Get ready for an enthusiastic and positive interview on indie publishing with Scott Nicholson who also has a 2 book deal with Amazon's Thomas & Mercer thriller imprint. This makes him one of the new breed of hybrid authors, those who successfully span traditional and indie publishing. We talk about free books, pricing structures and other marketing aspects as well as writing for Amazon.
Scott Nicholson is author of 15 novels and numerous collaborations, short stories, screenplays, children's books, comic books, foreign editions, and other digital products. He's an organic gardener in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. [Video at the bottom of the post]
- How Scott got started with writing in around 1996 and was traditionally published for a few years. But then he had a few years without a deal and eventually started studying self-publishing before jumping in.
- Self-publishing is the best thing that's ever happened to Scott. He talks about how the traditional aspect works and how he followed the rules and had a midlist career. Now everything is up to him – the success and the failure is all down to him. He does like to DIY and reap the fruit of his labor and is passionate about what he does. It's a different lottery system.
- How Scott signed with Amazon's thriller imprint Thomas & Mercer for his book Liquid Fear, and then it's sequel Chronic Fear. Amazon have helped us all as writers, taking the layers out between the writer and the reader.
- On Thomas Mercer. There is a lot of advantage to being an Amazon author as they have the world's biggest list. It seems that they only pick up people who are doing well as indies or big names they want to publish. There's no existing submission process. They pick people from successful indies. If you're in the charts and you stick a while, you will get noticed. In terms of numbers, it changes every few weeks, but Scott was selling over 1000 per day. Now it's more like 3000 per day to stay in the list. He sold 70,000 in about 3 weeks and then it dropped off.
- Is there any particular genre that has worked for Scott? Horror is a small market so having books across thriller and suspense is also important.
- On prolific writing. It doesn't stop, even once you have a great book deal. Writing faster doesn't mean the quality is affected. You just have to get your words down. It doesn't matter how hard it is or how you feel. The reader will never know what you went through to get the words on the page and the hard-fought words don't read any different to the easy ones.
- Is working with Amazon the same as any other traditional publishing? Scott did have a developmental editor at Amazon so he did re-edit Liquid Fear and work on the sequel, Chronic Fear, from first draft. It was satisfying to have someone to work with on this. Not all editors are good though, so this may be a positive for traditional publishing but equally indies can hire their own.
- On Konrath's post about Amazon killing other publishers. The lending program with Prime & KDP Select is one of the great things Amazon is doing. Obscurity is to be feared, not piracy. Scott has given away 300,000 books since Christmas. The library shelves of the future are being abandoned by the publishers so Scott wants to be there as well. Someone reading his books for free is great for him. Publishers are killing themselves. B&N are also killing themselves by protecting their brick & mortar stores. Traditional publishers are protecting paper books and distribution control, as well as the structure of a corporation that keeps the focus on money and not the writers. Indie publishing is about the writer and the reader meeting in the middle.
- KDP Select. My own experience on KDP Select vs Scott's very positive approach to free books. Does the free frenzy mean everyone is stockpiling books rather than reading them? Does free books actually mean more sales? It's definitely important to have a lot of books available so free on one book will lead to more sales on the other books. But in the end, everything is experimentation at the moment with the game changing every few weeks. KDP Select is really only good with multiple books. Scott calls it KDP Roulette.
- Experiments in marketing. Scott talks about the Epic Kindle giveaway and Big Kindle Boogie where lots of free books were given away as well as Kindle Fires. They performed differently but basically, things are different every time. Scott wants to be on 20 million Kindles.
- There are no rules, except to write the next book. Scott is having a lot of fun with his indie life!
Scott's site is HauntedComputer.com where he also has a blog where he talks about his writing and there are always lots of giveaways! You can also see EpicKindleGiveaway if you want some free books. Scott is also on twitter @escottnicholson