OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Podcast: Download (Duration: 32:18 — 17.6MB)
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | More
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? Do 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!
You can find Scott's latest books, Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear, on Amazon.
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
It’s no secret that Amazon is fair – little can be predicted in this market right now, and your odds are only improved or hurt by your own imprint. This really is a great time to be an indie/self-pubbed author. Great post.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Hiroko. It was a great interview with Scott – I really enjoyed chatting with him.
Scott Nicholson says
Thanks, Hiroko and Joanna, that was fun!
Martin Crosbie says
Wow, Scott said so many of the things that have been going through my mind recently. My intention has always been to get my work to as many readers as possible and KDP Select have given me a way to do that. I hit #1 during my free promo and went as high as #7 overall when I hit the paid rankings. As Scott said the parameters seem to change every three weeks, so I don’t know where that put me in the grand scheme of things but I know that I’m still reaching more people than I ever thought would be possible.
Thank you Joanna and Scott, this was great information!
Joanna Penn says
It is indeed a marvelous time to be an author Martin! All the best with your book.
Theresa Ragan says
Hi Joanna and Scott. I enjoyed every minute of this interview.
Thank you, Scott, for sharing your journey so far. I love being an indie author. Self-publishing and finally being able to share my work with readers has been a joy. I agree with Scott–enjoy the ride today because we have no idea what changes will come tomorrow. Those weren’t his exact words but that is one of the messages I took away from this interview.
Reggie Ridgway says
I am a fan of Scott Nicholson and have all of his books. His novels are fun to read and also scary. He helped me get started as a writer and am now on my 4th novel.
Bryan Koepke says
Another great post. Good to see another idie author get picked up by Thomas & Mercer. I also enjoyed hearing that KDP Select only works well with multiple books. I’m publishing my second book in the Reece Culver thriller series this coming November and was wondering whether to do KDP again with this launch.
Thanks again for all your great posts.
Tony Mcnally says
I have published books with mainstream publishers over the years ,now I self publish with Amazon, I have recently turned down an offer from a publisher because I like the control and freedom and I have never enjoyed writing more than I do now. I dont write to make money I write because I’m a writer and I love it,thank you Amazon.