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For Authors

5 Tips for Social Media that Sells Books

By: Ginger | Posted on December 13, 2019

The most successful authors I know have one thing in common, they not only spend time on social media, but they do it right.  For some, social media comes easy but for others, it’s a grind. There are ways to make it easier, though, and even if you just do a little it’ll be better than doing nothing at all.  But you can’t just spam them with links to buy your latest book, there’s more to it than that… There’s a lot of money in social media… apparently. But a lot of authors I speak to don’t seem to be seeing any of it, or don’t know how to leverage their social media platforms to generate engagement and sales. One common refrain is: “I don’t really know what to post” and for that reason, they don’t post anything.  Other authors spend time and effort posting links to their books and… Read More >

How to Use Time in Your Stories

By: Ginger | Posted on December 6, 2019

You’ve likely heard someone discussing whether a book had a good or bad flow often enough that you understand how important the concept is to get right – but there are many factors that contribute to it.  Stilted writing, repetitive ideas, even word choice can all break the flow of your story, as can grander things like pacing.  You want your reader to be able to move easily through your story, be drawn in, follow along, and ultimately arrive satisfied at the end. So while it may seem risky, even counter-intuitive, to write a story that doesn’t flow through time in that same straightforward, linear fashion, when done right it can be a fabulous technique to add to your author toolbox.  Books and movies are full of examples of non-linear timelines used to enhance their story, and today we’re going to explain the whys and hows so that you can… Read More >

Are You Getting Your Categories Right?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 29, 2019

Which category your book is listed under can have a massive influence on how well your book sells, so it’s worth making sure you get it right. Understanding how Amazon organizes their virtual bookstore – and more importantly what factors they use to determine what goes where – can help increase your sales by making sure more of the right customers are seeing your book. Before I write any author blogs, I’m always struck with a dilemma: Is what I’m going to write about too obvious? Does everybody know about it? Normally, if I take the plunge and write the blog anyway, it all becomes worthwhile when I receive an email from a reader saying: “Thank you! I never knew that before.” I face a similar dilemma with this blog post – which addresses the topic of categories. Categories are the silo your self-published book falls into in Amazon’s systems… Read More >

The Paperback Problem – Print or Not?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 22, 2019

For some authors, they’re first and foremost. For others, it’s an afterthought. Today, we ask where physical, paperback or hardback copies of your books fit into your self-publishing strategy. Ginger uses images of one of his own books as an example, but if you’d like to share pictures of your own physical books – plus any tips or tricks you have for printing them – we’d love you to hear from you in the comments section below. “There’s nothing like a real book,” one of my old college buddies recently told me. “The feel of it in your hands. The smell of the paper. You’ll never catch me reading anything on a Kindle.” We’d studied English literature together – so far from sounding erudite and cultured, I argued that his position was kind of arrogant. In refusing to read eBooks, my oh-so-cultured friend cut himself off from 37% of fiction… Read More >

10 Software Essentials for Authors

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 15, 2019

With the rise of self-publishing, there’s a growing differentiation between people who just publish – and the truly successful authors who produce books that are indistinguishable in quality from those of the top 5 publishers. One of the ways in which they achieve this is by using the same tools as publishers do; or often, even better versions of them. Here are some software essentials as recommended by our community of Hidden Gems authors – which could empower you to add additional speed, precision and polish to your published works. Vellum It’s a cliche that writers tend to favor Apple products, but in the case of this highly-touted formatting software, the fact that it’s only available on MacOS suggests there’s some validity to that.  Vellum is designed to streamline the entire process of formatting books – including inserting links and pretty flourishes, assembling box sets and store links, and even… Read More >

Stretching Your Ad Budget (Part 3) – Increasing Visibility

By: Ginger | Posted on November 8, 2019

In the first two parts of this series, we discussed a couple of different strategies you might want to use your marketing dollars for, but at the end of the day the goal of any author comes down to one of two things (and often both).  Selling more books, and getting more readers. In either case, increasing the visibility of your book is key – you run ads on your books so that more people see them, you increase your readership so more people know about you and talk about you, which also leads to more sales and more readers. Running ads to sell books or grow your subscriber base are great ways to do this, but there is another way you can make readers more aware of your book – by weaving its presence directly into the digital algorithms of Amazon itself. Each of the parts of this series… Read More >

Make Amazon’s Sales Rank Work for You

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on November 1, 2019

If you’re an author that ignores the Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR or Sales Rank) because you think it just exists to stroke the ego of successful authors or because you don’t think you have enough sales to ever get to the top, then it may be time to reconsider and start paying attention to it. Because even though only the #1 spot bestows a bestseller label to your book, just getting in the top 100 can be massively beneficial to your sales. Think of it as free promotion targeting all the readers that search for new books by browsing the top lists (which a great many do).  The best part is that there isn’t just one bestseller, or one top list, but many of them – one for each genre and many sub-categories within those genres – which means that you don’t need thousands (or even hundreds) of sales… Read More >

Stretching Your Ad Budget (Part 2) – Gaining Subscribers

By: Ginger | Posted on October 25, 2019

In part one of this series, we discussed using your ad budget to sell more books, but there are other goals that successful authors use advertising for, such as growing the core group of fans that they can reach regularly via their mailing list.  Instead of spending your ad dollars on selling a book once to a random person, you can instead spend those same dollars to have that person join your list so that you can sell to them over and over again in the future – without any additional costs.  That makes gaining subscribers one of the most effective investments you can make. In part one, we discussed the challenge of getting the most value from your advertising budget – and how important the concept of strategy was. Tactics are the specific things you do to achieve your goals – which platforms you use, for example – whereas… Read More >

The Most Important Part of Your Story Is the Dialogue

By: Hollie Jones | Posted on October 18, 2019

Writing great dialogue is just as important as creating the imaginary world or colorful characters of your book, and so it shouldn’t be ignored or rushed through. In fact, when done right, your dialogue will not only make your characters seem more authentic, but can help with the rest of your world building as well. Not convinced?  Today’s guest author Hollie Jones breaks down why dialogue is so important and how, when done well, it can improve so many aspects of your story. I’m no great fan of silent movies, but I acknowledge that they offer value to the cinematic world. In the absence of the spoken word, the visuals step up to shape perception, with deliberate framing and subtleties in body language conveying the intended themes. But think for a second about what people remember of the classic movies — in Gone With The Wind, is it the pause… Read More >

Stretching Your Ad Budget (Part 1) – Selling Books

By: Ginger | Posted on October 11, 2019

As an independent author without a large publisher with deep marketing pockets bankrolling your book, how you spend your limited advertising budget is something you have to think carefully about. Not only do you need to consider how and where to spend your money, but what your overall marketing goals are in the first place.  Sure, selling more books is the obvious one and certainly provides the most immediate results – but there are some longer term strategies that advertising can also be used for, such as growing your mailing list or promoting free copies of your book (which itself can increase sales). In this three part series, we’ll go over how to get the most out of your advertising dollar for each of these strategies, starting with the one all of us are most interested in – selling more copies! (And don’t forget to take part in the survey… Read More >