Guest Post: Scott Nicholson on Blog Tours

I put out a call to Indie Writers a week or so ago, and was lucky enough to have a quite few authors hit me up. Despite being eyeball deep in blog tours right now, Scott Nicholson was generous enough to offer a guest post. Thanks for joining us today!

90 Days of Nightmares
By Scott Nicholson

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/

I like to create nightmares.

Mostly, I create them for myself.

I’m an “idea person.” I get an idea and I write a book about it. I get an idea and I create a lot of work. I invent trouble, and I stay open-minded. I prepare for the worst and live through the worst, and occasionally it all comes together.

I’ve always been a tireless promoter of my books, mostly from working in media, but the Internet has changed everything about the book business as well as most other businesses. Newspapers rarely review books, and book blogs are now where most of the enthusiasm and conversation generates.

I’ve done a few “book launch” events where I tried to do flash mobs and spur a flurry of sales, but noticed that the work involved wasn’t worth the temporary buzz. So as I was driving to work one late-August morning, I got the idea of doing a tour and launch for ALL my books at the same time. After all, I had none of the artificial panic caused by the traditional publishing system and its insane, upstream distribution system in which you have 30 days from release to determine the entire fate of your book sales (let’s skip the more complex reality that your book’s fate was determined long before you even signed the book contract).

Lots of authors were doing 30-day blog tours for a new release, often organized by a corporate publicist who could ply the bloggers with boxes of free books and other goodies. I decided to do mine the hard way, researching and personally contacting book bloggers to ensure a good match.

Originally I was going to give away one paper book at each stop (I own a few hundred copies of my first collection I bought cheap when the publisher went out of business). Including postage, the entire tour would have cost about $300. But then I realized my audience is primarily Kindle owners, and my future audience is future Kindle owners. So I decided to give away a Kindle. I contacted Amazon and asked for their support and they agreed to donate a Kindle DX and Kindle 3 for the tour, since I would be promoting Kindle and ebooks. I could then afford to throw in bonus Kindle giveaways if any books hit the Top 100.

I hit the ground running, with only a few weeks before the tour started. The whole thing was going to be improvised along the way, and as of this writing I still haven’t scheduled all the stops. But the response has been wonderful, and we’ve created a new community where authors, readers, and bloggers are meeting. Some just want to win a Kindle and that’s cool, while others are having fun, which is cooler.

It’s also been a great opportunity to learn about the blogging world. I admire those who use their spare time to share a passion for books. They are a critical force in this new era of indie publishing, helping overwhelmed readers decide which books are worthy of time, money, and attention.

I haven’t become an overnight success, and the highest I’ve hit on the bestseller list is #148, but my sales have steadily improved and my audience has expanded, mostly with people who spent some time on the tour getting to know me before trying my books. I’ve always been fairly reserved about my private life, but the tour has allowed me to open up a little and show my different interests and passions, as well as explore my real motivations for writing and connecting with readers.

Ninety blog stops. That’s a lot of extra writing, probably 200 pages by the time I’m done. I’ve probably emailed 300 or 400 different bloggers, which takes some time, but also has allowed me to build personal relationships with some of them. I probably could have used a professional agency to set up the tour, but I doubt they could have reacted as quickly as I did and it would have taken months and months through formal channels. Not to mention it probably would have cost me a few thousand dollars, which I’d rather spend on more Kindle giveaways or other prizes.

If you’re a writer, I’d say “Why not set up your own tour and have some fun?” Beats continually hyping yourself on the same old overcrowded, noisy forums. Whether it’s seven days or 30 days or 90 days, each stop is a chance to meet someone who has never heard of you. If you’re a reader, then I recommend hanging out at some blogs and catching the buzz and sharing the joy.

Best of all, it’s a chance to build new relationships and meet cool new friends who dig books. And that’s worth a little work and a few nightmares.

————-

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, As I Die Lying, 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, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.

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

Find works by Scott Nicholson at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

Special Post: Running out of Ideas?

Sometime last week, I chatted with Ingela F. Hyatt on twitter. Her father passed this year, and she mentioned he wouldn’t get the opportunity to read her second novel.

Of course it got me thinking about my dad, who’s spent the last 7-8 years recovering from a stroke. I constantly worry he’s going to kick the bucket out of the blue, cause his health isn’t so great. On top of that, he doesn’t take care of himself the way he should. Then again, he might outlive me. 🙂

So I’m thinking, I’ve never shared the writing aspect of my life with my dad. I’m pushing the 1 1/2 year mark, and my dad doesn’t know how I spend most of my time. Well, I finally got up the nerve to tell him last week.

At first he was surprised. I droned on about my plans to self-publish and rattled off some random statistics about the traditional route which may or may not be true. 🙂 When he asked me what type of books I write, I started with Paranormal Romance. He seemed quite interested in that. Then I decided to take the plunge and managed to get  “Erotica” out loud and clear…not a squeak in my voice.

Dad: What’s that you say?

Me: Erotica

Dad: Hmm…I don’t think I’ve heard of that before.

Me: It’s about sex, Dad. Sex.

Dad: Oh…I…thought that’s what it was. I…I just didn’t want to say.

Yeah, neither did I, but I was on a roll. So we chatted a bit more. A bit of skepticism started to creep into my dad’s voice. “Eventually you’ll run out of ideas.”

Dad doesn’t know me very well. 🙂 Coming up with ideas is no problem. My ideas folder currently has 68 items in it. Ideas are no problem, getting them on paper…now that’s a problem.

Shadow Cat came to me August 2008. It was my first complete story idea. I spent a month writing it before I put it aside for a year and returned to it in August 2009. The next month, I started my ideas folder. 68 items not including the random stuff I jot on paper at odd moments–in my bible, slips of paper, notebooks–probably never to be seen again. 🙂

“Dad,” I said. “I’ll probably be dead before I write 68 pieces. Trust me, I won’t run out of ideas.”

What about you? How do you track your ideas? Are they easy coming?

Software Review: WordWeb

Okay, if you’ve read my past software reviews, you know I’m falling in love with StoryBox (see review here and here). For a while, my lovely StoryBox lacked a dictionary and thesaurus. Mark Fassett (the developer) did get around to putting in a dictionary and thesaurus. (Three cheers! :))However, before then, I had to make do with what I had.

Now I’m big into using a thesaurus and dictionary. So not having one drove me batty. I often pulled up MS Word for the thesaurus feature or headed to Visuwords (see review here). Then!!! a couple of folks in a writing list I frequent mentioned WordWeb English Dictionary and how invaluable it was to them. I decided to give it a try. Before I go any further, let’s look at the blurb WordWeb has for us:

WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include: Definitions and synonyms, Related words, 5000 audio pronunciations, 65 000 text pronunciations, 150 000 root words, 120 000 synonym sets, Look up words in almost any program

Bottom line is, I love it! I can set this program to run in the background. Any time I need some help, I just push a couple of buttons (based on hotkeys I personally chose) and voila! It’s there. It has a copy and replace feature which makes substituting words very simple. For many programs, all I need to do is select a word, press my hotkeys and it automatically inserts my selection into the WordWeb program with the list of synonyms. I can see why so many individuals love it.

Built in dictionary not extensive enough? No problem. The full version of WordWeb has a feature which allows the user to add dictionaries. Pretty cool.

There’s also this nifty feature which allows you to link to the web and search databases such as wikipedia. Very neato.

All-in-all, I have to say this program is an A+.

Available at Amazon || iTunes

Jackpot!

So Thursday my husband walked in with a nice sized box. And being the dutiful wife that I am (yeah right), I graciously took it off his hands… AND TORE INTO IT! It was full of goodies from Vera at Luxury Reading. Lookie! Lookie!

Now I have to be honest here. I’ve not heard of any of these books, other than White Cat. And though I’ve heard of White Cat, I’m not all to sure what it’s about. But I remember seeing it offered in a few other contests. 🙂 So what do I think of my winnings?

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty appears to be a YA Romance. In all my years, I don’t think I’ve read a YA romance. So this should be interesting.
  • Glimpse…now this is an odd one. It looks to be series of free-style poems written in the form of a story. I honestly don’t know what to make of it, but it’s got me intrigued.
  • As I mentioned, I’ve seen White Cat advertised in the past. It look Urban Fantasy (UF). I’ve only started reading UF this year. So, I’m quite curious about this one. I’m not quite sure if UF is for me yet, though I enjoyed Mind Games by Carolyn Crane greatly.
  • Last but not least, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. I’m not so sure about this one. Flipping through the pages reminds me of my adventures across country. Between the text, it includes scrapbook pages and receipts. 🙂 I wonder what she learns on her trip.

Thanks a bundle, Vera. 🙂 You made my day. This has got to be the most unique collection of books I’ve seen.