Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Damien Boyd - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Damien Boyd. He is the author of the The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series.

Author Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery

Website: Damien Boyd
Author's Blog: Damien Boyd
Twitter: @DamienBoydBooks
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Damien Boyd is a solicitor and crime fiction writer.

Drawing on extensive experience of criminal law as well as several years in the Crown Prosecution Service, Damien writes fast paced crime thrillers featuring Detective Inspector Nick Dixon.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Kickback. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Swansong. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I have recently completed a short story that is being serialised in the local papers here in the UK. I am also working on Swansong, which is due out in the summer. I’m not committing to a release date yet but am aiming for the end of July at this stage. One advantage about being a self-published author is that I have no publisher’s deadlines to worry about!

Having said that, I have recently gone part-time at work to give me more time to devote to my writing so the end of July is suddenly more realistic. It’s a murder mystery, of course, with DI Nick Dixon in pursuit of a killer collecting ring fingers with a pair of bolt cutters. It sounds gruesome (and I suppose it is!) but, as with all my books, there is no graphic violence!

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

Social media has been all important to me. I started with very little understanding of either Facebook or Twitter but both are the 21st Century ‘word of mouth’ so every author needs to get to grips with them. I started with Facebook and decided to make sure I understood how to use that site before moving on to Twitter. My first media coverage came via Facebook and then it went from there, so it’s fair to say that social media has been vital for me.

My following on Twitter largely came from following others in my niche, and following their followers. The basic Twitter 101! I have long since stopped doing that and find that tweeting interesting stuff regularly is better for finding followers who are genuinely interested in what I have to say. I have never used forums or newsletters. Perhaps I should but I find that I am too busy writing at the moment. That’s the inevitable trade-off for any author, of course.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I have done a couple of book signings in the town where my books are set, namely Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, UK. There’s a large book store there called Hurleys and they got so fed up with people asking for my books they got in touch! I have also been to a book club meeting where my first book, As The Crow Flies, was being discussed. More will follow, hopefully, when I publish Swansong in the summer and people can keep in touch either via Facebook or Twitter or on my blog at

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

The best piece of advice I was given when I started out was that people really do judge a book by its cover. It really is that important and so, for that reason, I turned to someone who knows what she’s doing, Rachel Urbanowski at Littera Book Designs. I give her a basic idea of what the book is about and the sort of thing I am looking for and Rachel does the rest! Then all I have to do is pick the design I like and then perhaps ask for a few tweaks here and there. I haven’t got readers involved yet but it’s an interesting idea.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Well, I’ve recently gone part time at work so I’m hoping this might become a bit easier but it can be struggle juggling a full time job, and a demanding one at that, with writing and all that self-publishing requires. Time management is not easy outside work but it helps that I enjoy the writing process, researching and all that goes with it. I’m very much a mood writer. If I’m in the right mood then I can be very productive and when that happens I tend to go with the flow and keep at it. It’s definitely an area I hope to improve on now that I will have more time on my hands to manage.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, getting the book to your readers and the relationship with your readers and fans?

The advent of ebooks is what inspired me to have a go at writing in the first place. The knowledge that I could write a novel and publish it myself in ebook form gave me the impetus to have a go, and I would encourage anyone who feels they have a book in them to do the same. What had always deterred me before was the ‘finding an agent/getting a publishing deal’ treadmill and all that entails. So, that short answer to this question, I suppose, is that the advent of ebooks changed everything for me!

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

The first book in the DI Nick Dixon Crime Series, As The Crow Flies, is available free on Amazon, iTunes, Nook and Kobo and for an unknown author like me it’s an ideal way of giving new readers the opportunity to try my work and see if they like it. Finding new readers is always the challenge! I have not tried giveaways other than that.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I hope my book launching process has improved with each attempt! I like to trail in advance that it is coming and, again, Facebook and Twitter have been invaluable for that. The local media have also been very kind to me, which is an enormous help. The first thing I like to do is post the first few pages online and then a week or so later, the cover. Then on launch day I will do a short Facebook ad campaign to make sure everyone knows it’s out and then I get on with the next book! When I launched Kickback I was lucky enough to be invited to do a BBC Radio interview but otherwise, that’s the extent of my launch formula. Book marketing experts will howl, no doubt, but it seems to work for me!

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed and marketing your books. What is your primary goal?

I try to keep readers informed and involved. They have been kind enough to read my books and so it’s only fair! It’s also nice for new readers ‘checking me out’ to see a good website and an active Twitter and Facebook presence but it’s more about being available to readers who like to get in touch, as many do.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I rely on readers to leave reviews as general rule, but I do include a polite note at the end of each book asking them if they would kindly do so. I also posted a note on Facebook giving the link to the review page but now I tend to let nature take its course.

Author's Book List
Kickback - The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series
Trainee jockey, Noel Woodman, has been kicked to death by an aggressive stallion at a horse racing stables near Bridgwater. Everyone is convinced it was an accident, except his brother, Jon, home on leave from Afghanistan.

Still recovering from the physical and mental scars of his last case, DI Nick Dixon is drawn into the investigation at the point of a gun and soon begins peeling away the layers of secrets and lies.

With the pressure mounting, his determination to unlock the case is tested to the limit, and, as the hunt for the killer gathers pace, Dixon finds himself fighting for his life in the dead of night.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Head In The Sand - The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series
The discovery of a severed head in a bunker on Burnham and Berrow golf course triggers a frantic race to find a serial killer that brings the seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea to a standstill.

When the connection is made with a series of unsolved murders over thirty years before, Detective Inspector Nick Dixon finds himself chasing ghosts from the past in a race against time that takes him the length and breadth of the country.

The brutal killing of an elderly man in a flat on Burnham seafront raises the stakes and, as he closes in, Dixon begins to question whether he is chasing one serial killer or two...

A fast paced crime thriller and the second in the DI Nick Dixon Crime Series, Head In The Sand follows on from As The Crow Flies, which has been described as 'gripping'.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
As The Crow Flies - The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series
Rock climbing is now a blood sport...

Detective Inspector Nick Dixon's former climbing partner, Jake Fayter, is dead. Killed in a fall whilst practising a new route on High Rock, Cheddar Gorge. Convinced that Jake would not have made such a simple mistake, Nick Dixon starts digging and uncovers a web of intrigue and criminal activity that will rock the sleepy seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea to its core.

As the body count rises, Dixon is forced to break every rule in the book and put his own life on the line to bring the killer out into the open.

A fast paced crime thriller that will leave you gasping for breath, As The Crow Flies is a spine tingling introduction for DI Nick Dixon and a spectacular debut novel from crime fiction writer, Damien Boyd.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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