So you can read my books

Thursday, February 27, 2014


{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 browsers 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.

     I admit to sucking at this!

     My contests have done nothing to encourage reviews.

But it seems less shabby than buying reviews 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 find a missing piece ... try improving that facet of your novel's presentation.

You really have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.


  1. Researching Google keywords is something most people don't think about.
    And darn, there goes my Gregorian chant book...

  2. I've done all of these and obviously something is wrong. I have a beautiful cover, 19 3+ (mostly 4 or 5) star genuine reviews, appropriate and SEO checked keywords and book description and still my poor book flounders. I never charge more than 3.99 for it either, and it's a hefty book. I am planning on trying out KDP free pulsing soon for the first time. See how that works. *Groan. I am not a marketing whizz, that's for sure.

  3. Great tips. The tricky one is how to encourage people to come back and leave those reviews!

  4. Key words and SEO were quite important in one of my jobs. I can see the difference it makes in my pageviews.

    Good points for helping writers decide which steps to take next.

  5. Good post, Roland. Hope all is well with you

  6. Alex:
    I was going to write one, too! Darn the luck! :-)

    Sometimes nothing seems to work it is true. Our dream in the North Pole and we are the South Pole with seemingly the whole world between us!

    Before Sean's, Alex's, and D.G.'s Buy-A=Thon for me, my sales had shriveled to a stand-still: not one sale!

    There just comes a time when we must believe in our dream whether it seems anyone else does or not. Mark Twain said, "Everyone is a crank until they succeed."

    Shah, continue writing the books you would want to read and get them out there. Keep your mind and eye peeled for a road to get others' attention that no one else has thought of.

    My prayers are with you to succeed. Always in your corner.

    Hibbs has always liked your avatar. :-)

    Yes! I cannot seem to get people to review my books or audiobooks. Some do, for which I am truly, truly appreciative!

    But when you get 7 reviews you get those nifty small quotes of others' review to start your review section. And in this Twitter age, those snippets of review are the only ones that browsers ever read! Ouch!

    I such a Wiley E. Coyote in this digital age. But I learned from you how important those keywords are!

    The past 4 nights things have arisen to challenge me, but hopefully the stresses for the moment are behind me! Thanks for the kind words!!

  7. It is hard to say what works and what doesn't because something that bores one person might not bore another. You have great points here and my professional cover designer did a great job with my cover so it must be me. LOL

  8. Writing is so much fun, it's what comes afterwards that seems to be so difficult. I know writers must appreciate your advice a lot. Hope you are doing OK. I'm still thinking about your pets.

  9. I've seen plenty of underwhelming covers. It always makes me think that what's inside is as bland (yes, that means I judge books by their covers...gasp!).

    Thanks for sharing about the keywords bit. I'll have to remember that.

  10. I'm taking your advice about retoolin my keywords. Plus I'll push for more reviews--SO frustrating when friends tell me they loved my book but don't leave even few sentences in Amazon for me. Sigh.

  11. Great information on key words! I'll have to check my books.

  12. The Desert Rocks:
    Sometimes we focus on marketing our book to the detriment of writing another. The more books you have for readers to enjoy once they find they like you, the easier they all sell -- sometimes.

    It hasn't worked out that way for me, but each author is different. :-)

    I try to help my friends benefit from the bruises I've gotten along my writing path! And yes, I miss deeply my dead pets. :-(

    J E:
    Keywords are important. Tags, too. Tags are important even within your novel as in tagging your individual characters with two or three words used for them alone. Samuel: Stetson, gloved hands, moon-white hair. Renfield: red hair, sharp canines. Alice: neon blue eyes, unruly blonde hair, sharp teeth. Victor: gypsy laugh.

    It is frustrating to have friends like your books without those precious reviews, isn't it? Here's to increased sales for you. :-)

    Key words and tags are indeed important!