Scott Hughes is certainly a success story like no other, after starting his company 15 years ago, he has quickly expanded into unimaginable terrains in the realm of publishing, writing, and business. His busy lifestyle is equally as interesting with a slew of bestsellers on his shelf, as well as keeping up with his two daughters, publishing other authors work, and running OnlineBookClub.org.
He took the time to sit down and discuss his writing style, the creation of his company, and how he dealt with controversy. He also hints at what is next for the company and further book releases.
Hey Scott, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, let’s start at the beginning, how did you end up creating OnlineBookClub.org?
Hello, thanks for having me! I began OnlineBookClub.org all the way back in 2006. This was before iPhones or the Amazon Kindle was even a factor in peoples lives. It was intended to be a simple site where people from around the globe could meet and discuss works of literature, giving ratings and have a forum in which to break down themes and have honest conversations.
I was always annoyed with the traditional structure of book clubs, where there was a timeframe to read the work and no real choice as to the novel that was to be discussed. The online format is incredibly versatile and allows for people to go at their own pace which is the best part.
When you look back on the journey you’ve had, do you have any particular proud moments?
It certainly has been an interesting journey over the past 15 years. We’ve gone from a simple website with a few members to having over 2 million! That alone is incredible to me. Ever since we’ve started publishing authors, there’s been an addictive aspect to helping and nurturing new talent, seeing the real responses people are receiving to their work is worth the struggles that have come to pass.
I’m especially proud to see my own work be published and appreciated in the community. I’m always proud of my two daughters as well, they keep me going in the tough times. Seeing the influx of new writers during the pandemic has also been a spark in my life, seeing people coming together is incredibly fun.
You’re an established author in your own right, was it always your intention to be a writer?
Absolutely not, I never anticipated that I would be seeing my work published let alone appreciated. It sort of became something I fell into more than anything. I wrote an introduction for the first book we published at the company called “Holding Fire”. The response from a few friends and family members led me to think about maybe writing something a little more my own.
I’m not a full-time writer like so many others, it’s a passion of mine, but I wouldn’t say I’m a full-timer. The fact that I have a few bestsellers in my repertoire is certainly engaging, and I’m always excited by what the next book can achieve.
The controversy of “The Book About Love” would’ve been a challenge I’m sure, did you intend for it to be as big a story as it was?
Well, no author anticipates controversy when they release a book, especially not the magnitude that happened when I released “The Book About Love”. Being banned from Amazon was certainly not the intention either, I was more looking to instigate discussion, to open a dialogue about how we perceive the world and like any writer, I injected my philosophy throughout it.
I hope that the controversy instigated some form of discussion as a result. While the book itself was banned on Amazon, I truly believe that there was no ill will on my part in the writing of the short piece. Unconditional love was the overarching theme and I hope that it came across to people who looked past the original title.
What do you believe is the role of a site like yours?
I believe that my site plays the role of being a safe haven for people to express honest opinions and ideas about literature, as a beacon for those who are looking to discover new ideas and perhaps even find the strength and inspiration to put their own pen to paper.
To have a community that is nurturing each other and respectfully discussion the principles and ideas presented in various works of literature is especially important in this day and age. The free speech debates that continuously parade around the world can be a little disheartening, so having a place to express free ideas is certainly necessary in my opinion.
Do you have a particular process when you’re writing?
Not a particular one no. I always have a different approach because you never really know where the idea will come from. For example, Justice: A Novella came to me when I was in the middle of a workout. I spent months pondering and considering the approach and the overall story, eventually crafting the first scene I wrote in one of the workouts.
When it comes to the non-fiction writing, it’s usually a matter of choosing something that interests me and researching it relentlessly until something begins to form. It’s a lot of journaling as well, I have a private journal I use to collate my thoughts and organise myself a little more. Sometimes what starts as an essay turns into a book from me unintentionally writing so much!
Where do you see the company going next?
I can’t wait to see what happens next for the company, we are currently developing an app that will be a direct competitor for the Kindle application. A fully-fledged e-reader that will hopefully nip on the toes of Amazon.
I really want to expand on the competitions we’ve had in the past. After a few successful short story comps, I really believe we can make it happen again and go further into realms like poetry competitions as well.
For me, I am in the process of my first draft of a new book entitles “#Inthistogether: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All which I’m very excited about, I’ll let your mind imagine what it could be referring to.
Thank you Scott for your time!
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