RWM – “Hello Travis and welcome to FFA. I am so pleased we have finally got together to talk about your work. So, what gave you the idea to choose the subject to write about?”
TL – “I have always been a fan of escapist fiction. In my teens I devoured Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, Peter Straub, and various sci-fi authors. I found that horror/thriller novels centred on the supernatural were always the most fascinating.
It was Brian Lumley that taught me the dark, wicked beauty of vampires. And then a few years later I discovered Anne Rice. I have always loved the Vampire Chronicles novels, but it bothered me that these creatures never had any real physical contact beyond biting and feeding – no sex. And they always killed their victims.
Then I found Laurell K. Hamilton, and the world of erotic/romantic dark fiction blasted wide open. I am now a total addict of vampire novels, films, and that is what I write.
I like it dark, gritty, violent and sensual, with thriller intensity.”
RWM – “We are all so pleased that you are, does your current series get enough attention? Would you like it to hit the big time?”
TL – “It gets enough attention for the moment, but I sure would like more. I think as Indies, we are forced to be much more creative with guerrilla marketing to find exposure and discovery. So, each week I learn more about this process of reaching out to readers of my genre.”
RWM- “Agreed, we tend to have to permanently blow our own trumpet to be heard of even to sell the minimum of novels, so to sell a lot is difficult! How much publicity would you buy with a million dollars/pounds, what would you do to help your series, would you just not bother and buy other things?
TL – “I’ll take the million pounds – higher currency exchange value than the US dollar. I would go on a world tour, with the excuse that I need it for research – which I do. And as far as ‘buying’ discovery, I would do what most NY publishers do: order tons of paperbacks and hardbacks, shove it out to all the libraries and physical bookstores, and blast press releases and advertising all over hell. And I would probably consume pages of this interview to go into all the sordid details of the ways to get discovered when you have big money to invest.”
RWM – “ LOL that’s fabulous, so you like your work isn’t that half the battle? I love writing, it’s always a pleasure when your books are bought isn’t it, I always feel pleased when I check and some else has picked one up. How do you cope with marketing your work? Do you get a lot of support from others?”
TL – “My free novel, the first in the series, THE NIGHTLIFE NEW YORK, is my ambassador to the world. It’s my calling card, my introduction, gets my foot in the door. So, I pimp my freebie for all its worth. On twitter alone, I can give away hundreds of copies a week (If I have the time), and usually some of those people will come back to buy other novels in the series.
So, by using a freebie that is blatantly handed out to everyone I meet, I am actually driving sales, one person at a time.
It’s pretty old school marketing, but it works.
Each new release drives discovery of the backlist. The best marketing for all your novels is a new book launch.
And I am working on building that mailing list, working on building the fan base that will jump on the next one, and the next one after that. It’s a slow and steady drive to push that snowball ever larger, little by little, day by day.
I do get some support from other authors and bloggers here and there. Social media is designed for sharing, and lots of people share my work around.”
RWM – “Above is a fab picture, what would you caption it with? Just for fun!”
TL – “I would whip out my Rambo survival knife and gut him like a fish while screaming, “You drew FIRST BLOOD!!”
Yeah right, I’d probably screech like a girl and run. And if I made it out of there alive, I’d probably have to change my underwear.
But, monsters don’t really exist do they?
It’s hard to say what I’d do. When faced with life or death situations, something monstrous, the fight or flight instinct drives us to extreme behaviour. In times of war and survival, people do things they never thought themselves capable of.”
RWM – “LOL that’s fantastic and very cool that you are honest! I too would scream, but may have to limp away slowly ha-ha! Tell me something you like about yourself?”
TL – “I like that I can always find ways to deal with whatever life throws at me. I am a survivor, and I don’t let obstacles slow me down for very long. And I have way too much fun out in social media. Some people do it because they have to, I do it because it’s sort of an addiction. But, at least I’m getting paid for it!”
RWM – “Great attitude to have Travis, I am sure your fans are glad of your addiction! I certainly am! What do you hope to achieve with your writing?”
TL – “I want what every novelist wants: Millions of adoring fans, discussion groups loudly debating my works, mothers across America wearing screen-print t-shirts of my book covers, maybe a few blockbuster Nightlife Series films?
Really, I’d be happy to just earn a decent living. Anything more than that is a bonus.”
RWM – “Please give us information about how to get your books!”
TL – “Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, Allromanceebooks.com, Sony, Diesel, Ebook-eros.com, and Kobo (maybe?? The thought police have busy lately)”
RWM – “Thanks so much for the information, I love your taste in book covers they really are stunning! Are you glad to be one of the little guys or would you prefer it if a big publishing house took you under its wings?”
TL – “I would be happy to accept a large publishing contract, but under my terms. I have become such a control freak over editing, cover art and all the elements of my stories. I have 3 editors-critique partners, and they sync with me, they understand my dark little twisted heart. I’m pretty damn pleased with the team I have.
Realistically, I would probably take a contract on one of my books, and not necessarily all of them, to retain the majority of my autonomy.
I would be perfectly happy selling sub-rights, like foreign rights or film options through the ‘legacy’ agent-publisher channels, but my own Indie publishing is just too intensely personal and gratifying to allow some other corporate entity to muck it up with their ideas.
I suppose money might play a huge factor. Start throwing six-seven figure deals at me, and watch my resolve tumble like the walls of Jericho.”
RWM – “Again this sounds like good thinking to me. It’s good when you gel with the editing team you have, I too agree I have a fab main editor! Tell me a little about yourself, do you have another line of work besides writing?”
TL – “I write/publish and surf/promote over social media full time. I am talking about 10+ hour days. There is nothing lazy about being an author-publisher. Takes a great deal of self-motivation and a serious work ethic.
I do some social media promos for other authors by referral, as long as it’s a similar genre like erotic/romance, fantasy, or paranormal. The fees I charge to do Goodreads, Facebook, Blog, and Twitter promos supplement my writing income. I do a lot of ARC’s (Advance Review Copies) and/or freebies and giveaways.
Swimming through the rivers of social media to spread the word about your book is a daunting task. You must have a feel for the culture, the proprieties. Social media is heavily abused for promo, yet certain kinds of promo are welcome, like special offers, freebies, giveaways and such. You have to attach onto special value offers to move through social media as a promotional engine. Otherwise, no one cares about your ‘buy my book’ tagline, because there are gazillions of people saying the same thing.
There are new and interesting ways to grab blog traffic by getting involved in ‘tribes’ of bloggers via Triberr. Triberr has made the effectiveness of book blog tours explode across social media like nothing else. Find any book currently touring, run a search for that book title on twitter and you will see, over the course of the tour, hundreds of tweets coming from bloggers sharing via Triberr. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
But what makes a blog post soar through social media is the title. An eye-catching blog title will grab tons and tons of traffic on social media. So, there again, the ‘ole ‘here’s my book’ just doesn’t cut it. You need something unique, some value offered, something provocative and interesting.”
RWM – “Thanks so much Travis it really has been a pleasure to talk to you today, thanks so much for all the wonderful information, I am sure there will be a lot of authors out there who will be glad of your advice, I am certainly one of them. I really wish you so much success with your series, it truly is fantastic! You are a great person to know and always seem to give such great advice to others when called upon. I am sure all those you have helped and are helping will agree. ”
RWM – As a footnote
*** This has been an absolute pleasure for me and Travis really has so many great things going, I really loved this interview!
Thanks to all who have joined us today!