Monday, December 26, 2011

Scott Nicholson free kindle books

If you like to share with your friends, feel free to copy and paste in Twitter, facebook, and your favorite book forum: Scott Nicholson is giving away free Kindle books this week!

(UK Kindle owners, just replace "com" with "" and you go right to the correct page for Amazon UK)

Mystery Dance: three books-The Skull Ring, Disintegration, Crime Beat

Amazon UK:

Share today from my Facebook wall to be entered for signed copy of "Disintegration"

(UK only) horror thriller The Gorge by Scott Nicholson

story collection Head Cases by Scott Nicholson, bonus tales by Willie Meikle and John Everson

That should keep you reading a while! Please tell your Kindle friends and look for an EPIC kindle giveaway coming soon!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa Scott free Kindle book giveaways

I'm shuffling down the chimney and handing out goodies for all the good little girls and boys who awake to find Kindles and Kindle Fires in their stockings (but you don't have to own a Kindle to read free Kindle books -- you can read them on your phone, iPad, computer, etc. What a truly marvelous age we live in!)

Free today, Dec. 24, is the paranormal mystery Transparent Lovers by Scott Nicholson

and the mystery thriller Disintegration

Coming soon: Duncan the Punkin, The Skull Ring, and As I Die Lying. Please tell all your friends and pass the freebies along. Amazon Kindle books have been very good to me and my family and I am happy to share. Check this post daily for the next week for updated giveaways. Now I need to shake off this chimney soot. Ho ho ho!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Liquid Fear, Chronic Fear, and the rebirth of a writing career

By Scott Nicholson

Today, Dec. 21, marks both the solstice and the two-year anniversary of my indie publishing experiment. On a gray day as the sun reached its nadir across my northern sky, I clicked a button that sent Burial to Follow into the digital world.

I had no idea what I was doing, only that I had nothing to lose. Part of me was afraid, as those old whispers came. You know, the ones drummed into writers since the dawn of time: (“Only hacks self-publish! You can’t do anything without an agent! Just keep sending out query letters and focus on writing the next book! Self-publishing will kill your career.”)

In truth, the original act was a mix of desperation and inspiration. Despite six books in traditional publishing, I was basically dead in the water, haunted by midlist numbers. New York thought it knew what I was and had the data to prove it. I knew better in my heart, but I was unsuccessful in convincing my potential partners, and the world of publishing had grown harsher and colder, to the point of “Only responds if interested.” All I could think was “Maybe you’re not interested, but I sure am.”

The Burial to Follow novella was respectably published in a hardcover by Cemetery Dance, so it had provenance. I figured I’d hedge my bets against what my peers thought (not that peers were paying any attention at all to me in 2009) by self-publishing backlist so I would have a built-in defense. I created a terrible but sincere cover with art from my DIRT comic book and hit the Amazon button.

I believe I got one sale through the final nine days of the year, but it was fun to wonder about that one stranger who had clicked and purchased. So I prepped The Red Church, a novel that had been successful in its short life but had fallen out of print for five years. Again, I had the self-defense of prior publication. “See? I’m a REAL writer and I am just making these ‘legitimate’ books available again.” And then sales started trickling in, and the book steadily rose up the charts. People liked it! But the most immense satisfaction was in being able to reach readers years after New York was done with it. The story was still fresh, maybe even timeless. At least timeless enough for now.

Cool things happened. My daughter was most impressed when I hit #1 in “Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy” (boy, the categories were wild in those days), not because I was above Stephen King but above C.S. Lewis. I think that was the first time she ever viewed me as a “real writer,” despite the stack of my dusty paperbacks in the closet.

I was still sending stuff to publishers and agents during this time, because I was a “real writer” and that indie stuff was just a sideline until I got a “real deal.” My goal at the time was to earn enough to pay my power bill. So I clumped together some stories that had also been professionally published, and the nickels turned into dimes. There was also an exciting and growing indie community, writers either frustrated by the traditional system or new to the entire game and having no pre-conceptions. That was matched by the enthusiasm of readers who saw a whole new world of choice open up to them. The universe was opening to possibility in odd and thrilling ways.

By mid-2010, I stopped sending stuff out to agents and publishers because the power structure had shifted. Readers now ran the industry, although none of us really understood the concept, or maybe it was too large and simple for us to grasp. Readers created bestsellers, they created careers for writers, they created new genres and cross-genres and niches and book blogs. The whole job for a writer shifted from finding the intermediaries who would deliver an audience to removing as many obstacles as possible between you and your readers. I uploaded original novels that I had been sending around, and I wrote new ones with the sole intention of self-publishing.

By the dawn of 2011, I was able to leave my day job and fulfill the only personal goal I’d ever had as a writer. I had some luck with a couple of bestsellers, and Amazon picked up Liquid Fear for re-release, and the sequel Chronic Fear. Amazon is awesome to work with and has been the most enthusiastic partner of my entire publishing career.

I don’t know if there is a “next level.” I certainly don’t need any more to be happy, and I am incredibly grateful and humbled. All I did was do what I love and click a few buttons, and I happened to be doing the right thing when the right time came along. I wish I could make ego claims of genius and talent, but it’s simply the blessings of good fortune, simply doing what God made Scott to do that no other person can do.

Today, Amazon launches Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear. Two years after the sun hit its lowest point and started ascension. Two years to the day after I first hit a button and said “Yes.”

I still say it today. Thank you, God and the universe. Thank you, readers and friends. Thank you, my wonderful, beautiful family. Yes.

Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear are $2.99 for Kindle, also available in paperback and audio. Current freebie  through 12/25 is Transparent Lovers for Kindle. Thanks for your support and friendship, and tell your friends about the freebies. My pledge is always: The more I get, the more I give away.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Speed Dating with the Dead free for Kindle

Okay, today's gift is Speed Dating with the Dead, a supernatural thriller. Inspired by an actual paranormal conference I held at a haunted Appalachian hotel--in the book, ghost hunters accidentally stir up demons. Free for two days! 

Burial to Follow is still currently free at Amazon but probably not for long.

I'll be signing paper books at Black Bear Books in Boone (Dec. 20) and City Lights Bookstore in Sylva (Dec. 21).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The screenplay of the novelization of the book

I'm one of the tens of thousands of authors trying the Amazon KDP Select program, where you make a book(s) available in the Prime lending library for a 90-day period. And the books are exclusive to Amazon during that period, too. Amazon also allows you to make an enrolled book free for up to five days during that period. It's too new to tell how this is going to affect the ebook scene, but I decided to roll out The Gorge: The Screenplay for a five-day giveaway.

I have never really promoted the screenplay, which I released as a Kindle-only ebook probably a year ago. It's my original screenplay adaptation of They Hunger, which is still in print from Kensington Books in the US and Canada, although I have released a digital version under the title The Gorge in all the other world markets. In case you are not yet confused enough, I also have a graphic novel in development called The Gorge, of which we've completed one issue.

All this is to say, well, grab the screenplay while it's free!

If you are outside the US/Canada, the novel version is on Amazon UK. The Kindle and paperback editions in US can be ordered at Amazon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Win signed copies of Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear!

Preorder Chronic Fear and be entered to win a signed paperback set of Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear! These books will be signed with "First copies off the press."

Chronic Fear is available for Kindle, paperback, and audio at Amazon, and at in paperback. After ordering, simply email hauntedcomputer AT with "Chronic Fear" in the subject line. Thanks and good luck!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

KDP Select, aka Amazon lending library

Having been put in the "stir" by the L.A. Times, and since every writer with an opinion (which is basically all of them--which is why we are writers) has to chime in on KDP Select*, here's my take:

1. More books for more readers.
2. Chance for writers to meet new readers.
3. Chance for readers to meet new writers.

Risks? Sure, but mostly for authors. This could signal the downward spiral of the value of ebooks, which could lead to fewer people bothering to write them and eventually fewer new books for people to read.There's the possibility a writer choosing Amazon exclusivity will alienate fans in other markets, but the author can opt in and out of the program every 90 days. That should give anyone truly interested in the author a chance to buy in the non-Amazon markets. Plus paper copies will be exempt from the exclusivity requirement.

Those who are screaming that Amazon is taking away the hard-earned freedom of indie authors, I have to snort coffee through my nose. Indies earned nothing (unless you were one of those who succeeded selling paperbacks out of the trunk of your car). Indies were just sitting there, largely either unpublished or cast off by the industry, when Amazon created a huge market and then let them in it. Amazon created the device, the market, and the audience, and Amazon's success forced other competitors to open up to indies and offer excellent compensation and terms. Any author who claims Amazon is "the enemy" is not working from facts but from emotion.

Every single move Amazon has made resulted in MORE money for all participating writers, MORE ebooks for all readers, and MORE opportunity instead of a monopoly (if you follow me at all, you know I'm a contrarian and I see huge, huge opportunity in the other markets now, which of course will have to do something to counter Amazon's big move.)

As The Dude says, "There are a lot of angles to this thing," but it looks like everyone wins for now. Who knows what the future will be, but did we ever know that anyway?

*This is basically a lending library for anyone who is enrolled in the Amazon Prime program. You can check out any book in the library for one month.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Book That Killed My Career

Back in the paper stone ages, I had a nice start to my writing career. My first paperback The Red Church got a second printing and was picked up by the Mystery Guild Book Club as an alternate selection and sold a lot of hardcovers. My next book, The Harvest, sold even faster out of the gate, but it wasn't as good (I'd written it before The Red Church). At the time, bookstores were getting five to 10 copies of each book. I could go into a store and see a block of Scott Nicholson on the shelves.

And then The Manor happened. I didn't realize it at the time, but the old "order to the net" effect had hit me. If a store ordered five copies and sold three, they'd only order three the next time, and you'd sell two. With The Manor, I was only getting two copies on the shelves. Hard to find. It didn't help that the publisher's chosen title was bland, the cover said nothing, and that I was engaging in self-inflicted personal drama at the time. But the end result was that my traditional publishing career ended right there. The tragic part was that I'd just signed a three-book contract on the strength of the first two books, so I was stuck with a publisher that didn't have much stake in me anymore.

I can still remember the chill that went through me when I got my royalty statement. Sales had declined by nearly two-thirds. And I could not do much about it, because the stores would be making future orders based on The Manor's (lack of) performance. Meaning I would have an uphill fight to sell even that many copies on subsequent books. However, things did get a little better and They Hunger, the last book of the contract, was on the upswing (it's still in print, actually, for reasons I can't understand at all).

Despite my agent's best efforts and support, the numbers were a difficult obstacle to overcome, since New York works on perception--New York thought it already knew what I was, a low-performing mid-list writer. I can't really blame the industry. I guess they have to use some criteria, because so many books are of equal quality and they spend more energy weeding out books than they do selling them.

But, damn it, it was my book! I took my shot but a couple of months under a stacked system of disposable products wasn't worth sitting there with an out-of-print book for six years.I was so fortunate to be able to revive it, revise it, give it a new proof, cover, and title, and completely re-invent it. I am not saying I am a better publisher than my publisher, although I have a goal of selling more copies in a month than the publisher sold in seven years. I am saying I care a billion times more about the book than the publisher ever could--they have other books, other writers, other business pressures. I only have one me.

I revised it, got great editing and proof help from Neal Hock at Hock's Editing Services and a great cover from Neil Jackson, support from a bunch of great book blogs, and published it in every major ebook market. It's out there for all the world to love or hate or ignore.

I only have one career. I only have one book named Creative Spirit. Hell, the title pretty much sums up the theme of the book. You can't keep it down. This sucker is crawling out of the grave. It may not change the world, or prove that anyone did anything wrong back in 2004, but it is back! The manor is dead but creative spirit lives forever.

Welcome home, kid.


View or sample Creative Spirit at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Kobo, Smashwords,, or Goodreads.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why This Country Is In Bad Shape #112

Here's what happens when you write a letter to your Congressional representative, in this case opposing Stop Online Piracy Act. I used a recycled envelope, sent to me by some bulk mailer. I taped a label over their return address, applied my own "Forever Stamp" (complete with an American flag, of course) over the "Put stamp here" block, and mailed it. There were no markings to indicate it was a recycled envelope.

Today it came back with the label peeled off, a "Return to Sender" sticker applied, and "cheap ass prick" handwritten near my return address.

So we have someone either in a Congressional mail room deciding what type of envelope is worthy of entry, or we have a U.S. Postal Service employee playing political mail cop. There were no markings on the envelope and nothing to indicate it was a recycled envelope. I think recycling an envelope is the very type of thing our esteemed Benjamin Franklin, our famously frugal and first Postmaster General, would have done.

So my conclusion is this. I may be "cheap," but I am not a prick. I pay my debts and taxes and own my house. I am cheap because somebody has to be--whether you are the government or its contracted employee. You've helped put my children's financial future and security at risk. You've overspent to the point that I have to give you all my savings. I don't think I can ever be cheap enough to take care of you.

In fact, You Who Didn't Have the Balls to Sign Your Name, I pay your salary. And maybe I'll stop. Maybe I'll vote against whoever put you in your job. Maybe I'll rethink what type of delivery service I use. I hear the USPS is making huge cuts, and maybe you're next on the list, because I am forwarding this information and your clever little critique to the Inspector General's office, because I hear tampering with the mail is a serious offense. Perhaps tampering with Congressional mail is an additional felony or two.

BTW my Congressional representative has an email address, too, so I can save my 42 cents as well as the cost of a new envelope. Happy Holidays, and let freedom ring.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book success and the art of the ego

It's terrible to be a writer. We're all crazy. Writing--the act, the art, and the career--is a specific set of mental defects grounded in the most outlandish insecurities and wrapped in a poisonous atmosphere of ego. It's bad enough to think what you have to say is worth anyone's attention, but then you want money for it? Puh-leez.

I've served as therapist for several writers over the past year, and it's almost entirely about their numbers. I can't recall one writer saying "I'm stuck in my writing, and I need some inspiration." Instead, all I hear is "Oh my gosh, my numbers are down" or "Sales are hot, how can I keep it going?"

Because I've had exhilarating success and abject failure in my writing career, it's easy for me to seek the middle way. Being a taoist libertarian works fine when I'm sitting here in a Blue Ridge Mountain hollow with nothing out my window but the garden and the trees, but I can't afford to be a taoist unless people buy my books. Indeed, the primary goal of The Indie Journey: Secrets of Writing Success is to define happiness as apart from money while at the same time offering you tips to sell more books. The inherent contradiction drives me nuts, but at least I am not tricking you into believing you can sell a million copies. Because you won't. Neither will I.

So my advice to writers worried about their numbers is, "The numbers are numbers and the words are the words." I am not sure what that means, except after 15 years I've come to believe that sales are largely due to luck. Talent is luck, the mental stamina to work hard is luck, and getting book sales that stimulate book sales is luck. Indeed, in the larger picture, all writers sitting right here in the Great Digital Gold Rush of 2011 are lucky. It won't last, of course. No good thing ever lasts. But there will be a next good thing, and a next, just like always.

Nothing sells like sales. Nothing writes like words. I don't know if that's taoist or not. But your numbers are no more real than the stories themselves. This entire thing is impossible--from writing a book to finding a reader. The fact that it has happened once or twice doesn't make it any less impossible. You, as a person, are not your numbers any more than you are the words you put on a screen.

My thriller Liquid Fear hit the Kindle Top 20. Right now it's probably around #12,000-15,000. Yet it's the same book. Amazon will publish it Dec. 20th, and it will likely be a hit again with their promotion. Great editorial assistance aside, it's basically the same book. So am I the indie rock star from April, the forgotten shmuck from November, or the Amazon poster boy of 2012? All and none. All and none.

The book that didn't sell at first is still the same book as when it breaks the Top 100. No better or worse. You as a person and as a writer have no more inherent value than you did before or after your stardom. You will be forgotten. You will go out of print. We all do.

So what are you so worried about?

What am I so worried about?

All and none. I told you all writers are crazy.