I'm thriller author Jon Osborne. My best-known book (which is to say it's basically unknown) is KILL ME ONCE. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have!


EDIT: Thank you, Reddit, for the amazing response to my AMA! You blew me away with your kindness, intelligence and humor. I promised so many people autographed copies of my book that I lost track so if you'd still like one, please email me through my FB page at Jon Osborne Books https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jon-Osborne-Books/192189300793302 (and please join me there, too). I have 7 copies of KILL ME ONCE and 19 copies of A GAME OF CHANCE. First come, first served! I'd also be more than happy to autograph more if you'd like to send a purchased copy to me at 28371 Nautica Lane, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. There are lots of used copies floating around the internet for cheap. Thank you again for everything!

Comments: 2684 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

Wuggy1767 karma


jthome123932 karma

Thank you - that's very interesting! Since I was only published overseas I've never seen my book on a store or library shelf.

ossij396 karma

Thanks to /u/Wuggy telling your book is available here in Finland, I just reserved one copy of your book from our library so I can read it.

jthome123269 karma

Thank you!

ArtIsDumb36 karma

If I can't find either of them in the US, may I have your permission to download them?

jthome12359 karma

You may.

Ipswitch841285 karma

I've spent the past five minutes trying to think of something snarky to say, but truth is, I'm pretty jealous of the fact that you at least tried to live your dream. Props.

jthome123792 karma

Thanks! Here's some pre-written snark for you:

"Overall most routine readers of the genre will be prepared to overlook poor characterisation, shoddy voice-work and simplistic use of language in the thrill of Osborne’s chase, but what they will feel disheartened with is the seemingly rushed ending after such an intentionally grand build-up. As Osborne presently works on his second thriller he may well learn the hard way that, just like tabloid journalism, in the modern era of crime fiction quick closure never pays as well as leaving some ends untied.

Ipswitch84300 karma

Apparently that reviewer never read Stephenson's Snow Crash. I'm pretty sure that book set the bar for shitty endings.

jthome123185 karma

I've never read that one. Besides the ending, did you enjoy the book?

Ipswitch84255 karma

It's an awesome book. The opening paragraph is just amazing, but Stephenson can't write endings and Snow Crash is pretty much the epitome of that.

jthome123155 karma

I'll need to check it out. Always on the lookout for a new read.

neuronalapoptosis109 karma

just a note on Stephenson; he has an amazing way with language. Reading Quicksilver, it's never very exciting but his language is so fun and beautiful, I don't really care. Who would have thought that reading about a guy talking about his adventures learning about math with Isac Newton would be so enjoyable.

jthome12322 karma

Even for a guy like me who got an F in long-division in the fourth grade? STILL, don't know how to do that crap very well.

SaveRana59 karma

Snowcrash... the book was great, which was part of the reason the ending was so disappointing. He set such a great stage, and then just crapped all over it.

jthome12396 karma

I hope I don't love the ending now. Then again, maybe it'll show me why my own ending sucked.

rrodvictim01637 karma

Do you think your agent oversold you? Or do you think you just under-delivered?

Regardless, I like your sense of morbid humor.

EDIT: Thanks for not dodging testy questions like this one. The AMA subreddit has been flooding with dishonest marketing shrills telling us how awesome their new movie/book/product is; in contrast, yours is a rose growing on a turd. This AMA is interesting because of your honesty, and also because of your self-deprecating humor. Have you thought about writing a short magazine article on your riches-to-rags story?

jthome123738 karma

Probably a little bit of both. My agent represents some heavy hitters, so maybe I was some sort of loss-leader. Tough to say.

A little gallows humor is nice, even after you've already been hanged.

YroPro559 karma

That needs to be immortalized in a quote. "A little gallows humor is nice, even after you've already been hanged."

-John Osborne

Not sure about the 'already' though.

jthome123477 karma

I'm an over-writer. Always have been. And thank you.

CrazyRhubarbLady13 karma

Your books were quite good and I applaud your efforts. I recommend condensing the frequency with which you use interjectable pronouns. It makes for a rather tilted reading session. Alas, I do disgress. Perhaps we can gather one evening for tea and some of your wife's fine pastries for another session of literally rectal dilation. Well done sir.

jthome12317 karma

I knew YOU were going to say what you just said, too. Now come join me inside.

Sadsquatch-1 karma

I hate to say it, but as a loss leader it doesn't seem like you lead yo anybsales.

jthome1231 karma

I'd have to agree.

everwo523 karma

Wow! I'm sorry to hear that. Why do you think the first two novels were unsuccessful and what have you learned from the entire ordeal in terms of learning experiences and what not to do? Do you ever wonder if writing wasn't for you?

jthome1231114 karma

Thanks for the condolences! The first book was a mild success that briefly appeared on a couple international bestseller lists (Der Spiegel, Official UK Top 50). Still, the sales were nowhere near enough to cover my advances. The second book everybody hated, and I mean HATED. The reviews sounded like they were personally offended that I was still alive. As far as what I've learned, I'm not sure, and that's the part that's scary. The same writing the agent and publishers loved the general public despised. And at 40 years old now, I do wonder if writing wasn't for me. All in all, I think I should have become a dentist!

creepy_doll318 karma

I googled your books and on amazon they had good reviews. Are these faked by the publishers?

Do you have any idea what it is that got the agent and publishers so excited that just didn't work with the general public? Are they really that clueless? It seems like you got a deal with several different publishers?

jthome123438 karma

To my knowledge, none of my reviews were faked. Some came from family and friends.

My first book was much better received than the second. The reviews for the German version of the second book include six one-stars and one two-stars (out of 10 reviews).

is_this_working526 karma

I'm sorry. My fellow countrymen can be dicks sometimes. Those reviewers were probably disappointed about the lack of talking cars.

jthome12358 karma

I knew I should've added a damn talking car!

mwalsh555440 karma

"My son is a good boy! You should read his book. He worked hard on it!"

jthome123449 karma

Thanks, Mom!

Karythne195 karma

If it cheers you up: I just read the German reviews of your "hated" book. Almost all of the reviews mention that there were tons of spelling mistakes in the books, and one of the reviews mentions that the same phrases were often repeated 3-4 times per page (!), which gave the book such a shitty style that it was hard to look past that and enjoy the story. So really, at least in that case, it sounds to me like it wasn't all your fault, but the translator was a major fuckup.

jthome123149 karma

Thanks. That makes me feel a little better. From what I could gather, that was a problem with the Chinese version, too.

chum_guzzler7 karma

I always wonder if amazon reviews are a valid metric for success of a book (I think sales trumps all, but I distress). I mean, it's a biased selection - If there were only 8 people who loathed the book they are probably writing a review.

jthome12320 karma

I think people are more likely to write a review on something they hate because they're pissed-off at a writer they think they wasted their money on.

dasboot21191 karma

As a dentist, i am flattered by your nice comment. Most people on reddit are anti-dentites. My people have suffered enough.

jthome123444 karma

I've seen the houses you people suffer in. I really, really should've been a dentist.

realmendontdance69 karma


jthome12389 karma

People think he should do stand-up - stage fright.

MyRespectableAccount504 karma

No question, just wanted to say that your answers have been very interesting with a candor rarely seen in AMAs. Honestly one of the best I've read and a nice change from celebrities that dodge questions. Best wishes to you and your family.

jthome123306 karma

Thank you very much! Best wishes to you and yours, as well!

Demonscour297 karma

No question but a comment. I'm very sorry. I'm sure writing was your dream/passion, and you obviously have the ability to be creative or else you never would've gone anywhere with it. It sucks to have your dream come true and then be vomited back in your face.

I imagine it was an incredible hit to your self esteem, and that sucks a lot. I doubt I impart any life lessons here but, it should have taught you that you do in fact have great potential. Something within you inspired people to believe in you to a fault. I think you'll find your place, even if it isn't the place you immediately envisioned yourself in.

I think every creative person wants to be a writer at some point. Every songwriter wanted to be a poet, every poet wanted to write an epic, etc. While not completely true, I believe the written word has a power over us as humans that is undeniable, and a sort of sirens call for anyone who is creative at heart.

Anyway, good luck. I hope that if your heartstrings find another tune they adore that you won't let this failure force you into being too afraid to try again.

jthome123209 karma

Thank you! Those are incredibly nice sentiments. I think you nailed it with "It sucks to have your dream come true and then be vomited back in your face." That is a very apt description!

HarryPotterAMA267 karma

So, you said how you got such a huge amount of money for your first books, but why do you think so many people believed that you would sell so well? When you...er didn't.

I guess what I'm really asking is why do you think so many people over estimated you?

Also, any advise to a young writer hoping to get published?

jthome123653 karma

I think it was the story idea for the first book that got people excited. Basically, a serial killer who recreates actual serial-killer murders but fixes the mistakes that got them caught. Perhaps it's my writing that wasn't good enough to make the most of the idea.

My best advice to a young writer is to let your book sit for about six weeks or so after it's finished. I know it's tough to do, but you'd be amazed how much better you can make it once you look at it with a pair of fresh eyes.

ludakris50263 karma

Well, that's actually kind of encouraging. Anyone can learn to write well with enough direction and practice. A compelling story is much harder. Maybe you could try your hand at script writing. Let someone else evoke the imagery.

jthome123306 karma

That's not a bad idea. The first book got shopped around Hollywood and Paramount showed a little interest but wanted to see how the books sales went. Not well enough, obviously, since there's no movie in the works!

sum_dude109 karma

so close.

jthome123204 karma

Yet so, so far.

KGFIII103 karma

That was actually the basic plot of the 2008 David Baldacci novel Hour Game, too:


I had that basic idea kicking around in my head for a story until I saw that Baldacci already wrote it. I think it's an intriguing premise for a thriller/crime novel.

jthome123213 karma

I did not know that. I started writing the book in 2001, got my agent in 2006 and sold it in 2009. I guess they were telling the truth when they said that every story that can be told HAS been told.

TheQueefGoblin317 karma

What about a story about a queef goblin?

jthome123278 karma

Is it a good goblin or a bad goblin?

iwanttofork173 karma

What is one piece of advice you have for anyone reading this AMA?

jthome123780 karma


PounderMcNasty158 karma

Does it piss you off to read reviews from guys like David Clough -- "A game of chance whilst not an awful book it certainly is not a very good book. The writers style is amateur at best. The characters are wooden, cliched and boring. The writer needs to learn how to write conversations as the dialogue in this book is horrible and does nothing for the story and does not help to flesh out the characters."?

jthome123314 karma

Ha! I remember that one! It hurts a little to read the bad reviews, but I've gotten so many now I've become a little numb to them by this point. I'll get one and say, "Hmmn, another one-star review to add to the collection. Excellent!" A German reviewer once said I had "set a new standard for terrible writing." Others have called my writing "absolute trash" and wonder "how did this person get published in the first place?"

Polite_Llama232 karma

Those kinds of reviews and the fact that you're doing a pretty cool AMA kind of make me want to read your book. Which one should I read, where should I buy it, and would you autograph it for me possibly?

Also, thanks for not asking us to buy your books and actually answering a lot of questions, I really like this AMA so far.

Edit: I accidentally got a lot of people interested in a (possibly free) copy of book, sorry about that... Or maybe I did a good thing? I guess it'll depend on who buys your books :)

Also, that's pretty great that you offered to give away some copies, even if you don't send me one, that's pretty generous of you. Most people would've linked to their product by now, but I appreciate that you're not here to sell your book or anything.

jthome123438 karma

Thank you. The ship already sailed on any significant sales. If you're not a hit out of the gate, you're usually not a hit. I have plenty of copies of KILL ME ONCE and that seems to be the one people enjoy the most. If you'll send me your address I'll ship you a signed copy (haven't been asked for one since my mom wanted one!)

Fernandifunk230 karma

New idea for a thriller.

Failed writer goes to an online thread to answer questions and give out free copies of his book about serial killers. Serial killers that copy cat other serial killers, this time learning from their mistakes.

The twist?

It was all a rouse to begin with!

He uses his inheritance to self publish a thriller from a shell publishing company and meticulously writes bad reviews.

He goes online to do a Q&A and offer free copies of his novel, as long as you send your address.....

Now with an "appointment book", he it's free to visit his loyal "fans"

Or something like that. But not so sucky.

jthome123189 karma

I like it. But, as I've been told, I can't write un-sucky things, so there you go.

Fernandifunk86 karma

Well you might not be cash rich.

But by the end of this, you'll be Karma Rich!

.....so at least you got that going for you!

jthome123161 karma

Which is nice.

masha1374 karma


jthome123158 karma

What a coincidence, I was about to say the same about you!

FlaxxtotheMaxx45 karma

I'd like one! I'd be happy to pay for the copy/shipping c:

jthome12368 karma

Please send your address! I think I have about twenty copies and I can pay for the shipping for that.

tsarnickolas116 karma

I know I'd sure be pissed if my writing was criticized by someone who actually uses the word "whilst."

jthome123150 karma

I knew I didn't like that guy for some reason.

PounderMcNasty36 karma

LOL I bet David "Douche Canoe" Clough hasn't even written a book, let alone make $500,000.

jthome123142 karma

If he ever does, I want the first crack at reviewing it.

troxborg153 karma

How did you get $500,000 in contracts without any prior published work? That seems impressive, with the things I hear about the publishing industry being so tough to get in to these days.

jthome123236 karma

I have a big-time agent who sold the books in four languages (English, German, French and Chinese.) There was sizable preempt in English (100,000 pounds, as my former publisher is based in the UK) and a bidding war in Germany, which got me 220,000 euros for the two books. I got $36,000 from the French and $4,000 from the Chinese. I don't know what the exchange rates are these days, but at the time it equaled $500K. So, to answer your question: a lot of luck and a great agent.

metrophile101 karma


jthome123262 karma

I went to agentquery.com, narrowed down the list to those who represented thrillers and queried all of them (81). Got ten requests for full manuscripts and three offers of representation. I picked the agent I liked best.

And, you're welcome!

ABrightAl132 karma

Why do you write in your garage?

jthome123332 karma

I have nowhere else to write because all the rooms are filled with children!

crackpotprophet275 karma

If you filled the garage with children, you would have so much room for activities in the other rooms! Then again, I think your power box is usually in the garage, so they would collectively start a fad in the neighborhood of terrorizing everyone with people saying at different times, on different days.. 'What do you mean, "They cut the power"? How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!'

jthome123124 karma

Ha! Don't give me any devious ideas!

gynoceros108 karma

Why not? Sounds like you could use an idea or two. ;-)

I'm joking! You've been making fun of your situation yourself, so I figured it was fair game. I wish you nothing but success.

jthome123310 karma

Of course it's fair game. I only teared-up a little, didn't actually CRY.

Friedso121 karma

So what are you doing nowadays (other than writing e-books)? Living off of the 500,000 advance?

jthome123314 karma

This is a good question that will allow me to post a warning to others to not be as stupid as I was. I am currently looking for a job because the day I got my first contract I quit my job as a newspaper reporter. It had always been my dream to not work a regular job, but the 500K is almost gone now. Taxes and agent fees ate up a sizable portion of it, and living for four years while supporting five other people ate up the rest. So far the only interview I've had is at the paper I quit. Writing jobs are few and far between, so if you've got one, hold on to it!

Friedso83 karma

Well, I wish you the best of luck!

Follow-up question: have you considered pitching other books to big publishers using a pseudonym?

jthome123145 karma

Thank you very much! And, yes, I have thought about using a different name in the future to run away from the lack of success I had using my real name (which, while close, isn't even my real name. My REAL name is JoHn Osborne but the publishers wanted to drop the "h" to avoid confusion with the famous playwright. In hindsight, maybe that confusion wouldn't have been so bad!).

twitch0sparks60 karma

Ozzy's real name is John also

jthome12371 karma

I actually knew that. Score one for me!

ahbi_santini118 karma

So I have always wondered, and pardon my stupidity.

They gave you an advance of $500k, but your books didn't earn $500k. As the idea of an advance is that they pay you money in advance on money you will earn later, if you don't earn that money later, do they claw it back?

jthome123228 karma

Thankfully, no! They want it back if you don't deliver the books, but poor sales don't trigger a refund.

I shivered a little just thinking about it.

ahbi_santini40 karma

Thanks. I assumed that was how it worked, but the term "advance" always bugged me.

jthome12352 karma

You're quite welcome. I never knew any of this stuff, either.

saddub37 karma

So you earned half a million dollars? And the downside?

jthome123146 karma

Thinking it would last forever.

zz_z1 karma

Don't they usually not even care about the books? After all you could just throw together a couple hundred pages of shit and say you gave it your best shot.

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your failure, do you plan to stick with writing?

jthome1232 karma

I had a scare when my second book wasn't shaping up to their liking. My agent said, "I don't want for them to ask for the money back. Do better!"

I will only write as long as I can make money from it. If I can't, I won't. I just don't know whether to call it a career and go home yet.

ComradeCube2 karma

How has your agent taken it? Does it harm him that the books didn't do well?

jthome1232 karma

I'm a small fish in her big pond so I don't think she notices me as much as some of the other writers. She is wonderful, though. She took me on when I was an even worse writer than I am now.

JesterV114 karma

Awesome. Congrats! I decided to skip conventional publishers and have gone straight to ebook. 5,000 sales first two months. 92% profit. I've made more money than some NYT best selling authors. Point: Where do you see the publishing industry heading? Ebooks? Or dead trees? What advice would you give a new author?

jthome123123 karma

That is absolutely fantastic! Congratulations to you! That's an awesome number!

The industry is definitely going digital. No doubt about it.

In addition to letting your work rest for a while after you've finished, I would have to say that you should always have a backup plan (read: day job) no matter how much you might think you're going to set the world on fire.

ZodiacSF196973 karma

I just have to say, I love your honesty and your attitude.

What do you think is in your future? And what do you see in the future of the book publishing industry?

jthome12394 karma

Thank you. My future remains unknown at this point. I have kids so I'll have do whatever I need to do to keep them fed. As for books, I think the industry's headed for writers selling directly to their readership.

obviouslynotadoctor70 karma

impress me with your writing skills in 3 sentences

jthome123154 karma

I'll give you the first three sentences from my work-in-progress:

The little girl wasn’t tough, even she knew that. Not too many little girls around these parts were, from what she’d seen. Still, Abby McDaniels, age eight in 1986, pushed away all the fear swirling around inside her and stepped tentatively out of the oversized bedroom that she shared with her younger sister, feeling the cold marble flooring of the massive hallway beneath her bare feet.

Don't know how impressive that is, but there ya go!

It_does_get_in63 karma

"...., age eight in 1986,..."

that bit truly was terrible. Imagine someone said that in the middle of a conversation, you'd be like: "Huh? Is this person quoting a text book?"


jthome12312 karma

No worries. It needs improvement, for sure. I've got a few good rewrites that I can steal now, though.

oshen63 karma

Sorry to hear that...

I find your responses above hilarious and enjoyable to read (given that I read every single one). But this paragraph has way too many commas. Maybe write as you would write when writing to us? And switch over to dark comedy? Like I'm envisioning you as Ed Wood right now. Or maybe I'm imagining things.

Good luck!

jthome12361 karma

I do tend to get a little comma-happy. Journalistic writing creeping in, I guess. I sweat so much over every sentence that you're probably right: I should probably try to write a bit more freely.

Ed Wood, I'll take!

salineDerringer16 karma

I would get rid of "tentatively", "bare", and either "oversized" or "massive" because they both accomplish the same goal [of making it seem like she lives in a mansion]. And maybe split up that third sentence somehow.

I'm not actually any good at writing, so take that with a grain of salt.

jthome12338 karma

Everything tastes better with salt. And these are all good suggestions. I try to edit myself, but I always think my editing ideas are crap and I know better.

jmihaly66 karma

Try writing a screenplay. I'm a filmmaker and I'd love to work on something with you.

jthome12381 karma

I just may try it. As a filmmaker, what are the main hurdles you think a novelist would have trying to switch over?

LibertarianSocialism63 karma

Complete amateur who has written both novels and screenplays for fun. But to me the Hardest thing is, as a novelist, it's easy to lose yourself in the descriptions and actions of a script and completely forget you're supposed to be writing mainly dialogue, whereas its the other way around with a novel.

jthome12338 karma

I can only imagine. It sounds pretty tough!

RetroJester154 karma

Sounds like an interesting ride, but instead of an AMA, shouldn't you write a book about the experiences?

jthome123319 karma

Judging by past experience, almost nobody would read it, and the few that did would just want to punch me in my stupid face.

RetroJester183 karma

Maybe start out with an apology, and say, "Hey, I'm sorry you guys didn't like my books. Hopefully, you won't be sorry about buying this one, after I tell you this story..."

jthome123133 karma

I LOL'd, if that is still acceptable Internet speak. Well played!

MedicPigBabySaver44 karma

So, you're a "failure"?

jthome123147 karma

On one hand, yes. On the other, no. It was hard to get published, so I succeeded there. Once I got there, though, I failed. It's a weird feeling that leaves me second-guessing myself all the time.

ComradeCube51 karma

How do advances work? Do you keep all that cash even if the sales don't happen?



jthome12362 karma

Yes, thankfully!

allenahansen41 karma

This sounds like a great premise for a novel....

How did you find your book agent?

I scored the number 5 all-time ama convo on reddit, wrote a majorly well-received memoir, and have been beating my head against a wall trying to market it ever since.

Didn't do it for the money, but sheesh, when you read some of the absolute crap out there in hardcover (I'm talking to you, Brandi Cipriani) it's enough to make you want to stick forks in your ears. At least you've the satisfaction of nailing a kick-ass advance. Seriously, there's a good story in here; can't wait to read it. Good luck to you, man!

jthome12334 karma

Thank you! And congrats on your memoir! Now that I've self-published, I haven't even tried to market my books. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Demibolt34 karma

Not really a question but you seem to be throwing out books at an incredible rate. Maybe you should let the ideas/characters incubate a bit before you throw them on paper.

jthome12377 karma

I spent a lot of time on each of the books (about a year each). I just put them out on Kindle at the same time when I realized I couldn't get them sold to a traditional publisher.

buckeye_man1833 karma

Who is your favorite author? Why? Which author most inspired your style of writing?

jthome12349 karma

Tough call. I guess I'd have to say it's James Lee Burke because of the beautiful imagery he evokes. James Patterson most inspired my style of writing. Even if you don't personally like his writing, you can't argue with his success!

tyha2246 karma

Maybe that's your problem, your name isn't James. Time for a pen name!

jthome123395 karma

Bic Osborne. I like the sound of that!

saddub11 karma

Parker Osbourne has a nice ring...

jthome12314 karma


scottyftw29 karma

What 'powered' your writing? What were you doing/drinking to get you in the zone?

jthome12377 karma

Newports and Diet Coke. And crystal meth.

nowshowjj72 karma

That's what I'm missing! Soda!

jthome12345 karma

It's always the soda. And the crystal meth.

barbanegra27 karma

Do you think you have a chance to become a successful writer at some point in the future? And since your forte is original ideas, what about writing movies scripts?

jthome12350 karma

I really hope so, but the older I get the more the dream fades. I just might give scriptwriting a shot one day if I can't gain any ground as a novelist.

cytopathic_effect47 karma

You just said you were only 40! Kurt Vonnegut was a PR man for General Electric in his late 30's and didn't break through til he was 41 when Cat's Cradle suddenly became a bestseller. He, also, was right about to give up on writing.

jthome123189 karma

Is GE still hiring?

SaveRana26 karma

As a wannabe screenwriter, and unpublished novelist, I can say that writing a book is a far easier task than writing a good screenplay. In a novel, you have all sorts of license to explore different perspectives, but in a screenplay you're limited exclusively to the objective present tense. Economy of language is second only to story: it must consistently remain fresh and engaging while still being direct and informative, without being over-written. Have you tried it? It's a bitch.

jthome12365 karma

I have not tried that particular bitch.

crackpotprophet24 karma

Why wait until you aren't gaining ground as a novelist. Put as many Irons in the fire as you can, you are sure to put your brand on something!

jthome12348 karma

Good point. Hopefully my brand won't be like Monsanto, though!

toothbucket18 karma

so...on what did you spend the money?

jthome12363 karma

I bought a new Macbook and took one vacation to Hilton Head but other than that I didn't buy anything fancy. Just used it to pay normal bills for the family for the past few years.

Audeen16 karma

So I read this IAMA, then later in the day I've totally forgotten about it and I go to buy my father a birthday present. I go to my small local bookstore outside of Bergen, Norway and look what I found.

jthome12323 karma

That's awesome! Thanks so much for that picture!!!

At least they don't have me up against any sort of competition there!

Seriously, that picture means the world to me. Thank you for sharing it!!!!!

sonQUAALUDE12 karma

I love this AMA and I love your earnest answers OP. You should write a book about failing at writing books, because this is really a fascinating perspective that, i think, too few people get to see.

jthome12311 karma

Thank you! The underbelly is pretty ugly if you're not a big shot.

ktajlili11 karma

Two questions.

1--How did you go about getting published? Was it a lot of work?

2--How did the failure of your first two novel affect your relationship towards writing?

Also, I admire you for sticking to writing. I myself, don't think I could have your strength. To me it shows that you really love your craft, and are passionate and dedicated. I wish there were more people like you--who do the things they love out of love, instead of for success.

jthome12319 karma

Thank you, but even though I love writing, I want the success, too. I put so much time and energy into it that I couldn't possibly do it if it doesn't pay the bills.

  1. I wrote the book, queried 81 agents, got 10 requests for full manuscripts and signed with my top-choice agent. It was a 10-year journey, and the work seemed CRIPPLING at times.

  2. Honestly, many times it has made me want to give up. I can't quite pull the trigger yet, though.

burt-reynolds9 karma

I think I might be a bit late to the party, but I have a question if you're still here. My friend is a great writer, and I've convinced her to put her writings together in a book. I offered to edit and pay for the first batch of soft covers. Even if it flops hard, I love her writing and having a box of 100 of her books is ok with me. Any advice I can give her? Any advice you can give me?

jthome12320 karma

Still here. Hand-sell those babies!

P.S. - You're a good friend!

HostileSausage9 karma

That sucks, but good luck. Just write a really dirty erotica novel. That shit will fly of the shelves. People are dirty fucks.

jthome1239 karma

I did notice they seem to sell very well. (And I did notice all the dirty sex in the 400 or so erotica novels I've read.)

dolphinesque9 karma

Are you doing anything to improve your writing skills?

jthome12316 karma

Reading and writing every day, but other than that, I haven't taken any classes. Maybe I should.

Green_apple6 karma

What did you plan on going into as a teenager? What did you major in? If you had a time machine would you do it differently?

1 horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

jthome12321 karma

My first dream was to play third base for the Cleveland Indians. I was disabused of the notion I had a shot at a career in the big leagues once I got to high school. Being an author was my next dream. I majored in English in college (and got a C- in my creative writing class). If I had a time machine, I would definitely do it differently. A hundred duck-sized horses probably would've been a better bet for me.

RandomNoodle4 karma

Little does he know, this AMA is going to make him rich.

Mr. Osborne, your not so unintentional strategy is working.

jthome1236 karma

If it makes me SUPER rich I'll fly everyone to my private island for a personal reading of my book HOW I GOT RICH ON REDDIT WITH A NOT-SO-UNINTENTIONAL STRATEGY.

That's a promise!

SaveRana4 karma

As a writer, do you follow any of the conventions of classical storytelling? I'm an avid reader as well as an amateur writer, but I analyze everything I write to death, often following the guidelines set by Aristotle, Joseph Campbell, and Syd Field. In my experience I've found that poorly reviewed fiction tends to break the rules of either style (strunk&white) or content (Joseph Campbell). Does this generalization apply?

jthome12313 karma

Like William Hung, I have no professional training. I guess I write by ear, or something like that. I analyze the crap out of my stuff, too. I rearranged sentences in my dreams. I'm not kidding.

siimonixx4 karma

What is your opinion of Tolkien?

jthome12317 karma

It's been a long time since I've read him (back when I was in the Navy, late-90s) but I remember having some trouble getting through all the descriptive passages.

Gaelin12 karma

How do you eat Oreos?

jthome1235 karma

They clog up my throat too much and I don't drink milk, so I don't eat them.

awkwardlonerdude2 karma

Dude that sucks but 500 grand, that's a lot of dough, how did you loss all that money and get stuck in a garage???

jthome1238 karma

My wife likes shoes.

BlandBoy2 karma

Maybe this is the problem. You think you're a bad writer. So you are. A self-fulfilling prophecy. But remember this:

  1. Bad reviews do not mean the book is bad. It merely means that someone didn't like it. Which still hurts, but reading is subjective. There are plenty of people whom you and I might consider bad writers that others love—and vice versa.

  2. Bad sales do not mean the book is bad. It's quite possible it had a bad publicity campaign or that the publisher dropped the ball altogether. Too often these days publishers try a couple of things that don't work, then lose interest and move on. The advance is a write-off. And honestly, $500,00 sounds like a lot, but that's several advances from several different sources. And books with lower advances don't really get much push.

It sounds to me as if you're a bit too hard on yourself. Maybe you're not nearly as bad as you think you are.

Or you're simply using this as a gimmick to, hopefully, sell books.

jthome1233 karma

Good points. Honestly, the number of books I could sell by doing something like this wouldn't put a dent into what's still owed to the publishers. Still, I can understand why you might think that.

crackpotprophet2 karma

Are you still doing thrillers? Have you branched out to any other genres and if you did, what one would you think you would love to do? If a movie was made about your success and infamy and then success again (because there is a movie being made about you)

Who is on your shortlist of actors to play you?

jthome1237 karma

I am still doing thrillers. Haven't tried any other genres, but I might try romance, simply because it seems to sell so well. I'm not one of those writers who "needs" to write because of a muse or anything like that. I just want to make money.

As far as the movie being made about me (which I already knew about, by the way) I've been told I look a bit like Dr. House, so maybe Hugh Laurie. Other than that, maybe Edward Norton could start lifting again like he did for AMERICAN HISTORY X and MAYBE get muscular enough to pull it off.

pop_rock1 karma

do you like jodi picoult books? i really like what I consider 'mom' thrillers, maybe ask your wife what her worst fears are and write those out. i think it would at least be a little more true to you.

jthome1231 karma

I've only sampled a bit of her books on the Amazon free previews, so I can't really say. Thanks for the advice - I'd wake her up to ask her right now but then I'd be right back into the blood-and-gore stuff again!

extec0 karma

Not to sound like a dick, but considering how poorly you've done in thrillers (and that you've pretty much completely lost any possible audience), wouldn't switching genres probably be in your best interest?

Romance is probably a good route to go, not only because it seems to sell so well, but because the entire genre is painfully derivative, and the dialogue (which, according to reviews, you're not exceptional with) is generally trite and largely ignored anyway.

jthome1231 karma

Nothing dickish about that, at all. It's the truth. I answered another question like this by saying I might try out romance - for all the reasons you stated.

crackpotprophet1 karma

Who is your favorite character in a book? Who is your favorite character from a movie? TV series?

jthome1237 karma

Book: Holden Caulfield. Read the book in my teens, and that character's still with me today.

Movie: Hannibal Lecter. Thomas Harris really struck gold with that guy.

TV Series: Tony Soprano. RIP James Gandolfini.

How'd I do?

cmyk30001 karma

I've noticed some up and coming authors doing a release of a chapter at a time kind of model for ebooks. Do you think that changes the pace and feel of a story and perhaps would be a good exercise for your writing? Would you ever want to go back into news reporting?


jthome1232 karma

I'd love to go back into news reporting - if I could find a job!

As for your first question, I should give it a shot. Couldn't hurt (I hope)!

boredwillow1 karma

500,000 for two books or each? Did you feel like the publishers did all they could to promote the books?

I know there are huge self published successes but it seems like a lot of them already had long careers and therefore a preexisting audience. What do you think of all the hype surrounding self-publishing?

jthome1232 karma

For two books. I wasn't really in on the promotion-side of things because it was taking place overseas, but the German contract, in addition to the advance, called for another 200,000 euros for promotional purposes. Probably something my agent watched.

I think self-publishing is probably the way of the future, with the big names selling direct to their readership and the little or no-names (like me) going that route because they have no other choice.

pop_rock1 karma

have you ever 'mentored' anyone? What would you say to someone dragging their feet? do you think less and less people are reading these days? and how would you feel to sell the epub and kindle file straight from your website? I HATE HAAATTTEEEEE buying books from apple or amazon because i want to be able to switch from my phone to my kindle.

jthome1235 karma

I have not mentored anyone in creative writing. If you're dragging your feet, you should just puke out a first draft and fix it later.

I actually don't have a website anymore. I had one when I was first published, but no one visited it! I do know that my books are pirated on a lot of sites. I give you permission to pirate one. Argh!

evansreddit-3 karma

What is the weirdest thing you ever masturbated to?

jthome1232 karma

This question.

dropdeadred-10 karma

Why do you think people want to ask you questions?

jthome12310 karma

I'm guessing it's because I'm so handsome.

crackpotprophet4 karma

I would agree, you are pretty damn handsome.

jthome1232 karma

Why, thank you! It's not often that I'm complimented for my looks!