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For Authors

True or False? 3 New Updates about Advertising on Amazon YOU Need to Consider

By: Ginger | Posted on July 3, 2020

Amazon is alive! Not in a literal sense, unless you’re a proponent of science fiction scenarios, but in the sense that the algorithms, interfaces, and strategies that help authors perform best on the world’s largest bookstore are constantly evolving, changing, and pivoting. In this article, we’ll ask “true or false” about the effectiveness of three previously tried-and-tested advertising strategies – and look into whether you might want to rethink your approach to them. A couple of weeks ago, we posted a blog entitled 3 Ways to Turn Your Advertising on Amazon into a High Performing Machine – and received a comment from a reader named Lee Gabel that read: Tip #2 is no longer accepted practice for Amazon Ads. Instead they recommend no more than 100 keywords per ad and advocate using ad groups instead of copying campaigns. In addition, Amazon Ads now frowns upon more than three ads per… Read More >

Top 10 Tips to Going Wide

By: Erin Wright | Posted on June 26, 2020

We’ve been hearing from more and more authors lately that are cutting the cord, so to speak – stepping away from KU exclusivity for one reason or another in order to test the waters by “going wide”, which simply means selling their book across all (or most) of the digital storefronts instead of just Amazon. Erin Wright went wide back in 2016 and has never looked back, which is why she’s perfectly suited to provide you with the tips for how to change your way of Amazon-centric thinking and prepare to bring your work to a much wider audience. Howdy, y’all! *waving* I’m Erin Wright, a USA Today bestselling author. I write contemporary western romance, and am a dedicated wide author. Although I didn’t start out as a wide author, I quickly became one as Amazon went through one upheaval after another, stripping page reads from authors, shutting down accounts… Read More >

Is Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors worth the price?

By: Ginger | Posted on June 19, 2020

Recently, the famous Ads for Authors class from Self Publishing Formula opened up. With access available until June 24, this course promises to teach aspiring authors what they need to know to amplify the impact of their books on Facebook, Advertising for Amazon, Instagram, and more. But is it worth the money? With less than a week left to sign up before it disappears again for months, we wanted to give you the answers you need ASAP. Mark Dawson’s course is generally regarded as the essential advertising resource – but it’s not cheap. With $849 to lay out for lifetime access, one question I get from many authors considering the program is – is it worth the money? Well, based on my experience – my answer is a “qualified” yes. That’s probably not exactly the straight-forward answer you were looking for, but at Hidden Gems we’re all about transparency, and… Read More >

“Why can’t I make money advertising?” – A Common Question from our Mailbox

By: Ginger | Posted on June 12, 2020

Each Friday, we try to post blogs aimed at helping authors get their heads around self-publishing, marketing, and advertising their books. Often, these posts will spark a lot of discussion and debate, and we’ll often receive questions from writers needing a bit of clarification. Here’s a question we’ve received recently – and we hope you find the answer helpful!   Dear, Hidden Gems, Whatever happens, I can’t seem to make my advertising profitable. What am I doing wrong? It’s so frustrating to spend more money on advertising than I get in book sales, but otherwise I don’t seem to be getting any traction at all. I’m using Facebook and Advertising on Amazon, but I can’t keep throwing money at it like this. Help!   Okay, so if you’re in this boat – you’re not alone! Making any form of advertising profitable is tough, and when you’re marketing ebooks it’s even… Read More >

3 Ways to Turn Your Advertising on Amazon into a High Performing Machine

By: Ginger | Posted on June 5, 2020

With all the recent changes Amazon has been making, more and more authors are having to rely on Advertising on Amazon to get their book seen by potential readers. However, getting profitable ad campaigns from Advertising on Amazon isn’t easy, and not everyone wants or needs something as in-depth as Mark Dawson’s recently re-opened Ads for Authors course (although we do recommend it, for anyone interested). For those that are looking for some simpler advice on what to really focus on, here are three tips that might help. Tip #1: Work out the true value of each book sale. Advertising on Amazon provides an at-a-glance answer to whether or not your advertising campaigns are profitable in the form of the ACOS – Average Cost Of Sale. However, there are a lot of nuances to the ACOS that make it a less-than-reliable indicator of whether or not you’re making money with… Read More >

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 2

By: Nate | Posted on May 29, 2020

In the first part of this series, Nate laid the foundation for keyword mastery which authors need to understand in order to make sure that casual customers will find their book when using the Amazon search bar. In this conclusion, he plays the part of mad data scientist as he demonstrates how to formulate the keywords for a specific book, while also explaining some best practices on how to organize those keywords effectively, and thoughts on keyword upkeep.  The Promise of the Premise The first thing to do when you keyword any book is to consider the story at its most basic level, because the premise will tell you the most important thing about your book: who the audience is. So let’s say we have a shifter story about a research scientist who meets her fated mate at an Arctic research base run by polar bear shifters. It’s never too… Read More >

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 1

By: Nate | Posted on May 22, 2020

Today’s guest blogger isn’t so much a guest as a regular fixture around here.  Nate has been with Hidden Gems almost as long as I have, and has helped me build it into what it is today because of his combination of technical know-how, industry knowledge and solid understanding of design. This article is slightly more technical than most of the ones we post, but really explains some of the often overlooked details of how Amazon’s search really works and the role that your keywords play.  This understanding is essential to anyone looking to really make the system work for their books, and future installments of this series will build upon this to really give you an edge over the sea of competition your book is swimming against. For authors old and new, keyword selection remains one of the most mystifying and frustrating parts of book marketing. The dirty secret… Read More >

Series-Writing Advice: Think Like a Reader!

By: Ginger | Posted on May 15, 2020

If you want to generate a following as an author, it’s important to think like a reader.  This means not only determining what it is that they want from your books themselves, but considering how it is they discover you as an author, what works best in drawing them into your stories, and most importantly, how to keep them hooked and reading more of your work! While writing is a craft, being a successful self-published author is a business; and it’s important to think of it exactly like that when it comes to advertising and marketing your books – a business. You want to score the most sales you can; and that begins with one of the core strategies for successful business – empathizing with your customer. I’ve written about the importance of the Back Matter of your book – the things you include after your story is over. However,… Read More >

ONE MORE THING that may be killing your Amazon book sales!

By: Ginger | Posted on May 8, 2020

If there’s one thing for certain about Amazon, it’s that they’re reliably uncertain. And while it’s true that they just about single-handedly created the industry, it’s only from their ruthless and monopolistic practices that they’ve maintained a strangle-hold over it. Sure, other online store fronts still exist, but very few authors make a living from those alone, while many do very well selling exclusively on Amazon. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that when Amazon moves the goalposts, you need a strategy to keep up. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably already learned this lesson but if you’re new to writing, it’s a lesson you have to learn fast in order to survive and thrive. Here’s Ginger with the latest change you may see affecting your sales. I recently received an email from an author who’d “given up.” In a message he sent to subscribers – one entitled… Read More >

Pandemic Book Sales – Author Survey

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 1, 2020

No matter where you live, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting everyone hard – with many out of work or forced to work from home.  While many full-time authors were already doing that and thus may not have noticed much of a change in their working situation (other than having a potentially busier/noisier household and no Starbucks to escape to with their laptop), how have their actual book sales fared?  Let’s find out by analyzing the feedback from over 90 authors! With so many people stuck at home in forced or voluntary quarantine, logic would dictate that they have more time than ever to read.  But there are also other factors at play, making the situation less straight-forward.  Aside from other distractions – children (home schooling or just taking care of them), movies and television, etc, there may be less money to spend on books in general.    So does that… Read More >