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For Authors

Fiction Apps Can Increase Your Income

By: Krista Lakes | Posted on February 19, 2021

Most self-published authors sell their book on one or more of the traditional online eBook stores like Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. Lately, however, a new option has emerged that is worth looking into, at least for those not tied to a long term exclusivity agreement. You may not have heard of Fiction Apps, or if you have, you may have brushed them off believing that they only exist to give books away for free and can’t be used to earn real money from your novels.  Times have changed, though, with new apps emerging and gaining popularity among both readers and silicon valley. NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Krista Lakes uses them, and she’s here to let us know why it’s time for authors to start taking these apps seriously, and what some of the options are. I think I’ll be experimenting with one of them in… Read More >

Five Characters and Counting: How narrowing your focus can expand your story

By: Ginger | Posted on February 12, 2021

With most fiction, it’s the characters that make a story a success or not. Characters are what people remember, and when you’ve done a good job fleshing them out, you’ll find that your readers can’t get enough of them. They’ll read sequel after sequel, even when the plots are very different, just so that they can revisit the lives of the characters they love and continue to follow them on their journeys. And while it’s fine if your book has a large cast in general, Ginger is here to explain why you need to keep the focus on a much smaller set, and leave the rest as walk-ons, in order to strengthen your overall story.   A couple of months ago, I wrote about having to go back to the drawing board on a novel I’d been working on for nearly six months. I’d written 160,000 words of it –… Read More >

Amazon ‘outing’ author pen names!

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on February 5, 2021

Many authors write under pen names to hide their true identities, and until now have done so under the perfectly reasonable assumption that Amazon would keep that identity secret. There are plenty of good reasons why an author would want to maintain their privacy, and no good reasons for Amazon (or any other publishing company) to put that privacy at risk. Despite this, late last week a number of authors started reporting that Amazon Ads had sent physical letters to their homes, addressed to their secret pen names for anyone in the household picking up the mail to see. Whether this breach of confidentiality was willful or simply a mistake is irrelevant, and Amazon needs to take ownership of it. So far, however, it is looking more and more like they’re simply hoping everyone will just forget it ever happened. Back before starting Hidden Gems I was a romance author,… Read More >

A Market You May Be Missing

By: Deryn Pittar | Posted on January 29, 2021

I noticed that many authors that use our beta reader service leave out the over 50 age group as part of their demographics and it got me to wondering whether that was a mistake or not. I’m sure there are cases where a book really is targeted at a younger age group, but I think that the majority of fiction books probably do not fall into that category.  As someone closing in on 50 myself, I have a hard time believing that in a couple of years my opinions of a book will be any less valid than they are now. Deryn Pittar agrees, and as a 50+ avid reader AND author, her opinion on the subject isn’t one any author can afford to ignore.  I’m not going to labor the challenges of marketing in today’s publishing world. As an author I’m only too aware of them. However, there is… Read More >

Fair Use FAQ – Your Questions Answered

By: Nate | Posted on January 22, 2021

Without the benefit of a publishing company’s legal team behind them, it’s important for self-published authors to have at least a basic understanding of what they can or cannot include in their works. Previously, Nate has discussed issues of copyright and trademark, and with this final installment he’s going over the idea of fair use. Wondering whether you can include that song lyric in your book, or whether you’re able to make reference to your favorite fast food joint?  If so, this is the blog for you. And as always, if you have any further questions or need any clarifications, just leave a comment for Nate and he’ll do his best to find you an answer.   Hello, everyone! Before we get the ball rolling with the last entry to this series, I wanted to mention that the same caveats apply as the previous two installments (copyright FAQ and trademark… Read More >

The war over audiobooks is about to heat up!

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on January 15, 2021

Whether you listen to audiobooks yourself or not, the growing demand from readers/listeners is proof that there are plenty of others that do. And new companies are jumping into the market with increasing regularity, often bringing unique options, different payout structures or expanded markets that create further opportunities to the authors willing to provide the content. So whether you’re already in the audio game or just getting ready to dip your toe in and get started, it’s vital that you understand the market and what’s going on in it. So read on for a rundown of audiobooks, the options, recent developments, and some tips on how to get started!   Legendary entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has built a hundred million dollar business off the back of social media – and he has advice for those still looking to cash in: “The same way I felt about social media in 2006/7/8, I… Read More >

The Importance of a Strong Book Cover: A Case Study

By: D.F. Hart | Posted on January 8, 2021

We’ve published numerous blogs touting the importance of your cover when it comes to selling your book, but it’s often hard to give a concrete apples-to-apples example because the cover is rarely the only difference between two books. That is, if we looked at the great sales of Book A (with a strong cover) compared to the lower sales of Book B (with a weak cover), it would be impossible to argue that the cover was the sole defining factor. Maybe Book A also had a better blurb, or was written by an author with a stronger following, or was in a more popular genre or sub-genre. Any number of factors could be the cause.  So when D.F. Hart told me of her recent surge in sales after simply changing the covers on an existing series, I knew it was something that our author community would want to hear about…. Read More >

2020 Book Sales Survey Results

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on January 1, 2021

When the Covid-19 pandemic first started and everyone entered their first (of many) lockdowns, many authors reported seeing an initial uptick in sales.  As time wore on, however, and 2020 continued its downward spiral, I began to hear more and more about how book sales were starting to fall.  While anecdotal reports are great for being alerted to an issue, it’s usually more useful to try and gather info from a wider variety of sources in order to look for trends, and with access to so many self-published authors, I’m in a unique position to do just that.  So with that in mind, I sent out a recent survey to gather more hard data, and I’ve crunched the numbers on the results to try and give you an idea of just how bad things have gotten, who has been affected and to what extent. Way back near the start of… Read More >

U.S. Trademark FAQ: Your Questions Answered

By: Nate | Posted on December 25, 2020

In Nate’s last article, he answered some frequently asked questions about copyright.  This week he’s back to do the same thing to the idea of trademarks. So if you’re an author concerned about protecting your brand, you won’t want to miss this primer on what trademarks are, how they are protected, and whether or not you need to worry about them. And at the end, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment for Nate and he’ll do his best to get you an answer!   Howdy again, everyone! Just wanted to give you a heads up that the same caveats apply to this post as the previous FAQ about copyright: while I am pursuing a law degree that I may or may not ever use, I am not a lawyer. Nothing in this post should constitute legal advice, and everyone should always engage a law professional… Read More >

Calculating the real value of your book ads

By: Ginger | Posted on December 18, 2020

As an independent author in charge of your own marketing success, you owe it to yourself to make sure you can properly determine just how effectively your book ads are performing. But if you’ve been assuming that you can simply rely on the advertising dashboard provided by Amazon or Facebook to give you the answers you’re looking for, you need to understand that those numbers can be very misleading, if not completely wrong. To illustrate this, ad expert Ginger takes us through some actual numbers pulled from one of his own recent ad campaigns.   Before I finally published my first successful book, I had spent 25 years carving out a career in advertising and marketing; which probably gave me an advantage when it came to promoting my books. I’m old enough to have entered the advertising industry before the days of Facebook and YouTube – back when people still… Read More >