Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words
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“In a press release, Amazon referred to Martin Crosbie as one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher's Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. Martin's debut novel, My Temporary Life, has been downloaded over one hundred thousand times and became an Amazon bestseller.”
“Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home, with his partner Jacquelyne, in Cloverdale, British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada.”
Crosbie also has a short story collection available as well as a follow up to My Temporary Life (a planned trilogy). A regular contributor to Indies Unlimited, you can find him there or on his website.
“In February 2012 Martin Crosbie’s self-published eBook My Temporary Life hit Amazon’s top ten overall bestseller list. The next month Amazon posted a press release revealing that Crosbie had made $46,000 in one month, with one book. Previously to this, his novel was rejected one hundred and thirty times by traditional publishers and agents.
In the months that followed, My Temporary Life and its sequel have been consistent sellers, often sitting atop Amazon’s rankings. Crosbie’s story has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes online, and other media outlets around the world. In fact, Amazon referred to him as one of their 2012 success stories in their year-end press release.
How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook tells the story of how he became a full-time writer, detailing the specific steps he took to find and connect with his readers. Plus, it describes how to adjust and tweak your strategy as Amazon changes their systems.”
It seems like a lot of self-publishing authors have been putting out books telling others how to do it. I have ambiguous feelings about this. How is an author or a wannabe looking for guidance supposed to choose what to read and who to believe?
It isn’t sales numbers of the authors in question. David Gaughran, for example, has made a name for himself as a self-publishing pundit and expert. Yet, if number of reviews and Amazon sales rankings are any indication, the sales of his books on self-publishing are bringing in a lot more than his single novel. So maybe it would be better to buy John Locke’s book. He’s sold over a million copies of his fiction. Of course Locke’s book failed to mention that he also paid hundreds of people to write Amazon customer reviews which, regardless of how you feel about that practice, proves that Locke was holding back at least part of his story.
I’d suggest that an author making a buying decision is going to benefit from reading many of these if they get just a couple new usable ideas or even a greater understanding of the reasoning behind some concepts they’d already been exposed to. Of course, this assumes some credibility on the part of the author. Sales are one way of determining that and Locke’s book does have some ideas that might be worthwhile. Gaughran’s novel is in an extremely small niche. How many people say, “gee, there just aren’t enough historical fiction novels set in South America?” But Gaughran’s been investigating the keys for success in self-publishing for a long time, writing about it on his blog, and drawing from the stories of many other authors in his research. His reputation for being knowledgeable and credible is well deserved.
Finally, only four paragraphs in, I’m going to talk specifically about Martin Crosbie’s book. How I Sold … covers some of the same ground as others I’ve read which, if you’ve read other books on the subject, is a chance for something that didn’t click before to do so now. Crosbie’s approach, to tell plenty of stories of how he and others did something and, if it failed, what they tried next, should help with that. Sometimes understanding what doesn’t work is as important as what does. However, I also saw several credible new ideas that an author could consider and implement.
Probably the most important part of this book is an acknowledgement that the specifics of what works in self-publishing is constantly changing and will continue to do so. While some of the book will become dated, Crosbie’s thoughts on how to discover and adapt to those changes won’t.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four stars