SELF PUBLISHING, The Secret Guide to Becoming a Best Seller, an e-book by Richard McCartney.

This is the third book offered by this author with respect to selling your self-published book. In the first, he provided “The Secret Guide to Becoming A Best Seller”. In the next (which he graciously offers to readers of this present volume) he added a most useful marketing ‘Cheat Sheet’ of “some of the lesser-known facts about buying and selling books on Amazon”. In five chapters he explains how to work your way through the Amazon jungle to best market your book AND does so in explicit, detailed steps. The present volume does contain some repetition of a small portion of material presented earlier, but is acceptably compatible in context.

Further in this present volume he has added definitions and highly pertinent discussions with respect to how Amazon works to employ ‘click through rates’ (CTR), ‘conversion rates’ (CR), etc. in determining book sales. Also set forth are ways for placing your book on listings other than only the ‘Best Sellers’. There also are comparative descriptions of the sales success rates to market one’s book gained from social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter versus those of alternative means such as Book Subscription Services. A list of the more prominent ones available is included. Even more importantly, he provides comparative statistics of value received for dollars spent (ROI – return on investment). Perhaps one of the most helpful discussions is about, and the importance and value of, book reviews, their honesty, and how to obtain them.

Discussion: At a time that extended through part of the advent of POD and the earlier phases of self-publishing this reviewer provided a university level course in writing/publishing. After studying what was available for marketing and being particularly disenchanted with the limited helpfulness of social media (strengthened by statements, and even limited studies performed by one highly respected author), my straightforward advice to my classes was: “It is my firm belief that to be even moderately successful in today’s market, you must have a sizable group of readers with whom you share a common interest. Without it, publishing and selling novels is quite simply a crap shoot. So, if you don’t have a sizable group with whom you have established a common bond, or if you cannot establish one, you had better really enjoy writing, because your sales may not come anywhere close to your expectations. There is an adage that has been around for many years in the writing profession: ‘Don’t be in a hurry to give up your day job’. AND, if you still wish to become ‘a published author’, bring your expectations to a plausible level, continue to write for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that the activity brings, and accept any monetary recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. If you still wish to reach a more meaningful level of book sales, either prepare to work as hard or harder marketing them than you spend in the writing, or be willing to spend a sizeable amount of money to accomplish the goal.” Obviously and regrettably the material presented by this author was not available at the time.

Conclusion: McCartney has set forth a well written treasure trove of information literally vital to the independent author IF after thoroughly examining the true purpose of their desire he/she wants to attain a level of respectable compensation. It indeed is regrettable that this information was not available at an earlier time when attempts were being made to shepherd a group of neophytes. Once more, as with the previous book, it is strongly suggested that this book is a must read for Indie authors.

5* Must read for serious Indie authors.



ISBN: 9780994495617, an extraterrestrial Sci-Fi in e-book by Graham Clayton.

Plot: The story opens in Mare Moscoviense, Lunar Far Side in 2179 AD with Lunar minor Simon Cordell entering the unusual cavern in which the mining company was initiating drilling procedures. His light discovers strange shapes on the walls, all appearing identical. He radios earth who send a palaeontologist who finds no evidence of their being carbon based and medico Kendall LeBlanc who decides to extract one to study. Simon objects but LeBlanc proceeds. At the base camp the alien is sealed in a transparent cryogenic tube and attached to a vacuum pump and they decide to examine it in the morning. An alarm awakens the base. What appear to be a horde of bats is arising from the dig site. Simultaneously the alien they have is escaping from the tube with head and an arm out when it suddenly stops. The scientist approaches. LeBlanc asks if it’s dead. Probably. LeBlanc moves forward and discovers there is no evidence of injury to the tube even though the ‘thing’ had partially passed through. They open the tube, extract the alien and decide to investigate. Meanwhile Simon and the director return to the cave and find all the figures have disappeared. They return and find the station a shambles and an increasing number of dead bodies. One of the remaining minors attacks them. He is killed by a laser shot, an alien emerges from his dying body, Simon nicks its arm with another shot, it speeds to the door and disappears. From this strange, devastating and fast moving beginning the reader is taken to the lesser populated areas of the Australian outback where Laura Sinclair and her teen-age son Jason are attempting to enjoy a sojourn in their camper. Their period of enjoyment is unfortunately brief as they become involved with these strange alien creatures, the local police, the military, Simon, and a strange group of individuals in a rather sequestered area of the outback they refer to as Milijun.

Discussion: To provide more detail would be a disservice to the prospective reader. The author has combined his years as an aerospace engineer and interest in sci-fi to present a tale about human- extraterrestrial interrelationships that is ‘different’ and intriguing in its concept. The plot really is fascinating but regrettably, at least for this reader, the characters have little development. Laura and Jason especially are difficult persons with whom to attain any great degree of empathy. Neither is well defined and Laura and her vacillating activities are particularly difficult to accept. However if the reader is looking for a sci-fi replete with extraterrestrials, this book should be very intriguing.

4* Intriguing plot-driven alien sci-fi.