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Guest Posts

Does genre matter? Writing something different may teach you something new.

By: J.E. Rowney | Posted on July 24, 2020

If you’re like most authors, you’ve likely picked a genre that you know or like the best and embraced it, rarely (if ever) writing outside of it for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps it’s because nothing else interests you, or because you’re afraid that your fans are only interested in reading that type of story from you.  But as guest post author J.E. Rowney points out, there is a lot to be learned from stepping outside your comfort zone. Even if it’s just as a small writing experiment instead of a full blown novel, spending time in an unfamiliar genre can make you a stronger writer even when you return back to the familiar. As my readers will know, I write in the chick-lit or women’s fiction genre. My books focus on friendships and relationships. These are the things that interest me. They are what I want to read about,… Read More >

Mailing Lists: Covering Your Caboose and Protecting Your Privacy

By: Nate | Posted on July 17, 2020

For an independent author, there is nothing more important than building your fanbase.  There are lots of reasons for this, but the most important is that there is no one more likely to buy your next book than someone that already read and loved your last one.  That’s why you want to make sure you have a list of as many of those fans as possible so that you can contact them to let them know about your upcoming releases – something you should be doing as part of a regular marketing strategy via your newsletter.  But setting up a newsletter means first setting up a list that your readers can join, and while there are plenty of companies that provide mailing list services, there are some important things you need to consider first before you get started. Not only are there legal rules around what you can send and… Read More >

Helping You Decide – Go Wide or Go KU?

By: Tracy Cooper-Posey | Posted on July 10, 2020

The debate about whether or not to self-publish exclusively to Amazon or go wide to other online distributors is a lively one, but the fact that the question is so controversial in the first place tells us one thing for sure: That there is no right answer that works for everyone. Unfortunately, this leaves many independent authors wondering how to make that very important decision.  That’s why we turned to author Tracy Cooper-Posey for advice.  Not only is she a successful author and blogger, but she has experience on both sides of the debate.  She’s not here to tell you which way is better, but rather to provide you with the criteria you need to consider in order to make the best decision for you and your career.  Wide V Kindle Unlimited:  Is there a more contentious issue out there these days? We’ve resolved, more or less, that advertising is… Read More >

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 2

By: Nate | Posted on May 29, 2020

In the first part of this series, Nate laid the foundation for keyword mastery which authors need to understand in order to make sure that casual customers will find their book when using the Amazon search bar. In this conclusion, he plays the part of mad data scientist as he demonstrates how to formulate the keywords for a specific book, while also explaining some best practices on how to organize those keywords effectively, and thoughts on keyword upkeep.  The Promise of the Premise The first thing to do when you keyword any book is to consider the story at its most basic level, because the premise will tell you the most important thing about your book: who the audience is. So let’s say we have a shifter story about a research scientist who meets her fated mate at an Arctic research base run by polar bear shifters. It’s never too… Read More >

The Dirty Secret About Keywords – Part 1

By: Nate | Posted on May 22, 2020

Today’s guest blogger isn’t so much a guest as a regular fixture around here.  Nate has been with Hidden Gems almost as long as I have, and has helped me build it into what it is today because of his combination of technical know-how, industry knowledge and solid understanding of design. This article is slightly more technical than most of the ones we post, but really explains some of the often overlooked details of how Amazon’s search really works and the role that your keywords play.  This understanding is essential to anyone looking to really make the system work for their books, and future installments of this series will build upon this to really give you an edge over the sea of competition your book is swimming against. For authors old and new, keyword selection remains one of the most mystifying and frustrating parts of book marketing. The dirty secret… 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 >

The Most Important Part of Your Story Is the Dialogue

By: Hollie Jones | Posted on October 18, 2019

Writing great dialogue is just as important as creating the imaginary world or colorful characters of your book, and so it shouldn’t be ignored or rushed through. In fact, when done right, your dialogue will not only make your characters seem more authentic, but can help with the rest of your world building as well. Not convinced?  Today’s guest author Hollie Jones breaks down why dialogue is so important and how, when done well, it can improve so many aspects of your story. I’m no great fan of silent movies, but I acknowledge that they offer value to the cinematic world. In the absence of the spoken word, the visuals step up to shape perception, with deliberate framing and subtleties in body language conveying the intended themes. But think for a second about what people remember of the classic movies — in Gone With The Wind, is it the pause… Read More >

What Goes Into Choosing Your Genre?

By: Sloan Quinn & Katherine Stark | Posted on October 4, 2019

In your spare time you may read a number of different types of books for pleasure, but as an author, you need to focus on a particular genre to write in.  For some, that’s a fairly simple decision, but for others it may not be so easy.  So how do you decide? What factors go into choosing your genre, or your sub genre?  There are many ways to do it, but in today’s guest post authors Sloan Quinn and Katherine Stark offer up a few ideas based on the process they used. Romance as a genre is huge. There are so many different sub-genres contained within it: paranormal romance, contemporary erotica, thrillers and romantic suspense, romantic comedies… the list could go on for ages. We both are newer romance writers: Sloan Quinn writes the Dirty series, enemies-to-lovers romances centered around the criminal underground in Philadelphia (where she went to college);… Read More >

10 Feminist Books That Empower and Educate

By: Heather Gonzales | Posted on September 10, 2019

Books continue to retain their power despite the rise in technology and instantaneous information. After all, there’s still something about reading thoughtfully crafted sentences, and reading people’s stories and empathizing with characters across time. Plus, books continue to inform and inspire us to learn more about our world. In a society where people are growing more aware about issues like sustainability, intersectionality, and feminism, books remain the perfect medium for people to exchange ideas. This type of exchange leads to honest discourse and critical thinking, which are no mean feats in today’s world. In fact, researchers from Maryville University note how brands and companies tend to use relevant issues as an opportunity to elevate their brand presence and expand their market share. This is despite not making any tangible efforts to further the cause, especially for hot topics like feminism, which has and is being used as a marketing tool for many… Read More >

Sell More Books with an Optimized Author Central Account

By: Penny C. Sansevieri | Posted on August 9, 2019

If you publish on Amazon, understanding the importance of your Author Central account and what you need to do to keep it updated is essential. Author marketing expert Penny Sansevieri spends her days helping authors sell more books, and so she knows all about how to optimize Author Central to help do just that.  We’re grateful she’s agreed to share a number of tips and suggestions with us on how to make your book stand out from all the others! As an author you’ve no doubt spent a lot of time determining the most lucrative keywords and categories on Amazon, but too few overlooking the juice you can get by optimizing your Amazon Author Central Page with all the free features that come along with it. First I want to point out that technically every author on Amazon is represented by Author Central, but it’s really doing you no good… Read More >