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Advertising and Marketing

Amazon Exclusive vs Wide: A Case Study

By: Isabel Jolie | Posted on October 23, 2020

The case for going wide or remaining in KDP Select as an Amazon exclusive is fiercely debated, but at the end of the day there is likely no right answer that fits everyone. Like most things, it comes down to experimentation and doing your research. That’s the approach romance author Isabel Jolie took, and luckily for us she was willing to put together this blog breaking down her numbers and what she learned from her experimentation.   To KU or not to KU? It’s a question every author has at least considered and weighed. “Any romance author should do KU.” “KU is a no-brainer for a new author.” These are things I was told – repeatedly. I ultimately chose to go wide, but I did briefly test KU, and the following is what I experienced. Background I released my first book in January 2020. In September, I released my fourth… Read More >

Author Websites: The Whens, Whys and Hows

By: Virginie Carmichael | Posted on October 9, 2020

If you don’t already have an author website, you’ve probably heard or read someone, somewhere, saying you need one. What may not be as clear is why you need one. Or when you need one. Or where to go next if you do decide you actually should have one. That’s why we’ve turned to Virginie Carmichael for help. As someone who has made a business out of helping authors with their websites, Virginie has the answers to all these questions, and more.   Being a successful author is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, planning and making some mistakes along the way. You might have already set up a website, and just given up on it because it’s too much of a time suck to manage. Or maybe you haven’t slayed that beast yet, because it just seems too daunting. Or you might not even be sure if… Read More >

Choose an Email Marketing Service That Works for You

By: Annabeth Saryu | Posted on September 25, 2020

Most independent authors are well aware of the importance of a newsletter and the benefits of using a mailing list to handle it, but a quick google search will result in plenty of different email marketing services to choose from. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of problem, since every author has different needs. Luckily, author Annabeth Saryu has already done a lot of research into what factors need to be considered, and she’s put it all together here to make it easier to determine how to pick the service that will work best for you.   Regardless of where an author is in their career, they eventually encounter a piece of universally accepted advice: build your mailing list. Your mailing list not only consists of your most avid readers, but if cultivated properly, also includes your most dedicated customers. While many experts on author marketing stress the value of… Read More >

Cover Design Uncovered Part 4: The Finale

By: Nate | Posted on September 18, 2020

Up until this point, our four part cover design series has taken you through the steps needed to put together a basic cover. Hidden Gems cover designer Nate has gone over topics like selecting the software you’re going to use, how to develop your initial concept, and then how to start putting together your initial composition.  In this final part, Nate adds the finishing touches by introducing layers, choosing colors and adding special effects.  And then he wraps it all up with a bunch of useful links for those that want to continue upping their cover design game!     The Composition, Revisited In the last installment, we created this composition for our PNR cover: One of the best things about creating your own covers is that you’re able to immediately change things when you decide you don’t like something. Me? I don’t much care for that plain black background… Read More >

Cover Design Uncovered Part 3: The Composition

By: Nate | Posted on September 11, 2020

Putting together a cover is more than simply finding some relevant stock images and dropping them all together on a digital canvas. And while there is an overabundance of websites that list all the rules a designer should or shouldn’t follow, not all of them are created equal. In part three of our four part cover design series, Nate goes over some basic design tips on what really needs to be focused on when composing a cover. And then in next week’s conclusion, he’ll demonstrate how to apply even more advanced effects to blend it all together into a professional looking final design.   The Rules for Composition Now that we have an idea of the cover we want to make and we’ve gathered the necessary stock photos and fonts we want to use, it’s time to start our composition. Composing has lots of rules to keep in mind, and… Read More >

Cover Design Uncovered Part 2: The Concept

By: Nate | Posted on September 4, 2020

One of the biggest mistakes I see new authors make is thinking that their book cover should be completely different than anything else out there in order to “stand out”.  It’s easy to see why, especially when their genre’s bestseller list is filled with covers that have many striking similarities between them. In a sea of gray, most authors long to be red—standing out from the crowd and getting all the attention. But an author is better served by saving their uniqueness for their writing rather than their cover concept, and in part two of our four part series on cover design, Nate is here to explain why.   Covering the Basics So you’ve decided to design your own covers and you’ve hopefully picked out a piece of software. Now we’ll talk about the basics of a cover design, starting with needing one in the first place. As part of… Read More >

Cover Design Uncovered Part 1: Software

By: Nate | Posted on August 28, 2020

The first impression a new potential fan gets to your work is the cover of your book—and we all know how important first impressions can be. You may have the best blurb, fabulous reviews, and an amazing story, but none of that matters if you don’t have a cover that will stop the reader from scrolling and entice them to click through to the details. While a professionally designed cover usually does the trick, maybe you want to try and design something yourself? While it’s not for everyone, if you have the time and interest to devote to it, you may be able to design something great for a fraction of the cost—you just have to know how. That’s why our resident expert Nate has put together this four part series on cover design, covering everything you need to know. So grab your stock images and let’s get started! We’ve… Read More >

Taking Stock of Stock Photos

By: Nate | Posted on August 21, 2020

As a prelude to an upcoming cover design series that Nate will be posting soon, he first wanted to touch on the basics of using stock photos. Unless you’re doing original artwork you’ll be using stock photos, which means you need to understand the rules around them.  Issues like photo licenses, model releases and usage agreements can all be a bit confusing, so the goal today is to shed a bit of light on how it all works.  Taking Stock Stock photos are our main source of cover art, and the vast majority of us are buying stock from a reputable source. The best site to use is totally subjective and beyond the scope of this post, but any reputable site will work. Using a reputable stock site is important for a couple of reasons. First, they’re doing their diligence when it comes to photo ownership and model releases. For… Read More >

Increase Book Sales with In-house Promotions

By: Erin Wright | Posted on August 14, 2020

One of the things that sets wide storefronts apart from Amazon is the hand-curated element to their sales. Unlike Amazon, where your placement in the store depends on how much you’re willing to spend on AMS ads, the promotion of books on all the other online storefronts is handled in a completely different way. Author and going-wide expert Erin Wright explains how to increase your book sales by getting featured in these in-house promotions. Here’s a run down of what you need to know for each of the major wide storefronts. GooglePlay GooglePlay is the easiest storefront to cover: They don’t do in-house promos, period. The books that are shown to a customer are 100% driven by algorithms. If I pull up, I’ll see a very different storefront than when you pull up the same URL. This means that more than any other wide storefront, it’s very important that… Read More >

Mailing Lists: Covering Your Caboose and Protecting Your Privacy

By: Nate | Posted on July 17, 2020

For an independent author, there is nothing more important than building your fanbase.  There are lots of reasons for this, but the most important is that there is no one more likely to buy your next book than someone that already read and loved your last one.  That’s why you want to make sure you have a list of as many of those fans as possible so that you can contact them to let them know about your upcoming releases – something you should be doing as part of a regular marketing strategy via your newsletter.  But setting up a newsletter means first setting up a list that your readers can join, and while there are plenty of companies that provide mailing list services, there are some important things you need to consider first before you get started. Not only are there legal rules around what you can send and… Read More >