Today's guest post comes from author Scott Nicholson. Make sure you stick around till the end for news on how you could win a Kindle 3!
By Scott Nicholson
It’s probably no surprise that I ended up as a story teller, since my grandmother was
(No, this isn’t the one who told ghost stories and loved to hoard burial cakes in her
attic.) And my grandfather built strange guitars, with five strings of different lengths.
He was one of those maddening geniuses, an inventor who came up with all kinds of
brilliant mechanisms but never managed to make any money from them. He’d design
guns, motors, bicycles, and other gizmos, somehow make them run, but also make
them so inefficient and impractical that they were guaranteed never to be replicated.
And, of course, schizophrenia runs in the family. It usually manifests as a mild mistrust
or paranoia—this is on my mom’s side of the family, not my dad’s side, which is
mundanely ruled by depression, alcoholism, and homicidal tendencies.
I have an aunt who lives without running water because she’s afraid “they” might find
out where she lives if she requests water service. During Reagan’s Star Wars phase,
she proclaimed she would be willing to collaborate with the enemy (the Russians again,
at that time) in order to survive. As if this woman, who was afraid to have a phone book
in the house, had any knowledge or information that could possibly enhance the power
of an occupying force.
She managed to pass that on to her son, who found me on Facebook and wanted to
buy my books, but he doesn’t have a credit card or checking account because banks
can’t be trusted and, like, they’d know how much money he had. As if he ever had any.
There’s a saying in the publishing world that it gets much harder to sell your book once
you’ve used up your circle of relatives. I won’t say my family doesn’t read, because a
couple of my brothers have read some of my books, but they’re not much help in a book
blitz. None of them use Facebook or Twitter, and none of them really even use e-mail.
And I certainly can’t bribe them into writing glowing reviews for the books of mine they
One complaint readers make about books on Amazon, especially those of indie or
small-press writers, is that relatives are writing all those five-star reviews. My relatives
don’t have Amazon accounts. That’s really debilitating when you want at least 10
reviews so people will take your book seriously.
I didn’t marry wisely. My wife said she married me primarily because I was a newspaper
reporter and therefore I’d have to give free publicity to her community arts organization.
I figured I’d get at least three or four more five-star reviews out of the deal, since she
has siblings. But, no, they don’t have Amazon accounts, either. Maybe I should have
married into the Bezos family.
The best I’ve been able to do is make my wife buy one of my books with her account
during those periods when I am on a promotional blitz and I want my ranking to move
up. I believe I’ve always asked her permission when she made me do it herself, though
once I posted in a forum as me when I was unknowingly logged in as her, then I had to
pretend to blame her for saying something dumb.
I tell you, storytelling is hard work. Lying is much, much easier. That’s partly why I gave
up being L.C. Glazebrook (the pen name came from Cinderella and my grandfather).
I wasn’t sure how long I could sustain a lie of that magnitude, especially when a fake
person has no relatives that can be forced to buy books.
I even reviewed my own books at Amazon, under my own name, though I actually
used the space to tell funny stories about how I wrote the book. Someone ratted me
out to Amazon (I find it incredible that someone takes the role of “promotion police” so
seriously that they go around looking for violations of Amazon’s conduct policy), and
Amazon took them down and sent me a warning message—though the tone of the
message was clearly “We can’t believe somebody complained, either, but rules are
rules.” I didn’t realize opening making fun of myself was such a serious crime, but I
swear I’ll never do it again.
No. Writing reviews for my own books is L.C.’s job from now on. All I have to do is get
her an Amazon account, and get credit cards for her schizophrenic siblings so they can
buy my books and never read them.
And they all lived happily ever after.
For every book of mine that hits the Top 100 during the tour, I will throw in an extra Kindle 3 giveaway. Tell your friends. Amaze your neighbors. Shock your therapist.
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