In my newsletter #338, I asked you if you were fed up with Google and looking for a new direction online – one where Big G couldn’t just wave it’s wand to destroy your business.
Incidentally, I am keeping everyone updated on my own Kindle successes on a Kindle Journey Facebook page I created. It’ll tell you a weekly breakdown of income from the books I am creating for Kindle.
A business model that excludes Google
I mentioned Kindle Publishing as a possible alternative, and Geoff Shaw’s Kindling course as possibly the best guiding light to show you the way. The way I saw it as I wrote that newsletter was that I could put the same amount of effort into a Kindle book rather than an Adsense site, and get similar returns on my investment in time. All the while removing Google from the equation.
Well, my perspective has changed somewhat.
I know believe that Kindle has far more potential than Adsense, and done right, could become a very lucrative career, WITHOUT the help of Google.
At the time I wrote that newsletter, I hadn’t been all the way through the course so was not in a position to give you a full review. Now I have, so hold onto your seats, as I bring you a full review of what I think may just be the best course I have ever recommended in my newsletter.
When you sign up for Geoff’s Course, it’s a single one-time payment for lifetime access.
That includes all updates, and there have been a lot.
Geoff’s plan is to make this membership area the only place you need to go for any information relating to your Kindle publishing career. If you kind find something you need, contact Geoff and he’ll tell you where it is (I got a reply within hours when I asked for help), or if it doesn’t exist, Geoff is likely to add it to his list of updates.
It can all look a little confusing for new members, so if you are a complete Kindle Newbie, go to the Newbie section and Geoff will have you publishing your first Kindle book in a very short time. This one isn’t meant to make you rich – just show you the ropes and give you the confidence to go onto greater things with your Kindling business.
If you are not a newbie, and maybe you have published something on Kindle before, I suggest you start with the first item in the left hand margin and click on that to go to that tutorial. Go through them all in the order they are listed in the left navigation menu.
Also, every time you login, check the updates page to see if any of the tutorials you have already covered have been updated, and read/watch those if there are any.
When you have finished the left hand navigation menu, switch over and now go down the right hand menu. There are a lot more tutorials running down the right side. Over recent days/weeks, I have seen sections of the course disappear from the left navigation menu, and appear on the right as they are brought up to date. Geoff’s Kindling course is becoming Kindling 2.0.
At any time as you work through the course you need support, Geoff gives you his personal email address. I used it once and got a reply back within a few hours from Geoff himself – he does answer the support questions himself! In fact, the question I asked him is covered in the course – I had just missed it. Even so, Geoff was polite and efficient in his reply.
Why is Kindling so good?
I guess you are wondering why I am so excited about this course (and what it could do for my own business)?
Well, to begin with, I was just looking at Kindle as a way to publish books in niches where I have websites. Geoff has changed my mind about that. Despite never having written any type of fiction before, I now want to try. I think my old English teacher at school would of laughed her head off if she thought I was writing Fiction. She was a pretty useless teacher and I left that school not knowing my pronouns from my adverbs (ironically, this was a Grammar School). Mention a particular verb tense to me and I’d give you a quizzical look (I still would in many cases). I remember when I left that school to complete my “A” levels somewhere else. She told me that if I left that school to go to a Comprehensive school, I’d never make anything of my life. When I qualified as a teacher myself, I was tempted to see if she was still around so I could tell her she was right. I was a teacher just like her! Anyway, I digress
Geoff has convinced me that I can become a fiction writer. After all, if I can write content for a website, or a weekly newsletter, or even just emails to friends, surely I can write a story? In fact, I doubt that there is anyone reading this that could not.
If English is not your native language, Geoff actually recommends you write in your own language. This will give you a double opportunity later on, with possible English translations if your native audience like your book. Being able to write in your native tongue will mean you can create the best story possible, without having to worry about English spelling or grammar.
My wife started her first book this week. Although she started writing it in English, I persuaded her to do it in Spanish (her native language) so that she could fully express herself. The advantage for her is that Spanish is one of the most spoken languages on the planet!
So, even my family are getting involved. I guess my enthusiasm has rubbed off on them too!
So what is covered in the course?
I guess you want more than just EVERYTHING, don’t you?
When you login, the main page is an introduction to Kindle publishing and what to expect.
Down the left, the first section of the course is labeled “Home”, which is a little strange as this section covers a wide range of things. It’s kind of an introduction to many of the important techniques and ideas that you’ll need as a successful Kindle publisher. Things like:
- how you can get your readers to work for you in generating sales,
- co-authoring and it’s advantages in terms of coverage in the Kindle marketplace,
- Planning ahead with the way you create and publish books to explode your Kindle business,
- Social proof and how to get it,
- building your authority status and turning that into affiliate sales,
- Which markets NOT to target,
- Research for your book so you can make it better than other books out there in the same niche.
That’s quite a mixed bag of information for the “home” section, but it is definitely great information to know before you start on your first book.
The next section of the course is “Where to Start”. You learn how to pick a category for your books, and then, believe it or not, you go to the “Newbies” Section where Geoff will have you create and publish your first Kindle book in record time. This is a great strategy. So many people get paralyzed because they see there is so much to do when starting a new venture like this. Geoff’s approach seems to be to push you through the first book – to use as a learning exercise, then you can concentrate on other books, with the comfort of knowing that you can do this.
After publishing your first Kindle book, you should now have a lot of confidence. You know you can do this.
You can now work your way through the rest of the course.
Geoff is currently changing the content navigation menus around, so if it looks different when you login, you’ll know why. Let me just go through the sections as they are right now.
- Formatting – This has sections on how and when to use page breaks. You’ll learn to insert a clickable table of contents into your book (especially useful for non-fiction). You’ll learn how to preview you book before you upload it, as well as how to make changes to published books (the contents, the cover,etc) without them becoming unpublished. This can be particularly useful if your book isn’t quite making it. Geoff also talks about links within the books, and how you should use these to build your Kindle Publishing business.
- Author Training – As Geoff says, “It’s more than just adding your author details”. Geoff shows you how to setup your account at Author Central, and how to do it properly to help brand your name (or penname). He also goes into details of author images, and shows you how you can avoid using a real photo of yourself if you really don’t want to (and it’s nothing to do with buying a photo of someone else at a photo sharing site).
- Categories – This is where Geoff tells you all of the different categories you can and which ones you should be publishing in, after all, not all categories are the same, and some have far more potential than others. He also talks about “Kindle Singles”.
- Fiction Writing – Geoff is on a mission with his course. Although he shows you how to write various types of books, he REALLY wants you to try your hand at Fiction. The reason? Because that is where a lot of the easy money is. The fiction section of this course is well laid out, and will have you convinced by the time you finish it that YOU can write and sell a story. The Kindling fiction section covers everything you need – planning your book, creating the plot, plotting the end, proof reading and promoting. Each tutorial in this section is an action tutorial – he tells you what to do and you follow the instructions. There are also exercises to help map out the plot of your book. Also covered are fiction genres, writing styles and putting things into perspective (like criticism you may think you’ll get from readers). I loved the fiction section so much that I have my first fiction novel planned out.
- Non-Fiction – This section covers the non fiction books that many of us will write. Geoff looks at a type of non-fiction called “summary books”, and explains why everyone should be creating these. He’ll tell you what kind of information you can put into these books and how to create them. It’s often super easy! Geoff points you in the direction of an example Summary Book to have a look at. I am sure everyone who looks at it will realize that they can do this. Geoff also has more tips and advice for this type of book, and even covers how to reformat a badly formatted book (the example book he uses is one that was uploaded a long time ago, before Kindle publishing really took off, so it needed a little work). To finish this section, Geoff gives you a “Summary Book” template so you can easily get up and running.
- Romantic/Erotica – While not for everyone, this genre of books is very lucrative if done properly. Geoff has a whole section on this type of book, starting with an interview with a colleague of his that is in this niche. It’s a very interesting interview! Geoff also gives you some other things to think about, to help make sure your books in this niche stand a chance. Next in this section of the Kindling course, Geoff talks about writing Romance books/stories. He advises that ALL novels can include romance but there are those novels that are just Romantic novels and Geoff tells you which ones sell better. Geoff then concludes this section of the course by discussing Romance plots and he even gives you basic plot ideas for a 2-book series. Great stuff Geoff!
- Episodic books – It’s probably common sense, but if not, Geoff spells out why a series of books can be very lucrative. Think of any series, either books or TV. Watch one, get hooked and want to watch the rest. With this type of series writing, you’ll have a growing and ready database of customers when the next book in your series is released.
- Ranking – Geoff tries to unravel the complexities of Amazon Kindle book ranks. I don’t think anyone knows exactly how it works, and it you go looking on the Amazon Kindle site, it will probably drive you mad as the same book appears to be ranked at a different position depending on which page you start your search. Geoff has a section called “Best Seller” where he explains recent changes (March 2012) in ranking on Amazon. He then gives you the “Plan” to help your book rank better. This is an easy plan to follow, but that’s not all. Geoff also has a complete section on:
- Promotion – This starts with a look at how existing customers are likely to boost your sales if you follow just one tactic in your publishing career. Geoff works through some hypothetical numbers to show how the numbers stack up in terms of income. It’s nice that Geoff uses realistic numbers here. No instant millionaire (although some Kindle publishers clearly are). Geoff does spend a couple of tutorials in this section showing you how you can boost sales – it’s not something I would have thought of. In the next tutorials in this section, Geoff talks about Kindle optimization. How to optimize your submissions so that they are found during searches on the Amazon search engine. Finally there is a look at paid advertising. This is something you can do, though it’s not essential. As an internet marketer, you are already way ahead of most Kindle publishers in marketing & promotion.
- Branding – This section is all about building relationships & branding you and your books and why it is so important (and easier than most people think). There’s also information on the importance of good book covers (and how to create professional looking covers for next to nothing).
- Various – This section covers a lot of information that does not quite fit into another section of the course. Things like managing your time properly, pricing of books for the best profits, checking book sales in other countries etc. There is a section on word counts, the kind of mindset you need to create, even on writing non-English books. This latter section was enough to get my wife and her sister interested. Both have since started their own books, in Spanish. Geoff Shaw finishes this section by showing why you should not obsess over lack of reviews for your books.
- Slapped – Here Geoff talks about the things that can get your Amazon slapped (yes, it’s not just Google that are whipping people). Follow Geoff’s advice from the start and your account should stay safe!
- Recipe Niche– A lot of people jumped on the recipe niche bandwagon when Kindle publishing took off. However, the recipe niche is notoriously difficult to do well in. Geoff goes through the main problems and shows you what not to do if you decide to go into this niche. There is a nice video highlighting the big problems, many of which are obviously created by internet marketers trying to make money on Kindle. Geoff then goes on to show you what you should be doing to dominate this niche. The final tutorial in this section is one that everyone should watch, not just those interested in the recipe niche. It’s called the “Branding Circle” and it’s a great idea!OK, that brings us to the end of the left hand navigation menu. We haven’t finished yet though – the right navigation menu is packed with tutorials as well.
- Tricktion – Geoff was originally going to release this section as a Kindle book, but decided it was better to teach it in this Kindling course so he could use video and audio in addition to the text. There are several sections in Tricktion, starting with plots. Geoff shows you a great way to come up with plots for your books. Not only that, but he’ll also tell you a great way to create believable characters for your books. There is also a great “trick” on how to create realistic, believable settings for your scenes (this is so easy). One secret that many authors use to make their books more realistic, factually correct and easier to write is also discussed in this section. Geoff then goes on to ask a single question. This question is something you can ask yourself at any time in the planning, plotting or writing stage of your novel to change your plot into something much more exciting. There is a lot more in this section, including tips on creating believable, consistent characters as well as using a Google tool to help create realistic (and factually correct) settings for your scenes. Finally in this section, Geoff talks about an easy way to “write” your books in record time. It’s a method that some people use, simply because the thought of sitting down and tapping away at their keyboards seems too daunting.
- Outsourcing – This section will be of great interest to a lot of marketers who don’t want to actually sit down and write the books themselves. Geoff says that the only people who NEED outsourcers are those where English is not their native language, but I know there are a lot of people who want to be the conductor, outsourcing everything with minimal time investment themselves. After all, time is money, and if you value your time, outsourcing is a good way to go. Geoff has a video that will help you decide if you need to outsource and what exactly you need to outsource. If you do decide to outsource, Geoff covers everything you need to know in this section, including translation of your books into other languages if you decide to go that route. Geoff seems to either hire local students or workers on ODesk. However, there is information in this section that you MUST read (see the Private Jobs section) to make sure you don’t end up getting ripped off.
- Marshall – This section is about some Novel Planning Software that Geoff uses (he mentions alternatives and tells you why he does not recommend them). I bought Geoff’s recommended tool myself as I can see the value in using this type of tool to plot out a novel and this IS something I want to get into. The software is not cheap AND it certainly isn’t essential. To be honest, if you are writing your first book, you can follow Geoff’s own planning and plotting tutorials which closely mimic those taught within the software. In no time at all, your story will be mapped out and ready to write.
- Copy Success – In this section of the course, Geoff Shaw takes a look at several successful Kindle writers. He talks a bit about each writer and that writer’s strategy. For one writer, Geoff recommends downloading one of her books. In the UK the book is free, but here in Spain I have to use the US Kindle store, and it cost me a couple of dollars. The book is hugely popular. I read it in a couple of days and while it is a good story, it really does highlight one thing – normal people can be successful at Kindle publishing. The book in question is a zombie story. Not only is it riddled with spelling & grammatical mistakes, I also noticed at least one factual error – I mean everyone knows that you cannot kill a zombie with a chest shot! Even with the errors, this book has achieved phenomenal success for the writer. All of this authors books have similar problems, yet this woman makes millions from her books. As you go through this section of the course, you will gain confidence that you too can be a successful author on the Kindle platform. There is another author highlighted in this section who sells more books than “John Grisham, Stephen King and Dan Brown combined”. This author gets other people to write the book drafts!
- Kindling 2.0. – The Kindling 2.0. section is yet more advice, tips and tutorials designed to “get more people to get better results easier and faster and to make better decisions every step of the way”.
The course will take you days to go through, especially if you take action along the way.
One of the things I love about this course is that it is being updated with the most up-to-date information by a successful Kindle Publisher – Geoff Shaw.
I would even go so far to say that this is possibly the best course, with the most potential, that I have ever recommended on my site.
WARNING: I do not recommend this course to anyone who simply wants to make money with no effort. Don’t buy this course and then not take action. Geoff’s course is an EDUCATION in building a business. You do need to work, and there is a lot to learn. However, for those that are prepared to work hard at this, I think you can succeed. Just set aside a block of time every day (or week) to go through the course, and in no time, you’ll have your first published Kindle book.
NOTE: Since buying this course, I have finished my first non-fiction book (around 11,000 words) which now just needs editing before I can publish it. I have also written a plan for a second non-fiction (which will probably be closer to 5000 words), and I have just finished writing out the plot for my first fiction book. Not bad for someone who left school with a very poor grasp of grammar. I am excited about this!
Don’t think you can write a book?
A lot of people are just daunted by the idea of writing a book – fiction or non-fiction. However, Geoff’s course really changed my own mind on this. I am sure I could write non-fiction (I have written several small books in the form or reports that I have given away or sold to my newsletter group), but fiction has always been something that brings me to a roadblock. The idea of writing 50,000 word stories is just too much. Well, Geoff recommends you start off writing short stories to test the water.
Now I know I can tell short stories as I make them up for my kids at bedtime. However, for a written short story that could sell on Kindle, what are we talking about?
Believe it or not, 5000 words is a short story, and they sell on Kindle. Write a 5000 word short story in your niche, publish it on Kindle as a free book and promote it using the methods in this course. See what reaction you get. It might just be enough to persuade you to write more books in that genre, maybe a series following on from the first book, and one that you can sell to fans of your first book.
So how long is 5,000 words?
Well this review is 4055 words! That’s over 80% of the length of a short story, and it only took me about 4 hours (with breaks).
Yes, you can do this.
Where can I buy Geoff’s Kindling Course?
That’s easy. Go to this link on the Warrior Forum and buy it there. The sooner you do, the sooner you become a Kindle author.
NOTE: If you are still undecided, why not go over to the Warrior Forum (link above) and read the comments of those that have purchased this course? I know the Warrior Forum has sold some crap in the past and much of that crap has had glowing comments, but I can assure you that people who are gushing over this course are doing so because it deserves it. I agree with this quote from one reviewer – “This is being able to CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCT and letting Amazon promote it for you….pure gold”
Bought the Course? Have an Opinion?
If you have bought Geoff’s course AND taken action with it, I’d love to know how you are getting on in your Kindle Publishing career. Please leave a comment below.
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