One of the best things to happen in my writing career was meeting Scott Bell over five years ago. He’s taught me a lot, and I will be forever grateful. Witty, charming, hilarious, and not bad looking, his secret identity is, Suburban Man. His superpowers are lawn care and BBQ grilling. I asked him, “What’s your genre? Thriller, action, adventure, Guns & Roses…?” His answer was, “Yes.” With his two kids in college, majoring in Psychology and Aerospace Engineering, he has time to retreat to the world of writing fantastic stories. Allow me to introduce – Scott Bell.
Hey, Scott. I’m so happy you came by. You’re one of my favorite authors. I just wanted to ask:
What drew you to write thrillers?
Scott: The genre doesn’t matter to me as much as the story. I started writing the same way I start a lot of projects, by saying, “Hey, I can do better than that guy.” Exactly the way I said, “Hey, no need to hire a contractor, I can tile that bathroom!” or “Who needs a mechanic? I can rebuild that carburetor!” Sure. No problem.
I love your attitude. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Scott: Develop a thick skin fast. The work is a product, not your child, so don’t take criticism as an insult. Ingest the advice you get, think about it, then decide if the criticism is valid or the work of a jealous, misanthropic knuckle-dragger who wouldn’t know good prose from goose crap.
Oh, and don’t expect riches to roll in the instant you present your manuscript to the world. It takes damn near as much time marketing as it does writing. Maybe more.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published?
Scott: With self-publishing, the author maintains total control over the product. Many say this is a good thing; personally, I’m not so sure. Most–all (?)–writers can’t look at their own words objectively or critically. Your product is always flawed on first, second, and third drafts, I don’t care who you are. Paying for editing is expensive, and many selfies skip that step, or scrimp on it, which means their work is not the best it could be.
At least with traditional publishing, there’s a minimum bar that screens out truly awful writing, and trad pubbers will–if they’re any good–provide content and line edits on top of proofreading services. Traditional publishers will have better cover art and at least SOME marketing assistance. But they also take a cut of the pie. How much depends on the contract.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
A. Get reviews. Use book bloggers, indie reviewers, and people you meet at Starbucks to write an Amazon review.
B. Make connections. Don’t pound people over-and-over to buy your book. Connect with people and gain a following organically. If you connect with folks, they’ll buy your stuff. And help you promote it.
C. Use advertising wisely, and where it makes sense.
D. Do signings and readings and real life critique groups to become known by your community.
E. Use Goodreads giveaway programs to boost visibility.
F. Help other writers with their social media presence. 🙂
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Scott: I won’t say this is the first, but the story that turned me from TV to books was a pastiche of Conan the Barbarian stories. Robert E Howard’s bold hero provided the catalyst for my lifelong love of books.
Thanks so much for the interview, Scott. This was a blast!
Scott Bell holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University, and has enjoyed careers in both asset protection as well as sales. With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love—writing.
His short story, Mitchellsville is published in The Western Online. Dave’s Aliens is in the anthology Person Suit. Government Waste is in the anthology, Desolation, and Mr. Scampers War is published in episode 82 of Cast of Wonders.
Coming in 2016 is April’s Fool (the beginning of the Sam Cable series), followed soon by May Day (Cable #2) and Working Stiffs (a sci-fi novel).
When he’s not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?
Click on the covers for links.
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