Cover for Burn Zones

The First Ten Focus Group Feedback for Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands

Because Burn Zones was Book of the Day, some of our most trusted members have carefully looked over the cover, the description, and other aspects of this book as a part of purchase-intent focus group. We then asked each participant in the focus group if they planned to buy and read the book, and why they planned to buy and read the book or not. Their answer to that question and reasons are displayed below. We call this awesome feature The First Ten Focus Group.

Keep in mind, the responses from the members are not reviews. This is purchase-intent focus group which means the participants are people who have NOT yet bought or read your book. A purchase-intent focus group is an important and extremely useful marketing tool for any product, not just books. For other products, you might walk on the street and show people an item in a package and poll them about whether they would buy if or $X or not. These kind of focus groups are one of the ways big marketing companies find the ideal price points for products and test the effectiveness of different packaging. The focus group can help you identify your market so you how to target ads of your book, and it can (but may not) provide you new useful info about your "packaging" (e.g. your book cover, your book synopsis on Amazon, etc.). The point of the focus group comments is to give you information from people who have not bought or read your book about why they plan to buy your book which will help you in marketing the book. These are not reviews or critiques of your book because they are not from people have read the book. This is a marketing tool, not reviews. The trick of book marketing and book advertising is that you have to convince people who have not read your book yet that your book is worth buying and reading. For marketing, it doesn't matter much if people love your book after reading it if you cannot convince potential buyers before they read it that they will love it.

IMPORTANT: Any score over 10% is considered very good. And any score above 0% is acceptable. This is because we only poll about 20 or so readers, and all readers have to say "no" to almost all books. Over a million books are published each year. Even a very active reader cannot come close to even reading 1% of books out there.

This is also why publishing books is such a tough industry.


The cover is excellent. The synopsis is an accurate description of what this book is actually about. I generally do not like reading memoirs, so I would not have read this book without the program. The first ten pages were pretty decent. It features a seven-year-old kid, Jorge, as he takes on odds jobs to save money. He delivers newspapers, sells ice-cream, works as a busboy, to earn money for his future. He wants to start a record company, so he drops out of school at fifteen years old. The first ten pages describe the quick and witty nature of his young boy as he leaves aside education to face the real challenges in life. He negotiates and signs contracts with top dealers at the age of sixteen. The sample portrays the determination and courage of this young man as he faces life head-on. The narration is smooth and easy to understand. However, I am not going to buy and read this book as I do not like reading memoirs. I generally prefer fast-paced mystery or good historical fiction, so I do not consider myself as the target audience of this book. I could find nothing to improve in the first ten pages of this book. No typos were found in the first ten pages. The Official Review is present, and the reviewer rates it highly.

First Ten review added on March 26, 2020, at 4:26 am by Howlan.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No


I avoid self-help books as they do not interest me. I wouldn’t have picked up this book based on the title, cover (which made it seem like a book about bicycling), or synopsis. The Online Book Club review was positive but did not convince me that I needed to read this book.

We see the author’s prowess in the first few pages as even though he is only seven years old, he is innovative enough to realize he can deliver papers for more than one company and earn double for merely 50% more time invested.

In the first couple pages, I found errors. The first sentence of the introduction fails to put the quotation marks after the comma. Additionally, hyphenation is unnecessary in the following sentence: “I started working when I was seven-years-old ...” Hyphens are used in age in a sentence like “the seven-year-old boy” but is wholly incorrect in the sentence given.

I will not read the rest of the book as I simply am not interested in self-help books whatsoever.

First Ten review added on March 26, 2020, at 3:46 am by winecellarlibrary.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No


I sampled the book based on the program. The cover photo captivates my attention because I love riding a bike. I am quite amazed of the author's memoir. I will read the rest of the book. The book is professionally edited because I did not notice any typos. I cannot give anything for improvement. The OBC review makes me excited to read the rest of the book.

First Ten review added on March 25, 2020, at 8:07 pm by jeminah28.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Mr Benji

I sampled the first ten pages of the book. I would have chosen to read the book based on the cover and editorial review.

I will not buy the book to finish because it is above 240 pages, which is a long read for me. Although it was lessons filled, the first ten pages did not change my mind.

It seems professionally edited since I did not notice any typo.

Moreover, I like the sound entrepreneurial advice offered in the book. I don't know of anything that could be improved on it. Lastly, the book had an official OBC review.

First Ten review added on March 25, 2020, at 11:09 am by Mr Benji.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No


The book cover and the title made me think that this book may be something about bike racing, knowing that, I decided to read the official review about this book because the topic was something interesting. The official review was quite useful for me to understand that the book is about a newspaper delivery boy who became a real estate tycoon. This idea motivated me to sample the book before deciding about purchasing and reading. When I read the first ten pages, I realized that this book is professionally edited because I did not find any grammatical or typing errors. The thing l liked the most in the first ten pages is the presentation skills of the author concerning the event of buying an ice cream vending tricycle and the enthusiasm of an eleven-year-old boy Jorge for making money. There is no suggestion to the author from me regarding this book because the book is written nicely and is quite awesome. Considering all these facts, I decided to purchase and read this book today.

First Ten review added on March 25, 2020, at 8:40 am by sanjus.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Sydney Lee

Had I not sampled it, I probably wouldn't have considered reading this book because I don't read nonfiction very much. Based on the cover, I might have taken a look at it, but probably wouldn't have actually read it. However, it has definitely piqued my interest. I thought the introduction was strong and I like that the writer starts out with stories of his childhood. I probably won't buy it, at least not now, but I'm very interested in getting it at a library and reading it sometime in the future. But right now, the first ten pages weren't enough to convince me that I would love it, and I usually refrain from buying books until I know I'll love them. It seemed professionally edited as I did not see any errors or typos and I didn't see anything that needed improvement. I really like how strong the introduction is and the writing style is really able to immerse the reader right away. The review on praising Newbery's work has made me even more interested in the book.

First Ten review added on March 24, 2020, at 10:32 pm by Sydney Lee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No


The title and the cover portray the determination to overcome the tough times. However, the genre is not one I usually prefer. The official OBC review mentions key points about the book. The first ten pages were without editing issues. They tell the author's endeavors of earning money, by newspaper delivery, ice-cream delivery, and most importantly, by saving. The author shows grit,that is evident in the pages. I am not going to suggest any improvement. However, apart from this not being my favorite genre, I found the narrative to be very money-minded. While that is absolutely practical, I am not looking for that in my books. Hence I won't be reading this.

First Ten review added on March 24, 2020, at 10:30 pm by Shrabastee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Laura Lee

I like the cover of this book and the title. It captures well the very essence of the entire book which is to push through the hard times. The thing I like best is the tone of the story-telling. I felt like I was sitting in Newbery's living room while he told me his life's story. The Amazon blurb was well-written and so was the review.

There wasn't anything in particular that I felt needed improvement. I'm not a big fan of self-help books and have no interest in business dealings, but if you do, give the book a try! I'm sure you'll enjoy it as it is well-written, holds the attention well, and seems professionally edited.

First Ten review added on March 24, 2020, at 8:08 pm by Laura Lee.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

Odette Chace

Even though I have read "Debt Cleanse," which is by the same author, based on the title and cover art, I thought that this must be by a different author with the same name. As I really enjoyed "Debt Cleanse," it's a shame that the author could be losing potential readers who made the same mistake I did. After reading the description and a few reviews, even if I hadn't read "Debt Cleanse," I would likely be interested in this book as I like books that motivate me to work harder.
I found several typos: "...I looked at races as having 'burn zones',..." (Comma should be inside the quotation marks. From the introduction.)
The section "Pedaling Ice Cream" should either have "pedaling" in quotes or be peddling.
"Pedaling fast so I could to take the pack off sooner."
"My grandmother was the military nurse who attended to him."(Should be tended, not attended.)
Additionally, the formatting is a bit odd. The paragraphs are indented as most print books are, but the paragraphs are also separated by double line breaks. It should be one or the other.
After finishing the first ten pages, I found the book to be a fun read and will be purchasing it to finish at a later date.

First Ten review added on March 24, 2020, at 7:03 pm by Odette Chace.
Do you plan to read the whole book? Yes!

Nickolas Farmakis

This is an inspirational memoir written by the author, which goes over his life, his business, and his struggles. I would not have read the book based on the cover, the title, or the genre, as I do not like inspirational memoirs. I will not read the book, as I found it boring, monotonous, and cliche. The book was professionally edited, as I did not notice any errors in the sample I read. What I liked most about the book were the descriptive techniques and linguistic devices used by the author, which added interest to the text. To improve, the writer must add more suspense, tension, and drama to make the book more engaging and interesting. The book had an Official OnlineBookClub review, which did not affect my opinion.

First Ten review added on March 24, 2020, at 10:52 am by Nickolas Farmakis.
Do you plan to read the whole book? No

This book appears to have been Book of the Day more than once. Only responses from the most recent Book of the Day focus group are shown. Older responses have been hidden by default to avoid confusion. If you would like to also view the older first ten responses, you can unhide them by clicking the button below.

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Total ~ 30%

Burn Zones earned a score of 30%.

In other words, out of the top-level reviewers who read at least the first 10 pages of this book, 30% plan to read the whole book.

IMPORTANT: Any score over 10% is considered very good. And any score above 0% is acceptable.

Over a million books are published each year. Any given person could not even read .0001% of the books out there. This means readers have to be very selective. Even taking the time to look over reviews and blurbs, let alone read samples, is more time than most readers can afford for most books. The First Ten is a powerful focus group that addresses those issues. It creates a helpful tool for authors, publishers, and other readers.

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