Search Results

Using Story Structures to Write Better Books

By: Ginger | Posted on February 9, 2024

Many non-authors believe that writing a book is as straightforward as jotting down a lengthy email or drafting a report. Yet, as any author who has actually written a novel can attest, there is a big difference between everyday writing and crafting narratives that captivate and entertain readers for hundreds of pages. Perhaps the misconception comes because, unlike the specialized skills required for performing surgery or practicing law, writing seems accessible to everyone and a part of our daily lives. However, this perception ignores the artistry and dedication that goes into weaving compelling stories from the simple thread of imagination. That’s why today, Ginger is shining a spotlight on the scaffolding behind the scenes of great storytelling—the story structures. Structures are the story frameworks that can help guide an author from the germ of an idea to a fully fleshed-out narrative. And just as there are many different ways to… Read More >

Conquer Self Doubt and Just Hit Publish

By: Ginger | Posted on January 26, 2024

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about publishing because you’ve been battling insecurities about whether or not your voice is important enough to be heard, fear not: You’re not alone.  Self doubt can be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in your self-publishing journey, and some of the greatest and most influential authors that have ever put pen to paper are known to have struggled with that same lack of confidence. Yet they somehow managed to push through and the world is better for it.  Today, Ginger shares a personal story that illustrates how this issue hit very close to home with him. This experience impacted him so deeply that he felt compelled to write this article, stressing the importance for authors to push past these fears and just hit publish. Recently, I’ve been spending time with my 86-year old father, talking about his life. I felt it was… Read More >

Sizzling Romance Novels to Read this Winter

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on January 19, 2024

If you’re a regular on the Hidden Gems blog, you’ll know that romance is the most popular genre in our ARC program. Our readers know that no two love stories are the same, so they scoop up sizzling romance novels like the ones on this list every chance they get. So if you’re looking for a new hot read to chase away the winter chill, there’s something for every romance reader on this list! Quiet by Clarissa Bright With over 125 ratings and a 4.3 star average, Quiet is the first in the Mercy Blades series, which plunges readers into the bloody, dangerous, dark side of Orlando. LadyCait raves in her five star Amazon review, “Great murder mystery with plenty of spicy mafia. While this book isn’t loaded down with spice the scenes that do exist are incredibly hot and well written. I also enjoyed trying to figure out the… Read More >

Kids Books to Add to Your Holiday Shopping Cart

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 21, 2023

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 the recent kids books that our ARC readers loved. Harvest Dreams by Heidi Rauld Two sisters, Adelina and Alessandra, are journeying through colorful autumn trees, a pumpkin patch, and an apple orchard in search of a missing pumpkin. The girls follow the thief’s trail into a forest, only to find that the culprit is a horse and is in deep trouble. She has to choose between saving the majestic horse, or her beloved pumpkin. “My daughter enjoyed this book so much, she just had to sleep with it in her bed! She would not let me put it away. It’s such a sweet adventure of two sisters with a message of good at the end… Read More >

Tell Don’t Show – a surprising writing lesson from Shakespeare and Star Wars

By: Ginger | Posted on August 18, 2023

Most authors have heard the standard “show don’t tell” rule for writing, which essentially means that writers should have their story unfold through actions and descriptive detail rather than explicitly telling the reader what is going on. This tenet of writing is so important that it’s often referred to as the Golden Rule, yet there are also times where it’s okay to break it.  That’s why this week, Ginger is providing some examples of telling rather than showing from a couple  of very recognizable, but also very disparate, sources: William Shakespeare and George Lucas.  For years, writers have been advised to “show, don’t tell.” But can we learn a contradictory lesson in exposition from two truly surprising sources? Namely the acclaimed plays of William Shakespeare, and the not-so-acclaimed prequels to the Star Wars saga? In 2005, actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor clashed lightsabers for what they thought might be… Read More >

How can you refresh a Facebook ad campaign?

By: Ginger | Posted on June 30, 2023

As we’ve said many times in this space, advertising your book is an essential step in self-publishing success, but it is not something you can just set and forget. No matter how well your Facebook ad campaign performs initially, the sad and inevitable reality is that eventually, its performance will begin to decline. Since stubbornly letting a faltering ad continue to run is just a waste of money, you really need to monitor your campaigns for signs that your advertisements are getting stale and then take immediate action. The first step is determining the possible reasons for the decline of your ad’s performance, and then once you have an idea on that, you can figure out the best way to fix it. In today’s blog, Ginger has a number of suggestions on doing both of those things. The good news is that you don’t always have to pull a previously winning… Read More >

Should Authors Embrace the AI Revolution?

By: Ginger | Posted on February 17, 2023

ChatGPT exploded onto the scene a few months ago, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m overstating things when I say that it literally changed almost everything overnight. There’s a reason why it set a record for the fastest user growth ever, hitting 100 million active users within 2 months of launch. People are finding new uses for it almost daily, and one of the most interesting (to us) is in how it can help authors.  Sure, there are negative stories about how students are using it to write essays or pass their tests, or the sky is falling type articles warning how everyone is about to lose their jobs to AI, but we can either fear change, or embrace it. The reality is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The cat is out of the bag on this, and it’s NOT going back in.  AI is here… Read More >

What I’ve learned after spending over $100k with Facebook Ads

By: Matt Holmes | Posted on January 13, 2023

We write a lot of articles about advertising your book on the various platforms, along with what we believe are best practices and the tips we’ve learned along the way. But when it comes right down to it, nothing beats hard data from the field. Matt Holmes has made a career out of helping authors with their advertising, starting with the Fantasy novels written by his wife. His ad spend tops six figures, which has provided him with a lot of data to draw conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.  After so much time and money spent advertising different books of different genres from a variety of authors, Matt has come up with a list of the five biggest lessons he’s learned about advertising self-published books on Facebook, and he’s sharing them with us today. Spending over $100,000 on anything is going to provide you with some HUGE lessons… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Jacky Gray

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on October 25, 2022

Today’s interview is with prolific multi-genre author Jacky Gray. We learned a lot about her writing style, things that interest her and the obstacles she has faced in her publication journey. It was lovely getting to know more about Jacky’s novels, and life outside of writing! HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet? JAG: I write the kind of stories I enjoy reading, so they’re completely character-led with bags of (very British) humour, adventure and a dirty great dollop of romance. My prose takes few prisoners, assuming the reader is fully invested and paying attention. I always imagine my readers are way more intelligent than me and don’t like to be spoon-fed lots of unnecessary detail. Lee Child and Stephen King are my role models in this – every word has to earn its place on the page. HG: Excellent. You write… Read More >

Children’s Picture Books to Gift This Fall

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on October 5, 2021

If you’re looking to get an early start on your holiday shopping, or are looking for the perfect birthday gift for one of the little ones in your life, look no further. We’ve rounded up five children’s picture books that Hidden Gems ARC readers have recently read and adored. With delightful illustrations and touching messages they can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Consider adding these titles to your shopping list the next time you’re buying for a child you love!   Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! by Marlene M. Bell With an astounding 4.8 average star rating and over 80 reviews on Amazon, Mia and Nattie is an adorable read-aloud picture book for children who love animals from award-winning writer and sheep breeder Marlene M. Bell. “This was a beautiful children’s book that provides a lovely story of friendship, family, and responsibility,” writes She Just Loves Books… Read More >