Friday, September 9, 2011

Socializing Inside the Book-Guest Blog Post by Scott Nicholson


Kindle’s @author feature: Socializing Inside the Book
By Scott Nicholson

I used to read a lot of writer blogs and I quit when I saw that the same conventional wisdom was being passed around on many of them.

Now, I have nothing against convention except for one thing: in writing, convention means “to fail.” Because that is what almost all writers on the planet do, if they are measuring by external data and not internal artistic growth.

I know, you are the exception, because you are stepping it up and taking a chance by reading outlier, unconventional stuff like my crazy advice that masquerades as subversion. And no matter what the method of publication, if you are listening to the same old tired crap about social media (“Must robo-tweet your sales link 20 times a day!” or “You’re dead without Facebook.”), you are a year too late anyway.

And then there are those veteran writers who live in a non-Internet la-la land who are focused on that next book the publisher will bring out in 18 to 24 months, and their advice is “Just worry about the next book.” Well, I don’t know how many publishes will still be around in two years, but I’m pretty sure these newfangled ebooks will be around.

But one of the best things about the ebook is it has made the line between the writer and the reader, and between reader and reader, thinner than ever. And that scares the heck out of some writers, who sense a deluge of yet more commitment to socially mingle in the hundred different sites and platforms.

I was one of the handful of authors chosen for an Amazon beta test of a new @author feature, where readers are encouraged to not only share on the author’s Amazon Author Central page, but to comment from the Kindle, inside the story itself!

I think that is amazing and cool, and while some writers moan and whine about being “bugged” by their readers, I see readers at the reason I do this. I want to connect with them. I want them to consume me, figuratively and almost literally. Because that is the primary reason I am on social media! That’s who I am and that is what I do. That doesn’t mean that I only tweet about my books, because that is dull and drives people away. I want to bring people into the books so we can share human experience.

So I invited anyone to comment. I have always answered every email, Tweet, or DM I get—it’s not only good manners, but it’s how I live my life. I spend most of my time in front of a computer. I can’t be everywhere, so I count on my social media to truly be “social”—it’s pretty much my reality as well as my virtual life.

And some may say that is sad, but is it? I’ve had the best year of my life. My dreams came true. All because of readers! All because of you! I am incredibly grateful. My virtual connections made my life and made me happy.

Why would I want to hide from that? Authors already bemoaning the Amazon feature as “yet another social media obligation” might soon realize that it is not going to “waste” more time. It may be that you are primarily interested in the books you read and write, at least as the meeting place or water cooler, and how could that be wrong? It looks to me like it will save you time, because you are where the readers are. You can give up the other forms of social media if you want.

Writers who don't like that don't have to do it, simple as that. Just like train engineers didn't have to learn to drive tractor trailers if they wanted to change with the times, or film photographers didn’t have to learn Photoshop. There's no one single future, as much as self-appointed gurus like to think they have a monopoly on accurate predictions. There are multiple, multiple futures.

As for me, bug me all you want. That’s why I am here. Ask me a question on my Author Central page or send a note or comment from inside my Kindle books (it will send the note right to my email) before Sept. 16 and I will send you a free ebook copy of These Things Happened, a collection of literary short stories, poetry, and essays.

I am still figuring out how I can interact from there, but I am excited about it. I see unlimited potential to bring writers and readers, you and me, together inside the Living Book.

I don’t hide from my readers. Bug me all you want. Readers are gold. You are the reason I write.

Scott Nicholson is crowdsourcing his book promotion this month and giving 15 percent of his money to the readers who help spread the word about his books. The Be Nicholson’s Agent event is housed at his blog. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for other giveaways and


  1. Great Post! This is the freshest thing I've read, today.

    Scott, how does the @ author feature work? Does it work on any Kindle? Any Kindle App? Give me a title of one of your books so I can go buy it and try out this feature myself.

    :-) Nina

  2. Hey Scott. I've just barely gotten my first ebook out there, but one of the funnest things is getting to know the readers who enjoyed my book. It makes it feel worthwhile.

  3. Hi Nina, you can send notes from inside the Kindle itself to the author, and you can also do it from the Author Central page. I sent Heather a revised post--I am giving away a copy of These Things Happened to anyone who asks me a question from the Kindle or on my Amazon Author page by Sept. 16. My most popular books are The Red CHurch, Ashes, and Burial to Follow at the moment. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I love being able to communicate with authors through facebook. Being able to do it through their books is even better.

  5. I forgot to ask: Have any of your stories originated from dreams?

  6. Gayle, I have gotten wordplay from dreams but don't really draw directly on them. However, I believe they work subconsciously to resolve plot and other problems.

    Brenda, thanks for dropping by!

  7. I had no idea that comments could be sent to the author directly from within the Kindle itself! That's the sort of creative, innovative thinking that really excites me. Anything that further erodes the barrier between reader and author is to be celebrated!

  8. This is an awesome feature. Another thing to love about my kindle:) As a reader, I would like to get to know the author of a book I'm reading because they created this wonderful world that I can visit for awhile. More authors need to have this mindset. I'm working on my first fantasy novel and plan on being visible to my readers. I want them to know the creator of the journey:)
    Thanks for sharing your insights on my blog, Scott and love reading your books.

  9. Yes, Joe and Heather, I see a ton of potential for it. But like any tool, it will work better for some books and communities than others. Book club inside the book? I'm checking into it...

  10. I think this is an incredible feature on the Kindle, I'm looking forward to trying it. Thanks for a great blog post!

  11. It's refreshing for an author to have this kind of perspective regarding his readers. If I ever make it as a writer, I too will be very accessible to my readers. It's true that the publishing world is changing and while I still cling to my love of books in print copy, I realize the ramifications that digital print is having regarding author/reader interaction. I think it's a positive thing.

  12. Oops! Here's my email: truebookaddictATgmailDOTcom


Thanks for commenting:)