Tag Archives: indie author

NEW! SECRETS & LIES 5 (The Ferro Family) by H.M. Ward

Volume FIVE in the SECRETS & LIES series by H.M. Ward is a hot, sexy new adult romance series filled with humor and incredibly bad luck.

New Adult Series. Over 12 million copies sold. New York Times Bestseller.

SECRETS & LIES 5 by H.M. Ward

DESCRIPTION:

They say the best way to get over a broken heart is a random hook-up. So my new BFF is dragging me to a bar. All I have to do is wear a slutty dress, choose a dude, and do the deed, right? The thing is, this isn’t me. I’m the good girl — the one who has sex for love. But, since the love of my life is shacked up with someone else, I guess it’s time to move on.

One night, one time. That’s all. I’ll have a clean slate.

A guy with a sketch pad, sitting alone, catches my eye. I’m a sucker for the artistic type with dark hair and bright blue eyes. Soon we’re in his hotel room doing things I’ve never done. His smoldering body, perfectly toned with hot skin and a firm touch, has my mind reeling with the things to come. We’re both naked and glistening with sweat, breathless.

And then he darts, right before doing the deed, abandoning me in his room. He doesn’t return.

A week later I see him again, and realize that he wasn’t just a random guy–he’s my teacher. My heart clenches at the massive mistake, and I still don’t grasp the extent of it. I should have run and never looked back.

Genre: NA
Type: Serial, 5 of 7
Series: Ferro

Amazon   Kobo  Apple

other sites will be listed as soon as they become available.

____________________________________________

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“Funny as hell.” ~Gloria H.

“You’ll meet some really cool people and one sapphired eyed oh so sexy and lickable.” ~Michelle

The chemistry between Mystery Man and Kerry is crazy!” ~Anita P.

“Secrets & Lies adds more layers to the Ferro saga.” ~Julie

“Holly’s girl characters are always so funny, and witty.” ~Emily

________________________________

Want to chat about the book with more Ferro fans? Head over to the top secret Facebook group: CLUB FERRO. Ask to join and I’ll let you in where you can squee and talk about the book with other fans.

Holy Hot for Teacher! SECRETS & LIES 3 is out today!

Did you miss Kerry and her big yellow bus? Were you dying to find out who the secret Ferro is? And wth was Peter doing there? *Gasp!* Find out now!

SECRETS & LIES 3 by H.M. Ward

SECRETS & LIES 3 by H.M. Ward

DESCRIPTION:

They say the best way to get over a broken heart is a random hook-up. So my new BFF is dragging me to a bar. All I have to do is wear a slutty dress, choose a dude, and do the deed, right? The thing is, this isn’t me. I’m the good girl — the one who has sex for love. But, since the love of my life is shacked up with someone else, I guess it’s time to move on.

One night, one time. That’s all. I’ll have a clean slate.

A guy with a sketch pad, sitting alone, catches my eye. I’m a sucker for the artistic type with dark hair and bright blue eyes. Soon we’re in his hotel room doing things I’ve never done. His smoldering body, perfectly toned with hot skin and a firm touch, has my mind reeling with the things to come. We’re both naked and glistening with sweat, breathless.

And then he darts, right before doing the deed, abandoning me in his room. He doesn’t return.

A week later I see him again, and realize that he wasn’t just a random guy–he’s my teacher. My heart clenches at the massive mistake, and I still don’t grasp the extent of it. I should have run and never looked back.

Genre: NA
Type: Serial, 3 of 7
Series: Ferro

Amazon  Kobo Nook Apple

other sites will be listed as soon as they become available.

____________________________________________

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“Funny as hell.” ~Gloria H.

“You’ll meet some really cool people and one sapphired eyed oh so sexy and lickable.” ~Michelle

The chemistry between Mystery Man and Kerry is crazy!” ~Anita P.

“Secrets & Lies adds more layers to the Ferro saga.” ~Julie

“Holly’s girl characters are always so funny, and witty.” ~Emily

________________________________

Want to chat about the book with more Ferro fans? Head over to the top secret Facebook group: CLUB FERRO. Ask to join and I’ll let you in where you can squee and talk about the book with other fans.

LAST CHANCE: ARC Sign Ups for SECRETS & LIES 3

Secrets & Lies 3 by H.M. Ward - A one night stand with an artistic stranger, what could possibly go wrong?

Secrets & Lies 3 by H.M. Ward – A one night stand with an artistic stranger, what could possibly go wrong?

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
ARC SIGN UPS FOR SECRETS & LIES 3 HAVE BEGUN!
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Email arc_noreply@sexyawesomebooks.com for instant info on how to become a book reviewer, and how to sign up.

YES – you have to sign up for EVERY book you’d like to review unless otherwise stated. More info on how I do ARCs is listed here.

This book will have a LIVE LAUNCH which means it will go live as soon as it’s ready. We’re aiming for early on the 9th – Monday. SQUEE!!!!

The Grass Takes Time To Grow! Don’t Pee On It! (How to build a fan base for new authors)

I know several people who wrote a book and have virgin status when it comes to selling that sucker. They ask me lots of questions, and some pretty not helpful preconceived notions. Everyone hopes to rise like a shooting star, sign a million dollar deal, and then jump up and down. The truth is, it doesn’t work like that. You’re more likely to be struck by lightening five or six times than have that scenario occur on your first book. Even the superstars that did shoot straight to the top took 6-9 months getting there. That’s a significant amount of time.

I hear new authors asking for an easy way to gain visibility and they turn to KU because they don’t know what else to do. That’s a major mistake. Consider the limitation put on your book by restricting it to one platform. You miss out on what’s going on elsewhere.

Some people think the other platforms are too small to matter, so they don’t even consider it. But I’m pretty sure if you became a Kobo rockstar, you would feel it. I mean, #1 bestseller at Kobo is still more sales than most people ever dream about. At one point in my career, B&N led my sales because that platform took off. With each platform you’re on, you are given the chance to be a superstar. Why the hell limit it to one? Also, if you take off on another site, odds are Amazon and the rest will follow. It’s not like, ‘DAMN! I hit #2 on Nook!’ No one says that. Holding a top 10 slot on Nook is enough to break into 6 figures ON ONE SITE.

Back to the virgin authors who are deciding how to proceed: Don’t limit yourself. Visibility is about exposure, so give yourself as much as possible in a tangible, measurable way. If you really want to try KU, go ahead, but do it with a sister story or something that you know is a loss leader. I’ve had zero luck with KU lending more visibility, which was bad for me to discover (b/c I shot my sales in the head), BUT IT’S GOOD TO KNOW. It means you can be successful without KU.

You can organically make your own fandom. I did. You can too. But you have to work for it. AND IT TAKES TIME. The first three years I was writing, I was doing good as a midlister and happy to stay there. I gave up on being more and then it happened. Part of hitting it big and not being a one shot wonder is building your fan base. IT’S TIME CONSUMING. It doesn’t happen over night. And growth is exponential, so it starts so damn slow. I mean it’s like watching grass grow. For the longest time your yard is a few seedlings that might vanish over night, but one day you have a grassy lawn! More people come because you get easier to see. Then you have a big ass jungle that you have no idea how to manage. True story. That’s a real problem.

The issues author’s face change over time, but there’s a path. At the start it’s finding readers. There’s no magic bullet, and it’s not riding on luck (my luck is usually pretty sucky, so hooray!). It’s planning, plotting, research, failure, and then do it all over again. Determination goes a long way. So does knowing the basics before you jump in.

MY BASICS:

  1. Most authors will only sell about 200 copies of their title. Ever.
  2. Most people have about 200 friends on Facebook.
  3. Most people have confined social circles and it takes effort to move beyond them. I’m shy. Believe me, I know.
  4. Your debut novel is the one that friends and family will buy to be supportive.
  5. Book 1 is where the most people will watch to see if you take off or fail. If you’re shy about it, you shoot yourself in the head.
  6. You HAVE to OWN it. You wrote a book. We should be like, ‘bring it on b*tch!’ but most of us are too timid to even say we wrote something. The first thing I did when I finished my first novel was make a facebook page. I told everyone. It made me sick to my stomach. Public failure is nauseating, but shyness has no place here. How can ppl read your book if you won’t admit you wrote one? You can’t act like it sucks either. No one wants to read self-professing suckage. So grow a backbone. Own it.
  7. Use the train wreck theory to your advantage. Everyone loves to watch stuff go up in flames. It’s human nature to rubber neck and stare. Likewise, we are inspired by people who try. We share hope when we succeed. If you fail? Do it again. That’s what I do. People like to see others that won’t stay down. It makes them want to try harder too. Tenacity is contagious. If you don’t have any, go follow Hugh Howey. That dude makes me want to buy a boat and sail away. 🙂
  8. By book four, you’re on your own and if you didn’t break that social wall, you’re screwed. That’s why you can’t just write the next book. You HAVE to engage with people. That can be online or in person, but it’s the kiss of death to be stuck in 200 land. I avoided that obstacle before I published my 1st title. I made sure that 200 number was behind me from the get go. That’s not possible if you hide, so stop hiding!
  9. READ. Holy mother of frig. Pick up a book. Read a blog about selling, business, something! You can learn ANYTHING online. You don’t have to stumble around in the dark wondering what ROI and P&L means or why it should matter to you. It should if you’re here to make a living and put food on the table. I go on reading binges about every 9 months. It lasts about 6 months, or until I’ve exhausted new information. Right now I’m in that phase. Yes, it’s time consuming, but at the end of the day no one cares more about your books than you do.
  10. Do the math. So, book 1 is likely to sell 200 copies. You paid $600 for your cover and $1400 for editing, plus another $100 for formatting. And another $100 for paperback proofs. If you only sell 200 copies, you need to net $11 per book. We have a mathematical problem here. You’re upside down. I have my own staff and do just about everything in-house at this point, but book 1 was me and hubby. We used skills we had and called in favors for the rest. It cost me $200 to publish. It made it possible to turn a profit by the 2nd week that title was out. So did the price. At that point there was no KU to fathom, but math is math. Less than 1/2 a cent per page vs. 99 cents vs. $3.99 or $4.99? This is the part that gets trippy. Most people admit they can’t sell. They don’t know how to market. It’s Greek.

With pricing, it’s simple – the lower your price point, the higher your volume HAS TO BE. There are tons of threads in here about it.

  • At 99 cents, you have to sell 340 books to make $100.
  • At $2.99, you have to sell 50 books to make $100.
  • At $4.99, you have to sell 30 books to make $100.

If you have no clue how to do mass sales, why assume you can? It’s hard for me and I know how to sell. SELLING MORE IS ALWAYS HARDER THAN SELLING LESS. There’s an assumption that ppl will buy cheap stuff if they see it, that it’s easier to sell. It’s not. It’s harder to sell because you already have your product priced as low as it can go, so there’s no way to promo it. You can’t do a 1 day sale, a new reader event, a coupon code – nothing. It’s like hobbling up to the starting line of a marathon with a zombie chewing on your ass. You can’t go 26 miles like that! Even if you knock him off, you’re hemorrhaging and bleeding all over the place. Yes, that happens with books. You can help a title or shoot it in the spine and have it hobble along until you repair whatever you did. The zombie on my ass is KU 1. I knocked the thing off, but a year later and I still feel it.

You’ll make mistakes. We all do. Be ready for them. Plan C, D, Y – they’re all coming your way and it’s not a bad thing. Keep getting up. Don’t stay down. And for the love of God, don’t pee on your grass before it’s a lawn. You have to be patient and intentional. There’s no way around that part, so lets do this! Indies rock! Keep on truckin’.

HM Ward is on WattPad with New Secret Stories! Shhhhh!

HM Ward NYT Bestselling author Wattpad

News! I’m heading over to Wattpad to post some stories I’ve been working on for the past few years. Sometimes things don’t turn into a novel, or they don’t fit in with the stories I’m currently telling, so they end up in my orphan pile file on my computer.

If you’re thinking that these are sub par tales, guess again. DAMAGED was one of the titles pulled from the orphan folder. I had no intention of ever publishing it. I had no idea people would react the way they did to that book. I took a lot of chances with it–a turkey in a bra? who can pull that off? swing dancing? a nice guy? it was whack for what was out at the time.

Long story short, there are many more stories like it just sitting in my folder. Some are Ferro. Some are paranormal. Some are weird. And some are hot. It’s a schmorgisboard of reads, baby!

So, grab the app or come over on your computer and click FOLLOW.

New Release! BROKEN PROMISES – A Trystan Scott Novel by HM Ward!

He’s here! He’s really, really here! BROKEN PROMISES, Trystan Scott’s follow up novel, is LIVE and IT’S HUGE!

A NEW ROMANCE NOVEL BY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR H.M. WARD ABOUT SEX, SOUL MATES, AND DEADLY SECRETS.

When Celebrity Magazine declares rock star Trystan Scott the sexiest man alive, I’m not surprised. How can anyone claim otherwise about those blazing blue eyes, rock-hard abs, dark hair, and a totally lickable dimple?

Before the billionaire playboy rose to stardom, we were friends for a while and lovers for a night. Though that was nearly a decade ago, our connection burns brightly in my memory. We weren’t a one night stand, not to me.

I can admit it–I got played. To him, I was just another conquest. My beautiful best friend is long gone, and I’ve moved on. But when fate forces us to meet face to face, everything I felt for him comes rushing back.

Trystan is crashing and burning fast. The press flock like vultures, waiting for him to kill himself or worse. Either way, his mistakes earn them millions.
One night, one time, one word is all it takes to wash away a decade of reason and regret. One secret threatens to push him six feet under, and, when those beautiful eyes turn to me for help, how can I say no?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Type: Novel, 410 pgs

BUY IT NOW!

Amazon    Nook    Kobo    Apple

BROKEN PROMISES video teaser

Broken Promises by H.M. WardWhat other people are saying about BROKEN PROMISES:

“This has to be H.M. Ward’s best work yet!!!” – Sheri

“I have no words to describe how amazing, awesome, unbelievably sexy Trystan is.” – Cheryl

“Be ready to laugh, break, cry and rejoice.” – Stacy Hahn

“Holly’s writing in this fantastic story comes straight from the very depths of her heart.” – Andrea Sanders

“All I can say is that this book is a must-read!” – Ian

“Sometimes you come upon a story that touches you, that moves you deeply and it becomes more than just a story.” – Melanie

“very sweet loving and as always, addictive” – Sarah

Cover Suckage, Bad Branding, & Other Indie Marketing Oopsies I’ve Made on My Way to Selling 1.5 (now 10+) Million Books (A Post for Self Published Authors)

Was that blog title long enough? 🙂 So, some of you know that I make my own covers. I even shoot some of the YA one’s myself. Anyway, I posted the info below for people who ask what were some of the major factors in my recent accomplishments, which include 6 New York Times bestsellers since January, TWO #1 Amazon bestsellers, and over 1.5 million books sold.

I’m 100% Indie and never went the traditional publication route (my control freak article in FORBES sheds a little light on why I self-published), and the stuff below played a huge factor in my success.

Thought I’d share for all my author friends out there.

***

Okay, my all time fav covers are YA PNR. Angel wings, demon eyes, and fluffy skirts on kick ass young women. *swoon* So, when I go to make an NA cover, my brain is like, “But it needs a dragon…” Technically, dragons make it fantasy, but dude – dragons are awesome! What romance cover wouldn’t look awesome with a dragon in the background with its wings sprawled?

So as you can see, my creative self is conflicted when I make new covers. I’ve posted some of these before, but I wanted to do it again, and include a final cover that had a branding issue. This kind of stuff is visual and I don’t know about you guys, but it helps me to actually see the difference, which usually results in a face palm.

SECRETS was the second book I wrote in the romance genre.

ORIGINAL COVER:

NEW COVER:

This one was the biggest oops: I wanted the cover to reflect the artistic stuff in the book. Problem: No one could identify the genre of this book based on the original cover art. Someone mentioned they thought it was going to be a thriller when it first came out. I was like, you’re cray cray, dude. And I was totally wrong.

What I learned: COVERS ARE STOP SIGNS. They should quickly reveal as much info about your book to the reader as possible and this did not. As soon as I changed the covers to the current version, sales shot up. By Christmas 2012 (book 1 in this series appeared last summer) the series was selling better than I’d ever hoped.

You’ll also notice that I had a pen name, which I stopped using late last year. Even though the pen name wasn’t a secret, people didn’t buy the books. It could have been the covers, or it could have been a lack of fans for Ella. By last summer, I had a small, loyal fan base for HM Ward. Ella had around 5. I could have branded both names, but time is an issue so I didn’t go that route. I used the name that already had the following – mine. 🙂

Here’s another example of stupid cover mistakes–SCANDALOUS. This book was my debut romance novel, and it was a sleeper. It did nothing for 9 months and then shot up and landed on the NYT bestseller list. In Jan of this year, I changed the cover and pulled it back under my name just before running an ad. People saw it, could tell what it was, and tried it. Plus, the ppl who read it when it first came out really liked it, so they pimped me out – all 5 of them! Seriously, those people are awesome and I can’t thank them enough. Don’t be stupid like I was. I had a serious cover crush on the old version and did NOT want to change it. The painting on the cover is IN the book. Short version: I was really stupid. Don’t wait 9 months to change covers or descriptions on books that aren’t preforming.

OLD COVER:

NEW COVER:

Okay, and here’s the last cover screw up I’ll show you for today–STRIPPED. 🙂 This is my next novel (no dragons 🙁 ) and it needed to be tied to the DAMAGED series. I did something stupid, in terms of branding. I have a series within a series. People weren’t getting it, so I’m trying to go back and brand the covers better.

This book was giving me all sorts of grief. The tone was a little off and the type-font was bugging me. Yes, I made it, but sometime I don’t see the issues until later. I think the mismatched branding was bugging me. I changed the cover last night and by this morning, the preorder ranking shot up quite a bit.

OLD COVER:

NEW COVER:

The new cover has that somber thing that DAMAGED has, plus matching fonts which should help connect the series. Now, instead, of comments like ‘LOOK! ITS SUPERMAN!’ the fans are saying ‘Awh, what’s the matter with Peter’s brother?’ which is way closer to the reaction I want.

Making my name legible was also a face palm. Ah dher.

And then when this book was on preorder, everyone and their dog started using the cover image. So I had to change it again. This is the current cover & follow up book:

 

Anyway, I have more examples of me being stupid, but the point of this post is to actually see the issues and not be afraid to change them and try something new. If you have a solid story and it isn’t selling, go back to the trifecta of awesomeness: COVER, TITLE, BLURB. Those things combined make a little stool, and all three legs need to be functioning to get ppl to look at your sample. If one is off, it knocks over your whole thingamadobie. Mine have been off and that’s okay. We’re not locked into keeping a crappy cover (meaning it doesn’t sell) b/c we’re indie. Change it as many times as it takes.

Examine what works and what doesn’t. Change things one at a time to see what the issue is. I totally thought it was my books last year. I was slamming my head into the wall b/c I wrote SEVEN new romance titles, all of which were sucking up the charts and doing nothing. It’s amazing how tweaking a few things can change EVERYTHING. Since Jan of this year, I’ve had 6 titles on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s like, SHUT UP! I know! And if I kept my artsy covers it would have never happened.

I’m supposed to be in the writing cave… gots to go. Hope this helps someone see the things that took me nearly a year to figure out. 🙂

*Update: This post is a few years old. Current sales exceed 12 million books total.