What’s the secret to selling a self-published book?

Learn more about TimYou may have wondered how some self-published authors do it.

Their books seem to be selling well. They’ve reached the top of the Amazon bestseller list. And it didn’t seem to take much effort.

But books don’t just shoot to the top the second they’re published on Amazon. There’s a lot more involved behind the scenes.

Therefore, it’s not enough to publish a book to Amazon and cross your fingers—it’s not a “set it and forget it” endeavor.

Before it can be briskly selling on Amazon, it must be noticed. You must be noticed.

But how?

Book reviews! The more praise your book receives, the more willing people are going to be to take a chance on an author they’ve never heard of.


Self-publishing on Amazon is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor.


Seeing the good reviews, people are happy to buy your book—and from there it’s the snowball effect. The book starts climbing up the Amazon charts, reaching even more people, who see that it’s moving up and decide to buy it.

And over time, you go from the author nobody’s heard of to the author everyone has heard of!

This is why book reviews are so important.

Tim’s Discovery List is my way of bringing all of this together. It’s a big spreadsheet full of self-published books—and reviews—so readers can see at a glance what’s good.

And by having the reviews all in one place, it’s a lot easier for people to find books they want to read.

You are welcome to add your book to the List. If you have reviews, you can add those as well, but if not, be sure to start reaching out to bloggers to review your book.

You’ll be set to soar!

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be promoting some of the best books on the List (hopefully yours!), over at my brand-new blog, Tim’s Discovery List.

Let’s get that book into readers’ hands.


I’m Timothy Pike, copy editor and self-publishing coach, and I’ve been in the book business since 2014. I created the writing and reading community ChapterBuzz to help authors publish their books affordably, and founded Books & Buzz Magazine to showcase prominent authors, reviewers, and books. Join our private book society on Facebook!

This week’s #1 book! And why I’m cranky today

Here’s today’s post on my brand-new blog, Tim’s Discovery List. I hope you’ll follow me there!

Tim's Discovery List

Timothy Pike | About me Where I live, it’s cold.

Like, really cold. And I am not a big fan of winter.

The numb hands, the sniffles, the slippery sidewalks?not ideal, but I can live with it.

The worst thing about winter, though? Hands down: getting buried up to my head in a snowdrift! I know it happens to everybody a few times a day, but lately it seems like there’s one lurking around every corner.

So yeah, I’m extra cranky.

But there’s one thing I actually love about winter.

In fact, it’s the one part of winter I can’t live without: pouring a steaming hot cup of coffee on a frigid Sunday morning, and sitting down to discover new books.

A man and woman stand holding snow shovels Thanks to these two for digging me out of my latest snowdrift (Nataliya Vaitkevich) And guess what? It just so happens that the latest edition of Tim’s…

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Discussion: what’s your favorite winter reading nook?

Learn more about TimIf you’re like me, you enjoy reading at any time of year. But there’s just something—and I hope you’ll agree with me here—about reading when outside it’s snowing and the wind is howling.

Everyone has their favorite spot to read, but some do things a little differently in winter, and I think it’s time we sat down and talked about it.

So I ask you…

What’s your favorite, coziest nook for reading in the winter?

I’d like to have this discussion on my new blog, Tim’s Discovery List, so please click over to this blog post and add your comment!

New book blog! Here are 5 reasons you should follow my new blog

Tim’s Discovery List, a spreadsheet that I started to keep track of outstanding self-published books, now has its own blog!

Head on over and follow us at the new blog … you’ll be glad you did.

Here are just a few reasons you’ll love it:

  • Get free books
  • Discover new authors
  • Become an author yourself
  • Help build our list of books
  • Submit your own book reviews

See you there! timsdiscoverylist.wordpress.com

In the new year, we have a lot to celebrate!

Books & Buzz Magazine, January 2022, Volume 4 Issue 4A Letter from the Editor

Every new year holds promise, and as we move into 2022, we’ve got a lot to celebrate in our writing community.

So many new books are taking shape at ChapterBuzz, and you’re invited to read them! Some are in the beginning stages, while others are just about ready to be published. And while you’re there, check out our selection of published novels.

We look forward to celebrating more book releases this year—with your help and support—as we work hard to complete them.


This article is from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. Not a subscriber? Start getting all of our great articles by subscribing for free!


With the themes of celebration and hope in mind, let’s reach into our goodie bag and see what we’ve got in this month’s issue:

On the cover this month is Jennifer Lieberman, actor, independent film and theater producer, and award-winning author of the play-turned-novel Year of the What? Achieving commercial success with her novel was no easy feat, but it went on to become a #1 bestseller on Amazon and win the Literary Titan Silver Book Award, so it’s clear the journey was worth it. “All the recognition and accolades are tremendous,” Jennifer says, “but the biggest achievement was not giving up on this piece, because I wanted to—and I tried to—so many times.” In our interview, you’ll find out what helped Jennifer stick it out in the face of so many setbacks.

Then, bestselling thriller author Kristina Rienzi is guessing that after reading her novels, you’d be surprised by her real-life personality. “We’d talk,” she says, “and you’d see that I’m bubbly, outgoing, positive, and intently engaged in our conversation.” At the same time, her obsession with darkness—which she calls “real”—allows her to explore another side of herself. “I write dark stories where, as the author, I’m in control,” she says. “Through my stories, I can face my fears and grow.” Learn why Kristina considers herself to be two different people—that are actually one and the same.

Next, have you ever been in a writing rut? Rachael Tamayo, bestselling and award-winning author, has the solution. “Don’t be afraid of the darkness outside of your little box,” Rachael tells us, and recalls how reading books in a different genre did wonders to open up her mind when she was feeling stuck. “What does this have to do with ruts and writer’s block?” she asks. “Could be everything.” Rachael’s simple advice can help you revitalize your writing.

Finally, you may remember that in last month’s issue, Craig DiLouie explained how a reader’s brain processes words on a page. Now, this award-winning thriller and sci-fi author lays out what happens inside the brain of a writer. “Writers are awesome,” he observes, and discusses some of the common traits that writers share. If you’ve ever wondered which areas of the brain are involved in the creative process, you’ll love Craig’s fascinating article.

Once you’ve seen your holiday guests off and put away the last of the fancy tableware, take a deep breath, fall into your most comfortable easy chair, and enjoy this issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz MagazineSubscribe now for free!

Discovered a book! “Four sons. One throne. A world on the precipice.”

Learn more about TimHere’s some buried treasure from Tim’s Discovery List, a spreadsheet of really good self-published books that you’ve been helping us build!

(Got one for us? Submit it here)

Today’s find:

Book cover for Empires of Bronze: Son of Ishtar by Gordon DohertyEmpires of Bronze: Son of Ishtar by Gordon Doherty (Historical Fiction)

(Review: Jon F. Zeigler of Sharrukin’s Palace gives it 4 stars.)

Here’s what it’s about:

1315 BC: Tensions soar between the great powers of the Late Bronze Age. The Hittites stand toe-to-toe with Egypt, Assyria and Mycenaean Ahhiyawa, and war seems inevitable. More, the fierce Kaskan tribes—age-old enemies of the Hittites—amass at the northern borders.

When Prince Hattu is born, it should be a rare joyous moment for all the Hittite people. But when the Goddess Ishtar comes to King Mursili in a dream, she warns that the boy is no blessing, telling of a dark future where he will stain Mursili’s throne with blood and bring destruction upon the world.

Thus, Hattu endures a solitary boyhood in the shadow of his siblings, spurned by his father and shunned by the Hittite people. But when the Kaskans invade, Hattu is drawn into the fray. It is a savage journey in which he strives to show his worth and valour. Yet with his every step, the shadow of Ishtar’s prophecy darkens…

Available on Amazon!

Have you discovered a self-published book that deserves a spot on the Discovery List? Whether you wrote it, reviewed it, or just discovered it, you can add it here and help others make discoveries of their own.

3 reasons that 2022 is looking more & more like the first year of the rest of your (writing) life

Via Pexels

Remember that idea you had for a story?

Maybe it came to you out of nowhere, maybe it was inspired by someone you know.

Maybe it keeps nagging at you as you go about your day, or maybe you’ve already turned it over and over in your head and have a pretty good idea of where you want to take it.

Whatever the case, you just know it would make a great novel.

But now, as you get ready to unwrap a new calendar and pin it on the wall, something within you is being stirred into action.

It’s a restlessness—a sense that this is the time. And here are 3 reasons you might be feeling this way:

1. You’ve got an idea. It’s amazing how many different types of stories are out there, isn’t it? Especially if you’re someone who likes to read many different genres, you’ve probably noticed that the books you’ve read really run the gamut in terms of plot and premise.

To me, this is proof that you can take just about any idea and turn it into an excellent story. If you’ve ever been worried that the idea for your novel isn’t “good enough,” worry no more … and let’s set it into motion in 2022!

Via Pexels

2. You’re ready & determined. Even though you still have questions, writing a novel is something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and you’re finally ready to get busy with it.

Carpe diem! Many novelists have been unsure at first, but have developed confidence once they got into it. That’s why I invite you to enter the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge, where you’ll get the guidance you need to write that brilliant book. Jump right in … or start slowly and pick up steam!

Via Pexels

3. You want to create your own success. The world is full of successful authors who bucked the system—who weren’t content just to sit there and wait for someone to tell them their manuscripts were worthy of being published.

Authors like Andy Weir, E.L. James, and Mark Dawson all decided their stories simply had to reach readers, and weren’t going to wait for the slow-moving traditional publishing industry to propel them to stardom. It all started when they made the decision to publish their own works!

If this is getting the wheels turning for you, then your writing future depends on how you decide to spend this upcoming year.

Next year at this time, your life could look much the same as it does now. Or it could look quite different: you could be throwing a book release party!

Happy New Year, and here’s to your success!

What makes Tosca Lee and other successful authors tick? Let’s find out

Books & Buzz Magazine, December 2021, Volume 4 Issue 3A Letter from the Editor

We love their books, of course. But this month we’re getting inside the heads of the talented people behind the words, in order to find out what drives them. Have you ever wondered, for example, what inspires the stories they write? What encourages them to keep telling those stories? And why so many feel such an intense need to write?

These are the questions we hope to answer in this issue.


This article is from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. Not a subscriber? Start getting all of our great articles by subscribing for free!


Before we get started, have you been itching to write a novel? Now’s your chance! Join us in the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge, and by this time next year, you could be an independently published author—with a growing audience to boot. It’s the perfect way to turn over a new leaf as you unwrap your 2022 calendar and pin it up on the wall.

And now, let’s dig in! This month’s issue is like a holiday feast with all the trimmings:

Tosca LeeGracing our cover is New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, who’s currently adjusting to life on a Nebraska farm. “I lived in the city before this,” Tosca says, “so I’m still new to farm life.” In my interview with Tosca, you’ll hear what her original choice of profession was (hint: not a writer), the offer her father made her one summer that she couldn’t refuse, and her number one rule for writing a novel. And by the way, did you know this versatile author is working on a new book? When you hear what it’s about, you probably won’t be surprised, even if it’s not what you expected.

Sherile ReillyNext, for author Sherile Reilly, it was two people who didn’t like each other very much—at least not at first—that set her writing career in motion, and served as the premise for her first novel. But one book wasn’t enough for Sherile. “I knew I hadn’t finished my characters’ stories,” she explains. “A mystery had to be solved and the love story needed time to develop.” Sherile talks about her writing past, and why she just couldn’t stop writing once she started.

Craig DiLouieNext, do you read a lot? Craig DiLouie, thriller, horror, and sci-fi author, explains exactly what happens inside your brain as your eyes move down the page and you process the words. “A number of years ago,” he writes, “a woman told me that one of my horror novels had made her cry.” At that point, curiosity got the best of him, and he wanted to know how the simple act of reading could produce such reactions. “This started me on an exploratory journey,” he says, “a meditation on what happens to our brains on reading and writing, and what insights we can glean from that.” You’re sure to learn a lot when you, well, read about Craig’s fascinating findings.

Ann CharlesFinally, over the years, bestselling author Ann Charles has built a large fan base of loyal readers, and now she’s revealing how she did it. “The truth of the matter is that there has been no magic involved,” Ann tells us. “In my experience, there are very few shortcuts to success, and the opportunities for instant fame are few and far between.” Ann proceeds to detail the tried-and-true methods that have worked (and continue to work) to bring readers into her corner—and keep them there. Best of all? They’re simple, and they can work for you, too.

A semi-normal holiday season means we get to enjoy each other’s company again. Yay! When you get a few minutes to unplug from the festivities, fill a glass with egg nog, sprinkle some nutmeg on top, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz MagazineSubscribe now for free!

This just in: NYT bestseller Tosca Lee reveals her #1 rule for writing

Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of A Single Light and The Line Between, wants to take you on a thrill ride with her books.

And I want to take you behind the scenes—in the December 2021 issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

I interviewed Tosca for our upcoming issue, and learned a lot I didn’t know about this award-winning thriller author, including how she’s adapting to life on a farm as a former city dweller, her background in ballet, and much more that I’m excited to share with you.

I also asked if she had any advice for novelists who are just starting out.

“Keep reading,” was her answer. “Keep learning from the books you love.”

And after that?

“When it comes to the actual writing,” she said, “my #1 rule is…”

Find out what she said next! Subscribe (for free) to Books & Buzz Magazine, and I’ll deliver the December issue directly to your e-mail inbox when it comes out.

In the same interview, you’ll also learn about the process she uses to bring her exciting stories to the page—and you might be surprised at how simple it is.

This is your chance to get to know the author behind the books you’ve been enjoying. Subscribe now!

See you there,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine

Goals, goals, goals! Writers, have you set any for 2022?

Learn more about TimGet ready to publish a novel in 2022!

Obviously, being the author of a novel is something you’ve dreamed about.

But it’s not enough to dream about it—you’ve got to set goals and deadlines for yourself if you truly want to get it done.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be laying out what we intend to do over the next year. There’s something about declaring your goals—and letting others see them—that makes you much more likely to achieve them.

This is the can-do attitude we bring to our writing at ChapterBuzz, our platform that helps you write a book while building your audience. (We’d love for you to join us if you’re serious about your upcoming—or ongoing—writing adventure.)

As for your goals:

What would you like to achieve in 2022?

I asked this question yesterday, and here are few of the responses:

“I’m now working on my next book for 2022, which will be a compilation of poetry, as well, along with fiction short stories.”
Baydreamer

“I am in the process of writing one novel and editing another, so in 2022 I would like to complete both of these …”
Tina’s writing

“My goal for 2022 is to start really pulling together my novel ideas and begin researching!”
Deanna Parenti

How about you? Comment below with your biggest writing goal for 2022. Are there any obstacles that stand in your way?