5 Reasons Why You’re Not Selling Books

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Selling Books

This article is for writers and authors who currently have their hands in the air saying, “Why is my book not selling?

Before giving up completely, read the following article. I’ve put a list of five reasons why many books don’t sell and what to consider to turn things around and sell more books. These reasons have been addressed through helping clients and assisting authors of other industry professionals.

Over time we see consistencies in errors, so I thought I’d share these with you, so you can update your book listings and sell more books.

1. Your book is not easily categorized

This is about your book’s discoverability. When your book is a bit of romance, horror, crime, thriller, has supernatural themes and steampunk, it becomes harder to categorise. This is bad because your book will ultimately see less visibility on Amazon because your book has less chance of making the TOP 100 Lists on Amazon. Not having a main defined category also limits the potential of your book coming up in search results when people type in their favourite category or theme, or when they’re browsing their favourite categories.

How can you define your category better for improving your book listing? Firstly, define it up front before you start writing. This goes hand-in-hand with defining who your target audience is. Yes, I know the one point that makes or breaks a book, which authors place in the “too hard to think about basket”. (I’m talking to you fiction authors). I say that with a grin, but it’s critical for your book’s success.

Example: a romance book with an element of action and thriller, will primarily be a romance. We have the opportunity to niche’ down further into a sub category, such as ‘Romance and Espionage’. Note: I made up these categories for this example.

2. Your book lives in the land of obscurity

People can’t buy your book if they don’t know it’s available. Naturally new authors have to work at this a lot in the early stages of their writing career. Unfortunately selling books is like any business, just because you built it, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically come.

A long term strategy needs to be in place, written on paper. A plan that utilises different tactics and will work specifically for your genre. Promoting a nonfiction book about negative gearing in real estate to kindergartens is not going to yield good results. My example is extreme, but it makes my point. You’ve got to think about how you’ll reach your readers. What will you include in your book marketing plan?

3. You’re being too ambitious with pricing

Many authors mistakenly price their book based on emotion. What they feel the book is worth. The reality is this is very rarely ever in sync with the marketplace. The marketplace is what determines price points. If you’re a new author without a loyal fan base to draw on, a higher price point means the reader is taking a bigger gamble, from the reader’s point of view that is.

$2.99 is a good starting point, where an author can capitalise on Amazon’s 70% royalty, yet still be on the cheaper side, allowing for a lower barrier of entry for new readers to try a new author. The $0.99c price point does have the benefit of being a low risk, even an impulse buy. This can increase the potential of readers giving your book a try.

If you have multiple books then you can afford to have a couple of higher priced books, while having one or two books priced at $0.99c or $1.99 serving as the top of your funnel to more expensive titles.

4. Your book cover design and book description are very lackluster

There’s a lot more to book cover design than writers and authors realise. How does it speak to your target audience? Does it convey the right tone? What choice of colours should be used? What design elements will imply what the story is about without giving the story away?

Get a cover designer, not just “any” designer. Book cover designers understand the extra marketing and considerations that need to be made. The cover design is a marketing piece, not something that should just look pretty to the writer or author who obviously knows what the book is about and who can read between the lines.

Sorry, but guess what? Your book cover should not be about what you like stylistically! It needs to speak to your target audience and appeal to their expectations.

Your blurb is also a marketing piece, not a dry piece of text that tells, instead of shows. The blurb needs to capture their interest straight away. It needs to compel them to read further, and end with a hook that emotionally moves them to buy the book so they can find out what happens.

Remember: book blurbs can change, they can be improved and updated over time.

5. Your writing needs more love

Publishing a book has never been more accessible, with almost limitless opportunity. But the rush of excitement moves many writers to publish their book prematurely. They have their hearts set on seeing that book in print or on the Amazon shelf, but don’t take the time to get copyediting or proofreading.

And they pay for that mistake.

I’ve worked with many authors in the past, who have previously published their book, only to receive critical feedback which drives them to have another copyedit or proofread done. A slather of one and two star reviews is a harsh way to learn about the importance of publishing a quality book.

Potential customers can sample your writing before they even open their wallets. If your writing isn’t up to scratch, lacks punch and isn’t edited, you’re turning readers away. It’s that simple. If the majority of your reviews is negative, take note of what the comments are because this is where you could learn how to improve your book for a revised edition.

Learning to write, participating in workshops and receiving critiques from beta readers is a great way to hone your writing craft for very little money, even free.

Be intentional and implement

If you feel your book isn’t selling as well as it could, review this list of reasons thoughtfully. Bring in an objective opinion, someone who you trust will give you HONEST feedback to help you identify which of these reasons may need to be addressed.

A change or two maybe all you need to sell more books and hit the Top 100 charts in time to come.

Again…review, get objective input and take action!

Be the captain of your own ship!

Don’t forget to hit the TWEET or LIKE button!

One Response to 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Selling Books

  1. […] Sorry but I have no ironclad advice to lend. I simply continue to base my marketing philosophy on something someone said to me years ago when I began a retail store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: “You’ve got to keep shooting.” I do advise reading some guidebooks to self-publishing that can help indies avoid some common errors. Usually the guidebooks are free as a download by companies looking to sell indies their publishing packages. There are many good guides out there. Here’s one I like: Self-Publishing the Smart Way […]

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