Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stephen Tremp Wormhole Trilogy Blog Book Tour


Now that I have completed a trilogy of 325,000 words, I’m reflecting on what just happened while wondering what direction I need to move forward.

I chose to self-publish mainly because I keep 100 percent of royalties while maintaining control over the content and cover art. I also maintain the rights. It’s a passion thing, not a money thing, although I do like money. For my initial launch into writing, publishing, and promoting I had to do it myself. And now that the trilogy is completed, at least the writing and publishing part, I feel great. Like I accomplished something similar to scaling a high mountain or running the Boston Marathon.

Accomplishments to Date: My first two books, Breakthrough and Opening, have been sold in Borders Books and Barnes & Noble bookstores in every major city from Los Angeles to Boston. I’ve had over 10,000 in sales and downloads.

Moving Forward: The cover art is not a maker or breaker though. Neither is keeping all the royalties. If a publisher can result in more sales, then I will gladly give up a percentage of my royalties. I think for my next two books, which will be stand alone novellas around 150 - 175 pages, I will look for a small publisher. Maybe there is value there. Then I’ll come back to more of the adventures of Chase Manhattan. My main concern is signing on for three to five years with someone while I do all the work like writing and promoting. I have to wonder what’s in it for me to sign on with a small publisher?

The Credibility Factor: When someone is searching Amazon for a book to download, does even a small no-name publisher bring more credibility to a book and its author? Could the maker and breaker come down to a self published book versus a published book, even if the publisher is a small one the buyer has never heard of?

Promoting; What I Have Learned: If a self published or indie writer wants to go beyond the mere satisfaction of writing and publishing a book and really supplement their income or make a living writing, then it’s a good idea to build a platform and a brand. Enlarging your social media network such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. is not enough. These are tools that are helpful to build platform, but are not going to make you a lot of money over the long haul.

Social media is not a way to grow your “fame”, it’s a reflection of your fame. Your social media following will grow as your popularity grows - Tim Grahl

When people see your platform and brand, they will ask: What Is It? What Do I Get? How Does It Benefit Me? - Eban Pagan

My Platform: 

What Is It? Breakthrough Blogs: Where Science Meets the Supernatural.
What Do You Get? Help bridge the gap between science and the supernatural.
How Does It Benefit Me? Help explain our universe and our place in it.

My Brand: It’s not a slogan like Coca Cola’s It’s The Real Thing or McDonald’s I’m Lovin’ It. It’s not necessarily an image, although it could be. I want people to think of me when they hear the word wormhole. That’s it. Simple, yet effective.

Final Thought: I had to write the Breakthrough trilogy. It’s a passion. I could not imagine lying on my death bed, having never written and published the series, and wondered, “What if ...”

Book 3 in the Trilogy
Question: When you are searching for a book to download and you scan a dozen or so potential good reads, do you lean toward the published book even if you never heard of the publisher? Please leave your thoughts in the comments. To buy a copy of the Escalation e-book, click here.

Stephen Tremp is the author of the Breakthrough series. Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, horror, and even romance.
Stop by Stephen’s Blog for more information on the Breakthrough series.
And to download Escalation: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan CLICK HERE
.

47 comments :

  1. Hi Stephen. I can empathise with much of this. But, having self-published 7 books, I placed my trilogy (600,000 words) in the hands of a local small independent publisher. Never have I known a guy to work so hard to ensure the success of a book as the owner of Fantastic Books Publishing. Phenomenal! I don't yet know the outcome, as the first volume is launched on 30 March, but if the outcome matches the effort, we'll be flying high!
    Thanks for an interesting piece, enjoyed the read.

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    1. Best wishes to you Stuart and I'm sending big thoughts of a smashing success your way.

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  2. Hi Stephen .. I've read Breakthrough and thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading Escalation and Opening.

    You've always been helpful with feedback on your explorations into the publishing/self publishing world ...

    This is very helpful and interesting reading .. as is Stuart's comment .. and I'm sure others will comment with some interesting points ..

    I like your Platform and Brand statements ..

    So pleased it's all going so well - all the very best .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, I do share what I've learned both good and bad along the way. I think this is key to helping with the success of any writer. If this helps someone else then I'm very happy.

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  3. Congratulations on completing your trilogy, Steve.

    To answer your question: I'm always happy to give a self-published book a go, but I do read the first few pages to check how well it has been edited. Typos are likely to put me off unless the story grips me immediately.

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    1. Elle, I see reviews in Amazon that people are frustrated with books that are in need of editing.

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  4. I bet it feels good to finish the series. I was happy when mine wrapped up.

    A small publisher can bring more credibility, plus they can get reviews from pre-publication reviewers like Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Not all have a marketing budget, but the ones that do will have a bigger budget than you do. (Plus you don't have to pay for cover art, formatting, etc.) So you just have to weight the pros and cons.

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    1. Diane, that's the tricky part is identifying such publishers. That's leg work people like me have to perform. I need to compile a list of such small publishers.

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  5. Yes, when I think of wormhole, I think of you, so you have succeeded in establishing your brand in that respect. As far as small publishers go, be very careful to pick the right one. Mine gave me nothing but trouble, though I did get two books published through them. If the operation is too small and there's no backup when people are not available, chaos ensues. That press was sold out to another, which ignored the newbies far too long. That, and the fact I wasn't getting any younger, put me on the indie path.

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    1. Morgan, this is one of the problems I have with small publishers. They want a three to five year contract that I do not want to commit to. There is a risk that what happened to you can happen to anyone.

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  6. Thanks Dani for hosting me here! I look forward to the comments and input people have on this topic.

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  7. 'If a publisher can result in more sales, then I will gladly give up a percentage of my royalties.' You bet, Stephen ... I'd gladly take 20% of anything over 100% of nothing.

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    1. Christopher. I agree. I'm more into the number of sales as I can make up the difference in volume.

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  8. The only time I've looked at the publisher is when the book has glaring editorial issues. I've yet to go into a bookstore and ask where they keep the Random House books. Samples allow you to decide if a book is going to meet your expectations. I've had 3 small publishers (one technically not-so-small, but with a very narrow distribution target), and didn't make any money until I started publishing on my own, both as back list and original titles.

    Diane makes an excellent point with her statement that publishers are more likely to get you the big reviews. On the flip side, I've had a book with a starred review in PW that did absolutely nothing for sales. Given where I am in my life, I think I'm sticking with indie. It's more work, but I don't have "Make the NYT Best Seller List" as a life goal.

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    1. Terry, if I do sing on with a small publisher, they have to do something along the lines of promotions and marketing. If I'm doing all the work but want the credibility that comes along with having a publisher, I might as well start my own publishing company. Even if I only publish my own books under the name. Why pay for a publisher of they take my money but do nothing for me in return?

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  10. Congrats Stephen! That is a big accomplishment and it sounds like the books are doing well.

    I don't think I ever looked at the publisher before. I have started to out of curiosity.

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    1. Southpay, same here. I've only started looking to see if a book has a publisher, then I Google them to see what other books they publish and if those books are doing well on the Amazon Sellers Ranking.

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  11. I think you've done an exceptionally excellent job branding your writing. It seems like everything you do leads back to what you write. Well done.

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    1. Thank you Julie! It's great to have a focus that you can base writing and promoting off and then loop back to at the end of the day. If a reader notices this, then I think the credibility factor rises for that writer.

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  12. Hi, Stephen. Great post. It seems you've found the path to success. I'm curious, though. How did an indie author get his paperback books in every B&N and Borders across the country, and did you do signings in those stores? If so, you have succeeded more than most, and I'd love to know your secret. Thanks for the informative post.

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    1. Polly, this would make a great separate post - Steve, maybe you should visit us again and explain that intriguing technique of yours. ;)

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    2. Okay. I'll write the post this weekend and send it off to you. We'll decide on a day down the road that works.

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    3. Dani, I wish I could post how I got my books in bookstores, but I've never even tried because I'm self-published. I'll be waiting anxiously for Steve's response how he did it.

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  13. I don't agree that you can't spread your fame through social media. How else do people hear of self-published authors? I'd be interested in learning more about how you got your books into traditional book stores. As a reader of over 7000 books thus far, I cannot tell you the publisher of any of them. I can only tell you the authors and books I loved. I do not consider the publisher when purchasing. I look at the genre and premise, then the writing style. I've read some amazing indie books lately, more so than traditionally published books.

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    1. Diana, thanks for your input. See above comment as this is great material for an upcoming post.

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  14. Hi Steve, I just downloaded Escalation for my Kindle, and wish you many, many more sales. In my opinion, the reputation of self-pubbed books is gradually improving, but it can be hard to tell what is and what isn't when you can easily set up your own publishing name. Ultimately, it's the quality of the story and writing that matter most. That will drive your books' popularity, not whether they are traditionally published.

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    1. Thanks Bob! I'm leaning in the direction to find a small publisher for my next book which will be a novella. So I think I will minimize my risks with a novella of around 175 pages. This will be a test run to see if I want to do it for a full length book.

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  15. I'm so proud of you, Steve! Have I ever told you that? It's no small feat to write that many words and you kept after it over the years. Great job!

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    1. Thank you Dani! Could not have done with without the help from BBT. Truly. And I gave mention to BBT in my tribute in Escalation.

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    2. Can't wait to bask in the glow. :)

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  16. I prefer hard copies of books to reading them on a monitor or electronic reader. As a writer, my preference is indie pubbing; however, that may be a bit self-defeating because I'm a terrible marketer. The notion of having someone else handle that task certainly bears revisiting.

    Platform and branding definitely play a part in gaining name recognition among the myriad books available to shoppers looking for a good read. It's part of the game that the vast majority of us must play if we want to build a fan base. Hard as it was to get traditionally published in days gone by, that did have some advantages. However, I don't know if those advantages (primarily the marketing element) outweighed the disadvantage of never getting published.

    Elle's comment about poor or non-existent editing hits home with me. Such a book is sufficiently off-putting to cost a sale to me.

    Congratulations on your publication, Stephen, and thank you for sharing. I wish you much success.

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    1. Thank you Linda. Formatting is just as important as editing. I have seen some poorly formatted books with different fonts and indents and page breaks that make it difficult to read.

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  17. Wow! Lot's of comments chocked full of great insight, experience, and great advice. Thanks all. I'll have to Tweet this throughout the day.

    I love these type of posts as its the comments and not just the post that make this a great conversation thread.

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  18. Great post! I love your thinking. Since first self-publishing my book I tend toward the indie or small published books - although it's the subject matter, blurb, or first chapter that sucks me in - not the cover, title, or listed publisher.

    Congratulations on all your success!

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    1. Thanks Yolanda for stopping by and your comments. I don't necessarily need that one huge opening statement or paragraph. But a book does need to draw me in by the end of the first chapter.

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  19. First - congratulations, Stephen. Second, thanks for stopping here on your blog tour. I found both your post and the comments very educational. *sigh* It would be so much easier if there was one correct answer, wouldn't it?

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    1. Elspeth, thanks! Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. But sometimes this conflict helps bring conversation and exposure to a writer and their books.

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  20. Congratulations and good luck on your trilogy tour! I agree with Elspeth, wouldn't it be nice to have a cut and dried formula for success? But maybe it wouldn't be as much fun!

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    1. Heidi, this is fun for sure. Nothing else in life I would rather be doing. Even on vacations I write and blog.

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  21. I seldom look at the publisher of a book. I look at reviews but I usually find a book by someone's recommendation. I do think of you when I hear or see the word wormhole.

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    1. Susan, I look at Amazon reader reviews and these are usually the makers and breakers. Even if the book is free.

      And I'm happy to hear my branding is working!

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  22. The Retweets today are huge! Hope they bring a lot of new traffic this way.

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  23. I've purchased/downloaded a lot of indie-published books. Some have been great, but a few were not well edited. However, I've found a few books published by the top NY publishers that weren't well edited either. I now focus on the author's name and the story synopsis (okay, and sometimes the cover art) without worrying about publisher.

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  24. Wormhole = Stephen Tremp. I like it! And I can see in the not too distant future your brand will become so well known, people will do nickname versions, like, "Hey! Honey, did you see The Worm has a new sci-fi suspense thriller novel out?" teehee ...

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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