Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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Not selling Does NOT Mean Your Book's bad
Let's get that out the way first.
There are actually a lot of factors as to why your book and what you do to change that. Ok, let's go!
1) No Author Platform
If an author doesn't have a group of people on email lists, blogs, social media, who are eager to read what you write, this is called a "author platform," sales will be slow or nonexistent because it takes time to build a following. First, make a market for the book, and then write it.
Start posting on social media.
Create a website and make frequent, 2-3 times a week. updates.
2) Bad Book Cover
The covers and interiors of many self-published books look like they were made by amateurs.
I definitely think self-published authors should save some money and use free or low-cost tools and services to make book covers. Presentation matters! Again, looking at what competitors have to offer, especially if they are traditionally published; it can help you figure out what the target market likes.
And make sure the cover art is easy to see even when it's small, as it often is on online book product pages. In the online world of today, that can really hurt sales.
A while back I published an article about how to cheaply designed a book cover in 3 steps: read it here.
3) Too Much Competition
\People have said that self-publishing has made the book industry more accessible to everyone. That is correct. On sites like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, almost anyone can publish his or her own book (KDP).
And that's a problem.
Just so you know how much competition there is for any self-published book:
Back in September 2016, the United States' ISBN number registrar, R. R. Bowker, said that more than 725,000 ISBNs had been registered for self-published works.
Keep in mind that Amazon's KDP eBook publishing program does not require an ISBN so this number is a low-end estimate of what's really out there. Also, this doesn't count ISBN registrations for books that are printed and sold in stores.
Even though the sheer number of books of all kinds can make it hard to sell a self-published book, that doesn't mean that authors can't improve their chances of selling books and getting royalties. But it all comes down to how the book is marketed.
4) You're Not Selling Your Book
I know what you're thinking, "I have my book listed on Amazon. I am SELLING it!"
That's not what I mean.
If an author thinks of himself or herself too much as an artist, they might not like the idea of having to sell or market their self-published books. Whether they are stubborn because they are proud, don't know enough, or are afraid, their books stay in the "no-sell" zone. When an author self-publishes, they have to accept the fact that they are also marketers.
That means running advertisements, doing interviews, raising awareness weeks and months in advance of the book release so that your target audience knows that it's being released.
Don't know how to do that? You're in luck! I'm working a free guide to teach you just that.
5) Writing without an Audience
This is far more common than you think.
I'm always surprised when I ask authors who their books are for and they have no idea. They are basically writing a book in a void. Then they are shocked when it doesn't sell because the subject matter or genre is so niche or granular that it doesn't resonate with a large enough number of readers to make substantial sales.
There are many factors and moving parts in making a best-selling books and if youe book isn't selling as well as you want/expect it could one, or more, factors at play. Tomorrow, I'll have a few more reasons for you.