Self Publishing Revolution Review – The Good and The Bad
A Kindle publishing course that draws from black hat tactics to be successful.
Not a cheap course, but it teaches what most others leave out.
3.5 out of 5 stars!
Summary: Self Publishing Revolution is a good A-Z course for beginner self publishers. Most of the lessons in the course rely on black hat tactics, yet this is optional. Optional because the course creator does have lessons on list-building, but not too much.
We Don't Like
From $697 to discounted prices on this page
This Self Publishing Revolution Review has been updated for 2018.
As of mid-2018, Self Publishing Revolution's vendor said the course is closed. As of now, the sales page is still up, but your payment may not work. I'll keep this page live just in case the course comes back.
For alternative self publishing course recommendations check out my guide: The Simple Guide to Choosing The Best Self Publishing Course For You
So, you want to know if you can trust this guy with an Italian accent and his course?
At one point so did I. You’re in the right place.
I first wrote my Self Publishing Revolution review back in 2016, and the course has picked up steam since then.
However, a more in-depth review article is needed now.
In this article you’re going to learn:
Pay especially close attention to the What You'll Learn Once You Login section of this article as I’m going to discuss what works and what can be improved upon.
Enough with the introduction.
What you're about to read is the most in-depth review you’re going to find on Self Publishing Revolution (SPR).
Warning: This review article is as real as they come. If I’m not here to tell the truth, and be real with my audience, then what’s the point.
Why Self Publishing Revolution Gets So Much Interest
Flash enough money and you'll attract salivating newbies
You probably ran into SPR by searching YouTube for “Kindle publishing tips” or something similar.
You found an Italian guy who is the self proclaimed person “who scaled up the fastest” and pimps out his student’s results.
This is enough to pique anyone’s interest who is investigating this business model.
And in that regard, I’ll give Luca de Stefani (his name before branding himself Big Luca) marketing credit.
With all his continuous (and relentless) marketing efforts, Luca has indeed made his mark on the “mainstream” self publishing course scene.
Even overshadowing the once popular K Money Mastery 2.0 (moment of silence) - where he first learned Kindle publishing.
I took that same course (KMM 2.0) a little after he did. During this stage, he was making his own course.
He, like myself (and others), noticed the weaknesses that KMM had.
It seemed like that course taught more theory than applicable content. Students were interested more in practicality.
Luca sensed this too. So, like many others that came before him, he created a course that improved upon KMM.
Before Self Publishing Revolution entered the scene, newbies felt stuck in KMM 2.0’s Full Disclosure Group ($47-$67 per month) grasp and wondered if this business model still even worked!
After all, newbies, are sold a bill of goods saying “you can make $xx,xxx+ every month publishing ebooks.”
What KMM and SPR promotions don’t tell you is that these figures are a result of black hat practices which we’ll discuss soon.
I recall being a member of KMM’s Full Disclosure Facebook group and asking: “are people still making money with Kindle publishing?” … crickets.
Actually, I do remember getting a few Facebook Likes on my post…
Long story short, I followed what KMM taught and had “ok” success with my first book launches (few hundreds every month).
However, this is around the time I started YouTube researching for Kindle publishing tips to fill in the holes KMM failed to deliver.
I ran into a Luca video where he was talking about Kindle publishing (selling his course).
He talked in a way (a marketing angle) that made KMM students want to jump ship to his course.
Back then his course was still a high-ticket priced course, but people didn’t mind because they could potentially (finally) get rid of the monthly Full Disclosure membership.
This was the birth of Self Publishing Revolution, and the madness continues.
What You'll Learn Once You Login
Do you want to know what’s inside the course?
What you’ll find once you invest?
Exactly what you’re going to get, plus the commentary of someone who’s been successful with the course?
You’re in for a treat because I’m going to pull back the curtains and give you a tour of SPR.
All 10+ modules.
Module 1 - Basic Lessons
Although these are "basic lessons" don't be fooled. These are the critical lessons of the course.
Lesson 1(a): How to Find Profitable Keywords & Market Domination Strategy (Part 1)
Want to know the criteria that makes a keyword highly sought after by Kindle readers/customers?
This is the lesson that teaches exactly that. It involves checking each book’s Amazon Best Sellers Ranking (on the first page of results) against a profitability criterion.
I like Luca’s idea on this criteria, and it makes logical sense. Where I think it falls short is leaving the following questions unanswered:
- Are we paying attention to $0.99 books?
- What about books with hundreds or thousands of reviews?
- Are we ignoring free books?
These are just a few of the questions I remember having when I first saw this lesson.
You can always ask the private Facebook group that comes included with the course, but sometimes you want information faster.
Lesson 1(b): How to Find Profitable Keywords & Market Domination Strategy (Part 2)
Have you ever heard of the “keyword umbrella”?
If you’ve been following Luca for any period of time, there’s a high chance you have. This is the lesson where he explains it all.
This is a core component that was missing in KMM. This can be seen as the blueprint strategy for how to publish your books.
I would venture to say that even white hat publishers can capitalize using this strategy.
Lesson 1(c): How to Find Profitable Keywords & Market Domination Strategy (Part 3)
Well, yeah, there’s a lot to this process. Consider yourself lucky.
Originally there were only two parts. Part 3 was added on later.
I can only suspect that new members were overwhelming the Facebook group and direct messaging Luca to explain the keyword umbrella again (Lesson 2).
Honestly, lesson 2 is not 100% clear and confusing for newbies.
I had to ask other members to explain it to me initially. But, thankfully, he included Part 3 which covers a lot of what was misunderstood.
Lesson 2: Kindle Spy
In lesson 1(a), Luca covered the manual process of checking the profitability criteria.
Lesson 4 is all about automating this process with Kindle Spy - a paid Google Chrome extension software that makes your life much easier.
Kindle Spy (or KDspy) is a great tool and I used it at first, but after trying out similar software, I can’t recommend it as a #1 keyword research software anymore.
I now use KDP Rocket for researching keywords.
I think the criteria doesn’t go far enough.
It’s missing a factor: Amazon Searches per Month.
Information that KDSpy doesn’t show you.
I talk more about Amazon Searches Per Month in my Publisher Rocket review article
KDP Rocket review article. (Publisher Rocket was formerly known as KDP Rocket).
Lesson 3: The Unimportance of Subtitles
I wouldn’t go as far saying that subtitles are not important.
Here, Luca takes you through multiple book examples and different types of subtitles that self publishers use.
My 2 cents on this one is to mix in at least one long tail keyword in your subtitle (more than one looks a little desperate) for better rankings.
Lesson 4: How to Choose a Good Cover
A simple video lesson but at the same time a lesson that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Luca goes through what he considers good covers.
The better your cover looks, the more people will click on your book versus others.
Your click-through rate (CTR) will shoot through the roof if your cover is good. Plus, you’ll get a nice ranking boost from the CTR.
Lesson 5: Get Your Cover on Fiverr
Good ol' Fiverr.com.
Some people bag on using Fiverr for covers. I think they work good for covers if you give detailed instructions on exactly what you're looking for.
Lesson 6: Get Your First Book Written
Okay, I’m not sure how good the service SPR recommends is anymore (E-WritersSolutions). I can only share the lack of quality I had in the past.
It’s fair to say that this course is suited for outsourcing self publishers. If you’re reading this review, you probably already know this.
You'll be paying ghostwriting services to write you book. (Some members use freelancers or write books themselves though).
I made this video last year, yet it still holds weight according to outsource publishers.
When I was outsourcing multiple books monthly I tested EpicWrite, E-Writers Solutions, and The Writing Summit.
EpicWrite takes FOREVER.
E-Writers Solutions quality lacks.
The Writing Summit gets the job done.
The Writing Summit is a little bit pricier, but it's the only ghostwriting service I recommend if you don't want to bother editing/proofing, a lack of quality, or late delivery.
Lesson 7: Upload Your Book
Luca shows you how to upload your Word manuscript onto Kindle Direct Publishing.
Lesson 8: Category Analysis
In other words, category analysis just means how to choose the best 2 Kindle categories to help rank your book.
It’s quite an important lesson. And if you look hard enough online you’ll find how to do it...
I won’t leave you hanging 🙂
Module 2 - Reviews
Welcome to the self publishing underworld.
Buckle your seat belts.
Once you get to this module of the course, you’re in the underground black hat world of Kindle publishing.
These lessons teach how to get reviews via review swaps (using VAs).
Do you want to know why Luca charges more for his mainstream course over K Money Mastery (besides of course his “positioning”)?
What Luca teaches in this module alone covers a lot of what’s covered in Stefan’s 2nd upsell: The Kindle Virtual Assistant Training Program. That’ll run you $197 on top of KMM & Full Disclosure.
This is where Stefan reveals the dark arts of using VA’s for swaps and, to be fair, managing a team of VA’s to grow your Kindle business. Something that’s not included in Self Publishing Revolution.
Additionally, both Luca and Stefan have lessons on how to get reviews the right way (white hat). However, they're lackluster.
Lesson 1: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
Another self-explanatory title. But, I have to weigh in here.
Even though I stopped hiring VA’s a long time ago, I think it’d be best for this video lesson to be updated.
Upwork isn’t fond of clients hiring VA’s for reviews. (This is where his secret Facebook can help).
Lesson 2: Gift Card
Need I say more?
Another video that needs updating by the way.
Lesson 3: How Many Reviews?
Starting to feel a little dirty?
Lesson 4: Review Strategy
This is the black hat breadwinner video lesson for most self publishers in this course.
Module 3 - Createspace
The print-on-demand paperback module!
Lesson 1: How to Register
This process is very similar to registering on KDP.
Lesson 2: Update Payee & Payment Method
Self-explanatory lesson title.
Lesson 3: How it Works
How it works?
I had to re-watch this one.
This brought up an old memory.
I remember loving this lesson. It was my first exposure to what wasn’t covered in KMM.
From what I recall, KMM gave the go-ahead to start publishing books on Createspace (paperback print-on-demand Amazon sister company).
It was just a bunch of theory. Like someone saying “yeah, it’s a good idea.”
I was relieved when I saw this lesson because finally - someone actually showing the paperback self publishing process!
If this is you now, then you’re in for a treat.
Lesson 4 & 5: Get Your book Converted
Ah, we’ve come to an important lesson.
Self publishing a paperback involves two different gigs: outsourcing your paperback cover (PDF) and the formatting of your manuscript (PDF with numbered pages).
Lesson 6: How to Upload the Book
Another important video to watch if you’re new. Basically, when you’re adding a new title don’t be afraid to click on “Expert.”
Luca does a good job of walking you through this process.
Lesson 7: Price Strategy
Okay, I’ve got admit - this is a great strategy. I can’t elaborate anymore without giving stuff away.
There’s no shadiness going on here just smart economics.
Module 4 - ACX
Publishing your audio book on ACX will distribute your audio book to Audible!
Here’s the next set of lessons that I was looking forward to when I initially got this course.
A step-by-step guide that shows you the ACX process!
Lesson 1: Add a New Title
Another good tutorial like his Createspace tutorial.
Lesson 2: Price Strategy
Now, this title is a little deceiving because you can’t really adjust the price of an ACX book.
But, just like the Createspace pricing strategy, Luca has a simple but overlooked strategy that will increase your audio book royalties.
Module 5 - Strategies
It’s always nice when a course offers additional strategies on top of the main modules.
Lesson 1: Long Books
The strategy is in the title for this one, so I feel I can elaborate some here.
At this point in the outsourcing self publishing game, I suggest no less than 15,000 words. Even this is a bit short.
If you’re going to use this minimum requirement (Luca has a lower requirement I don’t agree with) make sure your book is very well written and actually solves the market’s problems.
This video needs updating.
Lesson 2: Scaling Up Fast
Have you seen this commercial on TV lately?
A coke, burger, chicken sandwich, cookie, and fries for $5!
I might have to get this for my cheat meal this week (lol).
You're basically doing the same thing Carl's Jr. is doing here, but with your self published books.
Anyway, this lesson is broken up into two parts. Even with two parts, there are intermediate steps lacking.
To name one, how do you format a Createspace book deal like this?
There are more intermediate steps missing, but I want to stay on topic here.
I’ve been personally asked by member’s of this course, in private messages, how to do these intermediate steps.
If you decide to get Self Publishing Revolution, through this link, send your receipt (proof of purchase) and I’ll send you my bonus e-book on bundle covers that cover each intermediate step that’s missing.
The Intermediate steps that aren't covered are in this bonus
Lesson 3: Series
Series are a great way to boost your self publishing royalties. This video lesson goes over this.
I wrote an article on my approach to series here if you're interested
Lesson 4: Find a Profitable Niche (Strategic Analysis)
This is actually a great lesson I’ve overlooked.
Definitely a must-watch lesson. Focus on Createspace and ACX (you’ll see what I mean).
Module 6 - Assessing Competition
Lesson 1: Title & Keyword
This is an empty lesson with no video in it.
Shame on you Luca! (Just teasing).
Lesson 2: Cover
Not sure if you can beat or outcompete a competitor based on your cover? Watch this lesson.
Lesson 3: Description
The description of your book is important. No doubt. Luca covers it in this lesson.
He briefly goes over how your book descriptions should be structured.
Additionally, there’s no recommendation on what book description HTML editor to use.
The fancy bullet points, bold texts, numbered lists, different font texts, etc. you see in other book descriptions all require different HTML code to make it happen.
Mind you, the Createspace HTML description box doesn’t allow heading tags (example: ‘<h1></h1>’ tags are not allowed).
This lesson can use some work.
Module 7 - Outsourcing
Remember I told you Self Publishing Revolution doesn’t teach how to train your VA’s to take over your Kindle publishing empire like KMM’s 2nd upsell?
Well this one and only lesson in Module 7 has that part covered.
Lesson 1: Kindle Autopilot
I’m not sure why this is even a lesson. There’s not even a video.
It’s just an empty video lesson page with a link:
The Kindle Autopilot course is actually quite good. It's mainly for experienced outsource publishers or those who have more money than time.
Module 8 - FAQs
Not much to say here.
Here is the list of frequently asked questions:
- FAQ 1: Pen name vs. Real Name
- FAQ 2: What If My Books Stop Selling
- FAQ 3: How Many Books Do I Need?
- FAQ 4: How Many Books Shall I Publish Every Week/Month?
- FAQ 5: Shall I Wait for Createspace?
After these video lessons (answers) there’s a random Average Earnings video in the mix.
I suppose this video answers another frequently asked question.
Luca reveals how much each one of your books (Kindle + paperback) can make.
There’s some math involved here. It goes a little like this:
1 book following my strategies = $xxx per month.
I like numbers, so this is a great lesson to watch if you want to know your business cash flow projections.
One thing I don’t like about this lesson is that it completely ignores the Pareto Law. Also known as the 80/20 Rule.
Recall that the 80/20 rule states 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.
If you translate this to outsource self publishing then 20% of your books will make the majority of your income.
Thus, not all of the books will follow the formula provided in this video lesson.
Come on man! Pareto was Italian! 🙂
Module 9 - Building an Email List
Email list building and NOT email marketing is taught here.
I’ll spare you my detailed, individual, lesson thoughts in this module because it’s all in the lesson names.
But here’s my overall 2 cents.
Lesson 1 is another deserted video lesson page with a broken link to a once popular course to Build My List (a Jimmy Kim product).
Why not just delete the link? It only takes a couple of minutes - especially on Kajabi.
Anyway, the module name is exactly what you’re getting here. This is not going to teach you email marketing but email list building.
I’ll give the edge to Stefan’s K Money Mastery course (Full Disclosure - Advanced Lessons) here. He at least showed how to build out an autoresponder sequence.
Here are the video lessons in this module:
- Lesson 1: Endorsed Outside Training
- Lesson 2: Get AWeber and Leadpages
- Lesson 3: AWeber - Create a List
- Lesson 4: AWeber - Create a Form
- Lesson 5: Leadpages - Create Opt In Page
GetResponse is cheaper, has more automation tools, and gives you a bigger subscriber limit.
It’s like having AWeber and Leadpages in one. Although I will admit, Leadpages landing pages are better looking.
Module 10 - Extras
The “extra” module - classic.
Lesson 1: Dealing with Bad Reviews
I don’t agree with everything in this video lesson. It's mainly outsourcing self publisher advice.
Also, I don’t recommend doing the first thing he teaches here (first bullet point on the list - you have to see the video) as it can get your account into trouble.
If you use the first tip on the list, at least have your VA’s do it.
This video needs updating (IMO).
Lesson 2: Gather Review with Facebook Ads
What can I say here?
A Facebook ads lesson on getting book reviews crammed into a 22-minute video lesson?
There are entire courses devoted to Facebook ads alone.
You need to be a solid writer and have authority in your niche/brand if you’re going to have a prayer getting reviews with Facebook ads.
Module 11 - Downloads
The download module is another failed attempt of a video lesson page. When you click on “Downloadable Resources” you’ll see a list of resources on your right-hand screen:
I’m not negating the usefulness of these PDFs but come on man!
You have the luxury of using Kajabi as a course platform.
There has to be a simpler page that can house these downloads more elegantly.
Is Self Publishing Revolution Blackhat?
To put it short, yes. Although some would argue that it’s gray hat.
I’ve heard Luca talk on the matter before. His argument against review swap haters is that white hat self publishers do swapping too.
I forgot which YouTube video this was in - otherwise, I’d post it here.
But, he said something along the lines of “people with email lists in their niches are bribing their subscribers to leave reviews for their books - this is against Amazon policies too!”
I suppose there is some truth to this.
I would say that white hat publishers do utilize their ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) teams to get books on launch day, but they leave unverified reviews!
The reviews blackhat publisher’s get are verified.
That’s where the argument falls apart for me.
Anyway, I can only warn you - there is some black hat stuff taught in this course - and it’s ultimately up to you if you want to partake.
Who Is Self Publishing Revolution For?
Beginners and novice self publishers.
If you like what you see on YouTube and can’t resist, well, I completely understand.
I think people who are just starting out with Kindle publishing search terms like
- Kindle publishing tips
- Kindle publishing guide
- can you still make money with Kindle Publishing [insert date here]?
People who are researching this business model for the first time usually run into a mainstream self publishing course.
This is where I started too.
So, why will it benefit mostly beginners and novices? It’s because of the way this course is structured.
Luca takes you by the hand from the depths of the blackhat underworld to self published on Amazon.
Beginner’s and novices usually don’t have the patience to build an email list in their niche or drive traffic to their books through other sources like Google.
This course wouldn’t sell as much as it does if it's unique selling point was becoming an online marketer and a self publisher.
Thus, it’s more suitable for beginners.
On the bright side, you’re getting a great education of the self publishing process (minus the review module - but let that go).
Kindle publishers who take this course (or other mainstream course) eventually deviate to more white hat methods. They find alternatives for review swapping (a good move).
Is the High Cost of the Course Justified?
I’d have to agree with the high-ticket price. Hear me out.
Compared to its main competitor K Money Mastery 2.0 you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck.
With Self Publishing Revolution there are NO Upsells. What you see on the sales page is what you get.
Besides Luca being a good salesman on YouTube, here are a few reasons why the high ticket priced course is justified.
Justification Reason #1: The Private Facebook Group
There’s a mixture of beginner to advanced self publishers in the Facebook group. And believe it or not, there are white hat self publishers in the group as well.
The group offers a plethora of knowledge from its members.
If you wanted this benefit in KMM, you’d have to pay $67/month. A monthly cost which will add up to more than what Self Publishing Revolution costs in no time.
Justification Reason #2: Access to Advanced Lessons
Want to know all the good stuff? (Createspace, Audible, email marketing/list building, plus other advanced lessons).
K Money Mastery: Pay me $67/month, and I’ll give you access to my advanced lessons!
(To be fair, KMM’s Facebook group is included in this too).
Self Publishing Revolution gives it ALL to you in one package. Again - no upsells.
Justification Reason #3: The Frequent Testimonials and Results
Here are a few results from his student’s late 2017:
It’s hard to argue with results. And this again is where other competitor’s courses fall short.
KMM’s sales page testimonials are from a lifetime ago.
To be blunt, Luca was the first to rip KMM and improve upon it successfully.
And in the words of Jeff Rich, “if you’re not first, you’re last.”
The testimonials are undeniable, and the mainstream course competition continues to be left in the dust.
From a marketing perspective - case closed - justified.
Self Publishing Revolution Coupon
People LOVE coupons! And if you haven’t noticed, Luca is a big fan of giving out coupons now and then.
Here’s a link to his course page that will be kept up-to-date as much as possible (usually taking $99 off the original price):
A Deeper Look Into K Money Mastery Vs. Self Publishing Revolution
Before you make your decision on which course is right for you, I’d like to weigh in a bit more on Luca’s course and KMM (my first Kindle Publishing course ever). I also made a review article on KMM 2.0, you can check it out here.
SPR and KMM are a great fit for beginner’s, however there’s 1 key difference. That is the Return on Investment.
Take two Kindle publishing students, one taking Self Publishing Revolution and the other KMM 2.0.
After 2-3 months the student who took Self Publishing Revolution leaves the KMM student in the dust when it comes to making money.
This is because Luca doesn’t “F” around, he gives you concrete steps to make sure you’ll make money.
KMM 2.0 on the other hand, offers vague lessons for being profitable in outsource self publishing. This is especially true if you only get the "Front End" product (see image below).
K Money Mastery covers finding profitable keywords poorly. You’re left on your own with no keyword profitability criteria, or understanding of how the Amazon algorithm works. You're throwing things against the wall and hoping something sticks.
Even if you subscribe to Stefan's $67/month Advanced Lessons Full Disclosure club, there is no definitive profitability criteria for keywords.
And as stated previously, KMM doesn't offer any virtual assistant lessons unless you buy the 2nd upsell, which will cost you an additional $197.
OTO#1 is actually $67 per Month now...
I highlight the differences between the two Kindle courses, in WAY more depth, in the following video:
Many SPR members came from KMM 2.0 after months of paying for a subscription fee that unlocked “Advanced Lessons” and KMM’s Facebook group.
My Customized Bonuses to Supplement This Course
If you're going to get SPR, then get my customized bonuses along with it - free of charge.
Buy through any links/buttons on this review article and I’ll send you my customized bonuses ASAP. Usually within the first 48 hours.
The reason I created these is because I know this course lacks teaching some intermediate steps in the self publishing process.
To track who gets my customized bonuses, please email your receipt to john[at]freedomboundbusiness[dot]com.
Bonus #1 – Kindle Secrets Ebook ($27 Value)
I compiled the strategies I used to get to $1.5k a month in less than 2 months in this ebook.
Bonus #2 — Kindle Formatting ($37 Value)
Learn how to format both your Kindle and Createspace books quickly and easily.
Besides K Money Mastery, I haven't seen a course that teaches how to quickly & easily format your books (KMM's videos on these are outdated).
Bonus #3 – Kindle Funnels ($47 Value)
This guide will break down all the tools you have at your arsenal for setting up your Kindle funnels. Most mainstream courses list AWeber and LeadPages as the ONLY options to building an email list.
Not true - this ebook will potentially save you hundreds every year.
Bonus #4 – Bundle Covers ($37 Value)
This guide will include videos on how to outsource both Kindle and Createspace bundle covers. Missing SPR steps covered.
Not much else to say here. I kind of “left it all out on the field” with this one guys.
Hope you enjoyed my review and found it helpful.
Here’s the final verdict.
Not sure if this is the right self publishing course for you?
You have other options besides SPR and KMM. (I know right... shocking ?).
I recently wrote an article on the best self publishing courses. You can check it out here.
I recommend Authority Pub Academy for a more white-hat approach to Kindle publishing.
Do You Still Have A Question About Self Publishing Revolution? Leave Them In The Comment Section Below So I Can Help!