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on 2 June 2008
I think I broke several "Aiming at Amazon" rules. One thing Shepard suggests is to set a publication date four months ahead of time. I didn't do that with my recent book, but I wish I had. It gives journalists enough time to review it, and several of these journalists require a four-month window. Had I done this, my book could have some reviews before its pub date.

Shepard says not to use a white cover image (note the word "image," not the actual cover. The actual cover could be white, but the cover image on Amazon can always be a different color.) I used a white cover for two of my books. The first one disappears into the web browser page. But for the second one, I inserted a black line around the cover using Paint. So it doesn't disappear into the background.

The advice about Listmania and So You'd Like To... guides is right as well. It does add a little bit of visibility, but it doesn't really help your bottom line. His best advice is to get customer reviews and to have a detailed subtitle. As a customer, I tend to buy books that have been reviewed a lot. I like being able to read what other people think about the book (or any other product for that matter). Having a detailed subtitle helps Amazon browsers find your book in search results.

If there is one thing that I don't agree with is his opinion on the Search Inside feature. I see his point of view. The logo used to degrade books' thumbnail views, but I believe that problem is history. I see quite a few old books whose thumbnails are degraded, but the new ones look fine. As a customer on Amazon, I tend to buy the book that has the Search Inside feature over ones that don't.

"Aiming at Amazon" would be a good compliment to Shepard's other book "Perfect Pages" and Steve Weber's "Plug Your Book." If one book doens't have the information you need, one of the others will.

If anybody is considering Brent Sampson's "Sell Your Book On Amazon," let me tell you to avoid it like the plague. I know from experience that Sampson's book is worthless. It is nowhere near as informative as "Aiming at Amazon." It is also full of inaccurate information and unethical practices.

Brandon Simpson
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on 22 April 2007
I sometimes wake up cold in the middle of the night, wondering where on earth I would be, career wise, had Aiming at Amazon not been written. Probably in my kitchen, table overflowing with the overworked chapters of offerings the world would never see, hoping that if I rewrote them one more time and bought another job-lot of stamps, someone out there would recognise my worth and come a'running, publishing deal in hand, waving their wallet. Then I relax, safe in the knowledge that Aiming at Amazon has indeed been written, and not only am I the

author of three published books but also about to publish several by other authors writing in different genres with more in the pipeline. I have also discovered that rare and beautiful sight, a smiling bank


Aiming at Amazon is written by an author, for authors, in a style that even head-in-the-cloud dreamers with ink in their veins can understand and act upon. It is the hand-holding friend everyone needs when embarking

on a new venture, in this case the exciting world of publishing. Forget about impressing hard nosed publishing tycoon types, forget compromising your work to get it past the first desk, save those stamps!

Armed with Aiming at Amazon you are going into publishing yourself! All you need, as Oscar Wilde almost said, is your genius, and stuff the rejection letters. All you need to take control of your own literary destiny is faith in yourself. And Aiming at Amazon.
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on 10 February 2009
I don't know Aaron Shepard from a hole in the ground (well, maybe from a hole in the ground), so you can be I'm not doing this because he wants me to. Mainly because I live in an obscure part of the world and could not traverse the highways of the USA with a trunk-load of books, I thought POD was for me a complete non-starter. By the end of chapter one, however, he has me converted--and by the end of Chapter Two, he had me believing, "I can do this!"
Clear, concise writing, and well laid out, I gave the book four stars--only because I could not give it four-and-a-half. (Five? No book's a five--except maybe the one I'm going to put out by taking Aaron's advice.)
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on 26 August 2007
Despite the awful cover, this book has tons of useful advice to offer the small publishing firm trying to establish themselves in today's very over-crowded market.

I would say that it's not really suited to authors wishing to just self-publish a single volume and who don't want to go through the work of creating an imprint, but for serious small firms who want to get a foothold in Amazon it will pay back its cover price in minutes once you start putting its ideas into practice.
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on 2 January 2013
Great advise and good tips. Very easy to read.

Agree with some readers some stuff went in and out becasue it is irrelevant for The UK.

Great name of the book.

Suggest you read it together with Wealthy Author which will cover the rest of the subjects required for the successful self-publishing.

Good example for authors how to make a simple book a great seller.
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VINE VOICEon 21 April 2010
This booked is packed full of wisdom about how to successfully tap into the Amazon market with a POD title, and actually get your book to sell.

It's a well written, step by step guide that makes a lot of sense, and has certainly made me realise what I have long suspected: a POD book can compete with 'traditionally published' titles, and be profitable, if you do it right.

Aaron has clearly had success in the POD market, so you get the benefit of someone who has actually 'been there, done that'.

Bad points? There aren't many. I was expecting a bit more info about Lightning Source (the POD printer that Aaron uses and recommends) but apparently this is covered in another book by the same author: POD for Profit: More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books With Online Book Marketing and Print on Demand by Lightning Source

I thought adding all the various Amazon URLs was a bit of overkill too - but aside from this, Aiming at Amazon is a very useful publication.

Overall, this book was well worth buying, and has certainly equipped me with knowledge I will use. I would say this is not just recommended reading, but required reading for any author considering the POD market. And it will actually provide any author and publisher (not just from the POD world) with some very useful knowledge about how to optimise their titles for Amazon.

Also - some people have criticised this book for being too US-centric. I'm from the UK and I don't agree. Amazon is a global company, and all the information here will apply to any version of Amazon. And don't forget - is almost certainly going to be your biggest market anyway.
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on 27 November 2007
This book is an indispensable guide to the subject of Print on Demand (POD). It is absolutely packed full of useful info on the subject. I am, as another reviewer commented, also impressed with his strong ethical stand on many of the underhand tactics used by others to sell books (Eg writing your own reviews!)

You can also try "Print on Demand" by Morris Rosenthal. I don't know either of these authors, but every time I read these two books I find some new points I can apply to my own self-publishing site
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on 1 December 2011
A very useful handbook for the budding self-publisher. The most useful parts for me were the amazon shortcuts, having these makes life so much easier. Very useful publication, will be investing in more of this authors work. Genuinely useful!!!
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on 24 April 2009
I agree with the others - this book opens up a remarkable new world for self-publishing, then guides you through it stage by stage. I'd add that Shepard is a generous fellow, both with his time and wisdom. He's a personal, ethical force within the impersonal cyber world.
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on 9 April 2007
"Aiming at Amazon" is about selling self-published books at Amazon using print-on-demand technology. If you are serious about publishing your own book(s), the author offers plenty of advice while guiding you through the entire writing and publishing process. What he says is backed by experience, and his numerous successful books provide proof of his expertise.

I also like that, in addition to all the good marketing tips, Shepard makes sure to remind you to stay ethically correct. I learned a lot from this book.
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