Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day #90: Just a Guy with a Keyboard...and You

Ninety days.

An idea, a little typing, a lot of generous book bloggers, and many, many friends.
I started the blog tour with a simple goal of promoting e-books and the Kindle, celebrating the new era of literature, and meeting people who love books. Not just books, but words and stories, since we’re not even sure what a book is anymore.

I’ve changed over the course of this blog tour. It went from “90 Days of Nightmares” to a three-month dream. I put myself out there, my real self, in a way I never have before, and you guys put up with it. I talked about this amazing journey, from my early rejection slips to where I am today, with more readers than I’ve ever had and more books available, and a bright future that’s poised to grow and glow. You guys made me a #1 bestselling writer during this tour. I’ll never forget that, because I know who did it. I wrote the words, but you created the synergy.

My daughter said, “Once you’re a bestselling writer, you’re one forever.” That’s true. Sales will slide because we all move on to new things, but Disintegration happened. The Red Church happened again and again. Cursed! and October Girls were born. Some screenplays and collections came out.
But I feel very much the same, despite everything warming to a boil and my sales and connections growing organically and beautifully. It all feels right. But I’m still just a guy with a keyboard, telling stories, not much different than a year ago when I wasn’t sure I’d ever publish another book and that maybe six paperbacks were going to be the only thing the obscure genre magazines would report in my obligatory three-line obituary.
The book I never intended to publish, Disintegration, was written for my survival, during a dark time in my life. Maybe because it wasn’t written for a theoretical market, it told some sort of truth. And it’s fitting that novel became a breakthrough success. It’s so ironic it seems inevitable.
But the books are just part of the story. The fun comments, the new friendships, the blog discoveries, the expanding platform of people talking about books, reading, words, publishing, and just ideas are all wrapped up in this blog tour. It took a life of its own and I’m a little sentimental right now, but I look forward to going back and re-reading all the comments and spending more time getting to know you.
We still have a few days, since the Kindle winners won’t be selected for a week and you still have chances to comment at the recent blogs. And I am cooking up one final idea to make another run for Top 100 so I can give away one more Kindle, but, hey, we have at least three new Kindle owners in the world. And I know 90 percent of you are going to buy a Kindle anyway if you don’t win, because you were interested enough to care.
This phase of the journey is over. Winter is a natural time for going internal. I’ll be back in the spring with another big event, but it’s going to be simpler and shorter. In the meantime, I hope you will continue subscribing to my newsletter even after the winner is selected and announced. I will only use it for major announcements like giveaways or new releases, and I will continue with Wednesday writing chats here at my blog and my Web site is undergoing a redesign to make a multi-functional gathering place. As always I will reward my supporters, because I know where success is born.
I heart you. Thank you.
Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the YA paranormal romance October Girls and the thrillers Disintegration, As I Die Lying, Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, Burial to Follow, and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, Curtains, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.
The Kindle Giveaway is part of Scott’s blog tour. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm. To be eligible for the Kindle DX or Kindle 3, 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. He’s also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing!

Monday, November 29, 2010

If I Were Your Monster

It had to happen. I've done almost everything there is in the field of literature except ghostwrite a celebrity bio. So with little fanfare (sit down in the back, you kids, and quit clapping--no fun allowed), here comes If I Were Your Monster, slobbering and clicking just in time for the holidays. Yes, for a limited time only, this full-color, 24-page children's book has fun rhymes, cool creatures illustrated by Lee Davis, and, well, lizard socks.

(Okay, kids, you can stand up and cheer! Hooray). Yes, you have to make your parents buy it for you. So cry, whine, pitch a brat fit, do whatever it takes to be the first kid on the block to own If I Were Your Monster. Aaaand...just in time for Christmas, special preorders are $6.95 INCLUDING SHIPPING! Yes, for less than the price of one of those stupid old grown-up books, you can have this beast at your door before St. Nick shows up and steals your tree. Or is that the Grinch?

At any rate, kids, just have your parents pay pal to hauntedcomputer AT yahoo DOT com. Or else hack their accounts and do it yourself. (Technically, I am not supposed to say that, so let me take that part back).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to be a Kindle bestseller

I've eased off on my "indie advice" lately for several reasons. One is that it can sound like a slam on Big Publishing--which is not what I'm about. I love the publishing industry and it's brought both real joy (in the form of books and money) into my life and also my decade of experience has shown me the incredible challenges involved in creating and selling a book--from the author's brain to the editor to the bookstore to the reader's hands. If even one book makes it and changes a person's life, that's something to celebrate.

However, I also believe in Compassionate Self-Reliance, and I don't see the indie path as a subversive way to "stick it to the man." It's got plenty of challenges, too. So today I am sharing in gratitude some of what I've learned, just as I will every Wednesday. My post at Parajunkee's View today tips the hat to just a few of those who have created my success, but I know every one of you--including you who just clicked to this post--are part of the Scott Nicholson dream.

And I don't want to lecture, because I don't know anything except what has and hasn't worked for me. If you want broad advice, snag your free copy of Write Good or Die. If you have a question about any part of the industry or the craft or the art or the life, drop it in the comments, and feel free to offer your own advice and conversation. I will be traveling over the next few days but I'll hit this on my coffee-shop stops.

Self-publishing? Vicki Tyley talks about the indie writing journey and success http://bit.ly/hqa3jO

Zoe Winters talks about her self-publishing experience  

Maximizing your promotional efforts at Windwalker's Indie Kindle blog 

How to be a bestseller? Simple. Sell a lot of books. Don't forget, Writer Babble every Wednesday here at Haunted Computer blog.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

La Chiesa Rossa e Movie Books

Want a free signed copy of Thank You for the Flowers, my first paperback collection? Just write five reviews of my in-print books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or Shelfari. Email me at Hauntedcomputer At yahooDOtcom and tell me where you wrote the reviews, along with your address. I won't be reading the reviews or checking up. I will just mail the book. If you write 10 reviews, I'll throw in an extra free copy of my graphic novel Dirt

Why? Well, reviews help other people learn about the books. And even "bad" reviews help. The more information people have to make a decision about a book, the better. Plus I want to thank you for supporting me.

What have I been up to? Good question. In the past three days, I've published two screenplays and my first indie translated edition, La Chiesa Rossa, traduzione Paolo Albizzati. More screenplays coming up, and of course, the Kindle Giveaway blog tour is winding into its final week. Wow. It must be exhausting to keep up with me. Good thing I'm not paying attention, or I'd be tired, too.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cursed! now available

Two #1 Kindle bestselling authors team up, with twice the thrills, twice the chills, and twice the fun. Cursed! by J.R. Rain and Scott Nicholson

Albert Shipway is an ordinary guy, an insurance negotiator who likes booze and women and never having to say he’s sorry.

And he thinks this is just another day, another lunch, another order of kung pao chicken. Little does he know that he’s about to meet a little old lady who knows his greatest fear. A little old lady who knows what’s hiding in his heart. A little old lady who dishes up a big stew of supernatural revenge, with ingredients as follows:

First you take one psychotic ex from a family of serial killers. Next add a pinch or two of an irrational childhood fear. Now thoroughly mix in an angry sister, a life-stealing great-granddad, and a notorious mass murderer—who happens to be dead but doesn’t know it. Let it stew and froth and bubble thoroughly....

In just a matter of minutes, Albert’s life turns upside down and he enters a world where magic and evil lurk beneath the fabric of Southern California. And all his choices have brewed a perfect storm of broken hearts, broken promises, shattered families, and a couple of tiny problems. Namely, killer mice and a baby.

Albert Shipway is finally getting a chance to right some wrongs.

That is, if it's not too late.

Order Cursed! here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writer Wednesday

Inspired by the #WW hashtag on Twitter, I am starting a weekly feature here where I answer writing-related questions each Wednesday and invite people to sit around the virtual coffee house and do writerly things. I will answer any questions as honestly as possible, based on my experience. Unless it's not in my best interest or I want to "look good." In which case I'll lie.

Obviously I've been on a long blog tour and have some publishing stuff coming up (like Cursed! with J.R. Rain releasing Nov. 20) but I want to share thoughts, ideas, triumphs, and gripes with you. And learn from you. Pour away, and watch those coffee stains. I've got enough drinking problems.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing

(Official Kindle giveaway stop for Nov 13 so comment to enter before Nov 20!)

Today’s little bulleted list of the “Pros and Cons of Self-publishing” comes from someone who has been there. I’ve had agents, not had agents. I’ve been rejected hundreds of times. I’ve published in major, small, and independent presses, and now primarily self-publish. I’ve been a bestseller and had books I couldn’t make someone read at gunpoint. And all of the routes are difficult. If you think it’s hard to write a book, try selling one.

Pros of having agent
1. Most writers can’t arrange lunch with an influential publisher, talk over salad, and leave with book deal.
2. An agent can get you more money, usually more than the 15 percent commission.
3. An agent can guide you for an entire career, point out the landmines, dun publishers for money owed, and stay ahead on trends.

Cons of having an agent
1. The best book in the world won’t matter to them if they can’t sell it.
2. Your book immediately becomes New York-centric, measured by all the other deals, relationships, commodities, industry politics, and corporate bottom lines, as well as the pecking order of your own agency.
3. It’s possible the agent becomes a roadblock or black hole, where your work vanishes for years.

Pros of having a publisher
1. They do most of the work besides the writing.
2. They have a system in place designed to distribute and promote books.
3. They can pay you money immediately.

Cons of having a publisher
1. They take most of the money.
2. They may keep your rights virtually forever.
3. They solely determine the fate of your book, via profit-and-loss statements, print runs, and the amount of the advance, so there’s automatically a ceiling placed on your book.

Pros of doing it yourself
1. You keep all the money.
2. You get to find your own audience.
3. You control everything, and the success and failure are yours alone.

Cons of doing it yourself.
1. You keep all the money and there may not be much.
2. You have to find your own audience.
3. You control everything, and the success and failure are yours alone.

More and more writers are developing hybrid careers, where they have agents or use publishers but also self-publish material that’s either been out of print or has a small audience. This will probably become the standard working model for middle-class writers in the next few years. But to make it work, pay attention to the rights you sign away in contracts—the fairest deals should return the work to you after a certain period of time or when sales drop below a certain level. After all, it’s your work. If you don’t care about it, why should anyone else?

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Disintegration, As I Die Lying, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, Burial to Follow ,and October Girls. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, The Gorge, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers. His web site is www.hauntedcomputer.com.

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 e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Writing Talk

I haven't been offering as much writing advice lately because everything changes so much that I don't know what to tell you. Half of the stuff in the free writing manual Write Good or Die is probably useless, but I don't know which half.

Self-publishing has been the best thing I've ever done for my career, but it's not just for practical reasons. The primary advantages for me have been those of the spirit. I feel inspired, I have unlimited income and audience potential, I can craft whatever book or career I feel is necessary, and I've been able to connect or reconnect with you after a couple of dormant years.

No, I wasn't hibernating, as evidenced by the new books I've released this year, and in a way, the timing is right--I finally feel like I am matched up with my era. I love positive partnerships but I'm also the self-reliant sort. So, aside from the brass tacks and sales figures, if you're considering self-publishing, weigh the needs of the ego and your faith and your place in the Word Community. Don't jump in because you're desperate or those "idiots in New York" don't recognize your obvious genius. Do it when you have something to share, when you're giving instead of taking. Give, and then you will receive.

(PS If you like to visit occasionally, please click "Follow" to the right--you don't have to sign up for the feed, but I am trying to build my face pile for reasons that will be made clear later on. Plus there WILL be prizes. Thanks!)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Comfort Zone? That's the McQuestion

(Karen McQuestion is, along with J.A. Jonrath, J.R. Rain, and others, a poster child of the Kindle era, an author who finally had a chance to reach a virtually unlimited audience. The common denominator is a belief in the work and in self. But sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone, as Karen has challenged herself to do. Today I'm over at Book Faery so come enter for Kindles!)


In 2009, after many years of not being able to get published traditionally, I uploaded my unpublished manuscripts to sell as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle.  What happened next still blows my mind. Call it timing, luck, or whatever, but in the year that followed I had sales in the tens of thousands, received a contract to option my novel, A Scattered Life, for film, and finally, offers of publication from AmazonEncore, Amazon’s new publishing division. 

At this time, three of my books, A Scattered Life, Easily Amused, and my children’s book, Celia and the Fairies, have been published by AmazonEncore in paperback and ebook. Next spring, two more of my books, Favorite and Life On Hold, will be released by the same publisher.  I am in writer heaven. 

Like most writers, I thrive on solitude. A perfect day for me consists of an empty house, a quiet phone, and a working computer. I write in a basement office and just heading down the stairs in the morning makes me happy. I recently discovered Pandora.com, and I’ve been training it to play just the right kind of music for my current project.  It has to be lively enough to keep the neurons firing, but not too distracting or it interferes with my internal word processor.

Honestly, I could keep up this schedule day after day, week after week, and not mind at all. In the last few months though, I’ve been invited to speak to various groups about writing and my publishing journey. Doing so requires me to leave my house, dress up, and interact with others. 

No matter how nice the people are, or how wonderful the event is, I never want to do it. Ever.  While I appreciate the opportunity to connect with readers and get the word out about my books, part of me dreads it.

And then I go and absolutely love it. Library groups, book clubs, students, writers’ groups—they all have different reasons for wanting to hear me speak.  I tailor my talk to the group, and afterward there are questions. The questions are my favorite part. 

Writers always want to know how they can self-publish on Kindle. I tell them to visit my website or J.A. Konrath’s blog for more information. They’re writers, so they take notes.

Book clubs ask about the characters and whether I outline my novels ahead of time (I don’t).  They also want to know where I get my ideas (everywhere).

Library crowds are true book people. They ask a lot of questions and often recommend books to me, and then I’m the one jotting down notes.

Today I spoke to students at a local high school.  I talked, they listened. They were attentive but not overly enthused. I drew names and gave away a few of my books. The winners took the books, but didn’t seem overjoyed. Afterward though, one girl came up to me and had me sign her book. She said she was excited about winning and that she was a writer too.  Then one of the guys in the group came up and said he had one more question for me. “In your opinion,” he said, “in a battle between Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader, who would win?”

Like I said, the questions are my favorite part.  

Just for the record, I said Lord Voldemort. My older son has since told me that I’m wrong and that Darth Vader could definitely take Lord Voldemort.  Live and learn.

I still love my quiet days at home writing, but I’m getting more comfortable doing public speaking.  I think it’s good that I’m being forced to venture out into the world.  Sometimes the questions alone make it worth the trip.


(Scott's P.S.: If you are a writer interested in advice from 15 successful authors, why not go download the free writing guide Write Good or Die at Haunted Computer, available in PDF, Mobi, and ePub.

Friday, November 5, 2010

David Niall Wilson--Crossroad Press

(While I help the world discover As I Die Lying and what happens when a demonic serial killer's novel gets rejected while he's falling in love, David Niall Wilson is holding down the fort here. A truly gifted writer, he's also proven progressive with his digital publishing efforts at Crossroad Press. And to make this guy even more likeable, let's give away a hardcover copy of his supernatural thriller DEEP BLUE, the first of David's books I read, but certainly not the last. Simply comment within seven days to enter. Take it away, Dave)

My sons and I keep threatening to do a Kindle commercial where a guy is left tied up by kidnappers, or CIA agents, in a room where there is a kindle on the desk.  He hops his chair over, uses a pencil in his teeth to operate the keyboard, and the next thing you see is the door closing, a pile of ropes on the chair, and the cover of an eBook titled "Harry Houdini- How to Escape From Anything" on the Kindle.

When it comes to information, storytelling, and publishing, it's a very new world from that of only a few years back.  Arguments about whether electronic formats will ever "make it" have been replaced with discussions of how far can it go, and how can I get on board before this train leaves the station.  Half the time it seems that the entire train gets re-routed mid trip and you end up somewhere completely unexpected - and ultimately cool.

 As a writer, it's no longer good enough just to tell stories. You have to pay attention, because the audience is shifting, and so are the venues they choose for entertainment delivery.  We jumped from document files to pdf files to eBook files, to files you can read fully formatted on your phone in a matter of a couple of years.  You can personalize and adjust your reading experience in endless ways, have it delivered to you in the middle of a busy city street while you wait, and follow links to more books, or to places you can provide your input and feedback, without taking a step.

 Books used to come and go.  There was a pretty set time you could expect them to remain available, and then, if you wanted to find them you had to slog through piles and piles of used volumes, search libraries, and in only slightly antiquated times, crawl eBay until you found a copy.
 That's how my own love affair with digital publishing began. I wanted to bring back the books that came and went and give them new readers and new life.  I wanted to find those books people always bring up wistfully in comments like, "you remember that one book by so-and-so back in the seventies?  Wish I could read that again - it changed my life."

 At Crossroad Press I've been privileged to help a number of readers with quests like that, and a number of authors whose words languished in forgotten bins and on dusty shelves, and that makes me happy.  I've also found a wealth of books that never made it to audio format, and I've been able to bring a number of those to life, as well.  See, now Tolkein's words can be applied to other words … they have been there, and back again.  And there's no end to how far they can go in this wild, crazy digital world surrounding us.  I'm happy to be seeing a small mountain of them on their way.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

AS I DIE LYING launches Nov. 6

Today's stop is at True Book Addict, comment at my post to win one of two Kindles. Be sure to stop here at my blog tomorrow when I'll have a guest post from David Niall Wilson, successful author and owner of Crossroads Press. Don't forget, Nov. 6 is the official launch of AS I DIE LYING, on sale for 99 cents for a limited time only. I'll be at bestselling author Karen McQuestion's blog on launch day. See you there!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nov 2: Synchronicity

My dark crime thriller Disintegration hit #44 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list and is now bouncing around in the 50s. I believe in larger forces. I also believe we channel the energy through these forces and draw strength from them. It's not a coincidence that my "darkest moment" has led to my biggest writing success. It's the yin and yang.

It's not a coincidence that I was at #149 and, recalling The Red Church peaked at #148, said, "This is the hard part." As if I were ready to put the barrier up.The Lefthanded Puppeteer simply said, "No, it's not. What's the difference?" So I opened to door to let it go on up. I woke up and it had broken the Top 100 and kept moving.

It's also not a coincidence that I am co-writing the novel Cursed! with J.R. Rain, which we're releasing Nov. 15 or that we're lumped together on some bestseller lists. J.R. is a believer in the Law of Attraction, what some might call "the secret," or the "power of positive thinking." I've been thinking more positively over the last few years, and the idea of "writing success" is now welcome.

I've worked hard. I've worked for positive ideals. I help my friends and peers and promote other people's books because we all get enriched in our lives. I believe in myself. I believe my writing entertains or instructs people. I believe As I Die Lying is a bestseller that many people will love and some will absolutely despise. I believe Cursed! will break the Top 100 and help J.R. and I share our audiences and a good, fun story.

I believe this is fun and good and right. Thanks for being here with me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We did it!

Friends, followers, and people who said, "Do it," (including poppa-in-law who got out of bed to buy a copy), thanks for your generous support. As of this writing, my dark crime thriller Disintegration is at #98 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list. I appreciate your help in telling friends about the book and reviewing it. I'll be talking more about my "evil twin" book in the days to come.

It's now #1 in the "Hard-boiled mystery" category, the third different category in which I've hit #1 this year for Kindle. It's #3 in the overall "Romantic suspense" list, coincidentally enough right behind two novels by J.R. Rain, with whom I am releasing "Cursed!" in a couple of weeks.

Success is an odd thing. I feel exactly the same, and I have the exact same obligations. I wake up every day with 25 hours of work ahead of me. I wake up and smile the first thing every morning, because I am next to the Lefthanded Puppeteer. I wake up and thank God because i have such a wonderful, exciting life. At night, I don't pray to sell more books, I ask how I can be a better man, father, husband, human being.

Disintegration was written at what was probably the lowest point in my life. Maybe it saved my life. It's not a perfect book by any means, and not everyone will like it, but it was the best I could do at the time. That's all I aim for these days. The best I can do. And I can't do these things without you, and they don't matter a bit if you don't share them. For all the reviewers, taggers, and readers, thanks--and good luck now that your chances of winning a Kindle on the Kindle Giveaway blog tour have doubled!

Don't miss today's stop at http://www.briankeene.com