Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Your Books Aren't Selling

   If you’re a writer who’s self published and can’t get more than a small group of people to read your novels, it’s probably driving you crazy, right?

   You’re doing all the social media things. You’re on Facebook and Twitter and Linked-in. You’ve gone the KDP route with at least one of your books with Amazon Kindle. (Results: 2000 downloads, no sales, 8 reviews, and 2 of them are from people whose reviews say something like: I started to read it and it seemed pretty good but then I kinda got side tracked and didn’t read any more of it but what I did read, I liked!

   You know it’s a damn good book (at least you and your friends and relatives think so) and if people just gave it a chance they’d probably like it very much.

   But they won’t give it a chance!

   So, what do you do?

   Well, this is the time to stop writing and start focusing on why your amazing novel is floundering. “But, I’m a writer, not an editor or a salesman,” you say. “My job is to write, an editor’s job is to edit and a salesman’s job is to sell.”

   If you agree with the above sentence; THAT is one of the reasons why your book isn’t selling.

   Welcome to the 21st century, my friend. If you chose to become a writer because you liked the idea of living in some artist community, like NYC’s Greenwich Village, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury or Taos, New Mexico, whilst waxing philosophical, cavorting with other free spirits and pondering what your literary masterpiece will be about as you squander your book advance…

   Spoiler Alert!

   Those days are long gone. The writing life that Hemingway, Virginia Wolff, F. Scott Fitzgerald and other literary notables of that era enjoyed has sailed off to Moonlight Bay.
  What replaced it has been lured into the shallows and is being eaten by cannibals.

   True, the printed book is holding its own against the e-book. But the product is changing. If you write fiction, your shelf space in book stores is dwindling. Non-Fiction is the new King and its heir is the celebrity novelist.

   Have a great children’s book? A guaranteed best seller?

   And it may be just that. It’s so good it lands you an agent, who gets you a meeting with a publisher. Looks like everything is finally going your way… But then…


   Both Madonna and Jamie Lee Curtis have submitted manuscripts and the publishers are falling over each other to sign them for huge advances.

   But you’ve read their children’s books and yours are SO MUCH BETTER!

   You’d think that would make a difference, wouldn’t you?

   Alas! It does not! Besides, what makes you think you’re qualified to write a children’s book? Have you pranced around naked in movies, magazines and books like they have?

   No? Well then, get to the back of the line.

   But there could be other reasons. One of them is that the book is terrible and you don’t know it. Sure your friends and family will tell you it’s great but they love you and don’t want to hurt you…

   Book critics don’t and they do want to hurt you for wasting their time. Seriously, just because you can write doesn’t mean you’re a writer. It literally takes years of writing utter crap before you develop a unique voice and the skills necessary to be taken seriously as an author. So join a writers group and submit your work for critique. If it’s returned with massive grammatical corrections, pointed out plot holes, timeline inaccuracies and location errors, that only means you’re still at the bottom of the learning curve and have a way to go to perfect your craft.


   If you want to save yourself a lot of time and rejection letters? Go to and watch the free tutorials. If the free ones teach you a lot of things you didn’t know, then buy the set. 
   You going to need to know that stuff eventually so don’t put it off, just buy it now while it’s still affordable.

   Next, it could be the product itself. If you’ve gone the vanity press route, odds are your book looks just like the other thousands of cookie cutter template book covers. 
   Go to an Indie Book Fair and you’ll see hundreds of books that all look the same. And that, my friend, screams amateur!

   And if it’s an e-book uploaded to Kindle, was it formatted properly? If not, you may not be aware that from 23% to 34% there is only one sentence per page.

   And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!
   To learn more go to:

   Part 2 of ‘Why Your Books Aren’t Selling’ which continues this post, can be viewed on my marketing blog. Here’s the link: