Author Scott Nicholson is visiting my blog today as part of his Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour. Scott writes creepy, scary books and entertaining blog posts, and gives away Kindles as well! You can't beat that, at least not on my blog.
As a minor aside--my books are very different than Scott's, but I think we might have had the same agent once. :-)
Read on to learn more.
By Scott Nicholson
As I Die Lying is quite possibly the worst novel ever written.
It’s in the running for Top 10 worldwide, at least. And I should have thrown it away many times, but it’s sort of my unauthorized autobiography. And it’s been rejected 117 times, just like it says in the book.
I started the novel as my first serious attempt, back in 1996 when I decided it was time to “be a writer when I grew up.” I’d written a Kurt Vonnegut knock-off in high school, but this time I was going to write a real novel that I could send to publishers. I wrote the first draft in three months, while I was writing short stories in various genres. “The Insider” started out as a first-person serial killer novel, which was probably already overdone even back then.
I started sending the novel out while I wrote two more, and the form rejections came streaming back in. This was in the days when you could still find dozens of publishers to reject you, and agents would actually send back a piece of paper that said, “No, thank you.” Now, they rarely even bother to say “No,” much less “thank you.”
After a pile of such rejections, I decided to overhaul the novel, taking what I’d learned from writing the other books. I shucked probably two-thirds of it and changed the tone a little, deciding not to take serial killing so seriously. It was in that revision process that I first felt like a real writer, because I could move aside my worship of my brilliant prose and say “Wow, this stuff sucks major donkey nostril.” That meant I had room to grow, and the book had lots of room for improvement.
I sent the book around a little more before I finally sold a different book through the slush, got an agent, and did that whole New York thing. That novel didn’t even come back up until a few years ago, and I didn’t have a contract, so I decided to make the novel a little more over the top. What could it hurt, right?
My agent initially “liked it a lot,” and gave me that little talk about this being the one to “go out with,” meaning the agent stakes a reputation on drumming up hype between publishers. However, he said, “Can you make it more like Stephen King?” Specifically, “Secret Garden Secret Window,” in which there’s a crazy writer. I took off and made it even more over the top, mailed it back in, and waited. And waited. Finally I phoned the agent and said “So, what did you think?”
The answer: “About what?”
“You know, the book you asked me to revise.” (The book that I’ve only worked on for a decade already, but happily put in a couple more months to keep you a happy and enthusiastic partner…)
“Eh…I didn’t like it.”
“Okay.” (Except you sound suspiciously like you never actually read it.) “Talk to you later.”
Several months later: “Dear agent, since we aren’t selling anything, it is best for us to part ways…”
Two years later, I decided there wasn’t much left to do with it except get it to the people I wanted to reach in the first place: readers. It’s the kind of book that some people will absolutely despise, but it also has an audience waiting. An audience that doesn’t even know it needs the book.
Richard Coldiron (that’s me) has four people living his head, generally mucking things up. As Richard works on his autobiography (which is the novel), an ancient, soul-hopping spirit possesses him and demands a co-writing credit and some foot-kissing dark worship. Now the book has been rejected 117 times, the people he loves keep turning up dead, and here comes the woman of his dreams.
In the style of Chuck Palahniuk, the “Dexter” series, and Bret Easton Ellis, but not as good, it’s the novel you probably never thought you’d read. I’m not even sure it’s a novel. But it won’t waste your time. It may be the worst novel in the world, but it’s the best one I’ve ever written.
Plus, it would really tickle me if a book rejected that many times could actually make the bestseller list. Available for 99 cents for a limited time only. (And that’s a subliminal message, brought to you by the evil spirit stealing Richard’s byline…)
Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, 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 or Kindle 3, 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