We’ve all done it. Read a book that’s high in the Amazon bestseller ranks and wondered why in the world that book is selling better than one of our own. Why not me? may even be screamed as the book is thrown across the room in a fit of rage. Slight exaggeration. Unfortunately, it’s not a terribly uncommon occurrence for me. I read way too much. (Not really. I’m just saying that in case my husband read this. Hi, babe. *waves*) Anyway, I decided to stop bitching about the situation and try and figure out why other books sell better than mine. Assuming that my works are as well written as other top selling self-published books, what could possibly be the reason for my lackluster sales? (And yes, that’s a big assumption, but I can dream, can’t I?)
Genre. Some genres are more popular than others. In fact, some marketing gurus would have you write in a popular genre even if your muse doesn’t take you in that direction. Unfortunately, the genre in which the majority of my books fall, cozy mystery, is fighting for survival. As long as I continue to refuse to follow popular trends (if I read one more book about a stepbrother…), I will have to accept that selling books will be more difficult for me.
Marketing Efforts. Like many self-published authors, I thought I could just click publish and violá! my books would sell. It didn’t actually turn out that way. After a few books, I started getting better at marketing efforts, but I continue to go through phases with marketing. Sometimes I’m all gung ho – writing guest posts, signing up for promotions, begging for reviews, you name it. But that takes time and effort and isn’t nearly as much fun as screaming at my manuscript. I need to commit myself to continuously working on marketing my books in order to sell them. That’s all there is to it.
Author Platform. Another area in which I thought minimum efforts would have maximum results. I have a Twitter account, Facebook author page, and blog. Why aren’t I selling tons of books to my followers? It doesn’t exactly work like that. *Sticks out bottom lip in pout* There isn’t a direct link between a strong author platform and book sales, but there is a link. Just like with marketing you need to consistently maintain your author platform. And ‘consistent’ isn’t one of my favorite words. In fact, until recently, it wasn’t in my vocabulary.
Just plain luck. This is the reason I’m sure most of us would like to blame for not selling books. Other writers have had good luck whereas we’ve been unlucky. And sure, there’s always an element of luck in which books sell more than others. But blaming lackluster sales on bad luck is going to get you nowhere. Nowhere. So, accept that and then carry on.
I’m sure there are more reasons my books haven’t hit the bestseller lists – yet. And maybe there’s nothing I can do about luck or popular genres, but the other reasons – marketing efforts and author platform – I can work on and I will. Of course, I’ll keep striving to write fun books as well. That can’t hurt.