My Book Isn’t Selling On Amazon – 10 Actions You Can Take

My Books Are Not Selling

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. The 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 really 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. So 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 a much more specific narrow category, which will reduce the competition for your book.

You can do this by changing your category selections in your KDP publishing dashboard.

A lot of people overlook the option of getting Amazon to set a unique category for a book.

It can help you get your book noticed by a more defined target audience.

Here’s how it’s done.

You might be wondering how to get into these categories if you can’t select them from the KDP dashboard. It’s pretty simple. First, you must select Non-Classifiable as one of your categories, and then you must email KDP through the dashboard with the full path of the category you wish to appear in (e.g. Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Series).

You can read how to do this in the full article here by David Gaughran.

You can also add more categories to your book by asking Amazon KDP.


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

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

29 thoughts on “My Book Isn’t Selling On Amazon – 10 Actions You Can Take

  • Avatar for FS
    November 29, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    this is good advice – but you should also just know when to quit – I published 7 books and after selling less than 30 books total in 4-5 years I realized that it makes no difference how you approach or market things – if people do not like you, or what you have written you will go nowhere fast and you are better off not wasting your time as it can get really painful

    I took your advice to unpublish everything – wish I had done so sooner

  • Avatar for Addie Sheffield
    June 30, 2022 at 1:08 am

    Thank you so much, Derek. These are great insights.

  • Avatar for Lance
    May 30, 2022 at 4:34 am

    Not sure what to do. I have 6 books out. One will suddenly get hot and people all over it for a day and then Bam it dies off. Then a month later it happens again on a book and then dies instantly again. Like being caught in a loop. No rhyme or reason. I’ve tried to figure out of I did something different to cause these flurries of sales, but I can’t come up with anything

  • Avatar for Buren
    October 15, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Hi, thank you for the article.
    I suck at marketing and not sure what to do, but since I retracted myself from social media years ago, I am now trying to get back to it in order to help selling my books but to be honest, I’m not sure that I know what I am doing.
    But thanks for the encouragement.

  • Avatar for cal orey
    July 28, 2019 at 6:04 am

    Blogs do not seem to be as popular since social media is instant, like ordering from amazon. FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn get more feedback.

    • Avatar for Angie
      December 16, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks..this is helpful.

      • Avatar for Andrea The Suckiest Writer Ever
        January 20, 2020 at 5:11 am

        Two traditionally published books and hardly $10 US. Did the marketing and the author photo on my Amazon and facebook author page. I’ve come to the conclusion I suck as a writer and so I’m taking on the Quitter banner and giving up my novelist dream in the Caribbean.

  • Avatar for Terry L. Cooper
    May 24, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    “From my experience, Flipboard is one of the most underrated, and for years now I have got a lot of steady monthly traffic from it. Others to consider are Reddit, Pinterest, Scoopit and of course, Linkedin.”

    Okay I looked at Flipboard, Reddit, and Scoopit and am not sure what I’m looking at. What are these sites used for?

  • Avatar for Emily Bybee
    November 8, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for the ideas! I have a hard time being motivated to do more blog posts but this helped me see why they are important to put time into!

  • Avatar for jorgekafkazar
    October 11, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Google Plus is currently planned to be shut down.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      October 11, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Yes, but not yet. It’s a long sunset for Google+.

  • Avatar for Amrita
    June 1, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for the article! It was really helpful. I tried your tip No.9 and it showed up beautifully on my google page in the second spot ! Got really excited and asked a friend to try it on his google page. But it unfortunately did not show up there. I tried again on another laptop with a No Show again :-(
    Am I missing something here? Please help.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      June 1, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Hi Amrita,

      The reason your indexed link is not showing for your friends on on your laptop is probably because you need to be logged in to your Google account. As most people have Google accounts, your link will be highly visible. I must admit that I didn’t think to include this point in my post, so I will make an edit.

  • Avatar for Joanie Chevalier
    March 14, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Thank you for the great tips! I am an indie author and am trying so hard at marketing so every little bits helps. Marketing is harder than actually writing the book!

  • Avatar for Flora Morris Brown
    February 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for these great tips, especially the way to create a headline on Google+. I’m off to do that right now.

  • Avatar for Janet Biery
    February 18, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for the good suggestions. Have a couple that only sale a copy or two a week. Will try harder. Always seems to come back to the blog thing. Still haven’t done it but this is a good reminder of why it is important.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 19, 2015 at 8:22 am

      A blog is always a good idea, Janet. At the very least, it gives you a controllable platform to help with your book promotion.

  • Avatar for Wodke Hawkinson
    February 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Excellent article! Thank you for posting this.

  • Avatar for P.I. Barrington
    February 12, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Great post but some of us are not only self-published but indie published as well so some of your suggestions are out of the question such as unpublishing or getting them off the market which is not up to me but up to my publisher. Some of your suggestions are excellent and those I can and will use so I thank you for them. I’d love to see a post directed at those of us who are published via independent publishers and who are trying to enhance our promotional efforts.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Pick and choose the hints at will! But I’ll give some thought to your suggestion about Indies published with small press publishers.

  • Avatar for Jan Sikes
    February 12, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    This is a GREAT blog with lots of great tips. I especially love the one about the genre. My books are true Creative Non-Fiction and that genre doesn’t exist on Amazon. Thanks for the suggestion!!

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 12, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Good luck with creating your new genre, Jan. I hope it brings success!

  • Avatar for Kevin Morris
    February 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for these excellent tips. I am a blind user of screen reading software which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a standard Windows computer. Jaws can only read text so your screen grab which is, I believe rendered as an image can not be interpreted by the software. Would you be able to explain the screen grab please? Kind regards. Kevin

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Sure Kevin. The screen grab shows my Google indexed entry of this article on Google Search after I posted it on Google Plus. It is in second place on page one, with my profile image alongside the entry. At the top of the search page, it notes 70,000,000 entries for the search string, so second place was very nice.

  • Avatar for Ali Isaac
    February 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Great advice here! I will definitely be trying some of these, including trying to make more of Google+! Thanks for the tips!

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      My pleasure, Ali. Good luck with using Google+.

  • Avatar for Christopher Chance
    February 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this. I procrastinate during my coffee break and sometimes it pays off.
    It paid off today with this.
    Chris Chance.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      February 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Glad to hear it was worthwhile coffee break reading, Chris. :)

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