Month: July 2018

How Amazon Democratized Book Reviews

By: Ginger | Posted on July 25, 2018

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program revolutionized the publishing industry – allowing anybody with a laptop to follow their dreams of becoming a writer. In the same vein, Amazon also revolutionized book reviews; taking the power of showcasing (or bashing) a book out of the hands of an editorial elite and letting anybody have their say. It’s one of the best things to ever happen to publishing – and here’s why. Before I became a whatever-the-hell-I-am-now, I tried my hand at many different careers. My first job was scrubbing foxhounds at the local county hunt, and since then I’ve also tried garden shed installation, radio sales, copy-writing and bar tending – all with various degrees of success (my Sapphire Martini is world-class, by the way.) When I first moved to America, I got a very curious job reviewing erotic books for a now-defunct online newspaper The Sex Herald, and this was… Read More >

The Fundamentals of a Successful Book

By: Ginger | Posted on July 18, 2018

Recently, resident HG designer Ginger wrote an article about the importance of a strong cover for your novel – but there are many other fundamentals that go into whether a book is successful. Today he follows up on some of the other factors that can help lead you towards publishing success. “I don’t get it,” one aspiring author said to me recently. “I’m spending all this money on Facebook ads for my books – but I’m just not selling any!” Another complained: “I keep getting bad reviews!” A third lamented: “Nobody downloaded my books during my free promo days. Why?” These are questions that keep plaguing many would-be authors, and they don’t like the answer when they finally hear it. But it’s a bitter truth anybody who takes writing and publishing needs to hear – and take to heart. You can invest as much time, money and effort into promoting… Read More >

Super Spy Summer Reading for Teens

By: Ginger | Posted on July 13, 2018

If you want to make sure your teens are keeping up with their reading, here are five super-spy themed series that will leave them shaken and stirred. Summer is often a tough time for parents, as kids and teens can be off school for two months or more. Unfortunately, most parents with jobs don’t enjoy that same benefit – and it’s a challenge to balance fun family activities with keeping the house in order. Throw in the pressure of making sure kids stay on top of their schooling and a lot of parents are practically at the breaking point! One great way to make sure kids keep up with their reading is to introduce them to a book series they simply can’t put down. Recent young adult sagas like The Hunger Games, the Twilight saga and the Divergent trilogy have kept kids addicted to reading – and there are plenty more equally… Read More >

The Good and Bad of Amazon’s $50 Review Rule

By: Craig | Posted on July 10, 2018

Way back in 2017, Amazon introduced a requirement that anyone leaving a review on the site had to have spent at least $50 at the store with an actual credit or debit card. Over time, that policy has evolved to become even more restrictive. While we understand and even applaud the intent behind the policy, questions remain about whether or not it has really made a difference in improving the situation it was designed to fix. And even more importantly, is it worth the cost to the real customers affected by it. The Current $50 Review Rule While the original rule was that customers have spent $50 in total on their account before being able to leave an Amazon review, it has since become more restrictive.  According to the community guidelines page, a customer can only write a review if they’ve spent $50 over the last 12 months (that is,… Read More >

Five More Realistic Sci-Fi Books Like Artemis

By: Ginger | Posted on July 4, 2018

Recently I was in New York City with my two boys, and we got to see a fantastic installation commemorating the Audible launch of Artemis, by Andy Weir – the man who wrote the iconic book (and later movie) The Martian. Seeing real-life representations of items from the book – like the ‘Gunk’ which is a home-grown food source derived from algae, or the round air-filled bubbles that tourists visited the Apollo 11 landing site in – really brought the vivid realism of the book to life; and demonstrated how Weir had once again “scienced the heck out of” crafting his tale. Weir’s style of storytelling is often described as ‘science fact’ rather than science fiction, because it’s so well researched. No joke – I even attended a screening of The Martian with a former NASA engineer who’d designed one of the experiments sent to Mars on Viking 1. He… Read More >