Industry News

You can no longer buy books through the Kindle app

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on June 10, 2022

Last week, Amazon announced that they were ending the ability to buy books or manage your subscriptions through the Kindle app – meaning readers will have to go to the regular Amazon website. Why did they decide to do this? And what impact will it have for authors and readers alike? You may have seen a bunch of articles this week about Amazon’s decision to end purchasing through their Kindle app. It comes as a result of Google charging 15% for all transactions (of digital products) made through apps available on Google Play, and apparently Amazon weren’t having it any longer! That being said, this move isn’t a surprise to many people. Apple have blocked in-app purchases that bypass their payment portals since 2011 – and go even further, by not allowing links that redirect to a third-party hosted webpage for payment, either. But what impact will this have on… Read More >

Is Amazon’s eBook Returns Process Too Easy to Abuse?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on April 15, 2022

Amazon loves to cater to the customer experience, which is a business model that has made them one of the biggest companies in the world. However, in the case of their unrestricted policy on eBook returns, they have left authors open to abuse by unscrupulous customers looking to read for free. While this policy is not new, a recent increase in social media posts and videos, urging customers to read and return books even after they’ve read the entire thing, has highlighted how easy this policy is to exploit. Is it finally time for the eBook giant to take a cue from the rest of the industry and tighten up their rules?   As of writing this, 43,545 people have signed a petition posted by author Reah Foxx on Change.org called Change Amazon Return Policies for Completed E-books: Protect Authors from Theft! Just a few more thousand and this will… Read More >

Amazon delivers another blow to traditional publishing

By: Ginger | Posted on April 1, 2022

In recent weeks, Amazon has done something previously considered unthinkable – offering up the option for authors to advertise their books using Advertising on Amazon even if they’re traditionally published, or the rights to those books are held by somebody else. In doing so, they’ve delivered yet another gut punch to traditional publishing by providing authors that aren’t yet self-published with an opportunity to test whether they can do a better job of promoting their own books, while at the same time getting a view into just how much money they’re leaving on the table.   If you’ve visited your Author Central account on Amazon recently – the one where you can post your biographical details, and curate all the books you’ve written or contributed to – you’ll notice a new tab called Reports & Marketing. On that page, you’ll see the option to go directly to the Advertising on… Read More >

The Hidden Gems Author Podcast is officially live!

By: Craig | Posted on February 4, 2022

The self-publishing landscape is constantly evolving, and the most successful authors understand that no matter what level they’re at in their career, there is always more to learn. This blog has (and will continue to be) a great forum for helping us share information on new ways to improve your writing or book marketing, but these days a lot of people prefer content that they can consume on the go, or while doing other things – which explains the growing popularity of the audiobook and podcast formats. That’s why Roland (Ginger) and I have launched the new Hidden Gems Author Podcast. Every Thursday, you’ll be able to listen to us discuss new topics with greater depth than is possible in the blog, and often with guests that are either experts in the subject, or have been affected by whatever issue it is we’re discussing. There is so much to learn… Read More >

An Amazon Appeals Process is Long Overdue – Part 2

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on January 14, 2022

In part one of this blog, I went over an issue that recently affected a number of authors in which their Amazon accounts were wrongly terminated, and the hassle and pain they had to go through to exonerate themselves. I spent a lot of time discussing what happened, how and why I think the current system works the way it does, and the realities of what I believe is unlikely to ever change (and why). But that doesn’t mean the system can’t be vastly improved upon, we just need to make sure to ask for the right things. Today I’ll go over the changes I think Amazon would have a hard time arguing against, while still providing authors with a defense against the devastating consequences of having their entire careers unfairly ripped away. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things… Read More >

An Amazon Appeals Process is Long Overdue – Part 1

By: Craig | Posted on January 7, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, some authors were surprised by a disturbing email from Amazon informing them that due to some vague and unspecific rule violations, their author accounts had been terminated and any outstanding payments would be withheld. These authors did nothing wrong, after a lot of time and effort on their part most were eventually exonerated and had things restored, but the fact that this can happen to anyone at anytime and for no good reason should not only serve as a harsh reminder of the dangers of having all your eggs in one basket, but as further evidence that Amazon needs a proper appeals process for when they inevitably get things wrong again. There are various arguments for “going wide” and publishing books on multiple online storefronts, but one of the big ones is the diversification you get by not having to rely on just one site… Read More >

Amazon’s hardcover option – what you need to know

By: Ginger | Posted on September 24, 2021

If you’re the type of author that likes having print versions of your books available and you haven’t logged into your KDP dashboard in a while, you may want to go and take a quick look. Amazon has started to roll out a hardcover format as a choice available to authors, right alongside the eBook and paperback versions.  The feature is still in beta testing and not all authors have access to it, but if you don’t see it yet, you probably will soon. Here’s Ginger with what you might need to know about this new print option.   Have you been given the option of producing hardcover editions of your books yet? If not, here’s what you might need to know. An increasing number of self-published authors are seeing a new box on their Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard – the option to publish hardcover copies of their books, just… Read More >

Amazon ‘outing’ author pen names!

By: Craig | 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 >

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 >

Writing Challenge – Making the most out of social isolation!

By: Ginger | Posted on March 20, 2020

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’re probably under either self-isolation or outright quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus (and if you have been living under a rock, you should probably stay there for a while, it may be safer!) But for writers, there’s a grim silver lining to this crisis – as self-isolation is one of the most advantageous situations to find yourself in if you’re committed to putting pen to paper. So for those of us that can’t do much else anyway, let’s make the most out of it with a writing challenge! Hidden Gems is proposing a fun writing challenge to help you to get your next book written! Please do remember that real lives are at stake during this crisis – so we’re not trying to make light of this scary situation. However, I think the next few weeks or… Read More >