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Advertising and Marketing

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 >

LinkedIn Advertising – An Overlooked Option for Non-Fiction Authors

By: Ginger | Posted on April 17, 2020

While the overall principles of advertising a book are mainly the same between fiction and non-fiction, it is true that most of our ad and marketing posts are more specifically geared towards writers of fiction. That’s why this week, we’re going to discuss an often overlooked option that is much more suited to writers of non-fiction – and that’s advertising your book on the more professionally oriented social media site LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the professional social network – kind of like Facebook for people in suits. Most of us have a presence there, and because of the way LinkedIn is set up, you might even have hundreds more contacts than you do on Facebook. While it’s not so effective for advertising steamy romance novels, or gritty crime thrillers, there is a lot of value in this audience for authors who write under their own name, and publish books that might… Read More >

How to Write Killer Facebook Ad Copy

By: Ginger | Posted on April 10, 2020

One of the biggest complaints authors have about self-publishing is that they have to do their own marketing and advertising, which is why we spend so much time on the topic in our blog.  And while we have covered Facebook ads in the past, there is at least one area where people still ask for help most frequently – writing the actual ad copy!  That’s because when done right, Facebook ads can be a very effective tool for selling your books – but if you aren’t careful, they can just end up being very expensive!  The key is in determining which combination of words will be most effective in drawing clicks to your book, so we have some tips for that. I spent many years as an advertising copy writer in the New York advertising agency world, and if there’s one thing I learned it was that “shorter is better.”… Read More >

What are your Publishing Priorities?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on April 3, 2020

As many of us know, when it comes to self-publishing, actually writing your book is really only the first step in a much bigger process and to really have any chance of achieving success in this business, you can’t afford to miss or skip any of the other steps. You want to make the most out of each book launch, which means being prepared and well organized – in other words, “get all your ducks in a row.” Unfortunately, that advice only works when you’re already sure which order your ducks are meant to go in!  That’s why in this short guide, we’ll break down the publishing priority list for any independent author. One of the things that holds back a lot of self-published authors is the sheer scale of launching a writing career. Writing a book is hard enough – but then you’ve got to teach yourself how to… Read More >

Combining Entrepreneurialism and Self-Publishing – The “Billy Houston Method”

By: Ginger | Posted on March 27, 2020

Recently, we interviewed Australian entrepreneur and author Greg Holman, and one of the nuggets he shared in his debut novel, Billy Houston Rags to Riches, was the secret to a successful business. And while you may be one of those authors that embraced storytelling as a way to leave that world behind and be your own boss, you would be making a mistake by ignoring it completely. There are many parallels between running a business and self-publishing your book, which means that a lot of Billy Houston’s advice can be used to make your own career more successful. In his novel, serial entrepreneur Billy Houston imparts some of Greg’s real-life wisdom (as the author himself is a massively successful entrepreneur) and it resonated deeply with me as a self-published author. Process, leverage, and distribution – the three guiding business principles that would guide my business endeavors. You might wonder what… Read More >

The 5 Golden Rules of Advertising Your Book

By: Ginger | Posted on March 13, 2020

When it comes to advertising your book, advice is plentiful – both on our site and elsewhere.  And while it’s vitally important to understand things like where best to spend your ad dollars, what type of ads to design, or how to figure out which audience to target, there are some much more general concepts that should be applied to all of that knowledge.  Because even if you’ve mastered everything technical about creating ads, if you don’t grasp these golden rules of advertising, you may still end up wasting a lot of money or letting opportunities slip through your fingers. When I’m asked for advice about marketing and advertising books, one phrase keeps returning to my lips – don’t be afraid not to spend money. It’s originally attributed to Warren Buffet – but I’ve found that world-class investing advice also extends to selling books! In an author’s journey, there are… Read More >