For Authors

Five mental supplements for writers

By: Ginger | Posted on May 6, 2022

Not everyone can maintain consistent mental focus throughout the day, and so there is no shame in looking for something that might help keep you on track. Especially when your livelihood depends on being able to concentrate! Performance enhancers aren’t just for professional athletes anymore, and the ones we’re talking about are used to improve your brain, not your body. But there are lots of options out there, which is why Ginger has put together a short list of the (legal) mental supplements that are of specific benefit to authors. Some of these you may have already tried, but you might find something new here as well. So the next time you’re feeling like you need a bit of a mental pick me up, perhaps one of these will bring you back on the road to productivity.   When people talk about “performance-enhancing” supplements, they’re normally talking about drugs or… Read More >

Key questions to help you structure your Story

By: Ginger | Posted on April 29, 2022

Whenever I’m faced with a new idea or concept, especially one that involves multiple steps or any sort of complexity, I find that I can grasp it far more readily if a real world example is used to explain or break it down. Dan Harmon’s story circle is a great plotting tool, and can absolutely help structure your story, but only if you really understand how to use it.  Ginger first talked about that tool on this blog a couple of years ago, and since then he’s come up with a list of his own questions that drill into the concept even further. Today, he’s not only sharing those questions with us, but also applying them to a very familiar and popular example as a way to make the entire thing much easier to understand.    A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the Story Circle – a… Read More >

Security Alert! Writers, secure your accounts!

By: Ginger | Posted on April 22, 2022

Cyber attacks can hit anyone or anything, whether you’re just a regular person that uses the web, or a massive company with billions in the bank. You hear about them almost daily. Website hacks, phishing attempts, DDoS attacks, ransomware, malware, the list goes on and on. The consequences of falling victim to these can vary from being just an annoyance to completely catastrophic to your life or company, and unfortunately, self-published authors fall on the latter side of that spectrum. For most, your entire livelihood may exist in the virtual world – your books, publishing accounts, reputation (via your social media accounts) and even your money are only safe if you employ digital best practices when it comes to passwords and the online protections you choose to use to secure your accounts. We all think it won’t happen to us, but take it from Ginger, it can!   Hi, writer… Read More >

Is Amazon’s eBook Returns Process Too Easy to Abuse?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on April 15, 2022

Amazon loves to cater to the customer experience, which is a business model that has made them one of the biggest companies in the world. However, in the case of their unrestricted policy on eBook returns, they have left authors open to abuse by unscrupulous customers looking to read for free. While this policy is not new, a recent increase in social media posts and videos, urging customers to read and return books even after they’ve read the entire thing, has highlighted how easy this policy is to exploit. Is it finally time for the eBook giant to take a cue from the rest of the industry and tighten up their rules?   As of writing this, 43,545 people have signed a petition posted by author Reah Foxx on called Change Amazon Return Policies for Completed E-books: Protect Authors from Theft! Just a few more thousand and this will… Read More >

The Book Marketing Trio You Need to Succeed

By: Amy L. Bernstein | Posted on April 8, 2022

When it comes to sending out queries or even publishing, there are three challenging forms of book marketing copy that authors need to master. All three are essential, though they each serve a different purpose, but what they have in common is that they need to be compelling and to the point, without any wasted words, in order to capture the interest of their intended audiences as quickly as possible. Author Amy Bernstein has plenty of experience writing all three forms, and is here today to help explain when and where to use each one, as well as tips and best practices on writing them in the first place.  A Logline, Synopsis, and Flap Copy meet up at a writers’ conference (or a bar, if you’re in that mood). The Logline utters two sentences, then shuts up. The Synopsis blabs on and on indiscreetly, and the Flap Copy gets everyone’s… Read More >

Amazon delivers another blow to traditional publishing

By: Ginger | Posted on April 1, 2022

In recent weeks, Amazon has done something previously considered unthinkable – offering up the option for authors to advertise their books using Advertising on Amazon even if they’re traditionally published, or the rights to those books are held by somebody else. In doing so, they’ve delivered yet another gut punch to traditional publishing by providing authors that aren’t yet self-published with an opportunity to test whether they can do a better job of promoting their own books, while at the same time getting a view into just how much money they’re leaving on the table.   If you’ve visited your Author Central account on Amazon recently – the one where you can post your biographical details, and curate all the books you’ve written or contributed to – you’ll notice a new tab called Reports & Marketing. On that page, you’ll see the option to go directly to the Advertising on… Read More >

Publish like a bestseller (even before you are)

By: Ginger | Posted on March 25, 2022

For those that work regular jobs, there’s a saying that goes, “Do the job you want, not the job you have.” Essentially, that just means that if you want to get promoted or move up in your job, you should start by proving that you can handle what that higher position has in store for you. But does that still apply to self-published authors that don’t work for anyone but themselves? Of course it does, because after all, you may not be trying to prove anything to anyone but yourself but at the end of the day, isn’t that the person you want to impress the most anyway? The truth is, there is always more success to be had, or higher levels to reach for in your career, and sitting back on your laurels is no way to get there. As Ginger describes below, the best way to capitalize on… Read More >

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 >