For Authors

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 >

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 >

An easy way to generate keywords for non-fiction

By: Ginger | Posted on December 31, 2021

When it comes to finding relevant search keywords for your book, not all of the techniques you may be familiar with work for all types of books. How readers search for the book they’re interested in is a big factor in how you come up with your keyword list, and this is specifically relevant when it comes to whether your book is fiction or non-fiction.  To generate keywords for non-fiction books, it’s not simply a matter of finding similar authors or analyzing the also bought list. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help, and Ginger is here to give you some tips on which ones to use and how to use them.   Advertising on Amazon has a notoriously steep learning curve. However, if you self-publish non-fiction books, there is one tool at your disposal that can help shortcut a lot of the hard work. The secret to effective… Read More >

Should you advertise direct to your Series Page?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 24, 2021

It’s an unfortunate reality that many authors cringe when they hear that Amazon has made yet another change to their storefront with regards to how product pages are displayed or laid out. After all, it seems like more often than not those changes are more of a benefit to Amazon than to the actual author whose book is being sold on that page. So it’s a welcome relief to learn that they’ve finally added something that is actually useful. For authors that like to write books as part of a series, Amazon now allows more customization around how your series landing page looks and acts, making it a much more powerful tool for selling multiple books. Here’s Ginger with how you can start taking advantage of this!   It’s a pretty well-established fact that the most successful self-published authors tend to write multiple books – often as part of a… Read More >

Has Apple’s recent update killed your Facebook ad performance?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 17, 2021

One of the constants of being a self-published author is that just when you think you have this game all figured out, one of the other players goes and changes the rules and throws everyone back a few steps. This time, it wasn’t one of the usual suspects making our lives more difficult, and what was done wasn’t targeting authors at all, but many of us  have been negatively affected nonetheless.  I’m taking about Apple’s recent ‘Do Not Track’ 14.5 iOS update. Designed to improve the privacy of Apple users, one of the side effects has been that authors everywhere are seeing their Facebook ad performance drop significantly. Today, Ginger goes into some detail about why this is happening, and some of the things you can do to try and compensate for it.   Earlier this year, Apple announced that their IOS 14.5 update would include a “Do Not Track”… Read More >

Updated your book? Now test the results.

By: Ginger | Posted on December 10, 2021

As a self-published author, you’re probably very aware that your book isn’t done just because you’ve finished writing. You’re still ultimately responsible for putting together all of that “other stuff” that helps actually sell the thing. I’m talking about blurbs, covers, or any of the other details that make up an enticing product page. But unless you’re also a marketing expert, you may not get all those things right on the first try, and missing the mark on them can lead to poor sales for even a great book. That’s why you should never shy away from making changes if you think you’ve identified an issue, regardless of whether your book is already published or not. But even if those adjustments don’t lead to a dramatic or immediately obvious change in sales doesn’t mean they didn’t make a difference. You’ll only know for sure if you carefully measure and test… Read More >