Friday, September 3, 2010

The Safe Play

The Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour Day #3 is now a post at Joe Konrath's blog so go over and enter for the Kindles. While you are here, take a chance to sniff some ink and paper.

I was thinking this morning about playing it safe, partly because of some peripheral things in my personal life and partly because of some good comments over at A.P. Fuchs's blog regarding self-publishing. What he says makes sense: if you are just a generic genre writer, you probably won't be able to stand out in any environment, whether in NY or out in the world of readers. I made my original launch of the tour with The Skull Ring, a fairly well-crafted suspense thriller with a few good twists. Satisfying, but nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, nothing that would have you closing the book and thinking about it for weeks.

Even back when I wrote it, it was more with the idea of writing a popular book, and it has sold pretty well, but perhaps its most damning feature is that everyone likes it. At Amazon, it has nothing but four- or five-star reviews. It's the best reviewed of all my books, and I believe it has the most number of reviews. I don't generally read my reviews though I occasionally check a couple just to see if people are pointing out the same things, which may indicate a problem I can learn from. This book just doesn't make people angry. It doesn't make them want to throw it (or their Kindle) across the room.

I have this novel Disintegration that is bleak, written at a really dark time for me, and I have never done much with it, partly because I am not sure I want that message in the world. The Left-Handed Puppeteer tells me somebody out there might need that message. But I was planning to revise it, to make one or two characters more redeeming or virtuous and have some hope of a happy ending for someone. In fact, I left the original ending--those final five pages--unwritten for months because I knew what had to happen, and I hated to write it. It nearly made me physically ill (and, no, not because it's gross, but just because it felt that intense and irredeemable.)

Changing it would have been artistically dishonest. Sure, change for plot clarity, change for coherence, change for consistency. But never change to please. Because I knew the original ending would enrage a certain portion of the readership. But I've learned over the years that it is better to enrage than have someone close the book and not remember a thing about it, as has happened to me with some commercial bestsellers. So Disintegration will be out in Full Scotty, the way it was meant to be. I still have a final revision pass to make and some beta readers to knock it around a little, but it doesn't need surgery just because someone might not like the size of Frankenstein's monster's ears. Look for it in October.

At times I have tweeted or posted something and lost a follower or two, and I review what I might have said to offend someone. But then I get two or four followers in their place, and I realize what is actually happening is I am losing the people who don't share the message and finding people who do share the message, meeting people on common ground. And I also am a better receiver of their messages, too, because we're talking the same language. We are the people who choose to spend time with one another.

This tour is meant to be The Full Scotty. No hiding, no more playing it safe. It's not even about selling books, though that is always nice. It's about sticking with a vision and being who you are. I've hidden a lot, especially in my personal life, though they say it's all buried in the stories if you know where to look. The writers I admire, and the people I admire, do just that--keep the faith. They lose a few people along the way but were those people really on their side in the first place?

Okay, while we get the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour back on track, let's do a random giveaway here of a limited edition hardcover copy of Brimstone Turnpike from Cemetery Dance. Features novellas from Thomas F. Monteleone, Mike Oliveri, Harry Shannon, and Tim Waggoner, edited by Kealan Patrick Burke. Also contains my novella "Burial to Follow," which is also available as a 99 cent e-book. Signed by all contributors, I believe the market value is $40. Only 600 copies made, but this is a "PC," a personal copy, which is even rarer. If all contributors got four like I did, that means there are only 24 in the world.

EBay here we come. But please, wait until we are dead. Value will increase.

Simply comment below with your email address and I will randomly select a winner in seven days. Good luck!

(P.S. If you ARE into the whole PUSH FOR TOP 100 thing, then tomorrow may be a good day to ask your friends to buy Speed Dating with the Dead for Kindle. That's a hint, not a command!)



A.P. Fuchs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.P. Fuchs said...

Thanks for the shout out on your blog, Scott. Glad you found the info useful.

Ps. It's "Fuchs'" not "Fuch's." That plural messes everyone up and makes for some interesting takes on the last name, so no worries. It's almost as bad as "Focker." Like I tell folks when I explain my last name to them, I say, "Yeah, it can be a tough one, but at least it gets folks to look at the book cover twice." :)

Icedream said...

Ooh, a signed, limited copy- I promise it will never see the light of ebay! :)
Thanks for the chance.

waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

"Fuchs" is "fox" in German. Good name.

Anyway, I'm look forward to "Disintegration" although from the way you describe it, you need Prozac after reading it!

Ashley said...

Ashley's Bookshelf

lorraine_lanning said...

Great prize! lorraine_lanning[at]yahoo[dot]com

Randy said...

This is really exciting going to a new blog every day. Thanks for doing this.

Kaitlyn (Kaitlyn in Bookland) said...

I love chances to "sniff some ink and paper" haha. But, in all reality, don't books smell good? :)


Kippoe said...

I would never put it on ebay

May said...

Definitly not ebay. Well, maybe after you're all dead and I have to pay for my old lady retirement home... You never know...
But not while I can still work my way out of my bills :D

mayarend -at-

Candy's Creations said...

Would love a signed copy

Kim said...

Interesting concept this... Giveaway Blog Tour. Yes, I would like to have a chance to win the hardcover copy of "Brimstone Turnpike" and a shot at the Kindle DX. Thanks for the opportunity.

booklover0226 said...

Scott, you're a new author for me (I don't what rock I was living under) but your works sound great. I look forward in reading them.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

dreamsgate said...

They always say no risk, no gain. So I'm glad you are taking the chances you are now. It will make you both a better writer and person.

Sandra Gilbert
dreamsgate at clearwire dot net

Candace said...

I think right now there are more open minded people reading then ever before and anyone can be free to be who they are, and will be able to sell their books.
Signed Limited edition? Yeah, sounds like a book that would have a place of honor in my house ;)

candace_redinger at yahoo dot com

Gail said...

Thanks for the chance to win Brimstone Turnpike, and I'm looking forward to Disintegration in October.
gail in florida
cowgirl3000 at gmail dot com

Sharon S. said...

Oh, I have always admired those Cemetary Dance editions . You should write for you and not care about how certain people will veiw your work (the key here is "your work") You will be able to enjoy being an author more if you stay true to yourself. I got Speed Dating already in my kindle cue!

jellybelly82158 said...

I love signed books!!

jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

Diana said...

Count me in

Neal Hock said...

I, for one, look forward to discovering the Full Scotty. I appreciate transparency in an author. :)


andy Sell said...

andy sell

Cameron Lewis said...

I already own a copy of Brimstone Turnpike, so I'll not throw my hat into the ring for the contest. I will, however, say that Scott's story is excellent. The winner is in for a treat, as is anyone who buys a copy. :)

Vicki said...

What's a tour without a few bumps? Makes for an interesting journey. ;)

John Platt said...

Very timely. I've struggled with this "I have to please everybody" mindset for years. Now I'm starting to break through it. It feels great! This is a nice little push for me in that direction.

byonge said...

Thanks for the comments. I read for several reasons: for information, challenging thought, to learn how to do something, and mostly for entertainment. Most writers produce entertainment. For that reason, I love the independent writers. There's some great stuff out there, and it doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg. Why would I want to pay $12 to $15 for an ebook, when I get get the paper for a couple of $ more, and I'll have a copy I can pass around? The ebook is only useable by the purchaser (legally). Independent writers have been publishing for a lot less. We just need to get the word out, so they can enjoy success without being robbed by the publishing companies.

Monster A Go-Go said...

"The Left-Handed Puppeteer tells me somebody out there might need that message."

I use my left hand for that TOO! But, really Scott, have you NO SENSE of DECENCY??? Do you really need to go blabbing on about your disgusting personal habits on your blog? SHAMELESS!!

...Oh wait. You weren't talking about THAT. Oops... Never mind...

Dale said...

Scott, controversy=$$$

bluefrog said...

I'm actually starting to feel like a stalker, following you around on your blog tour, but
I guess since you invited me, I'm not stalking. lol
You know I would love to win a kindle, and I'd love a signed copy of your book, too. One of my prized possessions is a signed galley copy of "Night Watch" that Terry Pratchett sent me.
And I may have to go buy "Speed Dating with the Dead" for myself.

katsrus said...

Always cherish signed books. thanks for the giveaway.
Sue B

ron-breznay said...

Looking forward to Disintegration. Sounds like a perfectly dark novel for the dark days of fall and winter.

rbreznay [at] ptdprolog [dot] net

Scrybe Press said...

Signed book junkie here.. enter me please :)

EVA SB said...

This looks like a keeper and signed as well![@]gmail[.]com

Kell said...

Pick me! Pick me!


Stacy said...

How can you part with it? PC copies are too precious.

Nadine stacypilot at yahoo dot com

Dana said...

No, pick me! Me! :-)

Ashley said...

Thank you so much for having this amazing contest! I have been wanting a Kindle for such a long time.

Ashley's Bookshelf

The Undead Rat said...


I agree with you that you can't change your message or worry about who will or will not follow you. I have to say, however, it's gosh darn hard to do that.

I really admire people who do stick to their guns (lunatics excepted) and I'm pleased that your loss of a few followers resulted in a gain.

I love it when the universe rewards you like that.

I need that kind of courage. I've been too afraid of offending people on my blog about horror books

I also must read Disintegration.

Great work.
--Greg the Undead Rat

theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

Andrea I said...

Thanks for the contest. I love signed books and hold onto to them for myself.

Weston said...

I also love signed copies. They are invaluable and make me feel warm and fuzzy. I like seeing the scrawl of other wordsmiths like myself in the front cover. I am seriously considering ebook releases for mine if I still have no luck with publishers, or even after I have made a name for myself. I would hate to put it out there and only sell copies to family and friends. I think that is a fear many incoming writers have when considering this. I also worry about promotion. The digital era is so new that I have many questions about promoting a book digitally without the support, and pocketbook, of a physical publisher.

On a side note, I love the sound of Disintegration and look forward to reading it.


author Scott Nicholson said...

From a random number generated, the winner of the signed book is John Platt. John, come on down! Whoo-hoo, celebrate, dance in the aisles and...actually, never mind. Just send your address!

Follow the tour for more giveaways at