Why Your Book Isn’t Selling

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  1. Bad cover
  2. Bad blurb

Got it?

Those two things are the biggest reasons people pass on buying your book.

They can’t read it if they don’t click on it, and the cover and blurb are the only things between them and your story at this point, right?

Let’s get that fixed now, shall we?

Finding a good cover

You can spend a lot of money for a good cover but you don’t have to, and first you need to see what fans of that type of story want in a cover – because it doesn’t matter if you like it, it only matters that people who read that genre find the cover appropriate.

Author ego, step aside.


So here’s what you do.

Look at the top selling books in the genre your story fits best into, then look to emulate what those covers have in common, whether you hire it out or buy pre-made.

Usually, unless you are an amazing artist, you should not do your own covers. They look homemade about 99% of the time and you are NOT the 1% who can do them and look good, so don’t. It’s a different skill set. Focus on writing if you’re an author. You can have a pro looking cover for about $69 so save yourself the headache of your book not selling.

Get a few mock ups together, and ask as many fans as you can which they like. After about a dozen impartial votes, you will have a clear winner and that won’t change if you get 100 more votes or 1000 more votes. Like this:


Post that on your blog, you personal Facebook page, wherever. Count the IMPARTIAL votes. Your sister doesn’t count here.

Let the fans choose. They are never wrong.

Save yourself the headache of wasting money on ads that don’t get you sales when your cover is the reason the book isn’t selling.

But that’s only part of the equation.



That is harder than it sounds, my friends.

And because yours sucks, it’s costing you.

See, your main selling source, Amazon, is largely an impulse buy. That’s important to know, not if you’re Stephen King with a huge following, or Hugh Howey, but if you’re small or independent, you need the Ammy advantages to work to your favor.


1. You must write a good story

Actually, you can write crap but then I don’t want to talk to you and you need to be a super marketer.  And you need to be a super marketer anyway. But there are a LOT of guys writing crap and making money on Ammy, so if we write good stuff we should be able to do even better. Otherwise the terrorists win. And “good story” includes no typos and all that jazz. We have lots of posts on this blog about how to write good stories. Read them and use the advice therein.

2. You must have a good cover, as noted above.

Well, only if you wanna sell stuff. A brightly colored cover with contrasting colors will catch the eye and draw attention to it. So will other things, like big boobs or puppies, but those images may not fit well with the story inside the cover, so govern yourself accordingly. And again, we’re writing good stories so we might want the cover to represent that – depending on the genre. (Romance covers tend to have pretty faces on them; mysteries tend to not show faces. Checking out the top sellers will clue you in to that.) But if your cover doesn’t catch the reader’s eye, it’s not gonna sell well. Think impulse buy. The cover has to make people want to read the blurb.

3. The blurb has to make people want to read the story.

The blurb is a few lines about your story that bait the hook and make people want more, so they click BUY. Think IMPULSE BUY. And if you’re a good storyteller, you might take 80,000 words to tell your story. That in no way means you are good at condensing it down to 100 – 250 words of ad copy – and make no mistake, that is what your blurb is. It’s a tiny ad that, along with your professional looking cover, make people want to click BUY. If it doesn’t do that, it’s a loser – and I’ve had my fair share of loser blurbs! I still do! For several reasons. They are hard to do well, and I didn’t really know that until recently, but mainly because I have a hard time writing blurbs for my own stuff. Probably, so do you.

Now, you’d say as a writer you should master your blurb. In fact, I’ve seen several well known writers who may or may not write their own blurbs, say just that. It’s writing! You’re a wordsmith! Just do it.

It’s not that easy. It is a different kind of writing, just like a painter is an artist but we don’t expect him to be a master sculptor or pottery thrower. It is a different skill set AND most of us are TOO CLOSE to our work to be objective enough to write a good blurb. (More on blurb writing HERE and HERE.)

4. The other rules are things like pricing and whatnot.

That’s totally your call, but I can offer a few guidelines. When you are known as well as Stephen King, you can charge Stephen King prices. Don’t work for free if you don’t have to – and you don’t have to. Run sales on occasion but otherwise, we could write 10 posts on pricing and still not resolve the question. Most authors who follow my rules should be able to sell their stuff at above $2.99 or more and not have issues.

These steps aren’t the ONLY way to do things, but they’re a lot better than having NO way to do them – and no clue how to start. Have a better way? Roll with it!



Dan Alatorre has had a string of bestsellers and is read in over 112 countries around the world.

To get free books and updates on his newest novels, join his Readers Club HERE.


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

2 thoughts on “Why Your Book Isn’t Selling

  1. I invested in my cover for While the Bombs Fell but wrote my own blurb. I learned. I have invested in both the cover and getting someone to help me write my blurb for Through the Nethergate. Thanks Dan.

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