For Authors

Kindle Scout In Memoriam

By: Jim Nelson | Posted on May 25, 2018

The news that Amazon was shutting down their Kindle Scout program was sudden and came as a shock to both readers and authors alike.  Jim Nelson was one of the authors that actually had his book selected by Kindle Scout and published by Kindle Press before the whole thing shut down.  Here’s his perspective on the program, what it meant to authors, and his hopes for the future. At the end of this month Amazon’s e-publishing venture Kindle Scout will be put to rest after a run of three-plus years.  Amazon announced the winding down in an email sent to all of Kindle Scout’s registered users (“Scouts” in their parlance) on April 2nd.  The email was cool and understated considering the subject matter: “[W]e wanted to let you know of some upcoming changes being made to the Kindle Scout program” followed by businesslike details of the program’s orderly shutdown.  Amazon’s… Read More >

5 Tips for Writers Fighting Procrastination

By: Andrew Mackay | Posted on May 18, 2018

Procrastination is something that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and there are already many articles and scientific studies written on the best ways to beat it in general. Instead of adding to that pile, we wanted to provide something that would be specifically useful to writers. Who better to provide those than Andrew Mackay? Between hosting a very popular movie podcast and writing a ton of books, it’s clear that Andrew just doesn’t have time for procrastination.  Below are his unique tips for fighting it, because you don’t have time for it either. We’ve all been there. We need to sit down and write for the day. Get a certain amount of words done. In fact, last night before we went to bed, we assured ourselves we’d wake up and jump straight onto the laptop and start writing. The next morning. Just need a coffee. Oh,… Read More >

Reader Expectations: To Meet Them You Must First Understand Them

By: Morgan Jones | Posted on May 11, 2018

One of the keys to selling your book is knowing your audience and what they are expecting. Not only will a failure to meet these expectations properly lead to less sales, they can also lead to poor reviews. That’s why we’ve asked USA Today Bestselling author Morgan Jones to walk us through how to make sure authors understand what the expectations of their readers are, and how to meet them. Have you ever sat down at your favorite coffee shop and opened up your laptop ready to dig into your next great novel, when you take a sip of the elixir of life only to discover that they got your order wrong? Are you the type of person to return to the counter and demand it be corrected, or are you the one that just sits in silence because you don’t want to deal with people? Personally, I don’t want… Read More >

Guest Post Guidelines for Hidden Gems

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 9, 2018

The two things we do best at Hidden Gems is help authors reach a wider audience and provide content to our thousands of subscribers.  A guest post serves both of those purposes by giving authors another platform to be heard from and building fresh and free content for their fellow authors and our army of voracious readers. If you’re in the publishing industry and want to reach an audience of thousands of authors and readers, not to mention further your brand through exposure and a link back to your own site or project, then we’d love to hear from you. Guest Posts will be featured on our homepage for a couple of days, and always be accessible through our blog section as well. There are two types of guest posts we’re looking for. Author Focused Guest Posts These articles should be relevant to authors. For example, they can be focused… Read More >

Yes, Your Amazon Book Reviews Are Still Safe

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 7, 2018

Hidden Gems is best known for helping authors get book reviews by sending their work to interested readers, so it’s no surprise that when some perceived threat to Amazon reviews appears, we hear about it quickly. That’s why it makes sense that the first article in our new Rumor Busting series takes on this pair of related statements that come to us persistently. Amazon is coming after ARC book reviews, they’re no longer allowing them! Amazon is removing reviews that say they were given a free book or from an ARC! Given the importance of book reviews to us, we have to admit that even we aren’t immune to having our hearts beat just a little bit faster each time someone sends us a panicked email repeating one of these claims. But only for as long as it takes for us to verify that Amazon’s community guidelines page still states:… Read More >

Rumor Busting for Self Publishing Authors – A New Series

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 5, 2018

As a service that sends out thousands of free books daily across multiple genres, it’s probably no surprise to learn that Hidden Gems hears more than our fair share of self publishing industry rumors from both authors and readers alike. Most are sparked by some sort of catalyst, like a vague or misleading news story, or an industry heavyweight changing their policies. Those type come in waves, rolling in repeatedly from different sources all devouring the same misguided conclusions.  Other rumors are more persistent, coming in less evenly but still consistently over time, never quite fading away completely. However, there’s a benefit to hearing all of this speculation from so many varied sources. It provides us with a unique opportunity to watch these overall issues as they develop, giving us fresh perspectives and differing viewpoints into each.  When we combine that with our experience in the self publishing industry, some… Read More >

ARC Review Podcast

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on October 31, 2017

Wondering what all the fuss about reviews and ARC teams are?  Got some time to listen to a podcast that breaks it all down for you? I was a recent guest on Jonny Andrews’ Author Platform Rocket podcast to talk about reviews, ARC teams, what reviews can and can’t do for your book and what Amazon does or doesn’t allow.  It was a lot of fun, and if you’re an author trying to get a handle on what all this ARC review stuff is, I encourage you to give it a listen.   Whether you’re building your own team or looking to hire someone like Hidden Gems to run it for you, we probably talk about something of interest. And for those of you that do run your own ARC team, there’s something of special interest you might want to hear about.  A little sneak preview of an upcoming service we’re… Read More >

What Makes a Good Book Review?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on September 15, 2017

At Hidden Gems, book reviews are what we’re all about – and although we aren’t writing them ourselves, we’ve seen enough from our readers, and heard from enough authors, to have a pretty good idea about what makes a good book review. If you’re one of our ARC reviewers, or even if you’re reviewing on your own or for someone else, here are a few ideas on what authors are looking for, how to be fair, etiquette, and just overall tips for writing a helpful review. No One-Line Book Reviews As much as an author loves to hear that you “Loved this book!”, that’s not really a review.  While your opinion is important to helping support the author, it’s a lot more helpful when it is more detailed in regards to the particular book being reviewed. A one-line review might also look fake to other readers, or even Amazon. Especially… Read More >

Becoming an ARC Reader: Because who doesn’t love free books?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on July 11, 2017

Getting free ARC books and becoming a book reviewer has never been so easy, and now you can do it for all genres and without the hassles of the past! If you scour the web in search of book reviews and becoming an ARC reader, you’ll find plenty of articles describing how you can contact publishers or authors directly, sign up for their various mailing lists, and hopefully get free books from them whenever they actually release one (usually not more than once a month or two). That was certainly the best way to go about it in the past. But things are different now, and we’d like to think we helped pave the way to change. Hidden Gems has been sending out ARC books for authors for about two years now (our first one went out in October 2015) and since then we’ve grown from 2 or 3 a… Read More >

Does Page Flip Hurt Authors and Readers?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on October 20, 2016

Some of your favorite authors might be forced to pull out of Kindle Unlimited because they aren’t being paid for the pages you’re reading… and here’s why. Amazon considers their much ballyhooed new Page Flip feature a navigational tool, intended simply to casually browse or flip through a book. However, mounting evidence is starting to show that many readers use Page Flip to actually read parts or even entire books. They do this for a variety of reasons, including: Preference – they prefer the reading experience in Page Flip mode Ignorance – some books open into Page Flip and customers may not realize it Software issues – some are reporting bugs that force them to use Page Flip to read But whatever the reason, when Page Flip is used to read a borrowed Kindle Unlimited book, authors are not getting paid. And according to Amazon, that’s by design, because Page… Read More >