I first started reading books by Nicholas Sansbury Smith after Anthony J. Melchiorri and Steve Konkoly recommended his books. That was early 2018 and since then I have personally read his Orbs, Trackers, and Hell Divers series. At the moment, I have the Extinction Cycle series on my eReader ready to go. On the whole, as a reader, I was very impressed with his writing style. I am not alone. In the last few months, I have seen many people “sing his praises”. Perhaps that’s why he is among the top-selling authors in the Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic genre. Fellow authors, please join me as I ask some questions so we can learn a few things about how to be one of the leaders in the industry. Fellow readers, if the author information is not for you, feel free to skip to the end where you can find information on books and where to follow Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
LH: Thank you for visiting with me today. For those just meeting you, please explain what you did before you were an author?
NSS: I worked for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in disaster management and recovery. This work has played a vital role in my stories. Before that, I worked in government, and that also helped me understand how our local, state, and federal government responds and operates during emergencies.
LH: I can certainly tell that your previous work has played well into your stories. I suspect that is what makes them spookily realistic and you such a great writer. What type of author do you consider yourself – Self-published/Indie author, Traditionally published or Hybrid - a mix of Indie and traditional?
NSS: I’m a hybrid, and always have been. Half of my stories are self-published and the other half are with Orbit/Hachette Publishing, as well as, Blackstone Publishing. I had a series with Simon and Schuster but got the rights back and have self-published those books. I’m also almost exclusively with Blackstone for my audio.
LH: You have a lot going on publishing-wise yet it seems to have paid off. I’ve seen your impressive author ranking on Amazon. Many authors would love to be able to obtain that. What do you think helped you attain that level of success?
NSS: Hard work and understanding how to market. For the past six years, I’ve worked pretty much seven days a week on writing and marketing my books. I always strive to release my best work and I think that has helped with the longevity of sales and high ranking. Quality is just as important in self-publishing as it is in traditional.
LH: Quality is important, from what I’ve read of your work, you set high standards. I'm sure that takes extra effort from the start. Would you be kind enough to walk us through your process from outlining to proofreading?
NSS: I always start with an in-depth outline that breaks the book out chapter by chapter, and who the POV (Point of View character) for each chapter is. Then I write the first draft. Go over it three times. Once I’m satisfied it goes to a content/line editor. Two passes are done until the book is in good enough shape to go to a copy editor. Once they finish the proofers and beta readers come in. Usually, my books have had at least 10 people read it before it sees print.
LH: When you finish this rigorous editing/proofreading process what happens next with the book?
NSS: It goes onto formatting and out to trade magazines and other reviewer type sites.
LH: Anthony J. Melchiorri was recently here visiting. I know he works hard on the next book while the previous ones are being edited and so forth. He was kind enough to give his take on working with you. What was that process like from your perspective?
NSS: It was great! He has much more knowledge about science and I have a bit more background in military writing so together I think we made a great team in those regards. We also had a blast outlining and writing and plan on another series together soon.
LH: I’ve enjoyed a few collaborative efforts but you guys make it seem so fun and easy. In my role as a self-published author, I have to wear many hats from marketer to being a financial manager. Do you do everything or do you have a personal assistant?
NSS: I do most everything but I have hired a few people to help me with things like FB ads and editing my newsletters.
LH: That would make life a little easier. Perhaps one day, I’ll get to that point. I’ve learned a lot from working with and reading fellow author’s books. Do you have anything that you would care to share with our fellow authors?
NSS: Never give up. Hard work does pay off. If you’re struggling with sales or marketing reach out to another author that is doing well in those regards and see if they will provide some feedback. Sometimes we can’t see our own flaws and need to count on others to point them out.
LH: Great points. I know that sometimes people make fun of human flaws. There are some movies that were strictly made to be funny. Would you ever consider making a funny Post-Apocalyptic movie? If so, what would the scenario be?
NSS: Probably not to be honest. I don’t think apocalyptic storylines should be funny. I remember getting comments about the second draft of an old novel from my agent and he said there was too much joking and too much smiling in the situation. I agree. It made it seem like it wasn’t very realistic. Now if you’re aim is to make it not realistic that’s another story... I just happen to enjoy writing serious post-apocalyptic stories, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch a funny one. : )
LH: I supposed that's why I have a hard time watching one of those "B" movies even if they have my favorite actor in them. Thank you for being here with us today, where can visitors go to learn more about you and your present as well as future books?
NSS: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me here. You can start with any of these links:
Amazon author page:
Facebook Fan Club:
Facebook Author Page:
You can also sign up for my spam-free newsletter to learn more about future releases, how to claim a book patch, special offers, and bonus content. Subscribers will also receive access to exclusive giveaways. Click this link to learn more (if that doesn't work simply copy and paste this link into your browser): eepurl.com/bggNg9
Nicholas Sansbury Smith is a very busy person yet I know that he has been known to answer questions in his Facebook fan club. Sometimes his fans answer questions as well. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading his stories. I suggest visiting his website. Each book is different in what vendors are available to it. Check out the series, you’d like to know best and start with the first book in the series and go from there. Below is a slideshow of books, I believe I’ve captured the series in the order they came out. All the books link back to Nicholas’s website.
Thanks for stopping by.
Author Reader Cheerleader
Author/founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
During my time as a self-published author, I have watched several authors go from the lowest rung to so high it is hard to keep up. My first guest on my newest blog is Anthony J. Melchiorri. I first met his work as a member of the Reading Deals Review Club when I read Enhancement. I loved how he interwove the medical elements into that story so much that I had to contact him, via his website. From there, we have had a symbiotic relationship. He writes awesome books and I devour every word. Not literally. From time to time we exchange thoughts on writing, books, and medicine. Today, we are going to discuss different aspects of being an author. You, dear visitor, get to be in on it. If you are a fellow author, please remain calm and save your questions and comments for the end. If you are a reader and don't want to read about the author stuff, feel free to scroll to the end for the links to where to find him, his books, not to mention, a cool slideshow I put together.
LH: Please tell our visitors a little about your background and how it led you to be a published author.
AJM: I tried to stick with a career just pursuing science. But I couldn’t do it. Back when I was studying biomedical engineering in college, I picked up a degree in English, too. I remember wandering around the University of Iowa campus dreaming about the writer’s workshop quite frequently. The cozy building and library, that houses the workshop and visiting writers, overlooks the Iowa River. In the winter, snow covers the sloping river bank and I would walk by that building thinking about how cool it would be to stay warm inside that library, writing with the river, ice, and snow as my backdrop. I met so many great writers at Iowa and took some workshops and classes that kicked my butt into gear. And amid all that, one piece of advice sticks out in my memory: Write every day if you want to be a writer. And so I did until I finished my first book. Then, rinse and repeat to get my next.
LH: I love your imagery. I've been known to stare out my window at the mountains for inspiration. Writing every day is a challenge, yet it seems that advice has done well for you. You know I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read of yours. Yet, I noticed there has been a huge difference in your popularity after The Tide and Eternal Frontier series went live. What do you think made the difference between your early works and what you are writing now?
AJM: I really wrote my first few books for me. I combined my love of sci-fi with biomedical science, scientific characters, and a near-future world in some kind of turmoil. However, I didn’t really write those books with an audience other than me in mind. They were quite literally a hard-sell. Once I dug a little more into where existing readers were (post-apocalypse and zombies, space exploration and pew-pew starships), I wrote my stories in packages that would appeal to those readers. And I think that worked. I try to combine my own writing passions with stories and settings that I know will appeal to and please readers out there.
LH: I’d say that proves that education doesn’t stop when you leave school. In my experience all types of authors do lots of research and self-education, what type of author do you consider yourself?
AJM: I’m primarily self-published verging on a hybrid. I’ve liked dealing with traditional publishers for audio, and I’m looking at bringing some new projects to the traditional side, if possible. Most of my work still falls squarely in the self-published realm, though.
LH: You’ve put in a lot of effort thus far into your writing career. I know that you work full time and write part-time. To me, you produce more books than others I know in your position. What would sway you to become a full-time author?
AJM: I’ve spent so long pursuing a career in science that I think it has become part of my identity. It’s hard for me to turn away from the lab bench and research that have been such an integral part of my life’s story so far. Not being able to jump right back into science admittedly scares me a bit. That, and I like having health insurance, which becomes frighteningly expensive to try to get on your own for a family.
LH: That makes total sense. If things were different and you were to become a full-time author, would you seek or accept a publishing contract from someone such as Thomas & Mercer?
AJM: I would certainly accept a publishing contract, so long as it had the right terms. I value the freedom I get self-publishing, so I wouldn’t want a contract to infringe on that. I also have some idea of how much my books are worth now, so the financial agreement would have to be fair, too. But with that in mind, I’m definitely interested in and pursuing some traditional agreements. Anything to get my books out to new readers is welcome by me.
LH: I think you have a firm grasp of your value as an author and your sense of independence. If everything offered fulfills your expectations and you were to take a publishing contract, would you still produce books on your own or be exclusive?
AJM: I would prefer to still be able to produce books on my own. It would take one heck of a great deal to push me to be exclusive.
LH: On to another topic. I know that you sometimes work with Nicholas Sansbury Smith. What is it like to be part of that writing duo?
AJM: Working in a duo is both easier and harder. Easier in that we come up with some fun ideas and push each other with character and plot ideas. When one of us gets stuck, the other usually has a great idea to help. The hard part is making sure that our parts of the stories line up and our characters don’t seem different when we combine our work. I think the more we work together, the better we accomplish this.
LH: From what I've seen you do a pretty great job of blending. Do you have any upcoming books that you can share about at this time?
AJM: Nick and I are working on a spin-off series from his Extinction Cycle world. I’m excited to work on it because Nick enlisted me early on in developing the science for the series. So writing in the actual world for me is a blast. I’ve got the last couple of books in The Tide series that will also be releasing over the next several months. Beyond that, I have a new military sci-fi series in the works that I’m hoping will be a lot of fun.
LH: Speaking of fun. If, in the next few years, mankind was able to go into space and travel long distances safely, would you consider going?
AJM: I would definitely be down. I love traveling, and space would be the ultimate destination. However, being realistic, I probably wouldn’t want to travel from Earth for more than a few months unless we were in one heck of an awesome spaceship with plenty to keep me entertained. And admittedly I would like to see my family every once in a while.
LH: What if you were able to bring your family along?
AJM: I think even if I could bring my family along, I'd prefer to have some ties to Earth. I think I'd miss all the outdoors and greenery!
LH: I think I would miss the outdoors as well. Thanks for being here today with me. Where is the best place for someone to find you and learn about your books?
AJM: Thanks for the great questions! Amazon is the best place to see everything I’ve got out there: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KHDOHBI
LH: Where can they follow you?
AJM: I’m most easily reached and followed via Facebook and my website.
If you are new to Anthony J. Melchiorri's work, you can pick where to start, although I would recommend starting with book one of his series. Because if you don't you'll be like what the heck is going on here. Lots of medical and sometimes military elements mixed in with great action and adventure to round out your science fiction not mention post-apocalyptic reading. Feel free to let the slideshow run to see his books from the earliest days to now.
I hope you enjoyed visiting with Dr. Melchiorri - yes doctor, he has a Ph.D. - as much as I did. He's a busy person but if you have any questions, I'll field what I know. As for those I don't I'll look into it for you...or you could just follow him on Facebook and ask him yourself.
Author Reader Cheerleader
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
I am Lynn Hallbrooks. I am an author, blogger, cheerleader, founder, reader, and reviewer. I have read and reviewed books for Masquerade Crew, NetGalley, and Reading Deals, to name a few. I enjoy reading books by new-to-me authors as well as sharing my love of books with others.