Month: May 2020

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 2

By: Nate | Posted on May 29, 2020

In the first part of this series, Nate laid the foundation for keyword mastery which authors need to understand in order to make sure that casual customers will find their book when using the Amazon search bar. In this conclusion, he plays the part of mad data scientist as he demonstrates how to formulate the keywords for a specific book, while also explaining some best practices on how to organize those keywords effectively, and thoughts on keyword upkeep.  The Promise of the Premise The first thing to do when you keyword any book is to consider the story at its most basic level, because the premise will tell you the most important thing about your book: who the audience is. So let’s say we have a shifter story about a research scientist who meets her fated mate at an Arctic research base run by polar bear shifters. It’s never too… Read More >

5 Children’s Books That Really Stood Out

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 26, 2020

Each and every week, subscribers to Hidden Gems are offered FREE books to download, read, and review – from any or all of over 15 different genres. Today, we’re going to look at some of our subscribers favorite Children’s Books that were recently sent out to them. Children’s Books are one of the more challenging genres to be successful at as a self-publisher, so hopefully it’ll be valuable to take a look at these “Hidden Gems” among their ranks.  Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm by D. G. Priya Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm is one of two books in this charming series of children’s books by author D. G. Priya, who is a computer science major with a passion for helping introduce children to STEM subjects, and computational thinking. In an age in which computer science experience is considered one of the foundational skills for success in our… Read More >

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 1

By: Nate | Posted on May 22, 2020

Today’s guest blogger isn’t so much a guest as a regular fixture around here.  Nate has been with Hidden Gems almost as long as I have, and has helped me build it into what it is today because of his combination of technical know-how, industry knowledge and solid understanding of design. This article is slightly more technical than most of the ones we post, but really explains some of the often overlooked details of how Amazon’s search really works and the role that your keywords play.  This understanding is essential to anyone looking to really make the system work for their books, and future installments of this series will build upon this to really give you an edge over the sea of competition your book is swimming against. For authors old and new, keyword selection remains one of the most mystifying and frustrating parts of book marketing. The dirty secret… Read More >

The 5 Romance Novels Readers Picked in April 2020

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 19, 2020

Romance novels never go out of favor, and this April subscribers to Hidden Gems received invitations to read and review some really fantastic romantic reads. We rounded up the numbers – the readers who picked each book, and the reviews they left for it – and decided to share the five ‘Hidden Gems’ as selected by our subscribers. Pioneer Dream by Ramona Flightner Dozens of 5-star reviews attest to how popular Ramona Flightner‘s historical romances are, and with Pioneer Dream she weaves a tale that hits every note. This is the tale of tough, down-to-earth frontiersman Kevin O’Rourke – who never expected to plunge into the cold waters of the Missouri River in pursuit of a woman overboard, or to fall just as deeply in love with her when she’s pulled from the water. Likewise, the waterlogged Aileen O’Keefe had very specific reasons to travel to Fort Benton, Montana – but… Read More >

Series-Writing Advice: Think Like a Reader!

By: Ginger | Posted on May 15, 2020

If you want to generate a following as an author, it’s important to think like a reader.  This means not only determining what it is that they want from your books themselves, but considering how it is they discover you as an author, what works best in drawing them into your stories, and most importantly, how to keep them hooked and reading more of your work! While writing is a craft, being a successful self-published author is a business; and it’s important to think of it exactly like that when it comes to advertising and marketing your books – a business. You want to score the most sales you can; and that begins with one of the core strategies for successful business – empathizing with your customer. I’ve written about the importance of the Back Matter of your book – the things you include after your story is over. However,… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Marianne Hansen

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 12, 2020

Today, we continue our series of author spotlight interviews by talking to Marianne Hansen, author of hilarious but poignant Better Off Divorced and The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger. We caught up with her to find out how a highly-educated mom in Montana found the inspiration for her richly emotional tales of brave and brilliant women.  HG: First off – who IS Marianne Hansen to those readers who might not have heard of her. How do you describe yourself? MH: I am a humor writer, wife, mother of 3 and purchaser of shoes.  I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Utah in high school.  I have a JD from U of Iowa, and an MA in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages and a BA in English from BYU, but I’m still trying to convince my family I know what I’m talking about.  I’m also still trying to figure out… Read More >

ONE MORE THING that may be killing your Amazon book sales!

By: Ginger | Posted on May 8, 2020

If there’s one thing for certain about Amazon, it’s that they’re reliably uncertain. And while it’s true that they just about single-handedly created the industry, it’s only from their ruthless and monopolistic practices that they’ve maintained a strangle-hold over it. Sure, other online store fronts still exist, but very few authors make a living from those alone, while many do very well selling exclusively on Amazon. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that when Amazon moves the goalposts, you need a strategy to keep up. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably already learned this lesson but if you’re new to writing, it’s a lesson you have to learn fast in order to survive and thrive. Here’s Ginger with the latest change you may see affecting your sales. I recently received an email from an author who’d “given up.” In a message he sent to subscribers – one entitled… Read More >

5 Intense Thrillers to Enjoy

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 5, 2020

Each and every week, subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to review brand-new ebooks for FREE – sometimes before they’re even published. Of the over 15 different genres we offer, thrillers remain one of the most popular – and so we’ve gathered a list of the five favorite thrillers shared with subscribers in recent months, as calculated by the number and quality of the reviews our readers gave them. Seven Shadows by V.S. Kemanis  The best thrillers are centered around vividly-believable characters, and that’s what’s so impressive about Seven Shadows – the fifth and most recent of the Dana Hargrove Legal Mysteries. Although four books proceed this one – following brilliant New York prosecutor Dana as she makes her way toward a new position as a trial judge – you can dive right in, and you’ll love seeing through the eyes of this principled, but complex woman as she sees the… Read More >

Pandemic Book Sales – Author Survey

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 1, 2020

No matter where you live, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting everyone hard – with many out of work or forced to work from home.  While many full-time authors were already doing that and thus may not have noticed much of a change in their working situation (other than having a potentially busier/noisier household and no Starbucks to escape to with their laptop), how have their actual book sales fared?  Let’s find out by analyzing the feedback from over 90 authors! With so many people stuck at home in forced or voluntary quarantine, logic would dictate that they have more time than ever to read.  But there are also other factors at play, making the situation less straight-forward.  Aside from other distractions – children (home schooling or just taking care of them), movies and television, etc, there may be less money to spend on books in general.    So does that… Read More >