Tag Archives: indie

What should you do if your book isn’t selling?

Gulp…this is something that none of us want to think about however, it can and does happen from time to time. What, if anything, can you do? Well read on my friends, because you’re about to find out how:

Rob Eagar shares some insight:

If you’re experiencing low book sales, the issue generally stems from one of the following three areas:

1. The market is too small for your book.

You could write the best book in the world. But, if it appeals to only 1,000 people, then your sales will be low. That’s why literary agents and publishers use market size as a primary filter to decide which book projects they accept. They can’t afford to invest in a manuscript that only appeal to a tiny audience. If they don’t think a book can sell at least 10,000 – 20,000 copies in the first year, they’ll usually pass.

Underestimating the size of a book’s audience is a common mistake for first-time and self-published authors who overestimate their potential. They become blinded by the passion for their message, which prevents them from developing a pragmatic point of view.

A great way to avoid overestimating your audience is to check the sales history for other books that are similar to your content. For instance, you could look at various bestseller lists, talk to local bookstore managers, or track the Amazon rankings over time of comparable books at

Every author wants to be a bestseller, but most books are written for a niche that is too small to generate bestseller sales.

2. The market isn’t responding to your material.

On the other hand, the audience size for some books is huge. Yet, the masses still fail to purchase. Authors scratch their heads wondering why they’re getting ignored in the marketplace. This problem can be related to numerous factors, such as a saturated genre, weak economy, boring title, poorly-timed release date, high pricing, inappropriate page count, inadequate marketing, seasonal subject matter, etc.

If your audience is big but your sales are small, then you have to be willing to honestly assess the above factors and make significant changes. You may need to invest more time and money into your marketing efforts. You may need to drop the price. You may need to re-release the book under a different title or at a different time of year.

If people aren’t buying your book, then it’s your problem – not theirs.

Try talking with a knowledgeable person who can provide honest feedback based on experience, such as a literary agent, librarian, publicist, or bookstore manager. Let go of your ego, ask for candid feedback, and be willing to make necessary adjustments.

Legitimate changes can always breath new life into a book.

3. The market doesn’t like your book.

The biggest factor that hinders book sales isn’t due to bad marketing or a bad economy.

Poor book sales usually result from a poor manuscript. The quality of writing might be too choppy, cliché, or uninspired to capture reader interest. Really bad writing can even create negative word of mouth that shuts down sales altogether.

People have a limited amount of time and money, and they make decisions based on their self-interests.

Nobody wants to waste their money and time on a bad book. As an author, you have to convince readers that your book provides tangible benefits, such as inspiration, entertainment, learning, or even being a part of the cool crowd. If your book doesn’t provide tangible benefits, then your audience won’t buy it.

What can you do to turn the tide?

If your books are meeting sales expectations, there are several steps you can take to right the ship or prevent future problems. I’ve coached over 400 authors, and I recommend these three ways to give your book the best chance for success:

a. Utilize focus groups

Never assume that your book is good.

Allow skeptical people to examine your work. Create test groups of readers who fit your target audience, give them your manuscript, and ask for blatantly honest feedback. Many authors are scared to go down this road, because they fear the rejection, revisions, or extra work that might occur. However, the feedback you receive could be the key that unlocks your book’s full sales potential.

For example, when I wrote my first book in 2001, I put together three different focus groups who represented different aspects of my target audience. Their feedback was brutal and required me to rewrite every chapter three times – and my first chapter nine times! T

hey were honest, but they were right. Making the changes my focus groups recommended paid off, because that book can still be found today on bookstore shelves across America.

b. Work with a professional editor

Work with a professional editor who has a proven track record, regardless if you self-publish or go with a traditional house.

You may need to spend extra time and money, but it’s worth every penny. People hate reading poorly written books. If they browse your book and view the quality as low, then they won’t buy it.

Editing is one of the few issues that’s completely within your control. Don’t get cheap, do it all yourself, and settle for a bad manuscript.

c. Don’t write a book in less than 4 months

You might disagree, but I believe too many authors kill their book sales by writing manuscripts too quickly, such as less than four months. Books need time to percolate in your mind, test on focus groups, add new ideas, and revise to a higher level. When you rush the writing process, you prevent a book from going to market with all of the necessary elements.

A good book is like a fine wine. Most need time to develop complexity and a rich taste that will appeal to the masses.

When a book doesn’t meet your sales expectations, be careful not to blame other people, such as your readers or your publisher. That’s like a parent blaming teachers, friends, and politicians as the reason why their kids didn’t turn out well. This attitude simply keeps you stuck in your mistakes.

In contrast, take full responsibility for the sales of your book.

Use the three categories above to narrow down your problem to the core issue. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather, learn from your mistakes, and use that knowledge to improve your next book. Remember, the market doesn’t lie. If you write a great book for a large audience, they will surely buy.

Your friendly publishing guru (Evin Wilkins)

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How to pick a literary agent

Thinking on taking the traditional publishing route? You’ll probably need an agent. Let me say this first…you do not always need an agent however, if you are planning on submitting to the publishing house giants such as Bantam, Penguin, etc., then you will need one. In fact, most of the large publishing houses will only accept submissions from agents. 

That being said, how do you pick the right literary agent? Jeremie Kubicek ( shares how:

Choosing an agent to represent you in your publishing strategy can be overwhelming. Barnes and Noble and Amazon will sell you reference books with list after list of agents. The process can feel like job hunting if you are not careful.

Based on that I want to share with you how I chose my agent forLeadership is Dead and why I did. If you are writing a book this post could save you hours of headaches and provide clarity for your publishing plans.

1. Get your act together – organize your thoughts, clarify what you want before you talk to an agent. You won’t get much time to tell someone who you are, what you want and how you plan to change the world. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

2. Make a list of things you want in an agent. Most of you may not know, so let me share what I wanted.

a. My agent needed to get me and believe in me.
b. I wanted an aggressive team who could open many doors.
c. An agent needed to play in the world I am most comfortable in – business and leadership.
d. Noted success helps. Who they have worked for before gives me confidence.
e. Marketing is key. I needed someone who was adept in promotion, publicity and marketing because that is not the core strength of most publishers.
f. Available. While I am not high maintenance, I definitely needed some one to help me through the first time author process.

3. Ask other authors who they work with. There is nothing better than a reference. To cold call is to waste time. Find a credible author and ask them or find out who they use.

4. Interview face-to-face. Invest in a flight to meet with them and interview them as much as they interview you.

5. Ask them to walk you through the entire process. One, you will learn. Two, you will hear their philosophy. If there is no connection, move on. Hopefully a few phone calls before this meeting will sniff out any issues.

6. Have the right expectations. Realize that agents make money on advances and royalties. While the good agents will serve the whole process, their main focus is on the right author with the right content and distribution at the right time. Always remember how agents are motivated.

I called 4 agents or agent groups. Three of them were referred to me and one approached me. I eliminated one group because they were too closely aligned with other partners. I needed space and fresh ideas. Another agent was eliminated because they were too slick for me. The last two were hard for me because I really liked both of them. I felt one of them was better at the publishing process and the other better with marketing.

Based on all of this I chose to go with Dupree Miller and Shannon Marven as the lead agent. She is amazing. We have a close relationship and I try to help them as much as they help me. I was introduced to her through a business partner, Dr. Henry Cloud, who had great things to say. Their track record was strong, but more than that I felt they knew my market best out of any and specifically Shannon knows who I am and believes in my mission.

There are many other outstanding literary agents. While I didn’t choose them I would recommend Chip Shuneman, the former publisher of Time Life books, and Chris Ferebee of Yates and Yates. While I have never worked with Robert Wolgemuth I have heard great things about him as well.

I hope this gives you a bit more insight and helps you in your pursuit. Good luck and happy writing!

Just another blog post by Mr. Guru (aka Evin Wilkins at:

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How to promote your book on a low budget

Remember I mentioned that I would give you tips on how to promote your book on a low or shoestring budget? Welcome to the first in my series.

Does the word “touring” scare you as an indie author? Do you see nothing but dollar signs and high credit card debt running through your head? Many indie authors do BUT, this does not have to be the case and yes, you CAN promote your book without raking up the credit card debt and in fact, you can actually tour for FREE. Yes, for free.

Let me introduce the *drum roll* blog tour! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the blog tour. This is a free and exciting way to promote your book. BEFORE I delve into this, let me warn you of one thing. You will find services out there that want to charge you to set up your blog tour. The costs can be big. I found one that offers a paid consultation and then $1000 down to even begin the start of your blog tour. This is not necessary. Should you choose to pay someone to help you, find someone that has legit references that you can contact AND, does not charge you an arm and a leg so to speak.

I’m going to share a video from Stacy Cochran, a self-published author. He will explain blog tours from his own experience, along with other low cost book marketing ideas. It’s about 20 minutes long but well worth the listen!

Happy blog touring!

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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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