For Authors

Accounting for Authors

By: D.F. Hart | Posted on March 18, 2022

I’m sure there are very few authors that would claim to enjoy the accounting side of self-publishing. But keeping track of your numbers is essential, because selling copies and getting royalties can make it seem like the money is flowing and the profits are growing, despite the fact that your fixed costs mean you’re actually still in the red. The whole subject seems daunting, but that’s why we turned to someone that has literally wrote a book on the subject.  D.F. Hart’s Accounting for Authors is coming out next month, but today she stopped by to give us a quick little primer, laying out all of the key terms and factors that self-published authors need to think about.   Ah, numbers. Most authors’ least favorite component of self-publishing. They’re necessary – but they don’t have to be painful. Understanding some basic accounting concepts can go a long way toward strengthening… Read More >

How to Tell a Story

By: Ginger | Posted on March 11, 2022

Knowing how to tell a story is one of the key elements to being an author, but effective storytelling is more than just having a strong grasp of the language and a story you want to tell. If two writers were given the same story to write, told the same key details and given the same list of characters, they would both end up with very different books. And regardless of how great the actual story they were given was, there is no guarantee that both, or even one, of the resulting books would be bestsellers. Whether you’re writing a short story or a novel, you need to weave an engaging tale that takes your readers on a journey, keeping them hooked right through until the very last page. How you do that is the tricky part, but Ginger is here with the secret of how to do just that…. Read More >

Ads work best when you think like a reader

By: Ginger | Posted on March 4, 2022

Great fiction novels are often filled with a roster of unique and believable characters, each with their own backstory that define how they react to the events of the story. As the author of that book, your job is figuring out what those actions and reactions would be, even when they might be very different than how you, personally, would behave in that same situation. One way to do that is by imagining yourself as that character, viewing the world through their eyes and colored by their history instead of your own.  As Ginger explains this week, when it comes to improving the sales of a poorly performing book, you can actually rely on some of those same skills. Instead of looking at your ads in terms of what you meant or hoped for them to convey, you should take a walk through the same buying journey that your readers… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Ben J Henry

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on March 1, 2022

Today’s interview is with teacher turned author Ben J Henry. Ben writes fantasy full of wonder, inviting readers to explore lucid dreams. It was truly fascinating to hear from Ben about his writing process, inspiration and future projects. HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet? BH: My favorite works of fantasy hold a mirror to our minds. I was fascinated by His Dark Materials, and how Philip Pullman’s daemons represent our personalities. I was left asking: What animal would my daemon take? What would happen if someone had a split personality disorder? Great fantasy leaves you wondering not just about the plot and characters, but about yourself. These are the stories that I strive to write. HG: That’s fascinating. I understand your books center around lucid dreaming. Can you tell us more about what lucid dreams are and what prompted you to… Read More >

3 Advertising on Amazon Myths Busted for 2022

By: Ginger | Posted on February 25, 2022

  Sometimes it’s worth revisiting even the most generally accepted beliefs to make sure that they still hold true. This is especially so with technology, because although we may regularly visit a website or use a service, improvements can be made behind the scenes and pushed out to us without our ever knowing.  Advertising on Amazon is one of those things. When it launched, the platform had all sorts of issues and limitations that authors eventually learned to work around, often through online discussions with other users. Those discussions not only helped authors navigate the issues to get the most out of each Amazon ad they created, but raised awareness of the platform deficiencies in such a way that they became a kind of conventional wisdom. But despite Amazon’s continued improvement of their ad platform, fixing many of those early flaws, belief in their continued existence still persist within the… Read More >

Selling books on social media is about being yourself

By: Ginger | Posted on February 18, 2022

Not everyone has time, energy or interest in maintaining a social media presence for themselves, much less a separate one for their pen name (if the two happen to be different). And while there are plenty of paths to success, one of the most common shared elements I’ve noticed between successful authors that I’ve worked with is that they not only pay attention to social media, but they do it right. That means being personal and personable in your posts, instead of just using the medium as an afterthought or only when you have a new book to sell. That approach may work for businesses, but authors are selling stories that are often a part of themselves, which means your social media has to reflect that by creating a more personal connection with your readers. It sounds daunting, but as Ginger describes below, there are ways to make it easier…. Read More >

How to know when to change your book cover

By: Ginger | Posted on February 11, 2022

Every book and story is different, but if I had to pick a single element that was most commonly at fault for poor sales, I would point to covers without any hesitation. We all know that we shouldn’t choose a book by it’s cover, but most readers do it anyway, and for good reason. Whether browsing top 100 lists, scrolling through search results or just looking at also bought recommendations, few people have time to drill into every option to read blurbs or analyze reviews. Instead, they narrow the list down to just a handful that warrant further investigation, and the easiest and most obvious criteria available to do that is the cover. Images that catch a reader’s eye and spark their interest are the ones they’ll be drawn to first, giving those books a huge advantage over ones with less appealing covers. Of course, there are many reasons why… 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 >

Boxed Sets – are they worth it?

By: Ginger | Posted on January 28, 2022

Once you’ve written and self-published three or more books, you have the opportunity to package them together into a ‘boxed set’ for sale as an altogether new product – but is it worth the effort? As with anything, there are pros and cons to consider, so Ginger is here to walk you through everything you need to think about to make the right decision for you and your career.   Everybody loves value – that’s why we shop at places like Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club. If there’s an item you use regularly, it’s a no-brainer to buy ‘in bulk’ and save a ton of money over buying the product individually. The same can be said of books! On Amazon’s Top 100 lists, you’ll frequently see boxed sets of books for sale, even if they’re ebooks and the ‘boxed’ part of it is purely esoteric. But is gathering a bunch… Read More >

Creating a Lookalike audience that actually buys!

By: Ginger | Posted on January 21, 2022

Creating a Lookalike audience for your Facebook ads is far more useful than simply trying to advertise to FB users as a whole, even when you try to narrow that group down by the specific demographics you’re targeting or the interests you think your potential readers might all share. But creating that Lookalike from your entire mailing list isn’t nearly as effective as creating it from a more refined subset of that list, and when it comes to sending out ads looking to sell copies of your book, the subscribers you want to focus on are the ones most likely to buy a copy. Figuring out which ones those are, however, can be tricky. Luckily, Ginger has some advice on the best way to do that.   Last month, I wrote a blog post about how the Apple IOS 14.5 update had disrupted the performance of a lot of authors’… Read More >