December 22, 2001:
I'm working on a joint promotional project with a few other writers. I don't want to say much until we hammer out all the details, but the operative word is "free."
Today I packaged up some short stories to send off. I'm becoming a little slacker about keeping things in the mail these days. It just seems inefficient to spend five or six hours researching markets, printing out, packaging, and then slapping on the postage when the markets are so competitive and small. Time probably better spent working on a novel. Well, if one or two find a home, I'll be glad I took the trouble.
December 14, 2001:
My story "The Vampire Shortstop" will be reprinted (for the fourth time!) in MOTA 2002: TRUTH. MOTA bills itself as "an annual anthology of fine fiction, devoted to the challenging issues of our times as played out in fictional scenarios." A perfect fit for my story, and I'm especially pleased that the collection appears to cover a wide range of genres.
A footnote: whenever you get a second chance, you need to grab hold of it and hang on with all your heart. Life is far too short for regrets.
December 8, 2001:
Sure, having the millionth-selling book in America doesn't sound so hot, but when you remember that Amazon probably has two to three million titles in stock by now, that puts me near the middle of the pack, which is not bad for a small press collection by an unknown author. If you're feeling loopy, buy a copy there and let's watch the ranking climb again next month!
Also, that old publishing bugaboo is back: Barley Books has folded, along with its plans to publish my novella "Transparent Lovers" as a stand-alone book. The news is not overly surprising, as I'd had no response from them for several months. At least we hadn't signed a contract yet, so the story is now free and clear to go elsewhere. Dark Fantasy: Best of 2002 has also collapsed, killing a reprint of one of my stories that had previously appeared in an Australian magazine. Electric Wine, one of my favorite online homes for reprints (they published three of mine) has folded as well. Merry Christmas!
What I'm reading: The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (audiobook) by Lawrence Block; Kahawa by Donald E. Westlake; The Lottery, a story collection by Shirley Jackson; and When The Wind Blows by James Patterson.
December 1, 2001:
I'm making a few changes to my next novel project, including a change in working title. I have a few options for the direction the story will take, but at this point I'm fairly certain it will have no supernatural elements and will be more of a straight-up psychological thriller.
November 25, 2001:
The covers are distributed by Kensington's sales force, and the inside flap contains pricing information, author's residence, and the proposed marketing plan, which is "Internet marketing on kensingtonbooks.com." No massive print campaign or national signing tour! Also, the book will be 304 pages, though I'm not sure how many will be text. Page sizes are usually calculated to the nearest multiple of 16, since that creates better paper cut efficiency and lower costs.
November 13, 2001:
The contract for "The Red Church" is all squared away, my agent assures me that the book's rights are taken care of for the long run. Well, the agency's been doing this for over a hundred years, so I assume they know what they're doing. Now my advance can go straight to the orthodontist, a painful case of me putting my money where my mouth is.
November 8, 2001:
I have an idea simmering for a future novel, I don't know if it will be my next or not. I've been intending to work on an original screenplay, but since the novel "Deadscape" has taken so long, I think I'm ready to grab one of my backburner ideas and sprint through a psychological thriller. Whatever I do, I'm promising myself I'll make it fun.
November 3, 2001:
I recently received a cover blurb from Signet author Bentley Little, who gave me the thumbs-up because we both have beards, among other things. Bentley says:
"Scott Nicholson is a terrific writer. Like Stephen King, he has an eye and ear for the rhythms of rural America, and like King he knows how to summon serious scares. My advice? Buy everything he writes. This guy's the real deal."
November 1, 2001:
I received my book contract for "The Red Church" yesterday and read through it three times. Most of it is straightforward, though I do have a concern over the lack of a reversion clause. The contract has already gone back and forth from my agency and publisher for five months, so everybody is tired of it, I'm sure. The irony is that the attorney costs probably far outweigh what I will make on the advance. Ah, New York.
October 26, 2001:
If you are following the Jonathan Franzen flap (the guy who turned down a chance to be an Oprah Book Club guy), it's hard to figure out if the guy is a literary poseur or just an idiot. He says lots of things, like the book is selling okay without it (800,000 copies in print), he thinks the Oprah logo will mess up his cover art, and that he's above commercialism. Maybe it's because he's up for one of the big "serious" fiction awards, the National Book Award or whatever tripe the establishment is dangling. My advice, Mr. Franzen: move out of New York, try working for a meal or two, and then see how fast you take Oprah up on her million-dollar offer.
October 19, 2001:
I've been solicited to contribute an essay for a charity anthology dealing with America, supporting our recovery efforts and war against terrorism, while not being political. Hmmm. I guess I can lip-synch "America the Beautiful."
October 10, 2001:
I greatly admire O'Nan's 1999 novel A Prayer For The Dying and he is a respected blurber, unlike certain authors who are such blurb factories that their words of praise are practically meaningless.
October 4, 2001:
Three poems will be appearing in the local community college's literary magazine. I don't remember their names but they were probably all written in the mid-1990's. My script "An Appalachian Haunting" got a "pass" from Scriptshark, though the industry reader make some good suggestions for a rewrite. Kind of disappointing to be graded merely "fair" all the way across the board, but I've always figured overnight success wasn't in the cards for me.
What I'm reading: "The Busy Body" by Donald Westlake and "Skating on the Edge" by D.G. K. Goldberg.
Scott Nicholson copyright 2001ŠAll rights reserved