By Emily Willis
Are you an aspiring author with plans to self-publish your next work? Don’t miss your chance to meet and hear from local writer Scott Nicholson at the High Country Writers’ next meeting from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 13.
Nicholson will speak on “Writing Across Genres While Preserving Elements of Your Favorites,” and the program at the Watauga Library in Boone will be open to the public.
Nicholson has written 20 thrillers, 60 short stories, four comics series, six screenplays and a variety of children’s books. He studied creative writing at both the University of North Carolina and Appalachian State University, and currently resides in the Appalachian Mountains.
Before becoming an internationally recognized author, Nicholson was a newspaper reporter. He received three North Carolina Press Association awards during this time. Other awards that he has received as an author include:
- Finalist, 1998 Writers of the Future
- 1999 Hubbard Gold Award
- 1999 First Runner-Up for Darrell Award
- Honorable Mentions, 1999,2000, and 2002 Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror
- Locus Magazine new & notable list, 2002
- Semifinals, 2002 Chesterfield Film Writers Competition
- Finalist, Stoker Award for Best First Novel, 2003
- Semifinals, 2003 Chesterfield Film Writers Competition
- 2006 Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror
Now, Nicholson has sold over half a million eBooks.
“My eBooks are 90 percent of my business, so I look at it as I’m on the clock 24/7,” said Nicholson. “I have to be like a factory – producing goods, marketing, distributing, and accounting. It helps to have a light range of skills; but, I like to work alone and try different things without having to worry about major risks. It’s kind of liberating that I can take those chances. “
He continues to release original titles, audio books, children’s books, translated editions and graphic novels. Also, he has been an officer of Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers Association, and is a member of International Thriller Writers and inaugural member of the Killer Thriller Band.
With all of his success as a self-publishing author, Nicholson has had his fair share of trials. He had 105 rejections before his first story sale and over 400 before he ever sold a novel. Surviving these rejections has only escalated Nicholson’s determination and skill as a writer.
“The first few rejections really bothered me personally, but then after that I figured out that it wasn’t a personal rejection, but a rejection of the story, because the publishers have different needs and wants,” Nicholson says. ” “You can’t really blame them. After that I became more systematic. I would get four rejection slips in the mail, and I would have three stories going out. So I would never let the stories just sit around. Then I started getting some sales, which gave me more confidence.”
Once he published six books with the main stream press, Nicholson decided to start self-publishing.
“The pro and con of self publishing is the same – you get exactly what you put into it! It’s all up to you. The upside to that is if you work and are inventive and creative, you get the fruits of your labor. On the other hand, you’re relying totally on yourself and your own skills and talent. With traditional publishing, you’ve got a lot of other people’s decisions that are out of your hands.”
The advice that Nicholson gives to aspiring writers is: “Try and be consistent with your work, don’t wait for inspiration. And if you’re going to self publish, you have to treat it like a business. You should learn how to market and have an understanding of business and gather a reader list. You can’t think there’s going to be someone out there that’s going to take care of your work, like a publisher.”
“I’m grateful for all the people that have supported me along the way,” says Nicholson. “It’s great to work with creative people all around the world, thanks to the digital age that allows this interconnectivity.”
Vice President and Chairperson Judy Geary of the High Country Writers said the group has hosted Nicholson several times over the years and he’s always offered a great program.
“As writers ourselves, we always benefit from hearing from the most accomplished authors,” she said. “Scott is always so generous in sharing his experiences and so clearly communicates the hows and whys of the skills he’s describing to us.”
The High Country Writers group was established in 1995 and boasts a membership of over 70 writers to date. The group meets for monthly workshops, author presentations and critique/editing sessions on the first, second and fourth Thursdays of each month, respectively.
The membership spans authors of all genres, and any writers interested in joining the group are encouraged to visit the organization’s website and attend the next meeting on Oct. 13 for more information.