July brings a critical milestone for Steemhouse Publishing. It marks the end of our first major bookstore tour, which covered many major cities on the East Coast of the U.S. We call it a “bookstore” tour rather than a “book” tour, because we did not focus on author events like book signings or readings at this time. Instead, we shook hands with as many booksellers, librarians, and industry influencers as we could, laying the groundwork for a grass-roots marketing strategy that we hope will lead not only to sales, but to long-term relationships with real people who can connect our writers to real-world readers.
It seems to be working. Let us explain why.
For those unfamiliar with Steemhouse Publishing, a quick recap may be in order. Our team emerged from the @thewritersblock, a now-defunct community that imploded after much internal conflict and leadership failures. Sounds harsh? Hey, no need to beat around the bush. It happened.
Things changed in November of 2018 when @michelios audited the Writers’ Block presentation at Steemfest and quietly began assessing our business model.
actual footage of Michel at the SF3 presentation alongside @ezzy
Michel spent the next few months lurking in the Discord community and finally stepped into a leadership role in February of 2019. He is now co-owner of Steemhouse Publishing, LLC., alongside @rhondak, and under their direction the company is quickly becoming established in the publishing mainstream.
What is Steemhouse Publishing?
Steemhouse Publishing is an independent book publisher with a focus on quality fiction. We intend to build a thriving online community of writers, editors, and skilled creatives capable of mentoring authors from their very first attempt at fiction all the way to publication. Because the company is rooted on the Steem blockchain, we have the ability to generate income in both cryptocurrency and FIAT environments. This gives us an edge when it comes to affording aggressive promotion of our authors.
Our bookstore tour is an example of this. We applied a certain formula to our process, the same formula that was carefully crafted as far back as Steemfest 3 when the Writers’ Block still existed. First, we ensured the manuscript and final product was of the highest quality possible. This was done through stringent professional editing, formatting, and cover design. Then, we purchased bulk ISBNs that ping back to Steemhouse, not to a distribution service like Amazon. Finally, we obtained ringing endorsements from recognizable and relevant people and got a Kirkus review.
If the name “Kirkus” doesn’t immediately register, we recommend that you give it a Google. (Start here: https://www.tckpublishing.com/4-important-book-publications/) Love them or hate them, Kirkus cranks out professional reviews that are considered the gold standard by most industry booksellers and publishers. A Kirkus review can destroy a book’s chance of success as well as launch the career of an unknown author. They tend to be hypercritical, to the point, and unforgiving. For this reason, those “in the know” take them quite seriously, since there is very little chance that Kirkus will endorse a book that doesn’t well exceed industry standards.
In May, our Steemhouse debut novel, High Kill, scored an overwhelmingly positive review from Kirkus. Then last month, we received an email from Kirkus notifying us that High Kill had also been selected as a featured book in the Kirkus online trade publication. This was at no cost to us and not per our request. They simply chose our novel because of the excellent review and felt it represented their brand well. Fun fact: fewer than ten percent of indie or small press novels published worldwide are accepted into the Kirkus online magazine. It is primarily Top Five real estate (the “top five” NYC publishers) and highbrow exclusive. Yet there we are, and we could not be more proud.
Keep two things in mind. One, High Kill was written, edited, formatted, designed, and published entirely by Steemians. Not one word, design, or creative implementation was outsourced. Two, the name “Steemhouse Publishing” references directly to our home blockchain and features prominently in the quarter-page ad that will appear in the August 1, August 15, and Sept 1 print editions of the Kirkus trade publication. How’s that for “real-world” exposure for Steem?
It will take a bit of time for High Kill to cycle through all the promotions and ads and hit the bookshelves, then find its way into readers’ hands and hopefully onto a few bestseller lists. In the meanwhile we will continue reaching out to booksellers with a UK tour coming up this fall. We also have a second novel in the pipeline as well as some big plans for a Steem book club to promote reader engagement, and possibly a system of book sales, lending, and re-selling that utilizes cutting-edge blockchain technology. Stay tuned right here on this blog for updates. We’ll tag related posts with a fiction tag, a writing tag, a publishing tag, and of course, our steemhousepub tag, so be sure to watch for them.
Michel and Rhonda at a Bitcoin Pizza party in Long Island, NY, to celebrate the anniversary of Bitcoin's famous 80 Million-Dollar Pizza.
VLOGS from the Road
From May until the first of July, Michel Q and Rhonda K traveled heavily throughout the eastern U.S. introducing Steemhouse to as many industry folks as possible. You can watch highlights from the trip at the following links. Some of the videos are long, but they are a form of documentation, not infomercials or entertainment. Except for the gag reel footage--that’s pretty entertaining.
Hey, nobody ever said work couldn’t be fun!