My books aren’t selling on Amazon!
With so many books now published on Amazon, the competition to attract book buyers is fierce.
There are countless sources of advice and marketing tricks on how to sell ebooks and books online on Amazon. But the two most important factors of all are to have a great book and to attract positive attention.
If you have published more than a couple of titles, perhaps it has been some time since you analyzed what you are doing in your book marketing efforts.
Publishing a book is easy
In many ways, it is too easy to publish a book or an ebook on Amazon, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital.
Because it is so simple, it is easy to forget that a book certainly won’t sell itself. You need to have a good marketing plan before you publish to make sure your book has a good platform before it goes on sale.
But for many new self-publishing authors who rush to get their book on sale without a plan, it often leads to very few book sales.
The best way is, of course, to have all your book marketing and promotion sales funnels up and running before you publish your book.
However, if you missed this step, you can play catch-up and try to improve your book promotion to help your book sell better.
Tips to help you sell more books in a crowded market
As with all things Internet, change is the only constant. While approaches may have been successful a year ago, it is not necessarily true that they are working now.
If your book sales have slowed down, or your books aren’t selling well at all, maybe it’s time to take stock and look for actions you can take to improve your chances.
Writing better and publishing more often will help. But what can you do to help your existing titles maintain long-tail income?
Here are ten actions you can try if your book on Amazon or other retailers isn’t selling so well.
1. Your Book Is Lost In The Forest
One of the easiest actions to help book sales is changing the genre and category and finding better search keywords.
Having a book lost in the forest of very broad general genres such as Romance or Science Fiction will have it competing against hundreds of thousands of other titles.
A good tip is to find much more specific narrow categories, which will reduce the competition for your book.
You can do this by changing your category selections in your KDP publishing dashboard.
A recent update from Amazon KDP allows you to choose three categories instead of only two.
But there are over 11,000 categories, so you will need to choose wisely.
A good tip is to check books that are in the same genre as yours to see which categories are popular.
You can also change your categories at any time, so you can experiment to see which ones work best for your book.
Another way to improve the discoverability of your books is to change your search keywords.
The best approach is to use an Amazon keyword tool to help you find better options for your keyword selection.
You only have seven, so choose your keywords carefully. But be aware that each one should be a short phrase and not one word.
The limit is 50 characters, so you have plenty of scope.
Researching, experimenting, and changing your categories and search keywords is the best way to help book buyers discover your books.
If you haven’t checked these for a while, it’s probably time to do so.
2. Remove Very Poor Performing Titles
If you have a title or two that failed to gain any traction whatsoever after more than six months, perhaps unpublish them.
They can only have a negative effect on your other titles.
If you don’t want to waste all the time you spent on writing them, see if you can discover why they didn’t work.
Then, you can always do a rewrite and publish them again later under a new title and cover.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as a rushed and poorly chosen title.
Or if you made the mistake of using a homemade cover.
A fresh, new, professionally designed cover might drag your book out of the doldrums.
3. It’s Really Not A Good Book
If you have self-published a book or even a few, and sales have not come your way, it’s time to take some positive action.
Get it off the market ASAP, then beg if you have to, but get a few people to read your book and then tell you the absolute truth about it.
Take their criticisms on the chin no matter how tough it is, then get a professional editor and start work on improving your book and making it saleable.
4. Your Book Cover Is Poor
There is no difference between traditional publishers and self-publishers when it comes to book covers.
It must be the biggest single factor that kills book sales. Book buyers hate awful book covers.
If you have a ‘did it myself’ cover, get a professional cover designer immediately.
For between $50 – $200, you can get a professionally designed book cover for an ebook and paperback that will be equal in quality to a traditionally published book.
However, if you can’t afford a cover designer, you can design a free ebook cover yourself.
No matter how good your book is, an awful cover will kill sales stone dead.
For a good book cover, think about colors and fonts that attract readers.
5. Freshen Up Your Blog
How long is it since you changed the design of your blog? Three years or more?
Blog design is changing rapidly, so a new theme and layout can help make your blog more attractive to visitors.
Keep it clean, lean, and easy on the eye, and avoid sidebars full of unnecessary clutter.
If you only have a static website, it might be time to change to a blog.
Websites do not attract repeat visitors because as nothing changes, there is no reason for visitors to return.
A well-designed and regularly updated blog is by far the best means of attracting interest to your books and you as an author.
6. Increase Traffic To Your Blog With Twitter
The easiest way to increase visitor traffic to a blog is by leveraging Twitter.
Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter has evolved into an electronic billboard.
It’s not about communicating or socializing – it’s about getting your book promotion message out, and often.
A single Tweet has an active life of around one minute, so Tweet often.
If you have a follower count on Twitter of less than 10,000, it’s time for you to do some hard work.
Create lists of influential Twitter accounts and follow some of their followers.
One important point to note, however, is that Twitter is not a great platform for selling books.
Pumping out ‘buy my book‘ links just does not work.
Twitter is a great traffic generator for your blog, but forget about selling books on Twitter.
Concentrate on using it to attract people to you, your blog, and your content.
7. Monetize Your Blog
There are costs involved in maintaining a blog, particularly if it is a self-hosted WordPress site.
So why not cover these costs with advertising revenue?
If you generate enough traffic, you may find that carrying a modest amount of advertising on your blog generates a sizeable side income.
Okay, if your books aren’t selling or sales are slow, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Blogging is writing, too, so don’t be shy in accepting writing income in another form.
8. Write Blog Posts More Often
Nothing brings traffic faster than fresh and informative content.
As an advertisement for your writing skills, regular blogging is by far the best way to show off your skills.
Take some time away from your current manuscript and write new content for your blog at least twice a week.
And then, of course, blast your blog post (and not your book) out on Twitter.
9. Spread The Word Wider
While Twitter and Facebook are the ‘go-to‘ platforms for self-published authors, other sites can deliver a lot of attention and traffic.
Flipboard is one of the most underrated, and I have gained a lot of steady monthly traffic from it.
Others to consider are Reddit, Pinterest, Scoopit, and, of course, Linkedin.
Another means is to use comments to attract interest.
10. Never Give Up
There are probably a million or more ebooks listed on Kindle that have been abandoned by self-publishers who simply gave up because they didn’t get rich in a month.
With just a little bit of work, jumping above these books is easy. There are always more actions you can take.
If your books aren’t selling, finding a way to climb higher will take work, patience, experimentation, and perhaps even a bit of luck.
But isn’t it true that the harder you work, the luckier you get?
Related reading: 7 Point Plan To Help You Sell Your New Book