For Authors

What can writers learn from the works of Rick Riordan?

By: Ginger | Posted on September 29, 2023

Publishers have long understood how lucrative the young reader market is, and are always anxious to find the next big franchise to build a vast world of marketing and books around, one that can stand the test of time and continue to enchant new generations of readers. When Rick Riordan launched his wildly popular Percy Jackson series back in 2005, they probably knew very quickly that they’d found their mark. Since then, the series has gone on to sell close to 200 million copies, become a movie, and will soon stream as a television series on Disney+. But what is it about the stories that make them connect so well to their audience? That’s exactly what Ginger is going to break down in today’s blog, as we once again dive deep into the work of a successful author to learn what it is that they are doing right, in the… Read More >

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it in 2023?

By: Ginger | Posted on September 22, 2023

While some authors publish wide across multiple online storefronts, there are a great many others that are exclusive to Amazon due to their KDP Select enrollment terms. As part of that enrollment, their books are available to readers with a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription, and the authors are paid per pages read from a common pool of money. But as KU Page Reads hit their lowest payout ever this past July, those same authors may be asking themselves “Is Kindle Unlimited worth it in 2023?”  That’s exactly the question that Ginger is looking to answer this week, as he examines the pros and cons of remaining in KU as the main benefit to authors continues to fall, month over month. There may not be a single answer that applies to everyone, but knowing the facts can help make an informed decision for anyone still on the fence, or simply deciding… Read More >

10 Essential Tips for Crafting Effective Horror Stories

By: Ginger | Posted on September 15, 2023

For authors, Halloween is the perfect time to unleash the darker recesses of their imagination by crafting tales that send shivers down readers’ spines.  The art of chilling storytelling has evolved over centuries, with authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King shaping the genre’s landscape while adhering to its core essence—a masterful mix of fear, suspense, and unease. Similar to his article last week which dove into Science Fiction world-building, this week Ginger is examining the ingredients that make up truly effective horror stories. By breaking down the core elements that help turn regular tales into spine-tingling literary nightmares, you too can write books that keep your readers up at night, long after they’ve reached the end of your book…  Some Starbucks stores have already unleashed their pumpkin spice products, which means summer is effectively over! For many of us writers, our attention turns next to Halloween – one… Read More >

Mastering the Craft of World-Building in Science Fiction

By: Ginger | Posted on September 8, 2023

One thing that separates genres like science fiction from others, is the idea that they usually take place in an unfamiliar setting. Whether it’s a completely alien world, the distant future, or simply a slightly different version of earth than our own, it is this unfamiliarity that allows a reader’s imagination to really soar. But world-building isn’t easy. For many authors, building a whole new world or reality can be intimidating, but it’s still the most important skill to master if you want to write engaging, provocative science fiction. Fortunately, many successful sci-fi authors have already paved the way, perfecting techniques at world-building to write truly groundbreaking and award winning novels. By studying what they’ve done, you can put together believable worlds of your own, which is why Ginger has broken down those techniques into a list of tips and strategies that are common to most science fiction novels.  World-building is… Read More >

Past Tense vs. Present Tense: Which should YOU choose?

By: Ginger | Posted on September 1, 2023

Past tense vs. present tense is less a debate about which is better, and more about which is a better choice for your particular book. While many authors default to past tense, that may not always be ideal for your story as both tenses have their own unique strengths and challenges.  Today, Ginger examines the advantages of both past and present tense so that you can have a better understanding of when they should be used, and even provides examples of each from popular works of fiction. Having a strong grasp of narrative tense is important because choosing the right one for your story will help leave an impact on your reader and keep them coming back for more. Recently, I was participating in a writing discussion when the topic of tenses came up. Other members of the group were surprised that a book we were discussing was written in… Read More >

How to Create a Social Media Calendar

By: Ginger | Posted on August 25, 2023

Social media provides a HUGE opportunity for authors to connect with their readers – but where do you even begin using it to promote yourself? How often should you post, what should you write about, and how can you find the time to do it regularly? Those are questions we all struggle with, which is why Ginger has put together a quick guide to help. These tips are based on his own experience working with professionals and brands in developing their social media calendars and strategies. Our recent blog about how bestselling author Jack Carr connects with readers inspired several questions from authors wondering how to go about using their social media accounts more effectively. One of the most actionable strategies is to create a Social Media Calendar, which plans and prepares a whole bunch of posts which can go live automatically; removing the pressure of having to remember to… 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 does Jack Carr connect so effectively with readers?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 11, 2023

Social media can be an incredibly useful way for authors to connect with their readers, but it’s an intimidating prospect for many self-published writers to even know where to get started. Many authors use social as an afterthought, simply as an (often unproductive) way to promote their latest project. Others, like Jack Carr, use social far more effectively, building an empire of loyal fans that are more than willing to happily buy whatever it is he promotes. How does Carr use social media to connect with hundreds of thousands of eager readers, and how has he quickly become one of the most impactful men’s fiction author of his generation? That’s exactly what Ginger is looking at in today’s blog, as he attempts to break it all down in a way that makes it easy for the rest of us to learn and improve on our own social game. Former Navy… Read More >

Writing Therapy connects you with readers

By: Ginger | Posted on August 4, 2023

Throughout history, writers have found solace in expressing their pain and trauma through their work, as a type of writing therapy. However, the benefit isn’t just for the author. Writing about our deepest wounds can resonate deeply with others, validating their silent suffering and forging powerful connections through our shared struggles. That’s why finding the courage to write about our pain isn’t just about getting something off our chests. As Ginger explains in today’s blog, it’s also about adding a sense of honesty and authenticity to our work that will build stronger bonds with readers and be appreciated more than you might think. Expressionist painter Edvard Munch created the “Mona Lisa of modern art” when he painted The Scream in 1893. A truly haunting painting that depicted his panic attack after losing track of his friends during a walk, it served as a keyhole into the turmoil of trauma, depression,… Read More >

Designing books from the outside in

By: Ginger | Posted on July 28, 2023

One of the greatest pieces of writing advice authors rarely follow is: “Write the blurb before the book.” Why should we do that? Because blurbs condense the concept of a novel into a few short paragraphs – and focusing on the killer hook is what can deliver a book that leaves a lasting impression. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds which is why the advice is rarely followed, but this week Ginger is diving into the subject to help explain the concept and why it’s important that even if you don’t follow it to the letter, you can still benefit from the idea. Blurbs sell books. That little three-or-four paragraph “details” section on your Amazon Product Page is ultimately one of the most influential factors in whether or not a potential reader clicks Buy Now when they land on your book page. Your blurb can make all the… Read More >