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Why Can’t I Sell My Book? (Even @ 99¢)

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As I begin reading the long awaited book, 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published, I began to notice that there were several concerns the author mentions that have been oft repeated by self-publishers. Although some authors have had unusual success with their 99¢ campaigns, the vast majority of us had not. The main question is, why?

Several folks (most of whom were authors) have mentioned that I did not sell as much e-book copies than the anticipated success stories and so I should have no right to mention anything about it. Right as it this critique may seem, the real driving point about e-book success is not all about the numbers. Most readers need something sustaining i.e., something that will bring a positive word of mouth. Even with all the numbers that get out there in the general public, these authors managed to get their books through because of the sweat and blood of effort that has not only been carried by a good book price, but also because they took the time and effort to sell themselves well with a book cover and story.

And I don’t mean just another ‘Stephanie Meyer’.

While there are dozens of good authors who write well and perhaps don’t sell even a single copy, the subject of this post are for those who don’t write well and produce crappy book covers. With that in mind, I want to make sure that most of us are on the same page. Forget the people who carelessly glance a sentence from this post and air out the dirty laundry. The large point that I want to make is that authors need to show some innovation with a something that’s fresh and exciting, not ornery and lame. Below I have included a quick list of reasons people typically don’t like reading your books, which include the following:

  1. Your Title is Lousy-Oftentimes, I run into books with titles that are worse than the book themselves. If you can’t attract the reader with something that is catchy and memorable, forget it.
  2. Your Cover Looks Like a Crap of Art-Although I would like to allow some room for ‘subjectivity’ i.e., people’s tastes are not all the same, there comes a time where one cannot use this to excuse him- or herself from a bad cover.
  3. The Format is Awful- OK, I should not have to mention this on a blog post; however, due to the number of wannabe writers out there, they all make the same bad mistakes, especially in this department. What part of ‘this book lacks page numbers’ don’t you get?
  4. The Opening Paragraph Sounds Ornery– I constantly find myself reading the same ‘Plain Jane’ story line throughout these ‘Indie’ Authors, commenting about the weather over and over again as if it were necessary to give me a weather report on the first day. I know it may sound strange, but keep the scenery limited to only one or two sentences that discuss the weather. Nobody is entirely interested knowing about what the outside temperature is in Cairo, Egypt especially when it doesn’t advance the story.
  5. The Closing Paragraph Is Too Short-This is probably another pet peeve of mine when it comes to good writing. You don’t end a paragraph with a finished dialogue unless that is part of the ‘closing’. The reader needs to feel satisfied that the episode has drawn to a close at that point; not feel rushed.

Among the list, innovation or having the lack of, should top that list upon the reasons why that book ain’t worth looking at. Time after time, there have been writers both good and bad who write something that sound really good, but the problem is with the story line: it lacks creativity. Hasn’t anyone ever used their ‘I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N’?



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