Marketing Tips from a debut author GONE VIRAL!

I'm SUPER excited to have my friend and fellow author, HD Smith on Quill or Pill today. We met a few years back the NYC Perfect Pitch Conference and ended up with our first novels being published within a few days of each other...

My 5 star review:

Dark Hope was awesome and I'm sad it's done. Being inside Claire's head, the author did the most amazing job of having the reader truly experience everything right through Claire's eyes. I loved every twist and turn. Even when I thought I knew the direction the novel was headed, HD Smith took a zigzag and surprised me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy/paranormal. 

Now to get to the nuts and bolts...I've watched HD's book stay right around the 20,000 rank since it was released! She is obviously a marketing genius, so I invited her to answer a few questions for the hopeful rest of us!

Take it away HD:

More about DARK HOPE:

After the third person asked me what I was doing to market my book, I updated the writers tab on my website to include most of what will be answered below:

1. What marketing tools have you seen the most return on investment?
It’s hard to know exactly which things have created the most sales. In the beginning it was all about exposure. The more people that knew about the book the better. I was trying to get it out there on different blogs and get reviews from people I didn’t know. I think the key here is variety. Don’t expect your own posts on Facebook to reach new people. You have to do something to drive new individuals to your book. At some point you hope it starts “rolling on its own” which means new people are finding your book from friends or automatic website suggestions, not directly from marketing efforts of the author. With that said, I feel the best use of my money was the blog tour and the Facebook promotion services I hired. Those were relatively inexpensive and put me in front of lots of new people.
2. How important is a book tour? Blogging? Guest blogging?
I truly feel this was the best use of my money so far. If you have a list of blogs in your genre you frequently visit, you can DIY a blog tour for free. If you have no clue how to do this, you can hire a promoter. Find a blog or two in your genre and see which promoters are listed on that site. Or see which posts are there and try to determine if that post is part of a tour. It is usually easy to figure out which ones are tours by promoters (the pic at the top will usually include their website). Find a promoter that handles your genre, so you will get on blogs that fit your book. Also, expect this to take 1-2 months to setup. Blogs have posts cued up, so this isn’t something you can make happen next week, especially if you want to select the review option.
3. You have an incredible book trailer and even made the audio book happen on your own! Tell us why those pieces were important to you and how you feel like it has helped the book succeed.
I love my book trailer. I searched around and found many different services, usually with three levels of service. The first, which is the least expensive, is also the most boring (IMO). The second level is more involved and could include moving pictures, not just static ones. The third is the most expensive and can include things like voice over (usually canned, not original). I picked the designer based on her other work and selected the third level because she was having a sale, otherwise I probably would have selected the second level. This was not cheap, but I use it everywhere, so I feel it was a good investment overall.
The audiobook is a passion. I love audio, I wish every book was in audio. I specifically asked to retain my audio rights (from the small press publisher) because I wanted control over this outlet. I have a blog post which describes my experience: I will add that I chose a very experienced narrator, which was on the higher end of the cost scale. There are plenty of good narrators out there who aren’t at the top of the range, but audio can still be very expensive to produce. It will be a while before I actually make money on this venture, but it was something I really wanted to do.
4. I personally am so excited about the massive success of your book and have watched your Amazon rank hold steady around 20,000! C'mon! Give us hopeful authors some scoop on how you've managed to keep these numbers so high and continue to do so.
As I mentioned above, I have basically tried to get the book in front of NEW people as often as possible. I’ve participated in multi-author Facebook promotion events, I’ve added my book to giveaways for other author’s events, I’ve submitted my book for review at several different sites (InD’tale, Book Viral, blog tours, etc). I list some of the services I’ve used on the writers tab on my website:
5. How have you connected with your readers? Have you used Goodreads? Facebook? Twitter?
Yes, I have all of these, but my most active interactions have been on Facebook. I linked Facebook to post on Twitter so that there is activity there too without having to post twice. Some of the author promotion services don’t actually require author participation. I try to participate, because people want that connection with the real you.

6. You once told me that even if you publish with a small press, market like you are indie. What does that mean?
Market like no one else is going to. If your publisher says they are going to create a blog tour for you, great, but create your own too. My publisher recently got my book posted on 1 blog. That blog site then tweeted about my book for a few days, but unlike Book Viral, which did basically the same thing, I never saw one of those tweets retweeted by anyone, not even the publisher, who was attached to most of the tweets. Just go about it as if you have no one but yourself to promote your book. Anything else that happens (from your publisher or your friends) will just be icing on the cake.
7. Everyone says, "The best marketing is writing a next book." Can we expect more from Claire and how are you juggling writing with marketing?
I totally agree with this. I probably spent more time than I should have marketing after the first month. I highly recommend doing as much promotion as possible for the first 4-6 weeks to get the book out there. I also already had a version of book 2 and book 3(very rough draft for 3) so I didn’t feel the same pressure as I might have had I been starting with nothing for book 2. Marketing is important because you want them to want book 2, but if you wait forever to produce book 2 they may forget about you, and you’re basically starting over.

Good Luck!

Want even more info about this amazing new author and her new book? I know! I can't get enough of her either...

Genre:  Mainstream Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Champagne Books

(HINT: WATCH this book trailer - so cool!) 

Available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo: March 3rd, 2014

Tag Line:

Loving a demon isn’t the end of the world—losing him is.

Book Blurb:

Claire, the Devil’s assistant, knows very little about the world she was dropped into five years ago, when she inherited her mother’s unpaid debt to the Demon King. She certainly didn’t expect to be a contender for the Fallen Queen’s throne, a target for the Druid King’s mafia, or a suspect in the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hell spawn.

In a last ditch effort to save her life and get out of her deal with the Devil, she sets out to solve Junior’s murder only to be taken prisoner by the four most dangerous immortal hell spawn alive.

Not to be out done, the Pagan Queen Mab, claims Claire for entering her realm uninvited. She has an old debt to settle with her brother the Devil. Taking Claire from him after losing her years ago is just icing on the cake.

Will Claire win her freedom, and save herself from the Devil? Or be trapped by Mab forever?

HD's Get to Know you Questions and Bio:

What is your favorite flower?

What word in the English language do you wish you had invented?

Where would you like to live?
Remote tropical island with the ability to magically transport back to civilization when needed

What is the first quote that comes to your mind?
“To be or not to be, that is the question—”

What animal best describes the kind of boy you’d be interested in?

What do you miss about your childhood?
My dog Ralf :( … he was half-basset hound half-chow (very interesting combination)

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I’ve actually done this before, and I’m not telling J

What is the main fault in your character?
If this were a job interview I’d say – My relentless attention to detail, but since this is not a job interview I’ll say – I don’t suffer the fool very well (at all)

Who is your favorite historical figure?
Jane Austen … the first one that came to mind.

Describe how you kiss in one word.

If you met the right boy today, would you propose tomorrow?
Unfortunately no, in real life it doesn’t work that way … which is why we read books, right? :)

What in the world do you least desire?
Death and Taxes

Thanks HD!

HD Smith has been writing as a hobby for over ten years. DARK HOPE is her first traditionally published full length novel. She has previously self-published two middle grade novellas in ebook format. She is a software developer by day, working for an awesome cruise line in Celebration, FL.

HD grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has Computer Science degrees from Clemson University (CS) and Florida Institute of Technology (MS). Her other hobbies include painting and screen printing. She enjoys creating t- shirts inspired by the places in her books. For more information, visit HD’s website at

HD’s Links:

 (message me to join my street team!)

Purchase Links:


Popular Posts