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Month: March 2023

R.L. Stine reveals that publishers are censoring books behind authors’ backs

By: Ginger | Posted on March 31, 2023

If anyone reading this is still on the fence about whether or not traditional publishing is the way to go, moves like this might help your decision. It’s bad enough when a publisher censors the words of an author that is no longer around to complain or argue against those changes, but it’s even worse to do it to an author that is still alive and then not even tell them about it. That’s exactly what happened to R.L. Stine, author of the beloved Goosebumps series. As Ginger relates below, Stine only found out that his publisher had changed language in his books when he started getting the blame for it on social media from upset fans. Stine was left to defend himself, with his publisher essentially hanging him out to dry. Authors that are concerned about censorship should be aware that unless they are self-published, they’re likely at the… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Lynn Wallace

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 28, 2023

Today’s interview is with author Lynn Wallace. According to her official bio, Wallace writes young adult paranormal romance with a Christian twist. She shared with us her journey to publication and the challenges she has overcome. It was a pleasure getting to know more about Lynn’s writing style, upcoming projects and life outside of writing. HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet? LW: I would say that I write romantic Christian fantasy. Fantasy, meaning that I use monsters to magnify the brokenness of mankind and those monsters find redemption through love, representing how we find redemption through God’s love. I do include bits of biblical truth from Scripture, and the stories are romantic because there’s always a love story. Also, I write towards a YA audience (no sex, sorry!). HG: Fantastic. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey. When did you… Read More >

The 5 Rules of Good Advertising

By: Ginger | Posted on March 24, 2023

As an author, it can be difficult to navigate the world of advertising, but there are some tried and true principles that can be applied to book promotion. Ginger, a former New York advertising professional who now uses his knowledge to promote his books and help other Hidden Gems authors promote their own, has distilled his decades of experience into a list of the five most important rules for successful advertising. Despite the constantly evolving industry, these core principles remain relevant and effective, and authors should keep them in mind whenever they are trying to promote their work. Before I threw myself into self-publishing full time, I worked in advertising, and what I learned in that industry gave me an excellent foundation to succeed in this one. This is especially true now that Amazon has filled their homepage with so much advertising space, and that advertising successfully on Facebook and… Read More >

Romance Novels to Enjoy this Spring

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 22, 2023

If you’re a regular on the Hidden Gems blog, you’ll know that romance is the most popular genre in the Hidden Gems ARC program. Our readers know that no two love stories are the same, so they scoop up new books every chance they get. If you’re looking for a new read to enjoy the spring weather with, there’s something for every romance reader on this list! Deadly Twist by Kendall Talbot With 220+ ratings and a 4.5 star average, Deadly Twist is a standalone novel, but is the second in the three book Maximum Exposure series, which will have your heart pounding from romance and adrenaline. For those who are fans of Lara Croft, this series is for you! “…This is a superbly written romantic suspense with descriptions so vivid and graphic, you will feel the steamy jungle heat and hear the mosquitos buzzing around!” Silke explains in their… Read More >

How accurate are Attribution Tags in tracking book income?

By: Ginger | Posted on March 17, 2023

Ever since the introduction of Amazon’s Attribution Tags, authors have been able to track the book income resulting from their advertising and promotional campaigns to a level not seen before. This is incredibly useful for determining the value of these campaigns and planning strategies around then. But how accurate are they? In terms of tracking the sales that come directly as a result of a click from one of your attribution links, they’re very accurate, but that doesn’t actually tell the whole story. Even when the only promotion you’re doing is running a campaign with a tracked URL, you may very likely see more sales than are actually being reported. To demonstrate the issue and explain what’s going on, Ginger takes us through an example using an ad campaign he recently ran on one of his own books, complete with all the sales and page read numbers. I’ve been writing… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Lauren Smith

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 14, 2023

Today’s interview is with multi-genre, and multi-pen name author Lauren Smith who also writes as Emma Castle and Daphne Hunt. She shared with us her journey to publication and the challenges she has overcome. It was a pleasure getting to know more about her writing style, and life outside of writing! HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet? LS: I write romance, historical fiction and cozy mysteries under the names Lauren Smith, Emma Castle and Daphne Hunt. All of my writing has a timeless feel no matter the subgenre. I’m an attorney who now writes full time. HG: Fantastic. You’re both traditionally published and self-published. Can you explain to readers what that means for an author and how it differs when it comes to the publication process? LS: I first started out in my career publishing with a small publishing house that… Read More >

Book Censorship: First it was Roald Dahl, now they’re after Ian Fleming…

By: Ginger | Posted on March 10, 2023

The issue of censorship has always sparked heated debates, especially among authors and in the literary world. Some argue that book censorship is necessary to protect vulnerable readers and uphold current moral standards, while others see it as a violation of freedom of expression. In recent years, the debate has intensified as even popular celebrities have faced backlash for past remarks or actions, and social media sites have banned or restricted certain types of content. As Ginger discusses below, the latest target of this trend are authors Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming, whose works are currently under fire for including language or passages that would likely never have passed an editor’s review if written today. However, this raises the question: should we be censoring books written in a different era, based on current cultural and social norms? Instead of altering these books, maybe a better idea would be to preserve… Read More >

Spring Break Books for Your Young Adult Readers

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 7, 2023

Are your middle-grade or young adult readers looking for books to read over Spring break? Our Hidden Gems ARC readers recently loved the following titles, and we bet the young adult readers in your life will, as well. Who knows – you may find yourself a fan of the following titles, too. Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent With 40+ ratings and a 4.5 average star rating, Finding Frances follows Retta Brooks as her world is suddenly turned upside down by domestic violence. Ian Y. describes further in his five star Amazon review, “A story of how a teenager finds herself and her inner resilience to overcome the traumas of her parents’ abusive relationship. Her authentic voice and struggles are evocatively written and have deep emotional impact. At a time when domestic violence laws and funding are in a state of flux globally, it’s imperative to shine a light on relationship… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Amazon Attribution Tag Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on March 3, 2023

We often get questions from readers of our blog (or listeners of our Podcast) about things that we’ve discussed and we’re happy to send answers along if we have them. Sometimes the same questions come up repeatedly, though, which means that it would benefit the community a lot more if we used this space to open up the old mailbag and share the answers with everyone all at once. Recently, probably since we’ve been covering the topic so much and the feature is so new, we’ve been hearing some common questions regarding Attribution tags. So this week, Ginger is focusing his attention on answering the ones that have been coming up most often. Readers of this blog might have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a tear recently regarding Amazon Attribution Tags. I think these things are amazing – a game-changer for self-published authors and one of the few… Read More >