Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guest Post and Kindle Giveaway Tour-Scott Nicholson

By Scott Nicholson
I’ve been in the writing game for 14 years now, and I’ve acted like a professional for most of them, though I’ve done some dumb stuff.
As part of the slog, I’ve done probably 120 to 150 store signings, maybe more. That was back in the days when your book came out and you went around like a madman trying to cram in as many stores as possible during the 30 days before the next wave of books came out and you got pushed off the shelves.
Looking back, it was a bit of an Amway model, where you’re hustling for the publisher and making a couple of quarters per book sold. Of course, you rarely earn out the advance so in essence you’re primarily hoping to keep good enough sales numbers so you don’t get dumped by the publisher. And, boy, for all their talk of protecting the literary values of America, they will drop you like a cold dog turd if your numbers don’t please them, even if you are the reincarnation of Jane Austen.

Signings are fun, but they are also funny. Usually signings are just plain lonely, as bookstore traffic diminished noticeably over the years I worked for New York. But sometimes they were just plain weird. Here’s the top three weird moments that I can remember.
I’d set up a signing in the next county, at a little downtown newstand that sold more girlie mags than books. I arrived and said “I’m Scott Nicholson and I’m here to sign books.” The person behind the counter said they hadn’t gotten the books in, though I could see a couple dozen stacked right on the counter beside us. I asked her to call the manager but they didn’t connect, and I rolled my eyes toward the books several times so she could take a hint. “Those are mine,” I said. I honestly think she thought I was trying to steal them. Finally I decided the place was so weird I wouldn’t sell any books anyway, so I took off. Later I came to believe she didn’t know what a “book signing” was and that I was somehow going to damage their nice new books by scribbling in them with a pen.
Another time I was pimping the anthology “Writers of the Future XV,” for which I’d won an international writing prize. The contest (which is a great one for new speculative fiction writers, BTW) is sponsored by the late L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, to maintain his standing as a pulp icon. A man came up to me and asked if I were Hubbard. To which I should have replied, “Yes, that’s why I am sitting here pushing books instead of running my religion.” I told him I wasn’t, he told me he once saw William Shatner in a hotel lobby, and he left without buying a book. I wished I had told him I was Hubbard. At least I’d have had someone standing beside the table, and, besides, maybe he would have joined my religion.
My favorite, though, was when a guy kept sidling by the table, back and forth a few times, always keeping a safe distance and glancing at me out of the corner of his eye. Finally, the guy comes up and says in a conspiratorial whisper, “Are you the author?” I responded in the affirmative, thinking I’d finally reeled one in, but he promptly fled for the exit. Five minutes later, he comes back in and heads straight for me. I’m thinking maybe he doesn’t like supernatural books and he’s going to lay a cross on my forehead or something, such was the determination in his eyes.
Instead, he flips a $10 bill at me, says, “Here,” and walks back out without even taking a book or giving a backward glance. I still don’t know what to make of that one. Maybe he thought I was a charity case, a poor object of pity, or maybe it was his way of supporting the arts. At any rate, that was the most money I ever earned from a book signing.
Actually, this was the same signing where I opened four copies of my books to find the text of a lousy romance novel tucked in between my covers, but that’s another story for another day.
My new crime thriller Disintegration launches on Nov. 1 for 99 cents! With your help, it has a good chance to hit the Top 100 and double your chances of winning a Kindle. If you want a free advance copy and agree to review it by Nov. 1, please email me at hauntedcomputer AT yahoo.com

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
I just wanted to say thanks to Scott for stopping by my little bloggy blog! Go buy his books!


  1. Well, weren't you the go-getter? (I said "GO-getter", NOT "goat-getter"). And you made $10...for NOTHING?! Zowie!

    You said: "I opened four copies of my books to find the text of a lousy romance novel tucked in between my covers"

    That means that there are at least 4 romance readers who opened their latest romance novel only to find your "lousy" horror novel tucked between their covers! Oh my! Those poor women (or men?)... How shocked, distraught and utterly shattered they must have been. I wouldn't be surprised if they had to seek out therapy to ATTEMPT to get over the horror of it all.

    Don't act so innocent, like it was a publishing error. Really, Scott...what a loathsome, dirty, underhanded trick to get people to read your fright fiction...when all they really want is mindless soft core porn with shirtless hunk-filled, semi-sexy covers!

    Speaking of sexy covers, is it true you fought long and hard to try and get goat centerfolds in "The Farm"??? I can't believe they didn't go for it! It's just another reason why you gave the corporate man the hand and went on your own, huh? (Does that mean we can expect goat centerfolds in the future??? Oh my! You are OUT of control!!)


  2. I think book signing is a lost art-another thing to blame on e-books and kindles. Can you post an update on how your e-books are doing and where they rank-I'm curious.
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  3. The life of any artist is a hard one. I could tell you stories about club owners who want free entertainment, working hard to do shows in front of a drunk crowd, etc. We all suffer for our Muse, whomever she may be. I admire you have persevered and kept at it. Keep up the good work!

  4. See, Scott: A blog tour is so much more fun.
    Count me in for the Kindle!

  5. > this was the same signing where I opened four copies of my books to find the text of a lousy romance novel tucked in between my covers, but that’s another story for another day.

    This is one I would like to hear.

  6. Wow. Next time take your empty guitar case and throw a few dollars and some change in it and wait for the money to start flowing. You could also add a white cane and glasses for effect. ;-)


  7. Thanks for the chance to win.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  8. I hope this book tour isn't as lonely as some of the book signings may have been. And you'll probably have some fun tales to tell from this tour as well. Good luck.


  9. thanks for the chance to win!! Having a lot of fun following you around!

  10. I imagine sometime in the future you will be writing about the top three weirdest comments on your blog tour!

  11. I hate book signings. I've only done one for a small poetry volume that got published and that was enough. For one thing, I don't know what to write as a dedication to all these people I don't know, and secondly, I have such bad handwriting that I even end up screwing up my signature. Blog touring is more fun.

    BTW: Read "Disintegration." This is one of those thrillers you can't put down.

  12. Count me in too!


  13. I feel a little sorry for authors sitting alone at a book signing. Makes me want to buy a copy of their book, just so they won't feel lonely.

    dulcibelle [at] earthlink [dot] net

  14. I would love to be entered!

    I retweeted it for the heck of it XD

  15. Hmmm, that $10 is mysterious. That would still be bugging me if it had happened to me! :)

    kt1969 at comcast dot net

  16. Funny! I guess you just can't sign e-books. I wish there were some more book signings in my area.

  17. Thanks for the chance to win.
    cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

  18. Great stories, Scott. I can only imagine all the things you may see when you're doing book signings.

    I concur with Christa about DISINTEGRATION; it's a book you don't want to put down. Definitely in the top 3 of my favorite Nicholson books.


  19. Well, people tend to be crazy which is why I avoid book signings. Something about how a crowd can turn into a mob in 0.6 seconds makes me very nervous. But they are really a great way to meet the author of your favorite books, or check out new things.

  20. Hi Scott,

    I'd never heard those stories before, you've been holding out on me! LOL

    I remember a couple of your signings. One, where I think I was the only person to approach your table that day(besides my Mom, who just tagged along for the trip). That place was as dead as some of your characters, but we had good conversation anyway.

    The other was when you, Dale Bailey, and Brian Keene teamed up for a signing. I remember the biggest draw-back that day was... that we were in a dry county! :)

    Thanks for the memories, and good luck with the tour.

    Kevin Bozard

  21. I guess if you are around the public long enough you'll see everything happen, I have. Great blog look forward to reading all your stuff.

  22. Still following along, will look for Disintegration next week.

  23. Mildly weird, yes. We'll see if we can't arrange for some weirder experiences in the future.

    Although, with the way things are going with print books, there may soon not be anything to sign!

  24. Count me in please !


  25. The things that happen at book signings….
    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  26. I wish they did more book signings. Well, I wish they did more book signings of books I actually want. Of course when the one author who's autograph I wanted came to town, I was 200 miles away & the person I asked to go got sick.
    teawench at gmail dot com

  27. Great post

    monacart32 at hotmail dot com

  28. Funny stories, thanks Scott! My daughter loves to go to book signings for her favorite authors. She always has a nice conversation and gets a picture. Most authors are amazed that an 18-year-old is interested.

    "Actually, this was the same signing where I opened four copies of my books to find the text of a lousy romance novel tucked in between my covers, but that’s another story for another day."

    Next post?


  29. It's been so much fun getting to know you Scott, thanks for another great blog post.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  30. i shouldn't chuckle, but i can't help it! then 10$ thing really made me laugh!

    hancoci_s at msn dot com

  31. Book signings for ebooks. How about asking the author for an email signing when buy their ebook.

  32. I would still wonder about the $10!

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  33. Live feed an initial sale of ebooks with a signed photo to be emailed to each purchaser, or send a special edition of the ebook with the author's signature embedded as a photo on the title page when purchased during the live feed.


  34. Too funny.. lol
    Count me in for the Kindle. ;)


  35. Talking to us like this, sharing much more deeply than anyone could at a book signing is much more valuable to me than the signatures I have in books sitting idle on my bookshelves here at home. Thank you for making yourself more personal for us and making us care about you. I look forward to reading you and the comments each day that I am sad that it will be over someday. Good things have to end to allow other good things room, I guess.

    Thanks Kaitlyn for hosting today. Read a good book lately?

    Jeff White

  36. @Jeff

    It has been my pleasure hosting Scott! Reading has been slow lately, I'm working nearly full time, plus going to grad school full time and I have an internship... but I read "Shit My Dad Says" while at work the other day and it was quite funny! Thanks for stopping by :)

  37. So funny. I'd love to be entered to win also ....Tiffypoot @ (aol.com)

  38. I enjoyed the post and look forward to more.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  39. Great Blog!


  40. I go to a lot of booksignings, at least my goal is at least one a month. So if you came to Portland Oregon (Powells preferably), I would be there! And I would likely bring friends.

    candace_redinger at yahoo dot com

  41. I treasure the few books that I have that bear the author's signature...

  42. I would love to be able to go book signing's I have one is all maybe one to these days.

  43. I think book signings are a great way for readers and fans of yours to interact with you. I personally enjoy them very much whenever I get a chance to go see an author :)

    starflower135@gmail dot com

  44. I guess some pretty strange things happen at book signings. Thanks for sharing with us.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  45. I love this whole book blog tour :)I would come to a book signing but this way - if it is at a time when I can't be there, I can still attend!


  46. well, i guess that's a kindle negative...you can't get a signed copy of a book. i want one anyway! spvaughan@yahoo.com

  47. I've never been to a book signing or even in a bookstore when one was going on (or maybe I was, and it was just dead quiet?). thanks for sharing the few experiences that top your list of memories, Scott. I do hope this blog tour is going smoother than those book signings had. :)

    calseeor (at) gmail (dot) com

  48. Several women in my writing group used to team up to do book signings, so they didn't get lonely in a team and those signings were fun to attend. But, I have heard authors say that they spent as much on gas doing a book signing as they made, so it's good to have that confirmed. You're wonderful at doing blog tours, Scott, so hope you have time to keep working these into your schedule. I can't throw $10 at you and run on a blog tour, though. Maybe you can suggest to the powers that be at Amazon that people be allowed to buy more than one particular book per account. I might not throw $10 at it, but I am willing to buy more than one 99 cent book when you're trying to hit the top Kindle 100. I loved The Home, so can't wait to read Disintegration. varbonoff22 at cox dot net

  49. I don't need a free copy of Disintegration, I just bought it at Amazon.
    Gail in Florida
    cowgirl3000 AT gmail DOT com

  50. The only book signing I have gone was at my university and that was because an interpreter was provided. I don't often meet artists of any form for signing because I'd want to say something more than just a hello.

    However, I do have one odd experience when getting an autograph from a TV celebrity. He was in New York for an event and I got myself two interpreters. When I walked up to the celebrity for an autograph and spoke to him through the interpreter, he just froze and never uttered a single word to me, then gave me an autograph and ended with an awkward handshake. Of course, I was disappointed. Oh well.

    I look forward to reading your new novel!

    conrad.jd (at) gmail (dot) com

  51. The last one was kinda funny... :)
    You can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com

  52. Blog tours have got to be better than that! :)

    inannajourney at gmail dot com

  53. Maybe you can make a coffee table book of crazy stories from authors while on book tours. I bet there have been some real winners .


  54. I've never attended a book signing before. Of course, authors of books that interest me rarely, if ever, show their faces in my neck of the woods.


  55. I would LOVE a Kindle DX. Thanks for the opportunity to win one! :)

    P.S. Click on my name for my contact info. ;)

  56. Fantastic!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  57. trying to catch up


  58. The strange ones always find their way to any kind of meet and greet with authors/celebrities.
    I went to a book signing for a favorite radio talk show host and the lady in front of us showed the host her thick notebook of written notes from every show he had done. Eesh.


  59. what a fun posting. thanks for sharing.


  60. wish people would walk up to me and randomly throw money in my direction :)


  61. Interesting signing stories. You really could have played with the guy who thought you were Hubbard.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  62. I'm laughing so I don't cry, Scott. If book signings were that way then, imagine how futile they must be now. I'm so glad I didn't waste time and effort chasing that ineffective, obsolete marketing technique.

    Twitter: MachineTrooper

  63. *lol*
    Emily ebdye1(at)gmail(dot)com

  64. Oh no, I'm falling behind! Please excuse the hit and run.


  65. I want to hear more stories! LOL.

  66. wow does not sound fun at all to sign books.

  67. At least you stick with it. What a fabulous fun post

  68. I love getting the author to sign books I love reading, but haven't had a chance to go to many. I'm hoping to attend more and do the signing in the future.

    Wakincade AT gmail DOT com

  69. Man, that guy writes so many books.
    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  70. Looks like a GREAT new book you've got coming out Scott!

    purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

  71. That's funny!
    I've never been to a book signing. Is this what I have been missing?


  72. Well, you might not be making the big bucks doing this blog tour, but at least we're avid followers and know who you are!
    Count me in for the kindle giveaway once again!

  73. @RandyRandy, Steve Eller and I once conspired to do a "Come see the freaky horror writer" for $5 instead of trying to sell books. We never went through with it, though.

  74. @Hendy you can check real-time rankings at any time on the Amazon page for that book, same with B&N. I've ranged from #148 to #110,000 or so, and there are more than 700,000 ebooks now. Really, unless you are in the top 5,000 or so, you are not selling a whole lot. But if you get under 1,000, you're doing pretty good, and Top 100 means you're selling like hotcakes.

    @Brenda, I swapped out the "wrong" copies with the proper ones I had in my car so they wouldn't be shown as "returns" and hurt my numbers. I don't know what I ever did with them.

    @Douglas, Riva some authors have the personality to grab people at the door and engage them but that's not really my style

    @Christa, Neal thanks for the kind words about Disintegration

    @Jesse maybe it was something you didn't say? BTW some authors get people to sign their kindles. But bookstores tell me signings don't get the crowd like they used to, unless it's a big name

    @mommydearest if everyone on the tour brought me one new fan, I'd be a pretty happy man! (Well, I am pretty happy already)


  75. Count me in, please.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  76. Love it!


  77. One of the ereaders allows electronic signatures of ebooks--a stylus on the touch screen, if I recall correctly, which points to one of Sony's ereaders.

    jamesemr (at) gmail (dot) com.

  78. Oh, Scott, I really do love your stories!


  79. Hehehe people are funny. At least you could find a little excitement in your signings.
    Thanks for the contest!!

  80. Thanks for the chance to win! Thanks for the contest!

  81. I wish you and more authors would do local book signings. I'm sure they may be dull for you but I'd rather meet an amazing author than some t.v. star- I'd probably be a new weird story because I would get all shy and tongue-tied and come across nuttier than a fruit cake.

    waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

  82. The stories of book signings were so funny. Love the one where the clerk didn't know you or what a signing was. If I were an author that would probably happen to me.

  83. funny stories! Lovin this blog tour.

    dreamer dot ima at gmail dot com

  84. Such funny stories.

  85. The $10 pity story is one of the best I've heard about signings recently.

    alipkin (at) gmail (dot) com

  86. Scott, I like how you said you were pimping your book. That made me laugh.


  87. Congrats Scott on the top 100 ranking! I am going to buy Disintegration now for 99 cents..a no brainer decision for sure.

  88. Ah I always forget my email address


  89. Maybe he thought you needed the cash to find a new publisher to fix those books, one of which he stole earlier only to find a romance inside and he felt sorry for you and guilty for his actions.... It's possible! LOL!

    nedsped at verizon dot net

  90. Too funny. I wish you would come to Muncy, PA. I'd definitely come to your book signing!!!!
    Oh, and I just bought Disintegration. I'm going to start reading it once the kids go to bed tonight. I can't wait!

  91. @Kaitlyn (Kaitlyn in Bookland)

    I listened to Shit My Dad Says read by Sean Schemmel who did a great job.

    The voice of Justin sounded normal but the voice of his father, Dr. Sam Halpern was so gruff he sounded like a pugilistic fighter -- perfect for the stuff he said. The voice was so perfect, it was hard to remember that he was a doctor, though.

    Greg "The Undead Rat" Fisher

    theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

  92. @James Rasmussen

    What a great idea. As long as it provides room for a comment or attribution, I'd be happy. Must look into this.


  93. I've attended a few book readings. These were held by local authors and usually orchestrated so that the author would have a few friends attending to begin with.

    Like that first dollar in a tip jar, a few friends attending would gather a few of the reluctant onlookers for a reading and, in one case, the reading had to be moved outside the store into the Mall area because it had gotten so big.

    I do remember seeing authors at the big bookstores sitting at a table with no body to talk to and no book to sign. It was sad.

    Thanks for the chance to win,
    Greg "The Undead Rat" Fisher

    theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

  94. I was laughing out loud as I read this post! All very funny accounts of some quirky book signings, especially the one where the man gave you $10! Thanks for adding some fun to my day!


  95. Funny stories! The $10 support for the arts and the novel dust jacket switcheroo.
    bmcbroom at gmail dot com

  96. Having worked with the public for 35 years I don't find it hard to believe your stories. I have a few of my own you might find interesting. Like the time a guy drove up to my place of business STARK NAKED. Said he'd been kidnapped and robbed and transported around all night in the trunk of a car. Turns out he was just a looney toon and when I called his wife all she said was "Was he out gambling again?"

  97. Ha that was funny, thanks for sharing.

    I love going to book signings. So many interesting people queuing with me.

    I usually get all shy and shell shocked when its my turn to have my book signed. I go deathly pale and talk to fast. Silly really, but its just because I'm meeting someone I admire and I get too excited! lol

    I'm like a big kid!


  98. Scott, thanks for the informative and entertaining blog entry. I am a new indie author and have learned a great deal from you and others like you.

    Jennifer Becton
    author of Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
    jwb @jenniferbecton.com

  99. Who would have thought that it would be so hard to do a book signing? I guess when you are starting out, anything can and does happen.

    kellysydow at yahoo dot com

  100. Thanks everyone, entries here closed at 102--please follow the tour and susbscribe to scottsinnercircle-subscribe@yahoogroups.com for more chances to win Kindles!


  101. Book signings are funny beasts, and you’re right, they’re terribly lonely.

    I’ve had book signings where I’ve sold a healthy number of books. I think my worst was when I moved maybe one copy (though, perhaps, I might have had one where nothing moved at all; hard to remember as I’ve done a bunch of them).

    However, I do them as a self-publisher, so for me, I get more than just a few quarters per book sold, and if I manage to sell three books an hour, and even with bookstore discount built in, I’m making a respectable wage.

    To me, signings serve two purposes: a) obviously, to make money selling books. b) to advertise myself and my titles, in the hopes that getting my name seen by customers will lead to sales and readers down the road. Sometimes folks won’t buy a book until the author’s name is familiar to them. Having a signing helps with that.

    I also found that where I live, Winnipeg, people are very supportive of local talent and since I always make a point to mention my books are set in my city, Winnipegers tend to pick up the books for that very reason. I’m happy for them, too, because then the locations in the book become even more alive for them because they’ve seen or been to them in real life.

    Should an author do signings? I think an author should do whatever it takes to sell their book(s) and get new readers. Even if you did a local signing and sold only one copy, that’s one more reader of your work and, like the saying goes, one is better than none.

    Coscomentertainment [at] gmail [dot] com


    POSSESSION OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIE FIGHT NIGHT (and others) for just TWO BUCKS at the Amazon Kindle store. Grab your copies here!

  102. New Scott Nicholson book? Hell yeah!

    smd (at) texoma (dot) net

  103. I once had a book signing in Albequerque, New Mexico, in which the store made a big deal (to me) of flying me out, then didn't advertise at all. They also stuck me all the way in the back of the store. The only person who showed up for the signing was an ex-girlfriend who only showed up to tell me she'd gone gay. We had lunch. It was the highlight of the trip.

    Thanks for the chance to win. scott at americanhorrorwriter dot net


Comment away, my friends. I love to chat with you guys. :)