Teaser #2 – Book #5 in the bestselling DEMON KISSED series by HM Ward

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Ready for teaser #2?  You know it!!!


THE 13th PROPHECY is LONGER than any other book in this series. It still has some editing going on, but it’s currently at 375 pages!

More teasers to come!

And here is some news that DEMON KISSED fans will enjoy.  There is a spin-off of the Demon Kissed series in the works! The working title is: ASSASSIN–FALL OF THE GOLDEN VALEFAR. This series will alternate release dates with the Vampire Apocalypse by H.M. Ward series. Can’t wait to share more info! It’s eeping awesome! I’M EXCITED!!!!

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10 Days of Teasers! THE 13th PROPHECY (book #5 in the DEMON KISSED series)

It’s time for 10 DAYS OF TEASERS!  

Help us get ready for the release of the final Ivy Taylor book in the DEMON KISSED series by H.M. Ward!

Day #1 is…You get to read the 1st line in THE 13th PROPHECY!

The shadows surrounding the Pool of Lost Souls were different. -The 13th Prophecy

Ooooh!  Ahhhhh!  I can’t wait to share this book with you!

And don’t worry DEMON KISSED fans, a spin off series will appear in early summer 2012.  Can’t say too much about it now, but it has some of your favorite characters.  This series will follow someone of interest in DEMON KISSED.  I’m guessing you’ll know exactly who when you finish reading THE 13th PROPHECY.  It’s gonna be awesome!  The working title for the spin off novel is FALLEN/ THE GOLDEN VALEFAR.

More teasers to come!  And, remember–THE 13th PROPHECY will be released on March 6, 2012!

Need to get caught up on this series?  Go to the ordering page for the series order and locations selling the books & ebooks.

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How to Write a Query Letter that Doesn’t Suck

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The woman in the picture isn’t in the process of constructing a query letter.  You can tell from the lack of ARGHS! in the painting, and the pleasant expression on her face.

Writing a good query is HARD.  I went totally insane trying to figure out how to write a killer query letter.  I read, read, read — I even paid to take a class on how to write a query letter.  And guess what?  Every single one of them said what a query letter kinda, sorta is.  Lots of these resources said what a query letter isn’t.  That’s like saying ice cream isn’t an apple.  Correct, but not helpful.

My query letter for DEMON KISSED received several requests for full manuscripts, and multiple offers of representation from top NY agents.  I thought I’d share what I’d learned since a lot of people have problems with it.  The query letter is a crucial part in the publication process whether you self-published or go traditional.  The query is the same thing that goes in the description line on Amazon, and the back cover of your book – minus the intro and conclusion.  The query will also be used when your book goes on submission to publishers.  If you are a writer, the query letter comes up over and over again.  It’s important to rock it.

So, how do I write a good query letter?

These are the best tips I’ve come across.  Forget everything else for a second and see if this helps.  Getting overwhelmed is the track to instant query letter suckage.

Every query needs a HOOK.  A hook is something that ensnares the reader to read on.  Its a concept – an idea that grabs your attention.  A good way to think of the hook for your book is to ask yourself this: what is the one event that spurs my book into motion?  If you removed this event, your book wouldn’t exist.  In my book, it’s the initial fight with Jake and the demon kiss that followed.  That one thing totally screwed up Ivy’s life.  If that event was removed from the storyline, there would be no novel – no series.  It’s crucial.  It’s the catalyst for the entire book.  So, what’s yours?

Less is more.  Hone the body of your query down to 300 words or less.  You’re a wordsmith.  Act like it.  Use the words that pack the most punch.

Word things positively - It uses fewer words and tends to be more concise.

Make the stakes crystal clear.  What happens if your protagonist fails?  What are the repercussions?

Remember that the query is a sales letter.  This is the most important thing I realized.  I’ve been in sales for most of my adult life, so sales is nothing new.  But, I had other writers swear to God that a query was not a sales letter.  They said that I was wrong and going straight to Hell for suggesting such a thing.  Well, my query got lots of attention very fast, so my sales theory worked.  Why?  Because that is exactly what the query letter is doing – it’s selling the highlights of your idea for a novel.  The query is fast, action packed, and a succinct showcase of your book.  They query is meant to grab your attention and make you want more.  It’s a tease.

What does this look like in a query letter?  Here’s the query I used for DEMON KISSED that got so much attention:

“The Valefar boy tricked Ivy Taylor into kissing him, but he took much more than a kiss – he stole her soul and left her within inches of death. By surviving, Ivy is drawn into the conflict between the Martis and the Valefar. The war between these two immortal forces has raged for millennia without distraction. Until now.

Ivy is an anomaly—she is the only person who has ever walked away from a demon kiss alive. Her survival gives her unique and deadly abilities. Too powerful to ignore, Ivy is a threat to both armies. These two ancient enemies will stop at nothing to kill the seventeen-year-old. Surviving is nothing new for headstrong Ivy, but her survival has never depended on another person before. This time it does. And if she misplaces her trust, she’s dead.

To her horror, she starts falling in love at the worst possible time—with the enemy. He appears to be protecting her. But she can’t be certain if he is trying to help her, or help himself to her power. For Ivy, trusting the right person is the difference between love and survival, or a deadly demon kiss.  -Query for YA Paranormal Romance novel Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward.

This is the hook: The Valefar boy tricked Ivy Taylor into kissing him, but he took much more than a kiss – he stole her soul and left her within inches of death.” 

The query is a short little tease – that’s it.  What ever you do – don’t write a summary!  And don’t feel bad if you submit and keep getting rejections.  Many authors will submit a query 100 times before they get positive replies.  The authors who submit one query and then land a legacy book deal with one of the Big 6 – well, they’re imaginary.  That doesn’t happen.  Keep a list of who you submit to, and don’t waste time submitting to agents or publishers who don’t do your genre.  Remember, this is about refining your query til it sparkles.  Make your query a sparklie tease, and you’ll get agents requesting your manuscript in no time!

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News on BANE by H.M. Ward-the 1st book in the new VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE series

I’ve had a lot of people asking me about BANE-the 1st book in the new VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE series by bestselling author H.M. Ward.  I thought I’d post the cover and leak some information.

BANE will be released this spring – April 15, 2011.  This is a dystopian paranormal series.  Although it’s not young adult, it is written with the same fast pacing as my other YA series, DEMON KISSED.

The VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE books are a stand-alone series.  That means you can read them out of order.  There isn’t a book #1, #2, #3 that you have to read in order.  This will make it possible to enter the series at any point.

There are no ARC’s of BANE.  However I do have swag and cool stuff you can put on your blog if you are a book blogger looking for something new to review.

BANE is a tense dark paranormal romance.  The world as we know it is gone.  The ice caps have melted and shifted south, devastating the northern territories and eradicating major cities such as New York and London, which are now under water and frozen.  Humans died off during an epidemic prior to the ice disaster, and many more died during the floods at the start of this new ice age.

These events have forced vampires out of hiding.  In order to ensure that their food source wouldn’t completely die off, the vampires have sequestered the remaining humans into farms and taken control of all that remains of civilization.  Over time, the humans breeding on these farms became anemic. Their blood no longer sustains the master race.  But not all of the humans were captured and sent to the farms.  Some of the humans evaded the hunters, hiding in safe houses across the frozen tundra.  As decades passed, the free humans disappeared, died, or were captured, until all that remains is one.  Kahli is the last wild human.  BANE is her story.

The first chapter of BANE will be released with THE 13th PROPHECY on March 6, 2012.  More information will be avalaible on the official website, which will be up shortly.  The facebook page for BANE is over here.  Come visit!  And I still haunt the Demon Kissed page like crazy.

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Shattering the Myth: You CAN use facebook to promote your book! (marketing basics for writers and authors)

I was in YAlitchat on twitter the other night and won a book for SHATTERING THIS MYTH:


I honestly didn’t realize that was a myth.  Then we started talking about it and I realized there’s a simple reason why I didn’t buy into the myth.

I have over 43,000 facebook fans and have sold over 15,000 YA DEMON KISSED books in less than a year.  

And I focused entirely on facebook.

As the Tweeting rolled along, I noticed that there are a TON of writers out there who don’t know marketing basics.  And why would you?  You’re a writer, not a marketing maniac.

But in today’s market you have to be both.  This is the reason I didn’t go the traditional publication route.  The publishers and agent asked me - how do we convert the facebook fans to buyers?  I couldn’t believe they asked me that.  I couldn’t believe they didn’t know.  That’s their job.  How did I know, and they didn’t?  I pulled my manuscript and walked away.  And I haven’t looked back.

The marketing world is shifting, and it’s not only affecting publishers.  I’m self-employed and have been for years.  Learning these things is so important.  Even if you are traditionally published.  No one – NO ONE – can promote your books better than you.  Period.

So, how do you learn these things?  Most of us didn’t go to school for marketing.  And learning by trial and error is expensive.  And stupid.  Well, guess what? There are easy ways to avoid costly mistakes.

BOOKS.  You’re gonna slap yourself in the head when you realize how much you can learn on your own.  When a person first looks at marketing there is a total information overload.  If you look for marketing books on Amazon or in BAM – there are TONS OF THEM.  There are words you’ve never heard before.  And what kind of marketing information do you need?  Traditional?  Networking? Gorilla?  If you’re like me your first thought was, WTF is Gorilla Marketing?

Marketing as a whole appears daunting, but it isn’t once you are aware of the basics.  And that’s what I’m going to talk about.

There will be a series of blog posts about some of the basics of marketing, including stuff about social media, expensive/stupid things that don’t work, and marketing techniques that are so simple – you can do them right away.  And you can use this info if you are traditionally published or Indie.

So what’s MARKETING anyway?  Marketing is what you do to promote your book.  It’s the means of getting your ads in front of people.  Think of an ad as a static means of communicating that you have a book for sale.  Marketing is active.  It’s how you go about promoting your book.  See the ‘ing’?  That infers you’ll be doing something.  Don’t expect money to fall from the sky just because you have a pretty ad.  Life doesn’t work that way.

Since this topic scares the hell out of people, I’ll start small.  Think of it as an introduction to help you understand this crazy world of promotion.  If the word marketing makes you feel queesy, think of it as ‘making your book visible to the public.’  Because that’s what you will be doing.

While we are talking about marketing, you will read the term ‘channel.’  Each ‘channel’ is a different means of advertising your work.  Examples of different channels are: a movie theater ad, a newspaper ad, and a cardboard display at Barnes & Noble.  Typically, marketing is done most effectively using three different channels simultaneously.

Each is channel different.  Each channel targets differently.  There is statistical information for each, including typical response rates.  Based on what I was hearing on Twitter, I wanted to talk about some of the most common marketing channels used by authors.  It should help you consider what is effective and reconsider what’s not.


Think twice about doing anything in print.  This includes but isn’t limited to postcards, mailings, billboards, newspaper ads, etc.  You can tell it’s a print ad if the marketing campaign requires you to physically print something.

Print is very costly with a low return rate – and that is assuming you created your ad with a call to action, correct prompts, and a deadline.  How low?  Say you do a mailing.  You make a pretty little postcard and mail those babies.  The cost is $100′s of dollars, and that is assuming you create your cards and mail them yourself to a small number of people (1,000 or less).

What is the statistical response rate on snail mail?  1%-3%.  That’s it.  Using snail mail to entice people to buy your book is expensive.  Example: A mailing of 1,000 pieces can easily cost you $1 a piece.  That’s $1,000 that you would need to recover before turning a profit.  Mathematically, a 3% response rate on your book is 30 people.  The average author is making $1.14 profit on a book, which means – if you did well – that you made $34.20 from that mailing.  And honestly, 3% is high and is usually from a targeted mailing – not a wide spread, un-targeted mailing.  (We’ll get into target demographics in another post).  Do the math.  How many books would you have to sell to make that postcard print run and mailing financially worth it?  The math doesn’t add up.  And any time the math doesn’t add up – DON’T DO IT!  This promotion cost you -$965.80.  That sucks.  And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some people will cry and ask - Well, what else is there?  Marketing is expensive and return rates suck on everything!  Yeah, that’s just not true.  Some very effective marketing is very cheap.  Most people think of mail when they go to promote their book, because they get so much crap themselves.  But there are better ways to spend your money.

Come back later for the next marketing post: Marketing for Writers & Authors Part I: Making the Most of Your Online Presence.  It’s simple, easy, and cheap and/or free.  And you can do it right away!

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Review of YA Paranormal Romance Novel: Satan’s Stone by H.M. Ward

Here is a review from the latest book in the DEMON KISSED series by H.M. Ward - SATAN’S STONE.  It sums up the book very well without spoiling anything.  And her idea of PETA approved vampires is hysterical!

5 STARS – 1/31/12

“Wow. I literally read this entire book in one sitting (if you don’t count getting up to have dinner). Satan’s Stone is the 4th book in the Demon Kissed series, and they are only getting better.

One of my favorite characteristics of the Demon Kissed series in the last 3 books was their ability to completely blindside me, and Satan’s Stone kept up the trend. I absolutely loved the fact that one minute I was sure beyond a doubt about something, and the next I would be proven completely wrong with some fun new plot twist. The story continues to be excitingly original and unpredictable.

Prehaps even a little more than the other Demon Kissed books, Satan’s Stone has a dark side that I absolutely revere. I’ve had my fill of books bursting with fluff and rainbows: a few examples being supernatural guys who leave because they’re “afraid of hurting” people, no main characters ever getting hurt (very unrealistic), and vampires suitable for PETA. Satan’s Stone makes my heart race with everything from the heartless demons, to the black magic, to the edge-of-death experiences that are an all too common experience for the characters.

The one and only complaint I have for Satan’s Stone is a small one. As she did in some of the previous books, the main character Ivy continues to lie and hide things from the people that care about her and it does get to be a little irritating. Other than that, Ivy continues to be the refreshingly strong and powerful heroine that I love.

Satan’s Stone was an amazing addition to the Demon Kissed series and I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you haven’t read the first 3 books, I highly recommend that you do! I am dying to read the next book, which comes out in March.” -Linny Milliron via Goodreads

I want to personally thank everyone who takes the time to write a review.  It’s beyond awesome when a reader and a writer connect, and one of the ways that happens is when people take the time to write detailed comments like this one.  It lets you know the flavor of the books without giving anything away.  Thank you so much Linny!  And everyone else who has written reviews!  This series wouldn’t be a bestseller without awesome people like you!

The final book in the DEMON KISSED series – THE 13th PROPHECY – will be released March 6, 2012.

To purchase the 4th book in the DEMON KISSED series, click here.

For more information about this series, please visit: www.DemonKissed.com.

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