Please welcome today’s guest poster, author Scott Nicholson. He’s in the middle of a blog tour that is really crazy (his words not ours!).
And, today he’s here at the Bookworms and we are thrilled to have him here! Oh and you should be too, because he’s giving away at least one Kindle DX (Yep, the big eReader from Amazon!) so stay tuned and see rules below!
If you’re reading this, you probably have at least a passing interest in the Digital Book Era.
You’re either trying to win a Kindle DX, learning about e-books, or are amused by my traveling circus and watching me walk the high wire for 90 days, almost certainly doomed to fall at some point.
But you’re in a tiny minority of people. Despite the big bestseller blockbusters, most people don’t read much at all. If you canvassed your fellow cubicle dwellers, you’d like find that, yeah, they read “that da Vinci book” and maybe bought Harry Potter for their kids, but your average person is more likely to talk about last night’s episode of “American Idol.”
The fact that you are here at all makes you almost as weird and subversive as I am. Maybe more so. Because I am trying to sell books and make a living as a writer, in addition to sharing bold ideas and strange journeys with you. I have a practical reason, and you don’t.
|That’s Scott… with an Aligator|
I’ve spent this entire year reading about e-books, people’s reading habits, the indie era, the publishing industry, and a bunch of stuff that only matters to a bunch of us indie writers. I am convinced readers don’t much care who publishes a book or how it got to the bookstore or the computer. All they want is a good book at a fair price.
Right now, there’s a wild, wonderful explosion of everything. Lots of experimentation in content and price and genre. Lots of social-media energy, some of it just plain “Buy my book” noise and some thoughtful and engaging. Writer Harry Shannon compared it to the 1960’s music scene, when he said “everything had a Wild West feel.” No law in town, everyone carrying a gun on their hips, claims out there waiting to be staked.
I’ve talked about how every book and every idea deserves its chance at an audience, because it might change one life. But as a writer, I also need to set myself apart if I want broader success beyond creative satisfaction. There’s the “Outliers” theory that the exceptions, the people who don’t play by the rules, are the ones who make a difference, find success, or create a trend.
Truth is, the people who make it are always exceptions. There are still tens of thousands of writers following all the rules, standing in line, sending in query letters to agents following the guidelines. I spent years and killed lots of trees on that path. Incredibly, I actually sold a book and got an agent that way: with nothing but words and a postage stamp (proof that it’s not just a “Who you know” game).
But every writer I know who broke in did it a different way, each following a path that had yet to be invented. J.A. Konrath, considered the Pied Piper of the indie movement, was reluctant and even afraid when he first started self-publishing. Just this year he’s changed course several times, first advising everyone to do it, then warning them off because most writers are just not very good, then throwing up his hands and saying “Decide for yourself.” But Joe’s real genius was in realizing every writer is an exception. He did it the Konrath way and no one can do it that way again.
How are the good books going to emerge when there are 10 million e-books, as I predict by 2015? Right now writers can get by with a popular genre, a good cover, or a loud campaign. But over time the excitement will wane and successful writers will have to separate from the pack and distinguish themselves in some way.
Publishers used to do it with expensive ad campaigns. How your book was perceived by the company was entirely based on the amount of money paid the author: “We spent a fortune, so it MUST be good.” Followed by the need to prove it was a wise decision by spending a ton to promote it. And, viola, the book sells a ton. There’s no mystery at all to the process, though publishers like to think they are alchemists cooking up some magical potion in an Ivory Tower. That’s why they want to charge you $15 for a $3 e-book.
Add in the fact that publishers only need so many slots, and if the 100 best books ever written all showed up in New York at the same time, 90 percent would be rejected, it just goes to show it’s all a crap shoot. Not to say true genius doesn’t show itself, or that people are “dumb” if they like bestsellers written at a seventh-grade level. It’s just that publishing is a business with specific needs, and delivering high-quality literature doesn’t even rank in the Top Ten. Building up new writers over time certainly isn’t a winning strategy.
So how are indie writers going to emerge from the pack? Simple. They work. They invent. They become a brand and reinforce the brand. They meet and build an audience. Their audience, not a generic audience.
They embark on crazy, unthinkable gimmicks like a 90-day blog tour with sponsors, they give away Kindles, and they do things like I am about to do in October (yes, you will have to follow the tour and see). They bring people into their books and give them a reason to look for the next one. They realize that sharing a book as a writer a reader is an intimate, precious transaction, not just “pushing another unit.”
There’ a reason why I want to meet you, and for you all to meet one another, and for book bloggers to meet both of us. One of my mottos of the indie revolution is “We’re all in it together.” I am not going to be in the Indie Movement forever, and in fact I’m already sailing away from the flotilla a bit, charting my own course by distant stars. Some of those stars are still over the horizon.
I’d like you to come with me. It’s going to be a wonderful, daring, and rewarding adventure, and I have no idea what’s over the edge. I can hardly wait.
Scott Nicholson is author of The Skull Ring, 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 e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy The Red Church and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at Haunted Computer Blog Tour .
Thanks so much Scott for this fantastic guest post!!