So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


{Image of Empress Theodora courtesy of the talented Leonora Roy}
Every month the cyber-verse is awash with 1000 new books.

  Most are never heard of again. 

Is your book one of them?  Are you asking WHY?

Here are a few reasons:

 1. The cover is undewhelming.

      Look at your cover.  Is it too cartoony? 
      Is it too intricate? 

      If so, it will be just a blob of
      color in the thumbnail.

      Hire a cover designer if your budget allows or
      spend some serious hours trawling stock photo sites

      (like Dreamstime or Shutterstock)
      to buy an image that you can then use as part of
      your e-book cover design.

       And if your book has been out for a while, why not create a limited edition
       or anniversary cover revamp to boost sales?

2. Your book description is ... Yaaawn!

      Writing your novel is one thing and writing sales copy
      that will actually sell your book
       is a totally different thing. 

       When it comes to selling books, your book description does make a difference

       and it is possible to improve it in ways that will help
       you to attract

       more browser and convert these into readers.

             a) You have to hook the reader in immediately.

                 If you don’t grab them with the first line,
                 you’re doomed.

             b) The length of the copy is not important.

                 It should be exactly as long as it needs
                 to be
                 to make the sale –

                 but online,
                 where people skim and speed-read,
                 you need to get the message across as succinctly
                 as possible.

             c) The moment you bore somebody, you’ve lost the sale.

                 You need to get them excited:

                 "Archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones
                  is hired by the US government to find the
                 Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis."

3. The price is not both tempting and suggesting value.

        No matter how fantastic your book is, if it is too expensive, nobody will buy it.

        If it is too cheap, the reader will hold it of little value.  99 cent books are often looked at in that way. 

$1.99 is tempting enough to gamble on with an unknown author while denoting value.

4. The market is too small for your book.

        You could write the best book in the world.
        But, if it appeals to only 1,000 people, then your sales will struggle.

        HOW TO COMPOSE GREGORIAN CHANTS may sing in your veins, but its sales will
        flounder beside the Titanic.

5. Don't cast your hook in the toilet tank  -- go where the fish are:

      YELL AND TELL does not work in today's internet market.

      When I want to find a new book to read, I don't check FACEBOOK or TWITTER.  I go to

      Amazon and punch in the genre and sub-genre I want to read.

    The largest source of traffic to your book page
     and sales from Amazon itself will be due
     to Amazon search.

     The first thing you must do is keyword research.

Step 1. Google Keyword Research

Go to and search for a general keyword

related to your topic.

First of all, you will have to login to your Google account
if you haven’t already.

Step 1.  you must do is click the Exact button on the left side of the screen under the “Match Types” category:

It’s very important that you use Exact Match when searching for keywords. This tells Google that you want data for EXACT search terms –

meaning Google will count the number of times someone typed in the exact words

Next, click the “Global Monthly Searches” bar to sort the keyword by the most searched.
Once I’m on Amazon’s Kindle Store,
I’m going to type in my keywords into the search box.
Notice how Amazon almost immediately starts recommending keywords
and searches to you.

Your 7 Search Keywords

In addition to tags on your book page, Amazon allows

you to choose 7 search keywords to add to your book
when you upload it to Kindle.

If you want to change these 7 search keywords at any time,
just edit your book and change them.

Whereas any customer or Amazon user can tag your book with any tag they see fit, only you, the author,

can choose these 7 search keywords and tell Amazon what keywords are important for your book -

so choose the top seven keywords you think will lead to the most sales for you!

     Post Script: Go to Google or Amazon
                          and type in the keywords for your book

                         If your book does not come up in the
                         first 3 pages, you are virtually
                         invisible to all book buyers. 

                         Retool your keywords.

6. You have no reviews:
               when someone else toots your horn,
               the sound goes farther!

     Reviews sell books.  Some people won't buy a book until they see one with 10 good reviews.

     Trade a review from you for a review of your book by another.

     Have a contest to promote reviews of your book. 
     Some may balk at that. 

But it seems less shabby than buying them like John Locke
    or going to a site like to find people
    to do reviews for $10 or less.

The key to success isn’t always easy or clear-cut, but the key to failure often is.

If you have produced a good looking, well-written book
but it’s still not selling then go back through this article

to find the missing piece or pieces.

Once you do, I can almost guarantee your book will start to take off.



  1. Wasn't there a lot of complaining about authors reviewing other authors? (Referring to the point about swapping reviews)

    Marketing wisdom calls for assessment of product at intervals. Especially when the competition is tough.

  2. This is a great post Roland - thanks for compiling all these good tips.

  3. D.G.:
    Amazon usually prevents authors from reviewing other authors. But if you choose authors who you trust to write objectively about your book, there seems to be no trouble.

    Competition is tough out there. It appears that many authors literally spend all day on the internet week after week working the cyberverse. Whew! Most of us cannot spend that kind of time doing that! I mean, when do they actually write their novels? :-)

    The unspoken truth is that lightning strikes where it will. E L James' grammar is atrocious. Dan Brown's prose is clunky and jaw-droppingly awkward at times. Yet, both are sizzling best-selling authors!

    Trisha F:
    I'm happy you got something useful of my post! :-)

  4. Roland, lightning strikes where
    Zeus throws it. Perhaps he was trying to spear them (EL or DB)with those bolts, but he missed.

    You'd think by now, he'd have better aim (and maybe sprinkle a little magic dust on a few of us). Sigh. . .C'est la vie.

  5. Reviews and others touting your books goes much farther.
    And there's a limited audience for Gregorian chants? Bummer.

  6. Good thoughts, my friend, from someone who would know. The key for me is word-of-mouth. I want to write something people talk about after they read it. They discuss it, because it gets them thinking.

    Samuel Mc does that for me. I discussed him yesterday with my brother, because he's interesting.

    As for reviews, I inherently distrust solicited reviews. Most thinking people do.

    The other stuff -- keywords, cover, etc. -- is great advice! Thanks for sharing. I may link back to this post soon, since I've been ponderizing on this very topic.

    - Eric

  7. D.G.:
    I wish Zeus would "miss" like that with us!!

    I got tooting your horn adage from the ghost of Will Rogers! Yes, it is a slim market for Gregorian Chants these days. That darn Rap!

    Samuel tips his Stetson to you for talking about him to your brother. Thanks from me, too!

    I'm glad you got some useful items from my post.

    Solicited reviews will be the topic of my next post. You and my friend, Nicholas Savant, my cyber Jedi Knight who heals the damage I do to my computer, feature in it.

    Thanks for visiting!