Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Reasons Why Your Book Doesn't Sell

post by Michelle Griep
Sales numbers are the bane of every writer. When books sell like hotcakes, life is good (assuming of course that hotcakes are in demand). But when sales turn southward and those numbers are nonexistent, cue the death march. What causes a book to stumble around like a drunk about to pass out? Several things . . .

5 Reasons Why Your Book Doesn't Sell

1. Readers don't care about your story.
The number one reason a book doesn't have good sales numbers is that readers aren't buying it. This is known as the "duh" factor. But let's look at the main reason why a reader wouldn't cough up the cash for your book. It sucks. The writing is novice at best. Maybe the copy has typos. Or perhaps the plot has holes that seven Mack trucks driving abreast could plow through. No writer wants this to be the case, but honestly, sometimes it is.

2. Your publisher doesn't care about your story.
Publishers put money behind their titles, sure, but that doesn't mean they spread the love around evenly. Some books get more marketing dollars than others. Maybe yours just happened to be the one that came out the same month as two others which were written by bigger-named authors, so they get the publicity and you get squat. No, that isn't fair, but thanks for noticing.

3. The competition beat you to the punch.
Just because you wrote an interstellar pirate murder western doesn't mean another author didn't have that same idea -- and got their book on the market a few weeks before yours. Sometimes sales numbers are all about timing, and that timing is completely out of your hands, little lowly author.

4. The market is gorged like a fat pig.
Do you know how many books are on Amazon? Like a bajillion. Okay, so I was never good at math, but statistics other than mine show that a U.S. book sells less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over the lifetime of the book. Last year there were more than 2 million books published. It's not only easy to get lost in the shuffle, it's the norm.

5. Your cover looks like a third-grader designed it.
Readers do judge books by their cover. If yours doesn't reach out and grab a reader by the throat in like half a second, then it's guillotine time for you, author. Unfortunately, most traditionally published authors don't have a say in their cover.

A lot of these reasons are super depressing. So, what's an author to do besides quit and take up selling life insurance instead of writing? In the words of Elsa, let it go. Let. It. Go. Life's too short to be stressing over numbers. Write the best possible book you can, launch it into the world, then turn right around and write an even better one.


chappydebbie said...

Good points. I definitely judge a book by it's cover.
Sharing your writerly wisdom.

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