Book Review: The Unofficial Author’s Guide to Selling Your Book on Amazon

Considering the price of this eBook (free!) it would’ve been at least unpolite to mention any CONs of it. However, I don’t remember any. I read it with pleasure and learned something along the way.

And there are multiple of The Unofficial Author’s Guide to Selling Your Book on Amazon


1. Short and to the Point.

The book has only 76 pages. Good. There is no fluff. Everything is meaty and you can easily read it in under 90 minutes.

2. Easy to Read.

The language is clear and simple. The instructions for each cheat sheet are step by step and easy to follow. This is exactly how every how-to book should be composed.

3. Solid Hacks.

I’ve been a self-publisher for over a decade, and currently have 19 books on Amazon. I also know dozens of self-publishers and share tips and tricks with them.

Yet, I learned a new trick from McCartney – how to get instant reviews at the launch date. I also learned a couple of tidbits – how hiring a cover designer impacts earnings, or how many non-verified reviews you can get per week.

So, if there was something to learn for such a veteran like me, this book is a precious resource for a newbie.

4. Right Philosophy.

I liked how the hacks described by the author matched his philosophy of self-publishing and about the Amazon platform itself.

“Making sales in self-publishing is more a journey than a destination.”

I had been selling a few thousand copies a month, and I had been selling one copy a day. Yes, it’s a journey. And it is not linear. Book sales are volatile, especially if you neglect your marketing (which I’ve done too many times to count). Even if you reach a decent level, it doesn’t mean you arrived. You can slip back in a moment, or you can aim much higher. Focus on the journey, not the destination.

“Amazon regularly changes things with the aim of improving its own sales figures.”

Amazon’s agenda is not necessarily aligned with your own agenda. Keep that in mind. You, an author, are in the business of providing entertainment or changing lives. Amazon is in the business of making the most money while maintaining high customer satisfaction. Most of the time, your direction is the same, but it can change in a heartbeat. Be prepared.


The Unofficial Author’s Guide to Selling Your Book on Amazon is well worth its price. No, the price tag is not “free.” It’s your time. When I sell my time to my customers, my price tag is currently $125 per hour. I spent about one hour reading this book. I made a bargain.

If you are in the self-publishing business and wonder about any of the questions asked in the book description, you NEED to read The Unofficial Author’s Guide to Selling Your Book on Amazon.

You will get in value much more than $125.

Book Review: The 7 Day Authors Guide to Amazon Ads

The 7 Day Authors Guide to Amazon Ads is a very solid book. Very technical, very detailed, but the author doesn’t hesitate to point out some timeless principles which are ruling the advertising game.


Actually, this book doesn’t have CONs other than the ones coming from its nature. It is based on Matthew’s comprehensive experience and describes the system at the specific point in time.

But the system evolves. Quite a few screenshots in the book are already expired because Amazon changed the interface. The same goes for some specific bidding thresholds. They were true when the author wrote the book, but are they true now? I doubt it. I observed in the last couple of months the 50% increase of a default bid.

And while comprehensive, it is just Matthew’s experience. He didn’t experience everything, so he may be mistaken.

For example:

“Bidding lower than $0.30 is unlikely to garner many impressions, clicks, and sales.”

Define “unlikely.” My own US ad account shows for May 2023 over 2.5 million impressions, almost 700 clicks and 24 orders. The average cost per click? 13 cents. It’s not a fluke, most of my customers hit a million impressions a month with bidding lower than $0.30.

So, one man’s experience has always its limits.

Other than the above “nature” flaws, the book is great.


1. Timeless Principles.

If there’s one skill you need going into Amazon Ads, it is patience.”

Any author who wants to run ads on Amazon should engrave this on an iron plate and put it on their desk.

Or three more rules in just a single paragraph:

Amazon Ads are not a ’set-it-and-forget-it’ solution that will transform your sales from non-existent to instant best seller in 24 hours.

They require ongoing care, attention, and nurturing.

There will also be a lot of testing you’ll need to do in order to find what works for your books.”

Umm, actually I’ve seen a few rare cases when the sentences #1, #2 or #3 weren’t true. But they were rare, unique, exceptional. For 99.5% of books, they are totally valid. Testing, grooming, and more testing – that is the name of the game.

2. Details, Details, Details.

The 7 Day Authors Guide to Amazon Ads is meticulous. Every step is described, explained, and illustrated by screenshots. I’ll always remember how, when publishing my first book, I had on one screen the Kindle Direct interface opened, and on the other screen Steve Scott’s book, 61 Ways to Sell More Kindle Nonfiction Books.

It was my blueprint for publishing a book (and later, marketing it). In the same fashion, The 7 Day Authors Guide to Amazon Ads can become your blueprint for creating your first ads.

3. Deep Knowledge.

I’m Matthew’s competition – I also run ads for other authors, and I’ve been doing that since 2017. Yet, I was able to learn new things from his book. Clearly, he has more patience than I for testing some minor features. I finally discovered how phrase matching is different than broad, and how exactly negative targeting works.

For the 1-time author this book is a priceless resource, which they may not even appropriately appreciate.

4. Full System.

Matthew not only explains which ads to create in your first seven days and how exactly to do it. He reveals his whole system and explains in length his reasoning for following this or that scenario. By doing so, he makes a huge favor to his readers – if anything shifts in the interface or the algorithm, they will be able to adjust to the changes because they will understand the underlying principles, not just the specific blueprint.

The author is overgenerous in sharing his expertise. He clearly is not afraid that someone will duplicate his system and steal his clients. Rightfully so. Very few people will find the guts and patience to duplicate him verbatim.

5. Nice Reading Experience.

Most of the book is pretty dry because it is mostly an instruction manual. Yet, whenever Matthew writes about principles, he writes it SO well! A couple of quotes:

You can achieve fantastic results by spending as little as an hour or two per week refining, optimizing, and scaling your Amazon Ads.”

Successful Amazon Ads come to those who wait. And test. And wait some more. And continue testing and tweaking.”


The 7 Day Authors Guide to Amazon Ads is an awesome resource for both people who never created even a single book ad and those who ran tens of thousands of campaigns.

It fulfils the promise – after seven days you can have the set of your Amazon ads which should provide solid results. Even if you are completely clueless before reading the book.

Hats off to the author for his dedication to translating his vast experience into a simple step-by-step manual for the clueless crowd of authors who want to join the pay-to-play Amazon game.

Book Review: Awaken The Starlight Within

Awaken the Starlight Within isn’t the usual personal development book. It is hard to categorize. If I’d needed to put any label on it, it’d be “philosophical book.”

The English word philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophia which means “love of wisdom.” And love of wisdom is the most apt description of this book.

If you love wisdom, you need to read Awaken the Starlight Within.


1. The Preamble.

The author goes into deep details at the beginning of the book to explain what it is, how it is structured and how you can use it.

He goes into too many details. This preamble takes about 5% of the book. I hate reading about what I’ll read. I much prefer just to start reading.

2. Too Bold of a Promise.

In the beginning of the book, Issac Robledo says:

Anyone who is tired of recreating the same hurtful or meaningless cycles in their lives will find this book inspiring and practical.”

That’s a bold statement right there. Too bold in my humble opinion. Don’t take me wrong, this book is great, and I’ll give you a deep dive into different aspects of its greatness in the PROs section of this review. But it is not a guarantee of anything. So, “the Anyone” described above may find this book inspiring and practical. But will they? It is up to them.

Reading Awaken the Starlight Within can be life-changing or can be just another book you consumed. It’s up to a reader what will happen as a result of the lecture.

However, I must admit this book has the life-changing potential.


1. The Author Is Up to His Word.

For Issac Robledo’s defense, I found everything he wrote in his introduction to be true. He didn’t try to sugarcoat the fact it is not the common personal development book. He mentioned some concepts may be waaaay “out there” for me to accept. He encouraged a reader to read with a critical mind and filter his content through the reader’s life experience. The author set up the expectations, and Awaken the Starlight Within lives up to them.

It was everything he said and then more.

2. The Depth.

Issac doesn’t shy away from any important topic. Love. Presence. Purpose. Time. Beliefs. Death. Work. Success. And more; I cannot recall all the subjects he covered in Awaken the Starlight Within.

Also, he doesn’t just brush off those enormous topics. He dives deep into them. He challenges you to grapple with them, to draw your own conclusions and live with them.

Love of wisdom is not like cat movies on social media. It is deep stuff that makes you think. That makes you cringe. That cleanses you if you get out of your comfort zone and actually reflect on those huge-as-life topics.

3. Reinforcements.

It is not that Awaken the Starlight Within will only challenge you and blow your mind around the clock. You will find some reinforcements for your existing personal philosophy.

I found them for myself. When it comes to ruthless honesty and responsibility [link to EBY] I felt like I could write the exact same chapters. Yes, it’s not true I’m responsible for everything in my life. I cannot control so many factors, including my closest ones. But, yes, embracing the full responsibility for everything in my life prevents me from ever switching into the victim mindset.

Or the idea that following the news is like willingly drinking a poison. I knew it already. But reading the above words made me realize how enormously stupid was my own consumption of media.

4. Great Reading Experience.

I admit, it is easy for me to enjoy a deep read. I yearn for such topics. I’m kind of a philosopher myself and I love to reflect over deep issues. I’m definitely biased.

However, Robledo wrote Awaken the Starlight Within in a way that it is hard not to stop by and ponder some statements. This book makes you think, reflect, pause, ponder.

The quality of reading is one thing. But the author also made the book easily digestible. The chapters are short and to the point. They are ideal for spending some time just with yourself and your own thoughts. You can read a few paragraphs and wonder how the ideas are resonating with you. And you can do it in the middle of the busy-ness of your daily life – waiting for a train, waiting in a queue, or sitting on a toilet 😉

5. Awesome Quotes.

Speaking of quality of reading – just read a few quotes from the book; they are amazing:

The best time to conduct an experiment in your life is when something is not working well for you. If what you are doing is failing, then you might as well try something new and see if that helps you to improve.”

Neglecting personal needs, the lives of people important to us, or our health and wellness means we have forgotten the fundamentals.”

To the universe, we are less than a grain of sand. But our ego refuses to acknowledge that seeking to make itself greater than it is.”

The ego is simply your symbol of yourself.”

Become a reservoir of undying hope.”


Awaken the Starlight Within is a great book. I find it would be hard to read it and not improve yourself. I recommend it for anyone interested in philosophy and self-improvement. I recommend this book especially for those who feel stuck in their life.

Coaching and Beliefs

Human beings suck at the main life skill: modifying our beliefs. Our beliefs create our reality. They dictate our thoughts and actions.

Have you heard of the confirmation bias? We, humans, subconsciously seek for the inputs that confirm our pre-existing convictions. And ignore everything else.

Photo by Bryan López Ornelas from Pexels.

This mechanism is intended to save our brainpower, but in reality, it severely limits our potential for growth and change. It limits our potential to make our lives better.
If all you know is misery and struggle, and you automatically look for the signs of misery and struggle, how can you notice the opportunity to improve your life? How can you grab it, if you don’t even recognize it?

Changing One’s Beliefs

You can argue that if this is how the human mind is constructed, it’s tough luck and we are sentenced to whatever belief systems we’ve created for ourselves. But that is not true.

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Tracking Your Time Equals Money

Photo by Amir Ghoorchiani from Pexels.

Once you have some track record, you can turn your time data into money data. When you finally know how much time you are working, and you know how much money you are making, you can attribute a monetary value to your time.

For example, in September 2022, I made $5,200 and worked about 148 hours. That makes my hour worth $35 – before taxes.

Once you establish such a metric, you can make some VERY informed decisions. For example, I sell my time for north of $100, at least three times more than the metric shows.

Why? Because I count toward my 148 hours several hours on calls with my team, about 15 hours of writing, admin stuff, managing my calendar, and so on. None of those activities directly produces revenue. Thus, I need to make much more for my billable hours.

Also, when someone asks me for a favor, for an hour of my time, I know they are asking me for a $35 gift. Sometimes, for someone, I may be inclined to be generous at this scale. But most often, especially for strangers with their agenda, the answer is NO.

And the best use of this metric: if I decide to waste my time instead of working, I can attach a price tag to reading news on the Internet, browsing on social media, watching YouTube or a series on Netflix.
A two-minute article about the latest craze of Putin costs me over a dollar.
One episode of a TV series costs me between $20 and $35.

One more application of this metric for me: if I don’t like doing something, I quote a very hefty multiple. For example, consulting on somebody else’s book ads is not my favorite thing. I name $140 and more for one hour of that. Writing a book description? I hate this! That’s $200.

If my prospects won’t accept my proposition, I’m totally fine with that. I didn’t want to do it anyway. If they will accept, the higher price tag will sweeten the deal for me – and I will be less likely to procrastinate on something I don’t like doing.

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels.

However, the real value of tracking your time is not just increased awareness about how you spend your time, or getting to know how much your hour is worth.
Those benefits, and many others, are coming down to just one thing: you become more effective. You can squeeze more actions and value from your time.

This is the ultimate competitive advantage. You see, time is the ultimate currency. Every single human being on this planet has only 24 hours a day. If you can produce more in the same number of hours, you are gaining the advantage.

It doesn’t end with your personal productivity.

Giving an example is not the best management method… it is the only one.

– J.-Robert Ouimet

If you are more efficient and productive, if you know how to better leverage your time, your team will become more effective and productive. In my book advertising agency, everybody is tracking their time for the sake of their own productivity. Yes, I have the access to their timesheets, but I use it maybe several times a year, mostly out of pure curiosity.

There is nothing in business that leverages stronger than time efficiency. Even marginal gains translate into huge ones with scale. If you have 100 people in your company, and they are 2% better with their time than your competitors, you gain two additional “employees” – for free!

This is why small, nimble companies can compete with big and inefficient ones. When your people are much better than the competition in utilizing their time, they are working faster and better than an army of corporate almost-slaves.
I had been working in big companies for over 18 years. I know firsthand how much time is wasted there on red tape, useless meetings, and water cooler chats. Eliminate or limit those time-wasters, get several people who are good at managing themselves in time, and 10 people can easily work as much as 15 or 20 people in the corporate setup.

And your people will be good at time management, because they will be mimicking you. Remember Ouimet’s quote, your example is the ONLY management method you actually possess.

Book Review: Bootstrap Entrepreneur

I loved Bootstrap Entrepreneur; no wonder – I’m interested in business, history, and I have an IT background. And I love good stories.

The only complaint about this book I have is that I feel like there was a chapter missing in Bootstrap Entrepreneur. Chapter 12 finished with a cliffhanger; John’s company had been facing a bleak future, and it seemed all was lost. But the next chapter starts from some of John’s health challenges, and he never goes back to that cliffhanger!

In the following chapters, there are some hints about how TMC managed to survive, but I would love to have the whole chapter dedicated to the turnaround from “the middle of the oil crisis and end of the rope” to “the thriving business.”


I’ll go over the points I liked about Bootstrap Entrepreneur in a rapid fashion.

1. 20th Century USA.

The 50s, 60s and 70s in the USA are for me as foreign as an alien culture from a faraway galaxy. So, I was fascinated by all of it, both in the personal life of the author and in the history of computer technology.

A reader gets glimpses into how life was “back then,” when instant connectivity across the globe wasn’t a given, voice communication between cities was expensive and travelling took ‘forever.’

2. IT & Military History.

I had spent 18 years in IT support and I love military history. I enjoyed how John went into the details of explaining the development of computer technology, both from the history perspective and from his own experience (he worked on the first Navy computers put into the airplanes).

3. The Story.

Following John since his childhood till retirement was a fascinating journey. Some of its aspects were more interesting for me than others, but I enjoyed them all.

Boy Scouts times, college, first job experiences, a corporate career, starting his own business, business challenges, family life, health issues – everything was well described, and I felt like rubbing off some wisdom from each aspect.

For example, reading about John’s retirement, I got the insight how I’d love to operate in my last decades, even though I still have a few decades before I’ll even start considering retirement.

4. Business Lessons and History.

Business lessons from the 70s seem outdated, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. IT companies which were good at developing their products, but hopeless at the marketing and management, are now as common as they were in the 70s. Or even more common.

History repeats itself. That is, if you don’t learn from it. It is not a latest social media platform craze that will make your business successful. Poor cash flow and management will beat your business today as quickly as they beat businesses in the middle of the 20th century.

And bonus kudos for John for the Twelve Suggestions for Success at the end of the book. Here they are:

No capital? Be creative!

Know yourself.

Experience matters.

Know your why.

Build the right team.

Take the time to say hello.

Create synergy and show your appreciation.

Stick to your knitting and keep an open mind.

Quality equals profits.

Listen to your customers.

Be honest.

Don’t give up.


Make no mistake, this book is a memoir; it’s not a business textbook. The main focus is on the life story of John Miller. Yet, it is an interesting story, worth reading. And you can gain a lot of life and business wisdom from Bootstrap Entrepreneur.

I recommend this book to everybody, especially to small business owners and lovers of good memoirs.

Solopreneur: You Are Your Business!

Part III: The Solopreneur’s Self-care Framework

Prioritize self-care. Adopt the mindset that you are your business — the most crucial, important, and indispensable part of your business. This is the way to be “fine” or even “thriving” in the long period.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels.

How to do this? Through everyday small habits, which will take care of all areas of your life.
Humans are holistic beings. It’s not enough to have great relationships, great health, or a great intellect.
In fact, usually a deficiency in one area often creeps into other areas of your life. You need to prevent that. You need habits in each and every area: finances, health, spirituality, relationships, personal growth, and professional growth.

It doesn’t have to take you a lot of time. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning formula starts from six minutes, and it covers most of the above-mentioned areas. Especially, when you don’t have any good habits, even the smallest habit can make a lot of difference.

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Book Review: Deliver Him (father wound)

I was raised in a normal, loving family with both parents. Yet, I could find myself in some of the attitudes and situations mentioned in Deliver Him (I read the Kindle version, but it disappeared from the store, so I linked to the paperback I found).

Also, I know some people who had very difficult relationships with their fathers, and I could see how this book could be instrumental in their healing. If that’s your story, or your father was absent in your life, AND you are a Christian, Deliver Him is certainly a book for you.


The only CON I found in this book comes from the nature of the book. It is very narrowly focused on one thing, and one thing only: to heal from the wounds caused by a father or fatherly figure in your life.

Thus, sometimes it really sounds like everything on Earth is the fault of men, fathers in particular. Like if they were perfect, the whole world would have been perfect. In my humble opinion, we have enough problems with the attacks on manhood as Christianity understands it. We don’t need to provide more ammo to our opponents.

Yet, there is some merit to this approach. I’ve just participated in a men’s conference, and the father wound was the main topic.

We sat around the table, eight grown men, and we started writing letters to our fathers. In no time, two guys were sobbing and crying. Both of them now have a correct relationship with their fathers. I have an OK relationship with my father, yet, I needed to wipe a tear or two myself.

The guy who led the workshop reconciled with his father, went through the healing process, yet, he lost his composure a few times during his speech.

Father wound is a real thing and probably touches every man on this planet. Probably, it is impossible to balance this message and does not sound like blaming fathers for the evil in the world.


1. Focus on Self-Analysis.

It is right down my alley. Even if your father was/has been great, it is worth exploring such an important relationship in your life. That conference I mentioned above definitely convinced me that a father wound is an issue that is universal and deeply affecting each man.

I firmly believe that any kind of self-analysis is better than ignorance. When it comes to such a deep issue, it’s a no-brainer.

2. Get God’s Help.

In my Christian perspective, cooperating with the Lord is always superior to depending on your own strength. Renwick Feagin wrote this book in a way, so it is an exercise book on how to lean on God while healing your father wound.

And this is the way to success. On your own, it is too easy to lie to yourself: that it doesn’t apply to you, that you have already reconciled with your father, that your situation is unique, etc.

Nope. Every man is affected by his father wound, and it is so much easier to deal with it with God’s help.

3. A Convincing Personal Account.

Renwick went through a lot in his life, and he is not afraid to put out there his personal testimonial. In the world of fake superficial sweetness of social media, every ounce of vulnerability is valuable. Deliver Him contains tons of vulnerability.

Renwick doesn’t hold punches when it comes to revealing his difficult history. He also provides guidance for the healing process based on his own experience. It worked for him. It worked for people he personally helped with father wounds.

I was convinced by this book it is the right way to engage into the healing process.

4. The Perfect Structure.

Deliver Him is ideally structured. Personal accounts are mingled with spiritual instructions in an ideal balance. There are plenty of examples on how to go through specific exercises, examples of the problems father wounds create and what benefits the healing process can provide.

And the exercises at the end of each chapter? They were excellent, over the top! So detailed, full of clear, technical advice on how to perform each step. This is exactly what a man overwhelmed with emotions needs when going through the difficult process of revealing and healing his wounds.


Deliver Him is a great resource, and I recommend it to every man. Doubly so, to men who are aware that their relationship with their father was far from perfect; or non-existent – boys raised without a dad carry similar, or deeper, wounds than boys who were abused and bullied.

If you are a Christian and a male, this book is no-brainer. Do yourself a favor and grab it ASAP. Do this favor to your close ones and the whole world.

Solopreneur: You Are Your Business!

Part II: Self-care Makes You Bulletproof

The only way to get strong in all the areas – from health problems, relationship drama, mental state to spiritual struggle – is to keep taking care of them on a daily basis. Keep taking care of you.

You need to take care of your physical health, mental wellbeing, spiritual growth, and cordial relationships; not once in a blue moon, but every day.

Then you will become bulletproof against business obstacles.

Bulletproof Me

In the last decade, I suffered from depression for a couple of years, if not more.

I went through maternal difficulties and parenting challenges (two words: three teenagers; that explains everything, right?).

I started from scratch three different careers (authorbusiness coachbusiness owner).

I had been experiencing spiritual darkness for about a year.

For five years, I had been working full time, while growing my side hustles. Then, I still had been working part-time in a corpo world for another five years.

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