Please subscribe to our notifications

As our email reminders often get missed or filtered, we would like to send you notifications about new sign ups, books you've been selected to read and missing reader forms. After clicking CONTINUE, click ALLOW on the next popup to enable these. You can always change your mind later, or modify which notifications you receive.

Continue

Writing Craft

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 >

Keep Your Sagas Consistent the Dungeons and Dragons Way

By: Ginger | Posted on April 24, 2020

Writing a book series is a great way to establish a sustainable writing career – but the bigger your literary universe, the more difficult it becomes to keep track of it. Strong and recurring characters are the backbone of any great saga, but as your cast continues to grow, it becomes more and more difficult to keep track of everyone’s appearance, background and traits. So why not steal an idea from Dungeons and Dragons and use character sheets to keep it all straight? This year, I published the tenth book in my most popular romance series and began adapting all the previous ones into paperback – and that’s when I ran across a problem. In Book One of my series – the one I was turning into a paperback – I was reminded that my big, bad, baseball-bat swinging protagonist had an older brother. In Book Nine, I’d specifically spoken… 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 >

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 >

Why Fan Fiction hits you right in the feels…

By: Ginger | Posted on March 6, 2020

There’s a whole community of writers that spend their time building on the worlds and characters created by others, and an even bigger community of readers that enjoy them.  Ever wonder what drives the popularity of fan fiction? Getting to spend more time in a literary universe that you’re already familiar with is the main driver, but it goes even deeper than that.  Authors of fan fiction aren’t just tapping into simple familiarity; they’re building on the love and connection that fans already have for those characters by continuing to tell their stories.  Because like any good writing, fan fiction taps into your emotions, and that’s what keeps readers coming back for more. Taking your readers on an emotional journey is a surefire way to leave an indelible impression. When I embarked on my ambitious goal of writing romance novels, one piece of advice in particular made it possible –… Read More >

Writing Tips Worth Carrying Around

By: Stuart Thaman | Posted on February 28, 2020

If there’s one thing that the internet excels at, it’s spreading misleading or even false information. There is so much misinformation floating around that independent authors are often led down the wrong path even after they’ve done their best searching for the right one. Best-selling author Stuart Thaman spends a lot of his time advising authors via his own blog or the writing forums he helps moderate, and he was kind enough to put together a list of tips that correct many of the most popular misconceptions he’s heard.  While our blog has covered some of these in the past, it’s very useful to have them summed up so succinctly in a single post—and the addition of many points we haven’t yet covered makes this list worth reading not only for new authors, but more established ones as well.   I see a lot of the same mistakes being made everywhere…. Read More >

Revenge of the Hermit Writer

By: Ginger | Posted on February 21, 2020

Most great writing is drawn from rich experiences and the ability to convey those experiences to the reader in a way that transports them into your story. But you can’t draw from rich experiences if you haven’t had any, which means that locking yourself in your house because you’re a writer and don’t have to ever leave isn’t necessarily a winning strategy. But it also doesn’t mean you have to become a full time extrovert. Find a healthy balance, and make the most of the time you spend living! A while ago, I wrote about how valuable being part of a writing group can be – especially as writing is, by its very definition, a kind of solitary experience. Today, I wanted to expand on that with a subject very close to my own heart – the other danger of being a hermit writer: Isolation. Many, many writers that I… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Christian Angeles

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on February 18, 2020

While many of our author interviews are of interest more to readers of that author or that author’s genre, this one may have some particular interest to other authors – especially those that are interested in scriptwriting. Today, Ginger sits down with scriptwriter Christian Angeles to chat about his focus on the ‘mono-myth’ and how it has impacted his writing and career. Ginger has some particular experience with Christian, as he explains below. A while ago, we wrote about the importance of socializing with other writers, and it was being part of a writing group that led me to discovering the all-important Dan Harmon Story Circle – which has proved to be a game changer for my writing. Today, I’m excited to interview the man who taught that segment to our writing group – scriptwriter, reviewer, and reporter Christian Angeles. In addition to articles in New Brunswick Today and his… Read More >

Stop Fishing for a Best Seller – Find Your Hook!

By: Ginger | Posted on February 7, 2020

With so many of the ingredients that go into a novel usually coming after actually writing it (like cover, blurb, marketing), it’s easy to forget about a very important thing that should be done first.  If you’re serious about becoming a self-published author, you’ve got to understand that the success or failure of your book often occurs before you’ve even written a single word – and it all depends on your hook. A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the Fundamentals of the Successful Book – and I spoke about how the cover, blurb, and formatting of a book are so essential for your success as an author. Your book is important, don’t get me wrong – the most important thing – but unless you nail the cover, blurb, and formatting you’ll find a serious problem actually getting people to read your book and find… Read More >