For Authors

An Amazon Appeals Process is Long Overdue – Part 2

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on January 14, 2022

In part one of this blog, I went over an issue that recently affected a number of authors in which their Amazon accounts were wrongly terminated, and the hassle and pain they had to go through to exonerate themselves. I spent a lot of time discussing what happened, how and why I think the current system works the way it does, and the realities of what I believe is unlikely to ever change (and why). But that doesn’t mean the system can’t be vastly improved upon, we just need to make sure to ask for the right things. Today I’ll go over the changes I think Amazon would have a hard time arguing against, while still providing authors with a defense against the devastating consequences of having their entire careers unfairly ripped away. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things… Read More >

An Amazon Appeals Process is Long Overdue – Part 1

By: Craig | Posted on January 7, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, some authors were surprised by a disturbing email from Amazon informing them that due to some vague and unspecific rule violations, their author accounts had been terminated and any outstanding payments would be withheld. These authors did nothing wrong, after a lot of time and effort on their part most were eventually exonerated and had things restored, but the fact that this can happen to anyone at anytime and for no good reason should not only serve as a harsh reminder of the dangers of having all your eggs in one basket, but as further evidence that Amazon needs a proper appeals process for when they inevitably get things wrong again. There are various arguments for “going wide” and publishing books on multiple online storefronts, but one of the big ones is the diversification you get by not having to rely on just one site… Read More >

An easy way to generate keywords for non-fiction

By: Ginger | Posted on December 31, 2021

When it comes to finding relevant search keywords for your book, not all of the techniques you may be familiar with work for all types of books. How readers search for the book they’re interested in is a big factor in how you come up with your keyword list, and this is specifically relevant when it comes to whether your book is fiction or non-fiction.  To generate keywords for non-fiction books, it’s not simply a matter of finding similar authors or analyzing the also bought list. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help, and Ginger is here to give you some tips on which ones to use and how to use them.   Advertising on Amazon has a notoriously steep learning curve. However, if you self-publish non-fiction books, there is one tool at your disposal that can help shortcut a lot of the hard work. The secret to effective… Read More >

Should you advertise direct to your Series Page?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 24, 2021

It’s an unfortunate reality that many authors cringe when they hear that Amazon has made yet another change to their storefront with regards to how product pages are displayed or laid out. After all, it seems like more often than not those changes are more of a benefit to Amazon than to the actual author whose book is being sold on that page. So it’s a welcome relief to learn that they’ve finally added something that is actually useful. For authors that like to write books as part of a series, Amazon now allows more customization around how your series landing page looks and acts, making it a much more powerful tool for selling multiple books. Here’s Ginger with how you can start taking advantage of this!   It’s a pretty well-established fact that the most successful self-published authors tend to write multiple books – often as part of a… Read More >

Has Apple’s recent update killed your Facebook ad performance?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 17, 2021

One of the constants of being a self-published author is that just when you think you have this game all figured out, one of the other players goes and changes the rules and throws everyone back a few steps. This time, it wasn’t one of the usual suspects making our lives more difficult, and what was done wasn’t targeting authors at all, but many of us  have been negatively affected nonetheless.  I’m taking about Apple’s recent ‘Do Not Track’ 14.5 iOS update. Designed to improve the privacy of Apple users, one of the side effects has been that authors everywhere are seeing their Facebook ad performance drop significantly. Today, Ginger goes into some detail about why this is happening, and some of the things you can do to try and compensate for it.   Earlier this year, Apple announced that their IOS 14.5 update would include a “Do Not Track”… Read More >

Updated your book? Now test the results.

By: Ginger | Posted on December 10, 2021

As a self-published author, you’re probably very aware that your book isn’t done just because you’ve finished writing. You’re still ultimately responsible for putting together all of that “other stuff” that helps actually sell the thing. I’m talking about blurbs, covers, or any of the other details that make up an enticing product page. But unless you’re also a marketing expert, you may not get all those things right on the first try, and missing the mark on them can lead to poor sales for even a great book. That’s why you should never shy away from making changes if you think you’ve identified an issue, regardless of whether your book is already published or not. But even if those adjustments don’t lead to a dramatic or immediately obvious change in sales doesn’t mean they didn’t make a difference. You’ll only know for sure if you carefully measure and test… Read More >

Don’t forget to curate your back catalog!

By: Ginger | Posted on December 3, 2021

Authors get better with every book they write and publish – that’s inevitable. However, readers often like to start from the beginning of an author’s back catalog and work their way through. How do you avoid losing these potential fans when they insist on starting with your not-so-strong books?  Ginger offers up a couple of ideas.   There’s a famous parable about a pottery class in which the students were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to make the best, most perfect pot they could. The other group was assigned to make as many pots as they could – they’d be judged on quantity, not quality. The result? The students who’d made the most pots had also made the best ones – repeatedly. They’d easily beaten the best efforts of the group who’d been asked to make a single, perfect pot because practice makes perfect – while perfectionism… Read More >

Self-pub or traditional? Which one delivers what an author deserves?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 26, 2021

Independent authors still sometimes face a stigma when it comes to their work, whether from the subset of readers that continue to believe a traditionally published book is somehow more “real” or “professional”, or from their own feelings of self-doubt that they hope may be finally quelled by the added legitimacy they’d feel from landing a trad pub contract. But is it really worth it? A decade ago the answer was a clear and obvious yes, but the publishing industry has seen some radical changes since then. To answer whether or not there are any remaining benefits in choosing traditional over self publishing, Ginger digs in to what those big companies still offer, whether it’s worth the cost they demand in return, and what still needs to change.   In November, Harper Collins and the Ian Fleming Foundation announced that British author Kim Sherwood had been selected to write the… Read More >

What can Ian Fleming teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 19, 2021

I don’t think it’s possible to be a great author without also being an avid reader, first. In fact, while it’s often said that writing daily is the most essential habit an author should develop in order to improve their craft, I think just as important is reading as much and as often as possible. Both of those things are essential ingredients to being a successful storyteller, and there’s no better example of that than Ian Fleming, creator of the iconic character James Bond. There is a lot of benefit in studying authors like Fleming, and as someone who has done just that, Ginger is happy to share what he’s learned.   The 25th James Bond movie, No Time To Die, has hit theaters across the world. Some have hailed it as the “savior of cinema” for finally getting people to return to the movie theater after over a year… Read More >

Tweak your Sales Strategy before Cyber Monday!

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 12, 2021

Every year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to grow bigger as consumers save up their money for when they think they’ll get the most bang for their buck. But most of the really big deals are limited, and not everyone is looking for a new 60 inch TV or fancy espresso machine anyway.  There are plenty of consumers that don’t even know what they want, and they’ll just be browsing online on Cyber Monday for anything that catches their fancy. And that’s why authors are missing an opportunity if they don’t try to capitalize on all those new eyeballs. Here are a few ways to get yourself and your catalog ready for the biggest online sales day of the year.   For decades, America has been gripped by Black Friday fever. The day after Thanksgiving – the last Friday in November – is when department stores and retailers traditionally… Read More >