Ending Book

This should have ran yesterday, but I'm in New Orleans at a conference and sobriety has eluded me.

I met Scott a few years ago, on the horror circuit, and found him to be smart and likeable. He's also a great writer, and if you like thrillers you shouldn't even hesitate; buy everything he's written.

It's my pleasure to host him here, and I apologize for the delay in getting this up. Here's Scott:

Scott: If not for Joe, I’d be getting a lot more sleep.

No, there’s not some secret man-crush thing going on (unless it’s so secret I don’t know about it yet), nor is it his enthralling and sometimes disturbing fiction—though that has added plenty of adrenaline to my system.

Joe just happened to be at the right place at the right time when I was at a big crossroads in my writing career. I’ve known Joe a little bit for years, though mostly through passing in the Internet night. By late 2009, I’d left my agent and was a couple of years removed from the paperback midlist, and despite staying busy with comics and screenplays, I really wanted to meet fiction readers again.

I’d spent a few months exploring how to get my first novel The Red Church back out there. Trying to get it into bookstores on my own just seemed so troublesome and expensive, and not likely to bring me many new readers unless I sent them there in the first place—which clearly is the dilemma of the major publishing industry as well.

I’d cruised by Joe’s blog fairly regularly and started noticing this “e-book thing” he kept raving about. I’d tried e-books five or six years back and came away with the notion that nobody was going to sit there and read a book on the computer. Silly me, I hadn’t kept up with the changing world. I live in an Appalachian Mountain hollow without television and with chickens as my primary entertainment. I didn’t even own a cell phone until last year, so how could I know people were now carrying their libraries with them and reading books on credit cards and gum wrappers?

Then Christmas 2009 came and the Gold Rush was on. I launched The Red Church for Kindle on Jan. 1, figuring I’d get a few dozen readers and I’d be happy with that, since all it cost was a few days to learn formatting. Sales were slow for a bit, but in the spring the book found an audience and hit #1 in both the “Ghosts” category and “Christian science fiction & fantasy” on Amazon. My daughter was mightily impressed to see me ranked ahead of Stephen King and C.S. Lewis.

The siren’s lure of simplicity had me quickly formatting an original title, The Skull Ring, which my agent once loved but for some reason we never shopped. Bingo, shopping days were done. Click, click, upload, and now readers do the shopping, not the agents. Because it is a crime and suspense novel, I am especially pleased to see it has become the best-reviewed of my books, since I’m mostly known for paranormal thrillers.

Well, a bunch of books later, and here I am right where Joe planted a seed that has now become my digital tree. This is Act II of my career, and I work pretty much nonstop on writing, promoting, exploring the online reading community, and meeting cool new people. Coffee and keyboards collide in my happy place.

This has by far been the most satisfying and rewarding part of my 14-year career, because you are just a mouse click away from me. In fact, I feel like we’re pretty much connected through these wires and pixels. You’re in my head. Play all you want.

I don’t expect to be a bestseller, and I know my stories don’t appeal to everyone, though the books coming out during the tour vary widely in scope. A beta reader told me he’d never read anything like As I Die Lying, which is exactly the kind of reception I hope for. I’ve never read anything like it either. I am not even sure it is a book, or who wrote it. And I’m marketing it as “The Worst Novel Ever Written.”

I have Gateway Drug: Mystery Stories coming (with a bonus Konrath tale), and also the “author’s preferred edition” of an older book now with the “author’s preferred title” of Forever Never Ends. A book co-written with J.R. Rain will be out in November. And there’s some other stuff I am working on that you may never know I’ve written. And one project that’s so weird even As I Die Lying will seem normal, because it’s a never-ending book in a constant state of evolution.

I don’t know about you or Joe, but I am incredibly grateful that this digital era has allowed me to be as bold as I dare to be, grow wings as big as the sky, and swim an ocean as deep as our combined imagination.

This is the greatest era since Gutenberg pressed some wood pulp. Let it flow.


Scott Nicholson is author of Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, and 10 other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legends in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.

To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free ebooks to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy my books and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at