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on 12 March 2013
I found that this book gave me some important principles re maximising amazon search results, title, book description, cover image, keywords, and reviews. However it is not well organized and wastes many pages at the start waffling on to show that you don't need a blog. The author obviously doesn't read his own book as there are numerous inconsistencies. For example his advice re the book description, where he goes to great lengths to emphasize that you should use the full 800 word count, but each of his 4 examples uses less than 200 words!

Some of the information was out of date. For example I wasted a lot of time researching about categories, but when actually uploading my book the list of categories avilable was very limited. It would have been much better if the author took the trouble to talk about categories that are actually available! The ebook version may be better, I don't know. Anyhow, I need a printed book so as to make notes and have a source of quick reference.

Although the author does give lots of useful advice regarding the cover design, he waffles on about the cover image size without giving any real guidance, but when you get to upload on KDP they are quite specific, which is of course too late! He should have given the requirements for a jpeg image, which is how people in the real world specify image size. I found that Height 2,100 x Width 1,400 pixels jpeg works well.

By now there are thousands of people applying the tricks described in this book which does limit the returns.
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on 13 February 2013
Amazingly brazen. The author attacks another author - quite rightly - for buying 5 star reviews on Amazon and then suggests something similar himself.

If the review system cannot be trusted, and, having read this book, maybe it should not be, then the least Amazon could do is refuse to stock any books by authors who practice these sleazy tactics.
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on 29 May 2013
I bought a copy of Make a Killing on Kindle in November 2012, a month after self-publishing my first novel, and despite some concerns, which I will get to in a moment, it has since become one of my ‘how to’ bibles.

The Pros:

1) Easy to read, humorous, intelligent, interesting, very motivating and hard to put down. I spent two days glued to this book, it’s that good.

2) For the most part, the author’s blunt advice is excellent. I learnt a great deal and, following his advice to the letter, I put most of it into action, dramatically improving my book’s page, both in description and presentation, and also my book’s formatting, title and cover. I have been delighted by the results, although it does take time and effort. There is no easy, quick fix.

3) The author includes a contact email address for any inquiries, or comments at the end of the book. We’ve exchanged a few emails when I needed his help, and the author responded almost immediately and was friendly and helpful. I was impressed by that because some writers are only interested in making the sale, not in caring about their reader’s post sale comments and queries.

4) The author stresses that his techniques do not guarantee success if you have written a bad book. This is a typical example of his blunt and usually sensible advice. He is also quick to stress, and does so a few times, that the Amanda Hockings of this world are few and far between. This is invaluable advice. Talent isn’t enough, unfortunately. Luck is, however, and that leads me to my next point.

The Cons:

1) Even if you have written a good book, there’s still no guarantee of success, no matter how hard you work. Sorry, but that’s just the way it goes. I expected my sales to pick up dramatically. They didn’t. Perhaps because the advice in this book is more suited to non-fiction.* It may also be due to me refusing to follow two particular pieces of advice because I consider them immoral. See below.
*(Note: A few days ago, I purchased the author’s new book, How to Sell Fiction on Kindle. I have not finished it yet, nor have I had a chance to put his advice into action. When I have, I’ll review that, too).

2) I completely disagree with the author’s suggestion that one should create false accounts in order to post reviews of one’s work, and also encourage friends and family to post reviews, in order to get the ball rolling and instil confidence in would-be buyers. While I understand the author’s logic, and have noticed that even now, some authors are still using this technique, and a few are doing extremely well financially speaking as a result, it is immoral and bound to bite you on the backside eventually. The same goes for asking someone to ‘Put a Billboard for Your Book on Your Competitors’ Pages.’ No. No no no. Better to have twenty genuine and variable reviews than two hundred fake ones and be content with that. Also, posting a ‘billboard’ will get you reprimanded by Amazon for blatantly advertising yourself. It’s amazing how people find out about things like that and you will gain a bad reputation as a result and no doubt lose sales in the future. Had it not been for those chapters, I would have rated this book 5 stars. I don’t know if these chapters are still in the latest edition, but if so, I wouldn’t recommend doing as suggested.

Conclusion:

Despite these errors of judgement, Michael Alvear has written an informative, invaluable book that, frankly, I wish I could keep to myself. The pros so outweighed the cons that, as I have already mentioned, I have bought his latest book and will probably buy future books. Although his advice didn’t turn my novel into a best seller, it did greatly improve certain things (cover, title, formatting, etc.) and also the book’s Amazon page (and also its page on other online stores), and that, I believe, did help improve sales, if only by a little.
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on 28 April 2013
As a person who hates blogging and social media etc, the advice in this book was like music to my ears, and I shall be applying it to my book - The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone. My own young person's book breaks a couple of Mr Alvear's rules, especially the 'price rule', which I think is so important. So I shall be remedying that soon! I also read quite a few of the reviews for Mr Alvear's book, and noticed a number of people were praising the book without first trying out the advice it gives. More people need to try out the advice before awarding it five stars. For example, one author said that the HTML advice did not work - this is used to make your book descriptions stand out. I gather Amazon do not currently allow you to use HTML in your copy, so I would like Mr Alvear to clarify this advice a bit more. I also notice that he suggests you sign up for his webinars but they are nowhere to be found. Now I would gladly sign up if I could, and see his advice in action. I'm sure they are somewhere on the net, and so I have emailed him asking him about them. I have given Mr Alvear three stars for his writing and organisation of material. Certainly his writing is informative, witty and amusing. But I shall come back and give him two more stars if I can make his advise work for me. This could well be the definitive guide to Kindle publishing, but I can't say this yet from personal experience. What I would say, is that this is definitely 'A MUST BUY' - because it is so refreshingly different from other books on this subject. And probably the advice works!! Thank you. HHJ
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on 28 July 2012
Very refreshing to hear an opposing view to all those people who say you must get onto social media to market your self-published book. I loathe those things - don't have a FB or Twitter account - and this is very much telling me what I want to hear, but backed up with actual data so I can allow myself to believe it!

Not sure how well all of the advice in this book would work for fiction, which is not what Michael Alvear publishes himself, although some of it certainly will. I'm a bit mystified what would make anyone ever find your first novel, for example - it's not as though search terms are likely to find it as they would a non-fiction book. But he gives you lots of tools to use in trying to get your sales up and I think it's easily worth the money (the price of a cup of coffee for something that might get you lots of extra sales).

I hope the author might update his book or maybe do one especially for fiction as he gets more experience with helping authors and hence more data.

I read David Gaughran's "Let's Get Digital" before I read this and he's very pro-social-networking so it's good to read both sides. Each book covers different material and I'd recommend getting both if you're interested in self-publishing.

Both books, though, I think mentioned this statistic that only about 1/1,000 readers leave a review and that made me ashamed of not checking whether a good book I'd read had enough reviews to give potential readers a good impression. Now I'm reviewing every book I read, unless it already has lots of reviews.
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on 6 December 2012
I liked this book because it dealt with the issue of promotion in a different way to most books that deal with this subject. First of all the author throws doubt on the benefits of Facebook and Twitter as a means of promotion, considering it leads to very few sales. He concentrates instead on how to make your book stand out from the crowd, considers Amazon's algorithms, and gives advice on how to spice up your descriptions using HTML and Amazon Central. I have already recommended this book to many people in the groups I belong to, and have no hesitation in recommending it now as a very good buy.
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on 28 January 2014
I'm reading Michael's advice for figuring out Kindle after a best selling author I know recommended it, and oh boy, I wish I read this before I wrote my fiction ebook IN ARK. I would have approached the title differently and certainly have created a subtitle. As I'm in the process of self-publishing now, for release of my sci-fi ebook IN ARK in April 2014 on Amazon, there are still tips he suggests that I am picking up on. I'm working hard on writing an engaging description, and as he says -- using all available space to do so. The insight about pricing strategy is really helpful. When my book goes live on Amazon, I'll be so much better prepared to manage the process thanks to Michael's book!

I have now published my first book 'In Ark: A Promise of Survival' to Amazon! Thank you Michael for the help! I took his advice and did add a subtitle, and I'm trying to apply all the various tips he offers. Please check out my book! In Ark: A Promise of Survival (Mya and Ark)
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on 10 September 2012
Mike has managed to create a compelling "how to" book that does give solid on advice on how to publish and market an ebook. It's written in a way that is both intelligent and engaging, with invaluable things like a table that displays the kind of numbers that are shifting in the sales rankings, also there's pricing strategies, advice on titles, covers and so forth.

The book leans a little more towards a non-fiction marketing background, understandable as non-fiction is more technical to market. The only thing negative is that he mentions that kindles are only owned by 10% of population of the US, but what he didn't include was that kindle books are available on not only the pad/tablet, but also the much larger smartphone market; and market is growing with the ever increasing average screen size of mobile phones.
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on 17 June 2012
I cannot praise this book highly enough! It ranks alongside "The Complete Guide to Formatting Books for the Amazon Kindle" by Joshua Tallent as one of the most useful investments I have ever made. I feel sure that once I've tried out some of the techniques described in the book, I'll be proved right in my immediate assessment of the author as a genius! If you're wondering what exactly is in this book then its title and subtitle say it all. I'd already hit the "Buy now" button before I'd even finished reading the description.

I'd gladly have paid much more for the chapters on Search Engine Optimization and html alone. This is no ordinary html guide. This is genuine gold for those of us frustrated by Amazon's instructions not to add any text formatting or tags to book descriptions. Perhaps I've said too much. I refer you to this book's description on here. Is that a photograph in the middle of it?

I read this book in one sitting, only pausing briefly to go back on the internet to try one of his techniques that had me intrigued, and had an exhilarating "Eureka!" moment when I did.

If I was forced to pick faults, it would be for one or two minor formatting glitches and a couple of typos but such trivialities will not prevent me from giving this five stars.

I wanted to show my gratitude to the author by buying some more of his books as soon as I'd finished this one (I am not actually finished with it as it will be a source of reference for some time yet) but I was dumbfounded when I saw some of his other rather specialised titles. My wife would never look at me the same way again if she saw them on my Kindle so I'll just say thank you Michael; I'll remember you when I get my solid gold hat!
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on 30 April 2013
Michael Alvear delivers exactly as he says.... wel I have not made a killing or at least not yet, but his system worked I have shown up on the first page of both my chosen category within one week of publishing, in the one category at number 4. I was amazed, so thank you. If you are planning on publishing on Kindle and you buy only one book make sure this is the one .
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