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Publisher Rocket Review: Is It Worth the Investment?

If you are an author and you want to sell lots of books on Amazon (I know, who doesn’t right), you need to get a few things right with your book: Keywords, categories, the competition, and what about that book data everyone keeps talking about? How do I figure that out?

Well fortunately, Dave Chesson and his team have developed a state-of-the-art software Publisher Rocket that is doing the work for you.

Publisher Rocket is a super-valuable tool to own so you can boost your book earnings, save time on data research, and leverage your author career.

Publisher Rocket is designed to help self-publishers build a solid, profitable book business based on real data collected from Amazon.

If you haven’t tried it yet, this post is going to give you an overview of what we think of the Publisher Rocket [known previously as KDP Rocket].

publisher rocket review

In this review of Publisher Rocket 2.0, we’re going to cover:

  1. Publisher Rocket Review: is It Worth the Investment?
  2. Looking Back Before KDP Rocket
  3. Publisher Rocket and Amazon Terminology
  4. KDP Rocket 1.0 to Publisher Rocket 2.0
  5. 5 ways Publisher Rocket Excels Above the Rest
  6. Publisher Rocket 2.0 Features: What Does the Publishing Software Do?
  7. Sneak Peek: New Upgrades Coming Soon for Publisher Rocket
  8. Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?
  9. The Ongoing Changes in Self-Publishing

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more by clicking here! <https://self-publishingschool.com/programs>

Looking Back Before KDP Rocket

In the Beginning…

Before Dave Chesson and his team created an advanced self-publishing software called KDP Rocket, authors had a lot of work to do to find keywords for books, identify the competition and the best categories to position a book.

But, as far as measuring analytics or drilling down into the hard nitty-gritty of what passed as a “good keyword”, unless you could afford the time to do the research, and you were comfortable with the tech involved, grabbing those 7 master keywords for your book was like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the target.

In most cases, unless you really know what you are doing, authors were missing the mark altogether.

And finding the best categories?

I remember spending up to 2-3 hours trolling through Amazon, comparing book rankings, searching for those magic eBook categories that held the low hanging fruit we strive to snatch so our books can survive in the big ocean of countless books. 

I won’t lie to you…it was exhausting. And if Amazon changed something [and they often do] they wouldn’t announce it until much later. Authors would then find out ambiguously, when sales dropped suddenly, and have to go through the whole process again of checking keywords, switching out categories…and on it went.

But back in July of 2016, that all changed.

Dave Chesson—founder of Kindlepreneur.com—launched a software called KDP Rocket that would change the way authors search for keywords. With the introduction of this software, authors could use analytics in a way that was presented so that they didn’t have to have a degree in digital engineering just to understand what data they were looking at. With easy to follow tutorials and a system that worked, KDP Rocket was an “island in the middle of a big ocean.”

And this, as many now know, was just the beginning…

publisher rocket

Later, Dave and his team added more features to the program that included category research and setting up AMS ads. Authors were no longer “guessing” on the best keywords and just shooting dice to the wind hoping to land a good play for their books.

The game had changed, and Publisher Rocket is setting the stage for the future of the self-publishing arena.

Being a self-published Indie author is an amazing journey. But most writers get hung up on the marketing side of the book business. And rightly so. Amazon has a complex algorithm that is continuously evolving.

The publishing field is not the same as it was three years ago, or even last year. This is where the Rocket comes in. Imagine a system that gives you the hard data Amazon won’t share with you. You can go there right now and find the best categories for your book within a matter of minutes without even having to troll through endless pages of books.

Publisher Rocket has now given authors a massive advantage when it comes to:

  • Book placement
  • Sales
  • Rankings
  • Competition
  • AMS ads
  • Competing in International markets
  • Staying current with market changes to Amazon’s algorithm 

In other words, we now have a fighting chance to navigate through all the data, analytics, and helps authors thrive and not just survive in the self-publishing arena. 

Now, let’s dive Into the core features of Publisher Rocket. Then, I’m going to give you a brief glimpse into what new features Rocket has planned for future upgrades. And believe me, if you think it’s good now…just wait.

But first…

Publisher Rocket and Amazon Terminology

Before we dive into this post, let’s go over the common terminology used with both Publisher Rocket and Amazon. This will help you to better understand the features of the software. 

KDP: KIndle Direct Publishing. This refers to Amazon’s online publishing tool. KDP allows authors to publish their books for free in both eBook and book format.

ABSR: Amazon Bestseller Ranking. This is the ranking of the books as they are ranked according to Amazon. So for example, ABSR #1 is the top selling book in that category.

Age: in the competition analyzer refers to the age of the book, or how long it has been in publication.

ASIN Number: This stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number

KWT: Targeted Keyword in the book’s title. This tells you if the keyword being searched is in the title.

KWST: Targeted keyword in the book’s subtitle. This tells you if the keyword appears in the subtitle.

DY Sales: estimated daily sales for the book based on the ABSR.

MO Sales: Monthly estimated sales for the book based on projection of sales based on ABSR

AMS Ads: Amazon Marketing Services. This is Amazon’s paid marketing ads platform. Setting up ads for your book has big potential for bringing in organic traffic.

KDP Rocket 1.0 to Publisher Rocket 2.0

A few words on the progression of KDP Rocket to Publisher. When you buy Publisher Rocket, there is a guarantee that you won’t have to pay for upgrades every time Rocket makes an improvement.

And, over the past three years, a lot of progress has been made. According to Dave Chesson, from his very own Publisher Rocket Review, here is a timeline that shows all the upgrades made to date.

publisher rocket 2.0

August 2019: Search bar is added to the main category page so users just type in the keyword and it pulls up the categories to best fit your search.

Very slick. Now users can just type in a keyword and this eliminates clicking into the categories first and then doing a search within that category.

At the end of this post, I will cover the new features and updates coming soon with with Amazon and Publisher Rocket.

So, let’s continue…

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5 Ways Publisher Rocket Excels Above the Rest

#1. All Future Upgrades…Free?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I just bought this new software 2 weeks ago and they already want more money for the new version!”

Yes, it sucks when you have to keep forking over cash for something you already paid for. But Publisher Rocket is where users pay once. Only once.

That’s right. So if you bought KDP Rocket 3 years ago when it launched at $69, you haven’t paid anything extra for the number of upgrades made since then. It’s a one time fee.

And how often does Publisher Rocket upgrade? There is a new version at least every two months, if not sooner.

Dave Chesson and his team are in the publishing field everyday, monitoring current changes in the marketplace, and integrating these changes into the Publisher Rocket software for an overall amazing user experience.

#2. Up-To-Date Current Statistics While You Write

As a writer, it is important you stay fixed on what you do best…writing a book. Let someone else do the market research and keep you updated on shifts in market data, analytics and updates as they happen in real time.

Publisher Rocket is constantly monitoring the market and providing updates on current statistics. PR keeps you informed so you don’t have to be out there testing unknown waters. I feel like someone has got my back and they are 100% reliable, and this protects my author business.

#3.  Reliable and Fast Tech Support

Running into some tech issues with Rocket, or you have a question about something? Send the team at publisher Rocket a message at Publisher Rocket Support.

The response time is generally super-quick. In a few instances they responded back within 3 hours. This is crucial if you are in the middle of a book launch, or preparing for one, and you need help right away.

Nothing worse than sending in a ticket you have to wait days for a reply. Not the case here. As a matter of fact, you can check out the Publisher Rocket user testimonials that were not requested but discovered organically by Dave and his team.

publisher rocket support

#4. The Price is…$97.00?

How much does Publisher Rocket cost? Yes, it is $97.00. This is a one-time only fee and never pay again. Gotta love it.

#5. User Friendly Software that Anyone Can Use

I work with hundreds of authors a week. One of the biggest hurdles is dealing with tech issues around keywords, categories, or the basics of understanding algorithm data. But to use the Publisher Rocket, the software is laid out so that, even if tech is not your thing, it doesn’t need to be.

With easy-to-follow tutorials and everything explained on the page, the tech side of marketing is made so much easier. You don’t have to know everything about keyword research to find the best keywords for your book.

The Rocket does the work for you based on what you ask it to look for. It spits out the data, and you decide to use that in your book. 

Publisher Rocket 2.0 Features: What Does the Publishing Software Do?

If you have been using KDP Rocket for some time, you have a good idea what the software can do. If this is your first introduction to what is available, let’s break it down so we know exactly what we have.

Publisher Rocket can be broken down into 4 features that focus on:

  • Keywords
  • Categories
  • Competition
  • AMS Ads

Let’s take a look at each of these:

publisher rocket features

As an author that has been using the Rocket from its early release back in July 2016, I can honestly say that it is the best software out there for several reasons.

Why?

First of all, Amazon doesn’t share the data that the Rocket does. Have you ever tried searching for categories for your book using just Amazon? If so, you better block off a holiday to get it done. The categories that are listed in the KDP Bookshelf provide no direction as to book rankings or competition. In fact, most of the actual categories are not even there.

When it comes to breaking down all the metadata and figuring out the best keywords, best categories, and how the competition is comparing, this is where Publisher Rocket steps in to provide authors with an experience that nothing else compares to.

Publisher Rocket can do for you what Amazon, and most other software, won’t [or can’t].

So, what are the current features of Publisher Rocket 2.0 that makes it stand tall above anything else?

Over 16,000 Book and eBook Categories Listed

Imagine if all you had to do was type in a keyword in the search bar and Publisher Rocket throws out your results for your potential categories in just seconds. That is exactly what it does as you can see here:

publisher rocket category search

To make it even better, you can select Book, eBook or both and Publisher Rocket will put up the categories from both book platforms.

Includes Book Data, Not Just Kindle

publisher rocket feature

When KDP came out it was focused on Kindle data only. But hard copies (aka paperbacks) still sell and are just as relevant. So now Rockets’ search includes data for books and is presented to Rocket users in an easy-to-interpret layout.

Competition Analyzer: How is the competition performing?

This is one of our favorite features of the Rocket software. You can check out the daily and monthly sales of books in the market in relation to your own books.

Check out who your competition is and based on data, look for the areas you could improve your own books’ performance.

publisher rocket competition analyzer

The competition analyzer provides users with all relevant data that gives an inside look at who your competition is, how well they are doing, and how your book compares to their performance.

The competition analyzer provides up-to-date information for each book based on:

  • Age of the book
  • ABSR of each book
  • If the keyword appears in the book title and/or subtitle.
  • Daily and monthly sales of the book based on data from the current ABSR.
  • Sales page link. You can click on ‘check it out’ and be taken to the book’s sales page.

Having this information is critical because, if your book is underperforming in sales or rankings, you can compare to the competition and make changes to your book that influences metadata. Now you are armed with the statistics to beat the competition.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: Competition Analyzer Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help you to become a bestseller?

publisher rocket result

Keyword Search Feature

Publisher Rocket helps authors identify the most profitable keywords for your book. How does it do this? First, you type in a keyword into the keyword search bar, and then hit ‘Go Get Em Rocket.’

Rocket analyzes the top 5 books that use that keyword based on the following criteria:

  1. Book popularity
  2. Fame and strength of the authors
  3. Age of the books
  4. # of reviews and review grades
  5. Whether or not the keyword is in the title/subtitle
  6. Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited or not

This is a key feature of the Rocket software.

It tells authors:

  • how many people are typing in that keyword/phrase
  • Competition score of that keyword from 1-100.
  • How much money the top 5 books are earning on average
  • # of competitors using that keyword

Without this data, you wouldn’t be able to figure out how many people are using this keyword, or if it is being searched for at all. The keyword feature eliminates the guesswork are provides accurate data.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: Keyword Search Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help me find keywords?

publisher rocket keywords

Amazon Book Ads Made Easy

Several years ago, when AMS ads were introduced to authors, I can remember spending hours upon hours just doing keyword research, copying and pasting. But now…

Publisher Rocket has the most amazing feature available that eliminates all of that. If you are familiar with Amazon Ads, then you know your book needs hundreds of keywords to be effective.

In addition, the authors have to stay on top of their ads and monitor them carefully. Setting up a successful ad campaign takes work, time and yes, money. The ads can get expensive if you just set it up and let it go. 

This feature is by far my favorites and, to add, even without all of the other features talked about here, if this was the only one available it would be worth the price of Rocket alone. Yes, it is very cool.

The feature comes with a filter as well. You can eliminate any keywords that are not relevant to your book simply by filtering these out. Before this, authors had to manually take out keywords. 

publisher rocket ads

But if you are interested in setting up AMS ads, I would highly recommend learning as much about ads as you can. Fortunately Dave Chesson has a free course on AMS ads right here. Check it out so you have the overview of what it takes to set these up.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: AMS Keyword Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help me with Amazon book ads?

publisher rocket ams ads

Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?

You’ll have to decide. Let’s break it down this way. You already know everything Publisher Rocket can help you with, so we will just assume you decided to already use it if you aren’t already.

  1. Publisher Rocket pays for itself: There are three ways that you users will earn back the initial investment spent on PR. 
  • The cost of Rocket is $97.00. If the Rocket saves you 5 hours of your time, you just earned back your money. How much is your time worth per hour?
  • When you sell about 47 books priced at $2.99 (at 70% royalty) because you could find profitable keywords and better categories, the software just paid for itself.
  • If Rocket helps you to filter out a bad book idea because nobody is searching for it, and gets you to change your marketing efforts based on proven data, it definitely just paid for itself. This will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of working hours you would have spent on a book that won’t sell.

Sneak Peek: New Upgrades Coming Soon for Publisher Rocket

As this post is being written , there are several amazing new features coming soon, according to Dave Chesson. These upgrades will, of course be free and, if you think the software is good now, wait till you see what is coming next.

Audible Information Analyzed.

Yes, we know Publisher Rocket can pull data for eBooks and books now. But how about a feature that includes audiobooks? This is coming soon. 

Just Launched: New “Search-All” Feature for categories. Added to the Publisher Rocket search categories is a search bar on the main category page. Now you type in the keyword and Rocket pulls up relevant categories. 

Opening up categories to international markets.

Yes, you heard it right. Amazon will be opening up AMS to the UK. And what this means is, Publisher Rocket will be there to provide category data to give authors in the US (and everywhere else where applicable) to join the UK market. This is huge in terms of growing your author business and expanding into global markets. 

New Amazon Category System launching. Soon, Rocket will launch a new feature that updates with the latest in ABSR (Amazon Best Seller Rankings) three times a day. But that’s not all. Publisher Rocket has plans to bring in a bunch of new data for categories that will help authors to really find the best categories to rank in. This will include volatility, average ABSRs for the month, and the sales popularity of these categories. Why hang around a category that isn’t bringing in traffic?

Remember, all upgrades are free and installed automatically on your Publisher Rocket software.

publisher rocket upgrades

Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?

You be the judge. We’ve shown you what the Rocket software can do. Here is a breakdown of the best advantages to using Rocket, and why it matters to the success of your books as an author.

Sell More Books: We know that Publisher Rocket will help you to sell more books. Actually, you can sell a lot more books and start earning more than your day job once you use the tool. Countless authors claim they started earning 3x more with Rocket.

Keep Your Sanity: If Rocket prevents you from losing your mind, because you just spent ten hours on Amazon trying to figure out categories and relevant keywords, you made your money back and get to keep your sanity. So yeah, it’s worth it. Win-win.

Free upgrades for a lifetime: Don’t you just hate it when you buy software and then 6 months later you have to pay more money for their upgrade. And then again six months after that. Over a lifetime, you could end up spending thousands of bucks on a piece of software you initially paid $150 for.

Of course, they don’t tell you this when you sign up. But Publisher Rocket, while it upgrades frequently, doesn’t ask you for additional funds…ever. You pay once, you keep upgrading, and there is nothing more to do. Gotta love it.

Continuous Market Research. That’s right, as we mentioned, while you are sleeping and dreaming of writing that next novel, somebody else is out there on the cutting edge gathering data and figuring out better systems to help you scale up your author business. The Rocket software will soon update three times a day, staying current with complex data shifts and doing the work for you while you focus on your book business.

Gives authors a competitive edge. You can access the most up-to-date data on categories, keywords and AMS ads. You can also figure out the best kind of books to write before you write them so you don’t publish something nobody wants to buy. This is a big win for an author who has the goal to write for a living and wants to make real money in self-publishing. And, you can analyze the competition as we have seen, to stay ahead of the game and get your books out in front of readers first.

publisher rocket worth it

The Ongoing Changes in Self-Publishing

The self publishing industry is in a state of constant change, growth and expansion. Nothing stays the same from one month to the next, or for that matter, day to day the data is in constant flux.

Amazon algorithms change, metadata for books shift, and how readers search for and discover their favorite books has become very streamlined.

For these reasons, as authors, we need to be on the cutting edge of this growth or else…we start losing books sales, customers, and get lost in the bloody waters.

Publisher Rocket provides a huge advantage to authors because Dave Chesson and his team are on top of this 24/7. In fact, PR is now working to update data three times a day. This data is relevant to book categories, as well as expanding international markets

While we are busy writing and creating content to publish to market, someone else is doing the heavy lifting in terms of ongoing market research and providing you as an author with the most current, up-to-date data so you can stay on top of your game.

Sell more books, build greater authority, and keep on living the dream as an author.

publisher rocket testimonial

If you have an experience or any strategies that worked best for you using Publisher Rocket, drop your story in the comments section below.

busy mom published

How This Busy Mom Got Published & Inspired Her Kids to Publish Too

Yes, even a busy mom with kids and a life at home can write and publish a book successfully without sacrificing time with her kids.

In fact, your kids may even be inspired to write and publish a book themselves! And yes, it is possible.

Our student and thriving mom, Anita Oommen, is living, breathing proof.

The downside is that your kids may just want to write and publish many books after getting a taste of it once (and you will as well!).

Maybe you’ve wanted to write a book for years, maybe even decades like many of our students.

But fear keeps getting in the way.

Fear that you won’t be able to write the book.

Fear that you don’t know what to write about.

Fear that the process will bring you further from your children and home life you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

But imagine this…

Despite all of those fears and doubts, you put bravery first and decide to take action and, like Anita, and you find the process easier than you imagined with the right program and it actually brings you closer to your kids.

So much so that they feel inspired by your bravery, and motivated that they can write and publish a book too!

Over 80% of people say they want to write a book…but the fact is that only about 2% ever do for so many reasons like the doubts and fears Anita faced.

And yet she did it, and succeeded so much so that her children jumped on board, each publishing one book themselves.

All because she signed up for Self-Publishing School.

Breaking Through Fear and Doubt to Write and Publish a Book

Imposter syndrome is real. It’s a pain that holds back even the most brilliant of people from pursuing something they might otherwise succeed in.

Anita faced just the same struggle.

“One of the main things that I battled with is that I wasn’t good enough to do anything, let alone write a book. And that was one of the major lies I battled with for four decades of my life.”

Fear has a way of taking even the best of ideas we have and turning them into a pipe dream, one we never really think we can achieve, out of our reach and untouchable.

But the thing is: fear doesn’t run your life, your actions and decisions do.

No matter what fear is trying to whisper in your ear, you can choose to act against it, and toward your dreams and goals.

For Anita, all it took was the action of searching for help, for the know-how of all things book publishing in order to make this goal of hers a reality.

“Fear says ‘live in a straight jacket,’ but brave is taking action.”

Taking Action is Confronting Your Fears Head-On

One of the first things Anita took action on was researching how she could write and publish her book, with no knowledge of what was needed in the first place.

When her research led her to Chandler Bolt’s free training, she was hooked.

“I heard Chandler Bolt, and listened in, and was all in.”

This simple thing, signing up for free training, was the catalyst that led her to publish her book Picking Up The Shards, a story involving fear and doubt itself.

And it was what led her own children to each publish a book of their own, at 11-years-old and in kindergarten!

Leveraged Impact on Her Family

Here at Self-Publishing School, we talk a lot about leveraged impact. It’s the idea that by writing a book, you can impact several people.

Yourself, by accomplishing a goal and something arduous.

You impact those in your immediate surroundings like friends and family.

You impact strangers who find your book, read it, and are changed because of it.

And they impact their friends and family because of you and your book, and the cycle continues, until your leveraged impact reaches corners of people’s lives you maybe never even imagined.

For Anita, this impact was direct. She inspired her children to each publish a book.

“I started writing and the kids were like, ‘I think I can write a book too!'”

The impact this will have on her children is expansive. Not only can they say they’re published authors, but the confidence this has given them, the insight into how they can inspire others will be carried with them throughout their life.

Alaina Oommen, at only 11-years-old, already has a taste of this for herself.

“It’s really changed my life because most 11-year-olds aren’t exactly like, a published author and it’s just an amazing feeling when someone actually just runs up to you and says, ‘I read your book, and it inspired me.’ Because that was the whole point of even writing my book.”

Not only does Alaina, at 11, have a professional piece of work she created, but she’s also already seeing this concept of leveraged impact in action.

Just imagine where this will carry her and her brother in life now that they know what’s possible.

Their lives are already forever changed.

At Self-Publishing School, we’re in the business of changing lives and helping others achieve the same.

Will your life be changed next?

make money as an author

From No Book Idea to $4,000 Per Month Generated From Her Book

Not everyone knows what they want to write about when they decide to write a book.

Many people want to write a book because it’s what they feel called to do…they’re just not sure how to begin.

At Self-Publishing School, we believe everyone has a book inside of them.

Sometimes, it just takes the right person, the right idea, or the right program to help draw it out.

That’s exactly how Brianna Ruelas, one of our amazing Students here at Self-Publishing School, went from no idea to $4,000 per month from her first book.

make money writing

From No Idea to $4,000 a Month

Brianna’s story is one of several that we hear like this with our students.

Here’s how it went with her particular experience:

She was on a round trip out west.

The passing trees, city signs, growing skylines emerging through the windshield as she neared her next destination; it was inspiring.

So much so that the Book Fairy came out, whispering in her ear and flying off, leaving her with a burning desire to make her mark and share her knowledge with the world.

The very next day, she took action.

“The next day I saw a webinar from Chandler, and I enrolled in Self-Publishing School. It was really that simple.”

Many people believe they can simply start writing and will eventually have a completed book, ready to publish, but Brianna knew that just wasn’t the case.

After all, this was something she’d never done before. And without even having an idea, she sought out someone more experienced in the field for answers.

This was the catalyst that allowed her to pursue her dreams, and earn $4,000 per month in client work from her book.

A Coach’s Guidance Helped Her Uncover The Big Idea

There are some people who have the ability to push you, forcing out what’s necessary in order for you to succeed in what you’re trying to accomplish.

It’s no surprise professional athletes have several coaches at their fingertips, instructing them on how to best work out, what diet will help them succeed, and how best to approach their position to win on the field.

So why shouldn’t people looking to become professional writers (AKA: authors), not have the same support?

“I had no idea what my book was gonna be about, I just knew that I was supposed to write one.”

Brianna only knew she wanted to write a book. She felt called to publish, to share her experience, but wasn’t quite sure how to approach this arduous task.

“I was writing the wrong book—a different book for 10 days before my writing coach kind of called me out and said, ‘Well wait, you should be writing this book’, and he was right.”

What we find often with our students is that they come in with this amazing idea, sometimes even part of their book already written, only to realize that it’s not the book they should be writing.

It’s not the book they can sell or it’s not a book their target audience wants or needs.

With a coach, who has published many books before, you get the direction you need to avoid wasting months (and sometimes even years!) writing a book that won’t sell and therefore, won’t share your story or message.

Or you won’t grow your business from your book, if that’s your goal.

From Book to Business

Writing a book gives you credibility, yes, and it also gives you impact.

Being able to have a professional piece of work that you spent hours crafting to support your passions and values can do wonders in launching or growing a business that you love.

“I really was connected to the fact that if I were to write a book, it would be a launching pad for a business—a creative business for myself.”

Brianna used her book to launch her own consulting business. Talk about an effective business card!

From her book (aside from royalties!), Brianna is able to bring home an extra $4,000 per month from consulting clients she wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her taking action to write and publish her book.

Not only did she go from leaving her 9-5 to stay with her kids to publishing a book, she’s now her own boss, making her own rules, her own hours, and contributing to her family financially and emotionally by showing her children what it looks like to go after your dreams.

And she didn’t do all of that alone, either…

Being an Author Isn’t Always Isolating, Not With the Self-Publishing School Community

When you take on a journey like writing and publishing a book, it can seem isolating, like you’re the only person who can make this thing happen. After all, you spend a lot of time inside our own head when writing…

But you’re not alone with Self-Publishing School.

money from a book

“My favorite part about going through the Self-Publishing School program was the accountability, the structure, the Mastermind Community, and the wonderful comradery between the authors.”

We don’t think the process of writing a book even should be isolating. If so many people are out there writing and publishing books, why not give them a space to collaborate, get feedback on titles and covers, as well as share knowledge to help each other succeed?

That’s what the Self-Publishing School Mastermind community is all about.

Over 2,500 uthors from around the world congregate in an exclusive Facebook group to support each other, hold one another accountable, and even join each other’s launch teams to boost the success of their books.

“People were very kind and available to answer questions, and I’ve been in the Mastermind Community for two years now and I still feel connected, although I published my book two years ago.”

It was this support that led Brianna Ruelas to her next big accomplishment.

Using Her Book as a Springboard

Authors no longer have to be “just” authors. In fact, Brianna Ruelas can now add “professional speaker” to her resume with the tools her book has given her and the doors it has opened.

Because she’s placed herself as an authority from being a published author, she’s able to more easily book speaking gigs.

This only furthers her credibility, establishes herself as an authority, and ultimately can help her bring in even more clients. All of this built on the back of her book.

If she hadn’t taken action and joined Self-Publishing School, the past two years could have looked very different. It could have look much like yours may have:

Spending days wishing her book was published. Jotting down a few sentences here and there, never quite being able to finish the book.

Heck, she may not have even started the book, and it would have remained this distant idea that pops up to nag on the edges of her mind each time she went on a road trip.

And she would have the clients she’s had.

She wouldn’t have the experience of launching and growing a business.

She would have “speaker” listed on her resume.

Because Brianna Ruelas allowed Self-Publishing School to support her, she was able to use this high-quality book that was published effectively to bring in new prospects, new clients, and a new life.

And It’s Not Over…

Brianna published her book two years ago, is still bringing in royalties, and that’s not to mention her consulting business income from her book or the speaking gigs she’s acquired because of it.

And she’s not even done…

Next on Brianna’s list is launching her very own course to coincide with her book in order to scale her business further and continue to build a career she’s passionate about.

All because she wrote and published a book with Self-Publishing School.

Check out Brianna’s book for yourself right here!

good audiobook

What Makes a Good Audiobook and Why You Should Create One!

Are you listening? Your future readers are.

Is this a familiar scenario:

“The only person in your way is you.”

You nod as the light turns green. Time to go, time to move forward. 

“Letting fear drive you will only drive you to disappointment,” the narrator reads his book to you. Your speakers beg for just a little more volume to drown out the traffic.

You lean in and turn it up.

This is what you want for your readers, this is what your current readers are missing, and these are the readers/listeners you are missing by not having an audiobook.

what makes a good audiobook

There is an entire audience who have no idea that your book could change their lives.  In fact, they don’t even know it exists if they only listen to audiobooks. 

Don’t worry! We can fix this, just hang out with me for about 10 minutes or so, and you will be equipped with encouragement, inspiration, and most importantly, a plan!

After writing multiple books and recording my own audiobooks, I’ve learned a few things that will help both green and seasoned writers. With so much useful information packed into one post, we’re going to break it down to some basic questions straight from middle-school English class.

Here’s what we’ll cover in relation to audiobook creation (if you’re in a hurry, skip to 1, 3, and 5):

  1. WHY make an audiobook?
  2. HOW do I make an audiobook?
  3. WHAT makes a good audiobook?
  4. WHO should narrate the audiobook?
  5. WHEN should I start on this? (+ Actionable steps)

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more by clicking here! <https://self-publishingschool.com/programs data-lazy-src=

#1 – Why make an audiobook?

Audiobooks are POWERFUL lead magnets.

Benefits include:

The obvious: More Book Sales! 

Why not just sell both the digital and the audio? I know the temptation. After investing all this time and money into this audiobook, I need it to “pay” off, so why should I give it away? If that’s a hurdle you can’t get over, at least try using it as a lead magnet for a limited time, then switching to paid. Doing it this way allows for #4 (below) to thrive.

Fewer customer complaints.

When people get something for free, they are less likely to complain about it, though it still happens. However, this releases you from feeling like you have to have the perfect product. As Chandler says, “done is better than perfect.” We’ll cover more in the HOW and WHAT  sections.


Audiobook sales.

If you decide to put the book on Audible (the leader in audiobook production) or other sites like Findaway Voices, you will still get sales from people who never took the time to visit your Amazon (or other) page.


The most obvious: Build Your Subscriber List!

Having an author career is a long game. It requires support and a following at the least. This is the point of a lead magnet, to entice readers to sign up for your correspondence. Subscribers by email are gold for an author. Check it out here (and get a free audiobook) to see how the process looks from the subscriber’s side.

None of the other questions matter if we don’t understand our “why.”

As an author, you want to reach a broader audience while also better serving your current readers. 

The market for digital and print books is saturated (which isn’t the worst thing), but the audiobook market is still wide open. This is a great time to jump in, stand out, offer more, and expand your reach. 

Find out how I “read” 50 books in 2018 and see which ones they were, but only after you finish reading this post! I use Audible; they have a great referral program where they’ll give you a free book to start, sometimes TWO!

Go ahead, right click and “Open Link in New Tab,” and click back over here. This post isn’t going anywhere.

Need some more social proof? How about actual statistics? Here are some highlights from the 2018 global audiobook trends article:

  • Audiobooks are growing faster than any other digital publishing.
  • Nearly half of all listeners are under 35 and listen to 15 books a year, claiming that “audiobooks help you finish more books.”
  • People choose audio for multi-tasking, portability, and the novelty of someone else reading to them.
  • Podcasts (another growing industry) are a gateway to audiobooks.
  • Some publishers are skipping ebook production and going straight to audio, recognizing that audiobook sales are independently increasing.

Are you convinced yet? Before you go hire someone or crank up your voice memos, read on to see how best to create your audiobook.

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#2 – How do you make an audiobook?

SPS has a great post here about how to make an audiobook. It includes tips on prepping your content, recording, hiring narrators, equipment, uploading to ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) for Audible, and more.

In addition to those things, here are a few tips from my experience when producing my first audiobook.

  1. Use two computers or devices. I used one to handle the recording and audio editing (I chose to do simultaneous editing), and the other to read from while revising. No matter how many times you edit your book, you’ll always want to tweak something; recording your audiobook is no exception. If you’ve hired out your formatting, make notes for them of what you’ve changed.
  2. Keep plenty of water nearby. One time while recording some of my music in a studio, the producer told me to take a drink of water before every take. I didn’t realize how much difference it made until I tried it. Take a deep breath and a big swig before each take.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up for tripping over words. If it keeps happening, take a break. “Ahh! Can you even read? Come on, Michael!” Believe me, I understand the frustration.
  4. Invite or hire a professional or semi-professional to help with setup. If you have any musician friends or podcaster buddies, have them help set up your environment and equipment, down to chair placement and lighting. I made the mistake of trying to do it all by myself (cue Eric Carman) and I ended up re-recording my book 1.5 times—that’s 2.5 total! It was a mess.
  5. BONUS: A crucial piece of advice: listen to audiobooks in your genre. This should sound familiar, as it’s common advice to read the genre you write in, and it’s just as important to listen to it. To be a great writer, you must be an avid reader (and listener!) 

With so much screen fatigue, it’s nice to break away and maybe look at, I don’t know, the sky or something real. Try that now…I’ll wait…

Ah, wasn’t that nice? 

Let’s get back to business! What makes a good audiobook?

[Pssst! If you want to see some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

#3 – What makes a good audiobook?

  1. Start with a solid foundation: Before producing an audiobook, be sure that you have invested in proper and sound editing, cover design, formatting, and a strong launch plan.
  2. Cast the right voice (even if its yours): coming up in #4: WHO…patience, young grasshopper…
  3. Conviction: Not only does your book need to be believable, but your narrator needs to convey the same conviction as you did when writing it.
  4. Eliminate Mouth Sounds: This. Was. A. Pain. You, like me at one point, probably have no idea how much sound your mouth makes, from breath control to saliva and lip smacks. I ended up hiring someone from Fiverr to go through and edit my four-hour audiobook; the cost was around $300, which included mastering (adjusting the levels and frequencies for the specific ACX requirements). 

“Is my book right for audio?” 

I would argue that ANY book can be useful as an audiobook!

“What about children’s books?” 

Imagine the novelty of having the author narrate his/her own work while the kids flip through the pages, all without having to go to a book-reading.

“How about short, daily reads, like religious devotionals?” 

My non-fiction book is a weekly devotional for people wanting to grow in worship, 

“I’ve got you on this one: cookbooks!” 

Au contraire…imagine how helpful it could be to have someone walk you through a recipe in real time, hands-free. If that doesn’t quite work, it can still serve to push people to your digital/physical book for reference and pictures. 

In fact, some audiobooks come with companion content such as Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman.

By now, you’re seriously considering this audiobook thing. Logically, the next thing to work out is WHO should narrate your book. 

#4 – Who should narrate my audiobook?

Having a perfect book will not save you from poor narration. Audible makes it a point to offer a Performance section in their reviews. 

good audiobook

Did you also notice the tab below for Amazon Reviews? That’s even more reason to get the “WHAT” right in this entire process. 

When it comes to narration, there are two ways to go: do it yourself or hire it out.

Narrating Your Own Book:

There a plenty of advantages here. If you choose this route, you can either set up your own recording space or purchase studio time with an engineer.

Many readers will say they prefer authors to narrate their own works because it’s more authentic to the intentions. However, not all writers are great narrators.

I suggest this, a test run: 

  1. Use a phone app or voice recorder and try reading a chapter into it. 
  2. Listen back with objective ears, imagining your ideal reader. 
  3. Ask yourself if you were drawn in to the story or distracted by the narration. Be honest with yourself, and consider what it would take to make it better: cadence, pronunciation, accent, or perhaps a professional narrator. *If you choose to tackle accents, do your best to respect them rather than stereotyping. Audiobook listeners tend to care about accuracy and honor. For example, in England alone, there are half a dozen or more accents. In America, southern accents vary across states and regions.
  4. Send the sample to an objective friend (preferably one familiar with the accents and style you’re going for), and be open to honest feedback.

If you decide self-narrating isn’t for you, then you can hire a professional.

Tups for hiring a narrator:

what makes an audiobook good
  • Cost: Narrators can be paid in different ways. ACX offers an hourly rate or a 50% split royalties option. There are other ways as well, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Voices.
  • Voice: fiction or non, nailing the voice is a make-it-or-break-it detail for many listeners. In fact, Audible has an entire section of its reviews dedicated to Narrator Performance. There is a common consensus that says having an non-preferred narrator is one of the biggest turn-offs for listeners.
  • Communication: you’ll want to make sure the narrator gets the pronunciations right as well as any specific occasions of sarcasm, humor, drama, timing, or more. They can fix some things in post-production, but changing the pronunciation of a main character’s name after finishing the book would be nearly impossible. It’s not as simple as “Find and Replace” (one of my favorite word processing functions!). ACX has great videos to help with such things.
  • More tips: ACX | AME | Stacked

#5 – When to start making an audiobook?

If this post has stirred you up at all, then you must act! 

You and I both know this to be true, so here are some things you can do right now to become a better writer and jump start your audiobook production.

  1. Try the self-narrating tip from #4. For me, I’ve always loved doing impressions and finding new voices and accents. In fact, it has influenced my writing; I now try to include characters whose voices I know I can give life to. Recently, I made one of my characters Scottish, an accent I’ve always admired and respected.  
  2. Get started listening with Audible right now if you haven’t already, and start reading reviews, specifically in the Performance section. There are also plenty of free audiobook sources out there.
  3. Continue polishing your book as best you can. Adjustments to the written word are fairly easy, but punching in seamless narration is nearly impossible. It doesn’t have to be perfect though! There is always the option to re-record your book (and likely be even better the next time around) or hire someone else to do it.
  4. Read the SPS post about making an audiobook, and revisit the myriad links in this post.