Industry News

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 >

Is Amazon taking Author Advertising too far?

By: Ginger | Posted on May 24, 2019

Amazon has been experimenting with their ‘sponsored’ adverts for books – placing them in ever-more prevalent positions throughout a customer’s shopping experience. The question is – have they taken it too far, and have these Amazon advertising spots begun to negatively impact both the success of authors and the reader experience?  Ginger gives his opinion on the issue. What do you think? Recently, I was on Amazon organizing my catalog of books – and like I’ve done a thousand times, I typed my pen name into the search bar expecting to see all the books that come up related to it, independent of my Author Profile page. What did I get instead? Two ‘Sponsored’ books, neither of which were mine. My books were there – but ‘beneath the fold’. This means I actually had to scroll down before I’d even get to see any books relevant to the terms I’d… Read More >

Kindle Select – Are Page Reads Good or Bad for Authors?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 14, 2018

Since the introduction of KU, authors have argued about whether it’s a good deal or not, given the ever fluctuating payouts and Amazon exclusivity they paid as a price for participation. On one hand, it does seem like more and more authors are going wide, but on the other hand, the KU program continues to grow and authors like Ginger have an overall positive experience with it. Here are some of the pros and cons about the program, as well as how Ginger has used it to enhance his own career as a writer. Amazon pays self-published authors on it’s KDP Select program in two ways – royalties from book sales, and a share of ‘page reads’ from Kindle Unlimited subscribers. But is the fluid and unpredictable nature of the Page Read payout a good thing, or a bad thing for authors? When I first moved to America, two things… Read More >

The Good and Bad of Amazon’s $50 Review Rule

By: Craig | Posted on July 10, 2018

Way back in 2017, Amazon introduced a requirement that anyone leaving a review on the site had to have spent at least $50 at the store with an actual credit or debit card. Over time, that policy has evolved to become even more restrictive. While we understand and even applaud the intent behind the policy, questions remain about whether or not it has really made a difference in improving the situation it was designed to fix.   And even more importantly, is it worth the cost to the real customers affected by it. The Current $50 Review Rule While the original rule was that customers have spent $50 in total on their account before being able to leave an Amazon review, it has since become more restrictive.  According to the community guidelines page, a customer can only write a review if they’ve spent $50 over the last 12 months (that… Read More >

Amazon Slams the Doors to Kindle Worlds

By: Jen Talty | Posted on June 1, 2018

First Amazon shut down the Kindle Scout program.  Now, about a month later, they’re doing the same to Kindle Worlds. The issue affects both readers and writers alike, and Hidden Gems has been lucky to have worked with two prominent KW authors in the past. Jen Talty and Casey Hagen are speaking up to share their view and perspective on what exactly went down and what it means to the future of everyone affected. As the behemoth of the book world, what Amazon creates, it can decimate… Hundreds of authors with novels and novellas published within Kindle Worlds were notified by Amazon that Kindle Worlds would be no more. Finished. Kaput. This has a huge impact on both the seed authors, the author whose world was licensed with Amazon, and the authors who gave up time, energy, and their copyrights so they could play in the seed author’s sandbox. We… Read More >