7 Reasons a Self-Published Book Fails to Sell
AgoraBooks.ca provides authors with marketing support
Selling a self-published book in volumes is not as easy as advertised. Most authors learn this too late after their expectations are dealt a hard blow by the reality of the dynamics of self-publishing, most of which are crucial to its success.
Most are in a hurry to publish and while at it, overlook important factors. Most get it wrong from the onset by turning a blind eye to the fundamentals; thinking that once you have it published on Amazon, they can lie on their cozy couch and wait for the money to trickle in.
In truth, that’s the first step and by far, not the last. You still have your work cut out for you. According to Just Publishing Advice, “To give a new book any chance at success, a lot of planning, preparation, and good old-fashioned hard work is needed before bringing a book to market.”
“Big publishers bank on getting only a handful of the titles they publish each year to sell very well, and then hope that one or two will take off and hit the bestsellers. As for the many titles that fail, well, that is how the book publishing business works. It’s a gamble.”
The dynamics for self-published books aren’t dissimilar. Authors need to take time to write a great book, have a solid, workable marketing plan by defining the niche and promoting it, and building an online presence of loyal readers.
- Publishing A Subpar Book or E-book
Nothing puts off a reader than a badly-written, poorly-structured and incorrectly-formatted book. Rushing to publish at the expense of its quality is setting it up for failure. A book that is full of typos and grammatical errors will receive negative reviews and one-star ratings that don’t put in a good word for you.
Invest in a good book cover that is attractive as it is informative even at a simple glance. A low-quality book cover is a recipe for low sales volumes.
Write a gripping blurb that will hook readers. According to Just Publishing Advice, a good book description is created by writing a clear and concise outline, a gripping outline that connects emotionally with the reader without giving too much away.
- Failure to Promote the Book
It is not uncommon for self-published authors to think that all they have to do is churn out social media posts about their book. You need to target a specific audience that is mostly people who’ve followed you for a while.
Derek Haines of Just Publishing Advice writes, “New social media accounts have so few followers, and then bombing your handful of new followers with a book can only lead to losing them all in a hurry. It is totally self-defeating.”
It’s this simple: if no one knows about your book, no one will buy it.
- Common Misconception: Self-Publishing is Free
Of course, publishing on platforms that have made it easy for people to self-publish such as Amazon, Smashwords or Draft2Digital is free, but that’s the end of the tarmac.
Like any other business, one has to invest in promoting the book and advertising it- all of which are expenses that are the mainstay of successful self-publishing.
According to Derek Haines, “This doesn’t mean at all that you need to invest thousands of dollars. But without a modest budget and investment, it will be hard to succeed.”
- A Blanket Target Audience
An easy way to spot a novice in the self-publishing industry is when they utter the statement: “My book is for everyone.”
Books are categorised in genres and for good reasons. Readers are selective with the books they want to read. Every author needs to appreciate this by learning and understanding the fine details of a specific demographic before publishing it.
Advertising a sci-fi novel to a demographic that only reads autobiographies is a waste of both time and money.
According to Just Publishing Advice, “However, knowing what defines your small market niche will put your advertising and promotion expenditure to much better use.New authors rarely spend enough time researching competitive book genre categories and search keywords before they publish.”
- Following a Trend
Trends like fads are only for a moment: they don’t leave an indelible mark in the industry, regardless of the industry in question.
Instead of following a trend, start a new one or stick to what you know how to write best.
- Pricing it High because you Worked Hard to Put it Out
Book authors might consider pricing their books at $9.99 to compensate for the hard work they put in, in writing it. But the book industry doesn’t work like that.
According to Derek Haine, “Book pricing is extremely sensitive and if a book is outside the ‘buying range’ is has little hope of selling. Before deciding on the cover price, look at books that are in your genre and price according to the market, and not your ego.”
Pricing your book highly can be off-putting to potential readers and can dent your sales. It is better to sell 1000 e-books and $1.99 than none at $9.99.
- Rushing to Publish
A mad rush to publish is undoubtedly the number one reason behind the failure to sell books. Without a plan, meticulous preparation, followers, marketing and promotion, building up hype to its release date and a reasonable budget, you are setting yourself up for failure.
No one is holding a gun to your head; self-publishing isn’t a race against anything or anyone. Take time to plan.
According to Just Publishing Advice, “If you are planning to self-publish, give you and your book at least a chance of success by taking your time and getting the essential elements in place before you publish.”
Basics such as an elaborate description, high-quality cover, a well-defined demographic and solid social media following and a reasonable budget should not be overlooked. Agora Publishing Consortium offers all these services, enabling you to direct all your energy toward creating a masterpiece.