The great and terrible thing about books when you are an author is that there are so many of them. Like, literally thousands. Sometimes it can be really disheartening to see all of the millions (that’s what it feels like) of books that everyone else is buying and enjoying…whilst your book stays resolutely at 455,987 on Amazon. So what is it that everyone else has – what are the four reasons that no one is buying your book?
1. Your book isn’t where its readers are looking for it.
Half of the problem when selling books is making sure that people find it. If your book is categoriesd incorrectly, then anyone looking for it will only stumble upon it in accidentally. Say your book is about gardening. Would you be so daft as to stick it with manga? Didn’t think so…but that goes for everything else about your book too. If your book is erotica, and you don’t have an ebook version of it, you are missing out of thousands of readers who are of a shyer nature, and would prefer to buy their books without someone peeping over their shoulder in the queue at Waterstones. If your book is a picturebook and you don’t have copies in children’s libraries or primary schools, it’s going to take a lot longer for their parents to discover you. Play to your strengths, and place your book in your reader’s way.
2. Your book doesn’t say what it does on the tin.
We’ve all seen them: books that are billed as the next best thing to air, and instead start slowly with insipid characters, and a plot that you don’t even think the writer believes. If you are setting yourself up as a best-seller…then you should probably be a best-seller. If your book claims to increase your memory by ten years, you should probably have some sort of evidence that it actually does that. Because when your book doesn’t say what it does on the tin, readers are going to a) never buy another book you write again, and b) tell everyone that they aren’t going to buy another book you write again. Bad reviews can sink books.
3. Your book is overpriced.
Yes, I know, you’ve worked long and hard on your masterpiece. Of course you want to see a good return on the investment that you’ve put in: hours of slog and misery and tears to get that perfect tone and structure. But funnily enough, our readers don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds or dollars on our books. In fact, they don’t really want to spend anything at all – that’s why free kindle books are are so incredibly popular. It’s a difficult and painful balance, but unless you price your book competitively, no one is going to bother with it, especially if they haven’t heard of you. Readers do buy books by lesser known authors, but they aren’t going to spend much on them.
4. Your book isn’t as good as its competitors.
This may come across as incredibly harsh, but I believe it to be true – and I’m happy to include myself in this sometimes. In my genre of historical romance, especially medieval, I come across authors that are just incredible. I love reading them! And so I can’t really begrudge other people from buying their books. Quality will out in the long run, and so if your editor isn’t keeping a close eye on you (or you are getting sloppy in your own editing), then it will bite in the behind eventually. Readers want to be immersed in what they buy, and if you are just writing carbon copy of a current best-seller, no one is going to want to know.
Think I’m a little too harsh, or right on the money? Comment below and let me know!