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For Authors

Is your book worthy of the ad budget you’re about to spend?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 27, 2020

Nothing burns through ad dollars faster than trying to sell a book that no one wants to buy.  But even if the story is great and an author has done everything right inside their book, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t gone completely off the rails on everything else. And unfortunately, it’s the ‘everything else’ that drive readers to click the buy button. In this next installment of Ginger’s continuing series on turning your writing dreams into a reality, he dissects one of his early publications in which he made just about every mistake possible, all so that you can learn from his missteps instead of making them on your own!   The question I get asked most often by other authors is: “How can I advertise my book?” The more important one can sometimes be: “Should I advertise my book?” So, you want to be a successful author –… Read More >

US Copyright FAQ: Your Questions Answered

By: Nate | Posted on November 20, 2020

A couple of weeks ago we went over the rules around copyright and designers as it pertains to your cover design, but what about when it comes to your actual book?  One of the questions authors often ask is whether they need to copyright their book in order to protect it. Unfortunately, like that last article and pretty much everything else related to self-publishing, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It really depends on a variety of factors, which is why Nate is back to go over what you need to know.  Howdy, y’all! Let me preface this by saying that while I am pursuing a law degree with certification in intellectual property, I am not a lawyer, and I don’t really ever intend to practice. Nothing in this thread should constitute legal advice, and I would advise everyone to always engage a law professional in your jurisdiction… Read More >

When to throw out your first draft?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 13, 2020

For some authors, the common advice to “throw out your first draft” is the stuff of nightmares, but it should only be that scary if you’re taking it too literally. It’s rarely (if ever) necessary to just toss your book out and forget about it altogether! The point is more about how an author must sometimes be willing to tear their first draft down completely and rebuild it into a better or more marketable book. But the question is, how do you know when that’s needed? In his continuing series on turning your writing dreams into reality, Ginger lays out when and why you may need to go this route.   If you’re serious about becoming a successful self-published author, you have to make some serious decisions about what you’ve already written and published; and sometimes, you’ll have to go right back to the drawing board. Ernest Hemingway warned authors… Read More >

Copyright and Cover Designers

By: Nate | Posted on November 6, 2020

Many authors believe that if you hire a designer to do your covers, you’re free to use the finished product however you see fit – including resizing, zooming in on, or cropping out parts of the images to use in your ads or other promotional material. But be careful, because in many cases, doing those things may actually be in violation of your license agreement. Just because you paid a designer for a cover or purchased some stock images doesn’t mean you’re free to use them however you please.  That’s why Nate is here to go over what is and is not allowed across the various scenarios. You’ve invested a ton of time and energy into making your story perfect, but without an eye-catching cover designed to communicate to your intended audience, you’ll be at a major disadvantage when the time comes to hopefully see some returns on your investment…. Read More >

Be a Plotter when it comes to your writing career!

By: Ginger | Posted on October 30, 2020

Just like some authors start a new story not knowing where it’ll lead, many self-published authors approach their writing career ‘by the seat of their pants.’ But is that the best path to success?  In this installment in our series of posts related to turning your writing dream into a reality, Ginger lays out the argument that the truly successful authors approach their future in publishing with the same discipline as they plot out their stories. That is, they plan things out carefully by deciding on a genre, researching it thoroughly, and then commit to delivering books that meet reader expectations.   It’s a well-known concept – the writer as “plotter” or “pantster.” In fact, we’ve written about it a number of times on this blog! A ‘plotter‘ plans out the path of their story, often using something like a ‘beat sheet’ or a story circle. Successful authors who literally… Read More >

Amazon Exclusive vs Wide: A Case Study

By: Isabel Jolie | Posted on October 23, 2020

The case for going wide or remaining in KDP Select as an Amazon exclusive is fiercely debated, but at the end of the day there is likely no right answer that fits everyone. Like most things, it comes down to experimentation and doing your research. That’s the approach romance author Isabel Jolie took, and luckily for us she was willing to put together this blog breaking down her numbers and what she learned from her experimentation.   To KU or not to KU? It’s a question every author has at least considered and weighed. “Any romance author should do KU.” “KU is a no-brainer for a new author.” These are things I was told – repeatedly. I ultimately chose to go wide, but I did briefly test KU, and the following is what I experienced. Background I released my first book in January 2020. In September, I released my fourth… Read More >

How To ‘Support Yourself Through Writing’

By: Ginger | Posted on October 16, 2020

While there are certainly some authors that write and publish occasionally as a hobby, I think it’s safe to say that it’s the dream of most authors to one day quit their evil day job and get down to the business of writing for a living.  In this first in an on-going series of related posts, Ginger will take you through the steps you need to turn that dream into a reality.  He’ll start with goal setting, but future posts will cover topics like budgeting, coming up with your concepts and plotting your novels, right through to publishing, launching and promotion. And with the goal of turning your part-time dream into a full-time reality.   I have a dream. If you’re reading this, I imagine you do, too: To support yourself as a self-published author – so you don’t need to bother with the day job, the hustle, or anything… Read More >

Author Websites: The Whens, Whys and Hows

By: Virginie Carmichael | Posted on October 9, 2020

If you don’t already have an author website, you’ve probably heard or read someone, somewhere, saying you need one. What may not be as clear is why you need one. Or when you need one. Or where to go next if you do decide you actually should have one. That’s why we’ve turned to Virginie Carmichael for help. As someone who has made a business out of helping authors with their websites, Virginie has the answers to all these questions, and more.   Being a successful author is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, planning and making some mistakes along the way. You might have already set up a website, and just given up on it because it’s too much of a time suck to manage. Or maybe you haven’t slayed that beast yet, because it just seems too daunting. Or you might not even be sure if… Read More >

How To Finish Writing Your Book: Just Show Up

By: Ginger | Posted on October 2, 2020

I don’t need any hard data on the topic to know that the number of people that start writing a book far eclipses those that actually finish one.  Most of us probably know at least one person that falls into that category, their unfinished masterpiece collecting dust on their shelf or laying forgotten in a drawer somewhere. In fact, many of us (myself included) were likely IN that category for a long period of time before finally taking writing seriously. But the key to finally getting it done wasn’t anything more complex than simply chipping away at it, and as Ginger points out, the more consistently we can do that, the easier it will eventually become and the more successful and prolific we’ll be.   Here at Hidden Gems, we’ve spoken a lot about how important it is to write every day – and I mean a LOT. We’ve written… Read More >

Choose an Email Marketing Service That Works for You

By: Annabeth Saryu | Posted on September 25, 2020

Most independent authors are well aware of the importance of a newsletter and the benefits of using a mailing list to handle it, but a quick google search will result in plenty of different email marketing services to choose from. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of problem, since every author has different needs. Luckily, author Annabeth Saryu has already done a lot of research into what factors need to be considered, and she’s put it all together here to make it easier to determine how to pick the service that will work best for you.   Regardless of where an author is in their career, they eventually encounter a piece of universally accepted advice: build your mailing list. Your mailing list not only consists of your most avid readers, but if cultivated properly, also includes your most dedicated customers. While many experts on author marketing stress the value of… Read More >