The Number One Reason Your Book Isn’t Selling On Amazon

man on books with laptopIt’s very simple. Your book is invisible.

Nobody knows your book is there except (maybe) your family and friends.

In the rush to publish, it’s easy to overlook creating the materials you’ll use to sell the book. All of a sudden you realize you need to have a good description of your book for the Amazon sales page and for your website. You need a press release to send to the local newspaper. You need a bio of yourself. What happens far too often is these critical elements of your marketing are thrown together or worse yet, not done at all. The book doesn’t sell because there’s no information about it online.

“But it’s on Amazon!” you say. “People can find it there to buy it!”

Maybe – and maybe not. Unless you’ve spent some time and effort on your sales page, chances are your page will hardly ever be seen.

I saw possibly the worst Amazon sales page ever just a few months ago. A new author emailed me about my marketing services from the contact form on my website. I looked up her book on Amazon, but couldn’t find it at first. When I finally did, I realized that this book was so hard to find, it was indeed invisible.

The book page had many problems.

1. The book title was a very common phrase. So common I can’t remember what it was. Something like “Fair Game.” Amazon has 16,436 books and movies named “Fair Game.” While this isn’t necessarily a kiss of death, I would suggest naming your book something more distinctive. After all, who wants to compete with 16,000 other books with the same title?

I searched by the author’s name and was able to finally locate the book. Fortunately, she had a distinctive name. If it had been “Mary Smith” I would have been out of luck. However, since this first-time author was unknown, most people would not have found the book this way.

2. The cover had only the name of the book and the author’s name. Nothing else. I checked the back cover – it was blank. Leaving the back cover blank is a huge mistake. The back cover is valuable advertising space that should have a short description of the book, a brief author bio, and an endorsement or two. A blank cover screams – well, it doesn’t matter what it screams. Nobody will notice it. When I suggested to the author that she consider redoing the page, she resisted the idea, saying she called to talk about marketing. Your cover is an important marketing tool. Spend the money on a professionally designed cover with solid sales copy. It will pay you back many times over.

3. The book description on the sales page was 5 words: action packed Mystery, Suspense Novel. Would you buy a book with that as the only description? Me neither. (I asked the author why she hadn’t included a description of the book on the page. She said she didn’t want to give the plot away.) Spend the time to write an interesting, engaging book description that will hook a potential buyer. You’ll use it over and over as you market your book.

4. No posted book reviews from readers or publications. Reader reviews are social proof that your book is worth checking out. And potential buyers read reviews before deciding to buy. No reviews imply that nobody has read your book.

5. The “Look Inside” feature had not been activated. People also like to browse before they decide to buy.

Understandably, this book wasn’t selling. The sales ranking: #5,875,703 in Books. In order for a book to be ranked between 50,000 and 100,000 on Amazon, it would have to sell at least a book a day.

6. Categories and search terms are critical factors for buyers looking for books like yours. I didn’t know what search terms and categories this book had, but, based on everything else on the page, I suspect not a lot of thought had gone into them. Amazon’s referral engine uses titles, search terms, and categories to recommend similar products and titles to customers. Make the most of your search terms to ensure your book is seen by the people most likely to buy it.

Need some help in getting your Amazon book page up to speed? Contact me for a free, 30 minute consultation.

4 Responses

  • Thanks AnnMarie. I’ll be Amazon updates in my blog from time to time. It’s always a moving target!

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this, Mary. As someone who hasn’t written her book…yet…these are all things that I will build into my process so that they do indeed get done, and done well. Thank you!

  • Thanks, Terry! I’ll be talking more about getting reviews in next week’s post.

  • Excellent, excellent post, Mary. You point out so many things people just don’t consider when putting their books on Amazon, or really, anywhere else for that matters. I’ll certainly keep your post on file so I can review it whenever we are working with authors who want to put their books on Amazon. Thank you!

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