I am on a number of groups on Linked-In and I receive all sorts of newsletters from Kindle/Amazon and Amazon U among others. I read the topic always looking for something to share with you or remark about. A recent topic that caught my attention was called "What to do if your book isn't selling". This topic made me think about it. I wanted to share my own opinions and insights.
The first question to ask is: Did my book ever pick up any sales momentum in the first place? One of three things typically happens when it comes to book sales. 1) The book never picked up any sales momentum and only enjoyed a handful of sales or 2) It picked up sketchy sales momentum or 3) It did pick up momentum and then when promotion died it enjoyed only a trickle of sales. I'm going to address each of these scenarios one at a time.
No. 1: No sales. Some books never catch on, period. I know for the authors this can be a disappointment. No matter what the author does he or she just can't get book to catch on. Twenty reviews later and still only a small number of sales resulted. What should you do? You might try a few quick fixes such as a new book cover. Sometimes a book cover just isn't working. Don't be afraid to switch it up. I've seen books increase sales simply by switching up the book cover. However, if it has been at least a year and you've promoted your book to the degree it has received media exposure, my advice: do a second book and move on. A second book's success can spark interest in the author's other works and may recharge the first book's sales.
No. 2: Spotty sales momentum: this means you might not be promoting or getting enough attention on your book. You have a record of some sales and that shows potential. If you're getting spotty sales, switch up your promotional method. First, you must identify what promotion has been done. Second, identify what new areas you might be able to promote and receive exposure. For example, maybe you got spotty sales by promoting on social media. Now you might put your attention on mainstream book reviews. Different media has its own target audience. Your target audience and the ability to reach them is the most important driver of sales. If you're not reaching your target audience it's likely your sales are spotty at best. The exact media exposure to your target market increases your chances tenfold of achieving sales. We call this the "sweet spot" and sometimes it takes a lot of experimenting to figure out what media is going to touch just the right spot.
No. 3: We'll call this the "flash in the pan" with a lot of potential. One major exposure in national media often ignites a flurry of sales. This flurry of sales can push your book right up to no. #1 on Kindle and No. #1 on Amazon print. Several of our books enjoyed this sudden "flash" from one prime spot on national media. Here is the rub: unless the exposure continues those sales will fade away. You have to keep promoting and not relax and ride one wave. The wave will crash, and it will likely crash after maybe a few weeks. What these quick sales did prove, however is that your book has the potential to sell big if you keep promoting.