For Authors

The 5 Rules of Good Advertising

By: Ginger | Posted on March 24, 2023

As an author, it can be difficult to navigate the world of advertising, but there are some tried and true principles that can be applied to book promotion. Ginger, a former New York advertising professional who now uses his knowledge to promote his books and help other Hidden Gems authors promote their own, has distilled his decades of experience into a list of the five most important rules for successful advertising. Despite the constantly evolving industry, these core principles remain relevant and effective, and authors should keep them in mind whenever they are trying to promote their work. Before I threw myself into self-publishing full time, I worked in advertising, and what I learned in that industry gave me an excellent foundation to succeed in this one. This is especially true now that Amazon has filled their homepage with so much advertising space, and that advertising successfully on Facebook and… Read More >

How accurate are Attribution Tags in tracking book income?

By: Ginger | Posted on March 17, 2023

Ever since the introduction of Amazon’s Attribution Tags, authors have been able to track the book income resulting from their advertising and promotional campaigns to a level not seen before. This is incredibly useful for determining the value of these campaigns and planning strategies around then. But how accurate are they? In terms of tracking the sales that come directly as a result of a click from one of your attribution links, they’re very accurate, but that doesn’t actually tell the whole story. Even when the only promotion you’re doing is running a campaign with a tracked URL, you may very likely see more sales than are actually being reported. To demonstrate the issue and explain what’s going on, Ginger takes us through an example using an ad campaign he recently ran on one of his own books, complete with all the sales and page read numbers. I’ve been writing… Read More >

Book Censorship: First it was Roald Dahl, now they’re after Ian Fleming…

By: Ginger | Posted on March 10, 2023

The issue of censorship has always sparked heated debates, especially among authors and in the literary world. Some argue that book censorship is necessary to protect vulnerable readers and uphold current moral standards, while others see it as a violation of freedom of expression. In recent years, the debate has intensified as even popular celebrities have faced backlash for past remarks or actions, and social media sites have banned or restricted certain types of content. As Ginger discusses below, the latest target of this trend are authors Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming, whose works are currently under fire for including language or passages that would likely never have passed an editor’s review if written today. However, this raises the question: should we be censoring books written in a different era, based on current cultural and social norms? Instead of altering these books, maybe a better idea would be to preserve… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Amazon Attribution Tag Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on March 3, 2023

We often get questions from readers of our blog (or listeners of our Podcast) about things that we’ve discussed and we’re happy to send answers along if we have them. Sometimes the same questions come up repeatedly, though, which means that it would benefit the community a lot more if we used this space to open up the old mailbag and share the answers with everyone all at once. Recently, probably since we’ve been covering the topic so much and the feature is so new, we’ve been hearing some common questions regarding Attribution tags. So this week, Ginger is focusing his attention on answering the ones that have been coming up most often. Readers of this blog might have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a tear recently regarding Amazon Attribution Tags. I think these things are amazing – a game-changer for self-published authors and one of the few… Read More >

Maximize Your Book’s ROI with Attribution Tags

By: Ginger | Posted on February 24, 2023

Advertising can be expensive, so it’s important to be careful with your ads and always test the different elements to make sure that you’re maximizing your book’s ROI. Changing up the ad images and copy are the obvious first steps, but you can even experiment with other things, like what potential readers see when they click through the ad to your product page.  And keep in mind that positive changes to your book’s product page won’t just help sell books to customers finding it from your ad, but from anyone that stumbles upon it organically as well. The ability to properly measure the results of your changes has only become realistic recently, though, with the introduction of Attribution Tags. Without them, you’re really just guessing. That’s why today, Ginger is going through how to use these tags to figure out the net result (whether positive or negative) that your changes… Read More >

Should Authors Embrace the AI Revolution?

By: Ginger | Posted on February 17, 2023

ChatGPT exploded onto the scene a few months ago, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m overstating things when I say that it literally changed almost everything overnight. There’s a reason why it set a record for the fastest user growth ever, hitting 100 million active users within 2 months of launch. People are finding new uses for it almost daily, and one of the most interesting (to us) is in how it can help authors.  Sure, there are negative stories about how students are using it to write essays or pass their tests, or the sky is falling type articles warning how everyone is about to lose their jobs to AI, but we can either fear change, or embrace it. The reality is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The cat is out of the bag on this, and it’s NOT going back in.  AI is here… Read More >

Discover a Fresh Perspective with the POV Challenge

By: Ginger | Posted on February 10, 2023

This week’s podcast with Courtney Brandt explores the intricacies of writing in first and third person perspectives, which is an excellent reference to listen to before (or after) reading this blog. In many cases, whether due to genre norms or story requirements, one perspective is more suited than another for a particular story, but there are also plenty of occasions where either POV could work (although the results would likely be two very different versions of the same tale.) Yet despite this, many authors favor one POV over another, even when the alternative may be a better fit.  Both perspectives have their unique strengths, which is why experimenting with them can be an incredibly valuable exercise. By switching things up, authors can gain a fresh perspective on their plot and characters, which in turn may result in a their ability to write a much stronger and engaging story.  But don’t… Read More >

Navigating the Challenges of Publishing Alternative Editions

By: Ginger | Posted on February 3, 2023

One of things that authors love most about self-publishing is the freedom to make your own choices with regards to your work. You can do whatever it is you think is right for your book, without a publisher looking over your shoulder and second guessing your decisions and ideas, if not overruling or blocking them completely. Unfortunately, it’s that same lack of oversight that, over the years, led to many authors finding ways to game the system in their favor, turning Amazon’s early eBook storefront into a big mess and eventually leading them to the creation of broad rules designed to reign people in.  The side effect of all this was that those rules often also block authors from making completely legitimate and creative choices with their own work, such as creating alternative editions of their books, or publishing copies with covers that appeal to a different audience. You can… Read More >

Amazon Attribution Provides Long-term KU Page Read Data

By: Ginger | Posted on January 27, 2023

Tracking individual sales that come from each advertising channel is incredibly useful, but if your book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, there is more to it than that. You might still be earning money without actual sales, when someone “borrows” your book and starts to read. In a way, KU borrows actually change how we have to look at how much our books earn from ads, because those page reads aren’t tied as closely to our ad run as more traditional sales. As Ginger reminds us, KU page reads mean your ROI doesn’t just stop at the end of your campaign. Using one of his own books as an example, Ginger takes us through the numbers to demonstrate how page reads can continue to pay dividends long after your ad run is over, and how attribution tags finally allow us to specifically track this metric. As you’ve probably noticed from… Read More >

The Dangers of Mixing Politics and Writing

By: Ginger | Posted on January 20, 2023

If you were to judge solely by the backlash so often seen erupting in social media these days, whenever an author gets too political in their writings, you might think that voicing those opinions was a new phenomenon. But in fact, writers have always used their work as a soapbox for their political leanings, we’re simply paying more attention to it now, with everyday readers finally having a place to sound off from when they agree or disagree with what they’ve read.  That’s not to say that writers shouldn’t speak their mind or fill their work with messages about how they think the world should work, but it does mean that it should be done with care. There are many examples of big name authors that have alienated their fans and paid the price, but there are also those that have done it in a way that is embraced and… Read More >