Selling books on Amazon

I recently answered the question;

“What should I do to correct the fact that even though my book has been on the market since 2011 (Amazon.com), I haven’t sold many copies?”

I decided to take the time to go and look at her sales pitch on Amazon. Since most self-published books wind up there, I thought other self-publishing authors might be curious to know what I found. You’ll hear it in my answer, and I hope it helps when you decide to list your book there one day.

Hello, I think I can help you!

As a professional, traditionally published author/illustrator, I can tell you with great certainty that it has a lot to do with how your book is presented in the marketplace. I checked it out on Amazon (where most people buy books these days) and I must tell you that you missed the mark when it comes to a promotional sales pitch!

A.) The sample on Amazon only contains one image/illustration from the book, and it is a stagnant pose that stands there, staring at the reader blankly. It is not a lively character who shows emotion. It does not tell us anything about the story..in fact, it’s message repeats what is found in the title, nothing more.

(It was a full frontal view of the main character, showing no emotion or action that might give us a clue as to what’s in store for us if we buy the book.)

B.) The pages included are too wordy, and only sell YOU, the author….not the book you have created for sale.

(The author went on and on about herself, and said very little about the book itself)

C.) The description does not tell your buyers what they will be getting for their money…i.e., what are some of the things that their child will identify with in the story? What is so special about it that will make the book a favorite, to be read over and over again?

(When you write your own book description, be sure to tell your potential buyer what their child will get out of the book, and why it will become the most cherished book they own.)

D.) Buyers are bombarded with personal facts about your life and what drove you to write the book, when in reality, buyers don’t care unless one, it pertains to the story -or- two, they are already a fan of your books!

E. ) You need more reviews! It is obvious to buyers that the one and only review was written by someone who knows you somehow, as their grandchild personally knows and interacts with a character in the book. This has a negative impact and would not make me want to purchase this book.

(The only reviewer admitted that she knew the author through a mutual source…could she not get any REAL reviews? This speaks volumes. After several years on the market, she’s only got one review from someone biased. How pathetic. (Sorry if that sounds mean…I’m a nice person, really I am.)

Here’s what I suggest. You redo your amazon listing to include three-four illustrated interior pages of the book, (there is currently only one…the book’s cover) so that buyers can fall in love with your characters and the settings they live in. You should eliminate 90% of the personal info about you…it makes you look like an ego driven newbie author. Only when you have several books and a following is it necessary to provide fans with personal information, and THAT should be done on your author website that you should have created before the book was released. (assuming that you don’t have one?)

After you have created a lively promotion on Amazon, that represents your BOOK instead of YOU, then you need to get off your tushie and get promoting! Tell all your friends, ask author/illustrator bloggers to feature your story (about how you published) on their blog site. Go to book Fairs and writing conferences, where you can “talk up” and show off your accomplishment. Ask everyone you know to “tweet ” about your book. Enter your book in publishing contests, and sell it anywhere and everywhere you go…always having several copies with you. Go to your local library and offer to do a free one hour workshop on “How to publish a Picture Book”, and be sure to take as many books as possible to sell afterwards (you have to do your selling quietly as if it is not your sole reason for being there).

All these things will help to increase your sales and will build your confidence. You have to be tenacious, driven, and intent on making a profit if you hope to succeed in this saturated market! Best of luck to you!

Most sincerely and respectfully, Lisa J. Michaels

People who complain about poor book sales when they clearly have no one to blame but themselves irritate the snot out of me.

One thought on “Selling books on Amazon

  1. what a fantastic piece of advice. I am currently in the final stages of preparation for self publishing my book to amazon and will be taking the comments on board. Thank you Lisa, you have been really helpful.

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