Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why does a book sell? Or not sell? Reader participation requested!

This is of course the million dollar question for all self-published authors and I strongly encourage the readers of this blog to weigh in with their comments as we could all possibly benefit from exchanging ideas.

For the purpose of the discussion there will be two givens. The first is the book, a non-fiction book, is well written, well edited, well designed and for its niche market is a positive, valuable library addition to someone who is interested in that topic.  The second given is the book, like most of our books, is going to be sold mainly through the gateway of Amazon. Finally, we will operate on Aaron Shepard's premise that it takes a calendar year for a book to reach its sales potential on Amazon.

The author can invest the time in engaging in all of the ethical marketing and promotional tools available, both on Amazon and off-Amazon to promote the book. These efforts will be centered around all the tools on Amazon and a reasonably well done author platform that consists of a content driven website, a blog and let's say a eNewsletter with a reasonable, for the niche, subscription list.

Sounds like the author in the example has done everything right to produce a quality book, promote the book and create a group of individuals who might be interested in purchasing the book to read. The author has done his or her homework and all of the marketing and promotional work has been well targeted.

Why do some books succeed (success being defined as being purchased in reasonable numbers) and others fail if the author has "done things right?" It could be too much competition for sales in a specific niche market or other such factors like pricing.

This leads to the question of the day. What makes a customer buy a book? Why does a customer pass on purchasing the book in the above mythical example? Why does another customer purchase our book?

Part of me thinks it is an issue of trust. Can the customer trust the author to deliver the information promised by the title of the book and all of the marketing and promotional information? The customer, and rightly so, wants to feel like the exchange of money for information will be a fair exchange.

How do we, as self-publishing authors, overcome this "trust hurdle" so the customer will help us achieve our goal of selling a copy of our book? How do we do this on a broad enough basis that we are able to sell good numbers of our book?

Are there factors other than trust involved? How can these factors best be resolved?

For those who post comments, I want to proactively thank you for participating in the discussion.