For Authors

Break Through Your Fears And Write That First Book!

By: David Falkirk | Posted on August 10, 2018

Writing a book is hard, but even harder is writing that first book. How many great novelists have we never even heard of because they couldn’t push past their fears or self-doubt? Like most fears, the ones around writing stem from the unknown. Do you even know how to write a book? Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it?  For those that push through, they eventually find those answers – which explains why subsequent books are often much easier to write – but what about everyone else? For a long time, David Falkirk was in that everyone else category but he eventually broke through and is now the author of multiple novels. He’s sharing what he learned and how he did it so that you can finish your first book as well. It wasn’t procrastination. Not exactly. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer — an author — since… Read More >

Why Do People Give Romance Such a Hard Time?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 1, 2018

For decades, the romance genre has been the butt of innumerable jokes – but it continues to be the biggest genre in publishing, and generates over $1 billion in sales every year. Is it time we looked at this much-maligned genre with a more discerning eye? If you’re remotely interested in reading romance books, you might have heard about #Cockygate – the latest big scandal to hit publishing earlier this year. The details have been covered enough that we don’t need to rehash it all again, but a lot of the resulting discussion in the media focused on the broader subject of the romance genre in general, and even romance readers themselves. It’s that focus that is worthy of further discussion. Because what was written and said about the genre and romance readers in particular wasn’t very flattering. By and large, most authors who write romance novels, and most readers who devour them,… Read More >

The Fundamentals of a Successful Book

By: Ginger | Posted on July 18, 2018

Recently, resident HG designer Ginger wrote an article about the importance of a strong cover for your novel – but there are many other fundamentals that go into whether a book is successful. Today he follows up on some of the other factors that can help lead you towards publishing success. “I don’t get it,” one aspiring author said to me recently. “I’m spending all this money on Facebook ads for my books – but I’m just not selling any!” Another complained: “I keep getting bad reviews!” A third lamented: “Nobody downloaded my books during my free promo days. Why?” These are questions that keep plaguing many would-be authors, and they don’t like the answer when they finally hear it. But it’s a bitter truth anybody who takes writing and publishing needs to hear – and take to heart. You can invest as much time, money and effort into promoting… Read More >

The Good and Bad of Amazon’s $50 Review Rule

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on July 10, 2018

Way back in 2017, Amazon introduced a requirement that anyone leaving a review on the site had to have spent at least $50 at the store with an actual credit or debit card. Over time, that policy has evolved to become even more restrictive. While we understand and even applaud the intent behind the policy, questions remain about whether or not it has really made a difference in improving the situation it was designed to fix.   And even more importantly, is it worth the cost to the real customers affected by it. The Current $50 Review Rule While the original rule was that customers have spent $50 in total on their account before being able to leave an Amazon review, it has since become more restrictive.  According to the community guidelines page, a customer can only write a review if they’ve spent $50 over the last 12 months (that… Read More >

A Writing Plan Can Help Your Novel Get Started… and Finished!

By: Tracy Brenton | Posted on June 29, 2018

Making time for writing is one of the biggest challenges of beginner writers, often because to do so means juggling an already full schedule.  Jobs, family obligations, or the myriad of other routines in our lives all compete with writing time – but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the dream of writing a book. You just have to figure out a plan to make it happen, and then stick with it. Everyone’s lives are unique, which means the details of your writing plan will be different than those of someone else – but that’s okay. The point of the plan isn’t so much the details, but how it helps you focus and keeps you from being overwhelmed. To that end, author Tracy Brenton shares her story of how she started writing and the details of the plan that led to her success. Maybe it can help inspire… Read More >

Most Readers Really DO Judge a Book by it’s Cover

By: Ginger | Posted on June 26, 2018

Hi! I’m Ginger! I recently joined Hidden Gems as a resident cover designer – the first of many that authors will be able to choose to work with by visiting the new Cover Design service page.  As somebody with a vested interest in book covers, I was invited to share a few thoughts about how important a book cover can be – and how one of the first rules you learn as a child ends up being one of the first rules readers ignore!   When you’re a kid, one of the first things your parents teach you is not to judge by appearances.  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, many of us do just that. While it’s definitely not fair, most of us make snap judgments about things based on their appearance – like you’d normally walk right past a restaurant if the front windows weren’t clean, because… Read More >

The Case for Reading More Often, and Buying More Books

By: Tracy Stanley | Posted on June 22, 2018

Anyone in the book industry knows how tough it is these days to get people to buy more books and spend more time reading. Books have a lot of competition, and it’s not just from traditional things like movies or television. The internet has brought a whole host of new distractions, like streaming video and music or interactive online communities. But author Tracy Stanley is here to remind us that it’s up to us to make the case that there is still a lot of value in books and, compared to many other indulgences, they can be downright bargains. It’s tough. We all know how challenging it is to find readers and to entice them to pay a few dollars for hours of learning and enjoyment. Reading is one of the best investments people can make of their time and money. We know this, but how can we pass the… Read More >

The Magic of Music and Storytelling

By: Rebecca E. Neely | Posted on June 15, 2018

There is a lot of overlap between music and books, both being rich and powerful forms of storytelling. It’s not often that we really stop and think about how closely they’re intertwined, and how one can be used to enhance or improve the other. Rebecca Neely is an author that has been affected by music her whole life, and is here to tell us about how she now uses it to help inspire her work as a novelist.  Since the beginning of time, people the world over have embraced and celebrated the phenomenon of music in all its diverse forms. In turn, it embodies the essence of people by encompassing, reflecting, recording and communicating their diverse heritage, traditions, cultures, customs, races, ethnicities, languages and religions. Even geography, climate, economics and the use of technology contributes to the creation, artistry and performance of music. Indeed, as a whole it’s not only… Read More >

Characterization and Setting – It’s All in the Details

By: Naomi Bellina | Posted on June 8, 2018

When done properly, writing with rich detail and characterization is something a reader doesn’t even notice. It just pulls them into the author’s world and allows them to image the people and places that they visit.  But how do writers create such vivid pictures? There are many techniques, and we asked Naomi Bellini to break some of them down for us. What she delivered is a great behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done that is interesting to both readers and authors. Don’t you love to fall so deep into a book you lose track of real life, and stay up way past your bedtime, because you have to read just one more chapter? Or look up from the page and totally expect to see the scenery and characters you were reading about? As authors, that’s what we hope happens when you read our stories. One way we accomplish this is… Read More >

Book Piracy – Rumors, Facts and Opinion

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on June 5, 2018

In order to send eBooks out to the most number of readers, Hidden Gems asks authors to provide different file formats. With such a wide variety of devices and applications, the more formats we can provide, the more potential readers we can satisfy.  However, one objection we hear at least once a month is about book piracy – specifically having to do with PDFs. “Do I have to supply a PDF version?  I’ve heard PDF versions are much easier to pirate.” I wanted to bust the rumors that give rise to this objection, and while I’m at it weigh in on the overall issue of piracy. First of all, the short answer to the first question is “Yes”, we do need a PDF version.  Many of our readers are not tech savvy, and often have issues with the other formats. The nice thing about the PDF version is that almost… Read More >