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3.9 out of 5 stars106
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on 29 August 2012
This has some okay advice that might be useful for people who are very inexperienced in marketing and have little knowledge of social media.
This advice is easily found online for free.

The writing advice is quite generic and a lot of this book is mostly about the author and not necessarily relevant for most people.

He claims that his advice could be followed by anyone and will always work.
However this doesn't seem likely as his books are a lot less popular in the UK and he doesn't seem to have come up with anymore of these `amazing blog posts'
Not certain that likening your mother to a sports figure that allegedly covered up sickening crimes would work that well!

When I first read this I thought that he must be leaving things out.
And indeed there is a huge omission in this book. It turns out that he has spent thousands of dollars paying for reviews. This has recently been revealed in a New York Times article.
How exactly is he an underdog? Surely hardly any other self published author could afford this?
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on 8 September 2012
It's disappointing that John Locke wrote a book showing off his so-called methods for ebook success and putting himself on a pedestal to be admired by all self-published writers, when in fact he was paying for hundreds of reader reviews (he admitted recently in the New York Times that he'd paid thousands of dollars for 300 Amazon reviews, which had a significant influence on his success). If he'd had a chapter on paying for reader reviews in this book, then that would have been a bit more transparent.

Hence we can't trust anything that is in this book. Anyway, the techniques don't even work. We tried using his Twitter technique last year and got immediately blocked by Twitter for spamming.

Don't buy this book.
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on 22 June 2011
First thing to remember is this is not how to sell 1 million copies of a book. This is about selling a suite of complementary books, using branding and targeted marketing.

This information exists for free in the ether and some of it is kind of obvious especially to more commercially aware types. In fact I read a blog of an author who has done exactly what John has done but hasn't had the same success. The useful thing about this book is that it puts it altogether in a coherent approach.

The most useful part of this book is the advice on what not to spend your money on. Parts of the book drag but as John will profess he isn't pretentious with his writing so you'll fly through it no time. I found the book reasonably interesting as it pretty much confirmed the approach that was in my head. However, having it written down and confirmed helps your mind focus and stops you digressing from your goals.

This is more for someone who wants to produce a commercial product but it's still useful if you want to get your labour of love out to a wider audience.

This is an honest review as you can tell I've read the book and I don't have a book to plug off the back of John's success! Some reviews you'll notice have been written to plug their own book and actually don't offer any critical content of this book at all.
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on 24 September 2012
I bought this book expecting to like it. Even if it wasn't the best thing since sliced bread (which I actually thought it would be), I did expect that there would be some helpful take-home points.

Unfortunately, after three hours of waiting for the "aha moment" to come...the point where I'd find some helpful tips or ideas or inspiration, I finished the book and it never came.

The book is more a memoir than a "how to" book -- I do appreciate all that John Locke has achieved, in both his previous careers and with his publishing -- and I do believe that he is a really talented guy...but I bought this book to learn about selling eBooks, not to read rambling anecdotes about the author's successes.

When the book finally gets down to brass tacks (if you do decide to purchase this book, feel free to skip to the end), the tips were incredibly obvious (namely, cater to your audience and build a following on twitter).

Again, I do think that the author's success has been fantastic, and as a memoir, this book has its nice moments, but as a "how to" book, it's a complete waste of time.
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on 23 January 2013
This book was okay, unremarkable in many ways, mostly unedifying. I didn't mind the entrance fee for a few trite phrases which might not have occurred to me otherwise and now help to focus my efforts. For example, at one point the author says that it's better to set goals than chase sales; he reasons that sales will follow. He explains that, when setting out on the unpublished road, he set himself the goal of getting five five star reviews. WHAT GOOD SENSE, I thought (even though this piece of advice would have lead me to purchase a book with a different title).

What the author omits to mention, and which many other reviewers here have, is that he paid for those reviews. Whether or not he said to the review company that he wanted the reviews to be honest, the boost to his presence on Amazon that thousands of dollars worth of review purchases must have done (it was specified that the reviews be Amazon verified) and subsequent review attention must really have helped his fledgling career along the way. Locke will probably know how much help it was, as he boasts about keeping track of the effect of his various "marketing strategies" meticulously. Knowing this now, I feel the book was an absolute waste of money. I can't afford to follow his route and wouldn't be inclined to. To omit this information makes a lie of Locke's whole story and renders it pointless. He's not a success, he's just a rich man.

My advice to budding writers would be to pick up some good books on how to write well instead --- The Art of Fiction by David Lodge, or even something like Poetry In The Making by Ted Hughes which has a lot of wisdom that can be transferred to prose. The main gist of this book --- Locke's SECRET PLAN --- is "get lots of contacts and try to sell them stuff, but not too aggressively" which we all kind of knew already. Spend your dollars and cents elsewhere, unless you can afford to buy the reviews that Locke can. I'm not denying that a certain amount of business nouse is required to make it as a self-published writer these days, but don't let people like this guy completely ruin it for us before we get there, yeah?
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on 13 November 2012
How did John Locke really sell 1 million ebooks in 5 months? By paying three hundred 'sock puppets' to post 5 star reviews on Amazon, that's how. This man is a fraud. His book describes how his 'breakthrough' moment came after he wrote a blog that extolled the virtues of a now discredited football coach, his mother and mothers everywhere! So all you have to do folks, he bleats, is write the same kind of sentimental claptrap in order to hoodwink millions of people into thinking what a nice guy you are - so nice you'll want to buy his book. Locke is a business man not a writer, his books are so badly written they are laughable. Please do not make this guy any richer, he is selling a lie.
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on 23 November 2012
I don't often write reviews but felt inclined to do so in this instance as I wasted a lot of time reading this.

I want to save the marketers out there a lot of time so here's what I'll say:
- If you already understand marketing, DON'T buy this book. I could sum it up in less than 2 pages: Write a book, create social media accounts, then create a cult following. THAT'S IT!

I was expecting to see 'strategy' throughout this book, things like, how to find a niche, how to word your titles for maximum search-ability, hiring ghost writers, designing your front cover, etc...
There was none of that in this book, it really was just filler...

I usually take copious amounts of notes when I read a book, but in this case I wrote down 2 things:

1. Target related blogs.
2. Get friends to write me 5 star reviews.

I'm not saying it's a BAD book, it's not. It's actually ok and an easy read. What I am saying is that the title is misleading for my niche (marketers). John doesn't really teach you how to sell 1 million books on Kindle, that's the issue. I've been an online marketer for a long time so I know that the average reader will NEVER be able to replicate what he did.

I also didn't like how he refers to himself as "a jerk", and a lot of the book is aimed at talking about himself... which is great for an autobiography, but I was really looking for a 'HOW-TO' book. Which this book definitely is not.

Hence the 3 star review, it's neither good nor bad, it just didn't give me any value.
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on 18 December 2011
This may have been how he managed to sell a million ebooks, but there's nothing new in here. The only thing I would actually consider implementing is the guaranteed buyers list, which is something I was actually planning before I even read this book.

I disagree with his use of Twitter (it's nothing more than SPAM) and blogging (it may have worked for him, but most readers want more interaction than one post every couple of months).

I wouldn't recommend this book.

ETA: Since hearing about the author's use of paid reviews I'm no feeling really rather ripped off. He claims this is how he sold a million ebooks, and that those hundreds of paid reviews were barely a piece of the puzzle, but how can he possibly say that hundreds of personal recommendations had nothing to do with success? I would think that's the first thing that should be written in a book like this. I always wondered how he'd struck it lucky because nothing he wrote about would have had as much of an affect on his sales as the use of those reviews.
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on 6 February 2013
What a load of garbage!!! Here's how John Locke attributes his success and this is his secret method...

Write a promotional blog, website, and tweet. That's IT! Apart from being a badly written love letter to himself, this doesn't actually tell you ANYTHING.
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on 20 May 2013
Wish I had read reviews of this before buying it then I could have saved my money & time by NOT buying it.

Most of this book consists of self promotion for Locke & his books. He doesn't talk about what he has only recently revealed in an interview - that he has paid people to write good reviews of his books. So he hasn't been honest in this book.

The advice he gives is to be cynical & manipulate people to buy your book through twitter & blogs. Doesn't contain any useful information.
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