Month: August 2018

Write What You Know vs Write to Market

By: Craig | Posted on August 31, 2018

As someone that works with scores of authors each month, I often hear about the challenges they face or get asked about my opinion on various things.  One source of confusion that comes up, particularly from newer authors, is whether they should “write what they know” or “write to market”, since those two bits of common writing advice are often diametrically opposed. It’s confusing because both of those recommendations have just as many authors that support them as they do dispute them. So what’s an author to do? Which way is right? To really answer that properly, it’s best to look at both bits of advice in more detail so that we understand what makes them so contentious in the first place. “Write What You Know” If you’re like many writers, this may have been one of the first bits of writing advice you were given back in school.  I’m… Read More >

Best Romance Novels We’ve Recently Reviewed

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 28, 2018

Each day, subscribers to Hidden Gems are sent the opportunity to review hundreds of complimentary books spanning more than 15 different genres – and have become well-known for the honest reviews they choose to leave.  A new, regular feature on this blog will be a periodic highlight of some true Hidden Gems our subscribers discovered, and why you might want to check them out. Keep checking back for the latest lists, categorized by genre, and learn about some of the best books that we’ve sent out. Or, join our list of readers and help discover future gems yourself!  Romance is always one of the most popular genres for subscribers to Hidden Gems, and in July we shared the opportunity to review dozens of titles with our readers. So many, in fact, that it wasn’t easy to parse them down to a shorter list of just the best romance novels in the… Read More >

Notes From a Writing Contest Judge

By: Anne Lovett | Posted on August 24, 2018

Many authors get their start by entering writing contests – either for the experience or just because of the added push a win or placement gives to their ego. Other writers find them intimidating, unsure if they have what it takes simply because they don’t know what to expect. So who better to give us the rundown on writing contests than Anne Loveet – a published author who doubles as a writing contest judge herself? I like to “give back” to the organizations that help me in my writing journey, and one way is to be a contest judge. This year, I’ve judged for the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier contest, and our local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter contest, the Maggies. I’ve seen the gamut from wonderful manuscripts ready to publish to a few I could barely get through. Have questions about writing contests and judging? Here… Read More >

Best Thrillers We’ve Recently Reviewed

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 21, 2018

Every day, our readers are sent hundreds of complimentary copies over a variety of titles.  Spanning more than 15 different genres, our subscribers rarely go long without a free book to read, and are well known for the honest reviews they often choose to leave.  As part of a new, regular feature, we’ll be highlighting a handful of the true Hidden Gems of a given genre that our subscribers have recently discovered. Keep checking back for new lists featuring some of the best books that we’ve sent out, or join our list of readers and help discover future gems yourself!  July 2018 was a whirlwind month for fans of thrillers – with some great books offered up to readers of our ARC program. But that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on reading some of the best thrillers! These books are all still for sale, so take advantage of the fact… Read More >

The Complex Relationship Between Authors and Free Books

By: Craig | Posted on August 17, 2018

There’s a lot of mistaken belief when it comes to free books, from both authors and readers alike.  After all, whether they’re doing it for the love of the art, or just as a job, most authors still want to earn money from their work, so how can free books ever be a good thing?  The truth is, the relationship between authors and free books go back a long time – and like any relationship… it’s complicated. Every so often I see a reader don their white hat to make the argument that they don’t use an ARC program because they think that authors should get paid for their work. An admirable sentiment, for sure.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if those same readers have ever used a library, or borrowed a novel from a friend?  After all, readers have been using those as traditionally acceptable sources of free… Read More >

Putting the Grit into Girl Power: Five Thrilling Female Heroes

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 14, 2018

From Atomic Blonde to the new Star Wars movies, it seems like everybody is crying out for strong female characters – but not all female heroes are created equal. Here are five books series with a thrilling female lead – all of which are also great reads. In 2017, the movie Wonder Woman exploded into movie theaters, and columns across the Internet were penned proclaiming: “Finally! A female action star!” Those of us of a certain age remember previous female action heroes, though – like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens or Linda Hamilton in Terminator. Nobody seemed to make a big deal about the fearless Ellen Ripley being female, or Sarah Connor being the ultimate overprotective mama bear – and I think modern female-focused movies and books have a lot to learn from these older characters. Representation is important, and it’s fantastic that more movies and book series are being created… Read More >

Break Through Your Fears And Write That First Book!

By: David Falkirk | Posted on August 10, 2018

Writing a book is hard, but even harder is writing that first book. How many great novelists have we never even heard of because they couldn’t push past their fears or self-doubt? Like most fears, the ones around writing stem from the unknown. Do you even know how to write a book? Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it?  For those that push through, they eventually find those answers – which explains why subsequent books are often much easier to write – but what about everyone else? For a long time, David Falkirk was in that everyone else category but he eventually broke through and is now the author of multiple novels. He’s sharing what he learned and how he did it so that you can finish your first book as well. It wasn’t procrastination. Not exactly. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer — an author — since… Read More >

Five Unsettling Books Like ‘The Outsider’

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on August 7, 2018

This May, Stephen King rewarded fans with yet another creepy tale of chilling suspense with The Outsider. If you’re a fan of unexpected tales of horror, here are five more highly-recommended reads to keep you on the edge of your seat. Stephen King has come a long way. Once described as “America’s Schlockmeister,” in 2015 he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Obama, proving that the nation’s tastes have evolved; and people have finally realized what a startling talent King truly is. There’s no other writer quite like him; weaving creepy tales full of unexpected twists, described with beautifully visceral language and dialogue that brings every page to life. With The Outsider, King has done it once again – presenting the grim and grisly reality of a shocking crime, and then peeling back the layers of narrative to reveal that everything is even more terrifying and messed… Read More >

Why Do People Give Romance Such a Hard Time?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 1, 2018

For decades, the romance genre has been the butt of innumerable jokes – but it continues to be the biggest genre in publishing, and generates over $1 billion in sales every year. Is it time we looked at this much-maligned genre with a more discerning eye? If you’re remotely interested in reading romance books, you might have heard about #Cockygate – the latest big scandal to hit publishing earlier this year. The details have been covered enough that we don’t need to rehash it all again, but a lot of the resulting discussion in the media focused on the broader subject of the romance genre in general, and even romance readers themselves. It’s that focus that is worthy of further discussion. Because what was written and said about the genre and romance readers in particular wasn’t very flattering. By and large, most authors who write romance novels, and most readers who devour them,… Read More >