Keller Media Blog

whyyourbookisntsellingBy Wendy Keller, Literary Agent

It’s pretty sad when you put all that time, thought, effort and in some cases money into creating a book and it doesn’t sell.

Thousands of people will have a book release from a “legitimate” publisher and more than 75% of them will under-perform.

More than 400,000 people will self-publish this year. Those people are really in for a surprise, because the average self-published book sells only 117 copies!

I’m a literary agent. My role is to sell good books to good publishers – the kind of publishers who give the author money for the honor of producing your work.  Here’s what I know [spoiler alert!]

The reason most books don’t sell is because the authors do not know how to find and connect with their audience.

I’m aware that’s harsh, but hold on! The secret to your book’s success is in that truth, even if you’re already published. YES, the time to grow your audience (called a “platform”) is BEFORE you go to press, but it isn’t too late to start now.

If you can find your audience and connect with them, your book can start selling. In some cases, even years after it was first published. (Note: if your book is “The Best Guide to Success on MySpace” or “How to Use a Microwave Oven” or any other obsolete subject, the following advice won’t apply to you).

There are, in fact, a lot of ways to get your book selling.

  • You can get active on social media (which authors often tell me didn’t work.  I know that means they did it backwards. There are unique strategies specific to authors that most don’t realize).
  • You can start writing articles for niche magazines online and in print.
  • You can start doing speeches, workshops, webinars or seminars (for free or for a fee – to grow your business exponentially and thereby the number of people who are eager to buy your book).
  • You can start getting real media – radio, print or television. Really!
  • You can get companies that serve your readers to cross-promote, co-operate or even sponsor you/your book.

Here’s what I do know after a lifetime in publishing: When authors give up, or they do nothing and wait for the angels and fairies to move their book to the top of, nothing happens.

Failing to promote your book after it has been published is like stopping at third base to take a nap before you finish a home run!

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