For Authors

Eliminating blank page guilt – part 1

By: Ginger | Posted on July 23, 2021

The writing process is more than simply typing words onto a paper and coming up with a masterpiece. Well, unless you happen to have infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters… but for those of us that don’t, it’s important to remember that in order to put those words onto the paper in the first place, you first have to think them up. You have to mentally plan your story, breathe life into your characters, design your world – most of which initially takes place inside your head. Many non-authors don’t understand that there is more to writing than physically adding new words to your story, but as Ginger explains below, those other things are just as important.   There have been so many blog posts about the importance of writing every day that we made a conscious decision to chill on those for a while (although I still maintain that writing… Read More >

Is self-publishing success easier or more difficult on Amazon these days?

By: Ginger | Posted on July 16, 2021

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of occasionally reminiscing about the “good old days” of writing, back when you could spend more time in your author hat than all of the other hats you have to wear to achieve self-publishing success these days. But I also recognize that we can’t live in the past, and we have to deal with the here and now – which is why so many of our blogs are focused on the skills and tools you need to succeed as an author TODAY. Much has changed over the years, but different doesn’t necessarily mean better or worse. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to look at the question about whether or not all of the changes Amazon has made to self-publishing have made things easier or harder for authors.   Writers are nostalgic. It’s in our DNA. While regular people remember birthdays and anniversaries,… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Amazon Advertising Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on July 9, 2021

Our Friday blogs aim at helping self-published authors by covering broad topics to do with writing, marketing, and advertising their books. Sometimes authors send us questions via email as well, and one of the most asked about topics is Amazon ads. So this week we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked Amazon advertising questions that we’ve recently received, and Ginger has put together some answers that will be useful to many of you.   Question #1 I’ve followed all your advice about generating keywords and setting your bid – but my ads aren’t getting any impressions! What am I doing wrong? Advertising is elegant in its simplicity. Normally, there are only three variables you need to worry about, and impressions is one of them. Impressions refers to the number of people who see your ad – and when it comes to Advertising on Amazon, if you’re not getting… Read More >

Can authors use song lyrics in their books?

By: Ginger | Posted on July 2, 2021

Unlike traditionally published authors, self-publishers don’t have the benefit of a design department to create their covers, a marketing department to handle their advertising, or a legal team to tell them what they can and cannot do. Some of these things are easier to manage than others, but usually the legal questions are the thorniest. We’ve actually covered a few of these in the past, at least in broad strokes, but this time we’re drilling in a bit to discuss a more specific question. That is, whether or not an author can use someone else’s song lyrics in their own book. If it’s something you’ve ever considered yourself, it’s vital to understand how to do it properly because if you don’t, even just a dozen of somebody else’s words interspersed within 70,000 of your own could end up really costing you.   Working in self-publishing, it’s often crazy how much… Read More >

My Radish Experiment – Part 1

By: Craig | Posted on June 25, 2021

A little over a month ago I decided to experiment with the Radish Fiction reading app, using a 3-book romance series that I wrote years ago as the guinea pig. The reading app model is a fairly new one, but with even Amazon getting into the game with Vella, it seems like the model may be sticking around for a while.  Radish looks to be one of the biggest players, so I thought it was worth walking through to see what the process was like from an author perspective. I’ve been providing regular updates to the authors on my weekly newsletter, but now that I’ve started to get some results, a bigger more detailed analysis is warranted.  I’m calling this Part 1, though, as not all of the data is in yet so I’m sure there will be at least one more future update. What is Radish and how does… Read More >

How the writing career blueprint has changed

By: Ginger | Posted on June 18, 2021

There’s no doubt that the self-publishing landscape has changed a lot in the last few years, and it will undoubtedly continue to evolve. When I first started publishing back in 2013 or so, the rapid release/high volume strategy was definitely the most reliable path to success, and that was without any sort of advertising at all. But as more books started to fill out the digital shelves, it became harder to get noticed. At that point many of us pivoted to using ads, which at first were wildly successful for very little spend, but as competition grew, so did ad prices even as their results became less impressive. Still, many self-published authors continue to earn a living with their writing, but simply having the ability to tell great stories isn’t enough anymore. As Ginger points out, you also need to be willing and able to not only formulate a plan… Read More >

How to Meet Other Writers

By: Gwyn GB | Posted on June 11, 2021

Last week we wrote about finding your audience tribe, and speaking directly to them when you write your book.  Equally important, but for different reasons, is the idea of finding your author tribe. That is, finding some small group of like-minded writers that you can rely on for support. Even at the best of times, writing is a lonely business, and the pandemic that looks to finally be coming to an end (knock on wood) has only served to amplify that problem. But now that things are finally starting to get back to normal, there is no better time to start looking for a group of people that share your passion for writing, understand what you’re going through, and provide the support and encouragement we all sometimes need.   So if you’re ready to start looking for your own tribe but unsure where to even begin, have no fear!  Bestselling crime… Read More >

Market to your genre, but write for your audience

By: Ginger | Posted on June 4, 2021

One of the benefits that self-publishing has brought to the book world is a breadth of genres and sub-genres that were previously underserved (if not completely nonexistent).  While those sub-genres may not have been profitable for a big publishing house to chase, due to their smaller overall size, they can still be profitable for an author making the much higher commissions that self-publishing brings. That’s why it can pay to write to your audience if you’re passionate about a type of story that isn’t typically the biggest sellers. The trick is finding that audience that shares your interests and wants to read those stories, which means that even though your story may be unique or different than what’s expected within your genre, your marketing efforts should still continue to conform to norms. Otherwise you may not be able to find and attract that core audience in the first place.  … Read More >

The Logistics of Selling Signed Paperbacks

By: Ginger | Posted on May 28, 2021

I love eBooks, and I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve cracked open a paperback, but there’s no denying that I sometimes miss the feel of holding an actual physical book in my hands. Of course, there are plenty of other readers that prefer hard copies over electronic. But regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, there is still something special about getting a signed copy of a book you love. Often these copies are handed out, or sold, in-person by the author at a conference or bookstore signing, but just because you’re a self-published author that never attends these things doesn’t mean you can’t also get in on the action.   Here are the steps that Ginger uses to sell signed copies of his books, but you can also use them to send out free copies as gifts, prizes, or even rewards to valued members… Read More >

Designing Covers by the Numbers

By: Ginger | Posted on May 21, 2021

There’s a reason we keep circling back to the importance of a solid cover. It’s the first thing readers see when confronted by a sea of other choices, and if it can’t entice a click to your product page, it doesn’t matter how great your book is.  I see it all the time with the ARC program as well, because readers are even picky about the books they get for free. Covers that fall flat end up with way fewer sign ups than similar books in the same genre with well-designed covers. Not only should a cover look like it was done by a professional instead of homemade, but it needs to contain the right genre-specific elements to sell the reader on the idea that this book is the one they’ve been looking for. So just as we argued last week in terms of using data to plan your ads,… Read More >