One Reason Why Your Books are Not Selling

Book marketing is tough. That’s something you’ll hear over and over again among authors. Even for me, as a professional marketer, writing books is tough. Truth be told, I’m simply not as good at it as I’d like to be – English is not my first language, I don’t know where to begin and how my writing should be structured. As a result, I find it tough! Don’t let this blog fool you though; I’ve got an editor cleaning up my mess!
The very first reason why I consider writing to be so tough is due to the fact that I simply don’t know much about it. More precisely, I don’t think I possess skills and knowledge to get a properly structured and consistent non-fiction flow. The result? I find it tough as hell! ☺

Never Skip Chapters

The same can be said for marketing. If you don’t possess the skills needed for successful digital marketing, lack the knowledge and data about marketplaces, or miss out on the latest research data on industry trends, it’s highly unlikely you’ll manage to come up with a well-structured, effective, and in-depth marketing plan. Just as your book needs chapters, your marketing plan requires milestones. Although all authors wish this wasn’t the case, there are no single milestones which possess the potential to be game changers. In reality, all milestones need to work together, in order to create values that present your work in a sellable fashion.

Above all else, there’s ONE big reason why most authors fail when building their audience. If you have tried Facebook, Pinterest, traditional advertising and other methods of gaining more clicks to your books, you will have been  able to evaluate your returns on investments. On the other hand, if you have failed to make a noticeable footprint as an author on two platforms, it’s likely that you’ll pass on the same failure to the third, fourth, and fifth platform as well. The very reason for this? The visual presentation of your values has not been accurately matched against platform-specific target groups. To put it simply: your graphics don’t tell a story.

Graphics That Tell a Story

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. However, as authors and as readers, this is exactly what we all do. As an author, you are probably already highly familiar with the importance of book covers. After all, that’s the very first thing your potential customer on marketplaces like Amazon will see when browsing your page. Your cover needs to reflect your story, and you probably use a paid designer to deliver the best possible visual message to your  unknown buyers. That’s the very nature of digital marketing and e-commerce: delivering values in split seconds, using the most powerful visual presentation you can get.

The same goes for your marketing efforts across social media platforms (especially Facebook), Pinterest, or on your own website. Whatever it is you are trying to deliver through those marketing channels needs to be visually impressive, as the visual impact is going to be the first one you’re likely to make. You are the only one who knows what your marketing message is, and the crucial point is to make this marketing message as clear as possible to your target audience. This means you need to present your values using fascinating images that act as an enticing and effective call to action.

Why do most author blogs fail?

Let’s imagine you came up with a truly brilliant blog (just like this one). You’ve covered some important angles that successfully bring new value to your readers. What could that be? Well, as a Fantasy writer, in your moments of absolute brilliance, you came up with an insightful new reading of Tolkien. His following on social media is absolutely huge – comfortably in the millions – so your targeted readership could not be better. OK – so it might be a little bit broad, but at the end of the day, those readers are mostly those who are passionate about the fantasy genre, right? In this article we are not focusing on specific targeting (although that’s a very important subject, and one worthy of another blog), so let’s get back to my original thoughts. You have an amazing piece on Tolkien, packed full of insightful ideas, that most Tolkien fans would love nothing more than to read. The question is – how to get those fantasy fans clicking on your piece, and soaking up every word?

Visual Click-baits

Why is the media rich? Quite simply, because we all click on their click bait pieces, even if we don’t necessarily believe that they really lead to exclusive content. We don’t have to be all that aggressive in getting the attention of our target readers, though, but it’s undoubtedly essential to come up with a brilliant and tempting visual presentation of the value you are offering to your readers. What does this mean? It essentially means you should be using click-bait too… but in altogether more subtle ways. If you have thousands of words to share, you’ll need to consider that such a large amount of words will not satisfy the short attention-span of most social media users users. You have little more than a couple of seconds in which to get your message across, and this is why your images need to tell your story, or at the very least get people hooked in order to learn more.

The Technique I Use

Okay, this is where things start to get tough. It’s all very well talking about hypothetical Tolkien fans… but at the end of the day, it’s all easier said than being done, right? I’ll share some of my ideas, which should give you an insight into the marketer’s mindset.

Let’s say we have a brilliant blog entry to promote, something that can add real value to a certain community. While working on this blog, I was already working on five different images for Facebook group promos, and a further ten different images for Pinterest. As you probably know by now, Pinterest is an absolute goldmine for marketing, being the largest source of blog traffic, and boasting over 250m members who primarily use Pinterest as a visual search engine.

As much my blog should be focused on real values rather than my tangents, thoughts, and babbling, a fair amount of time needs to be invested into nailing down those promo images that have athesacred mission of getting the right audience hooked into what I want to say. The beauty of this is, unlike with book covers, I can use multiple images for my marketing channels, especially on Pinterest. We want to aim for different images spread across different boards, all leading to a single source article.

What you gain from this technique:

  1. More traffic. 10 images will receive considerably more clicks than just one image can.
  2. Your blog will end up looking bigger and more relevant than it really is.
  3. On Pinterest, you’ll achieve far more repins with 10 images.
  4. On Facebook, you’ll be recognized as a fresh content contributor by its algorithm, instead of being a spambot using the same image in multiple places.
  5. Tailor-designed images to meet specific requirements by social media platforms, in terms of suggested dimensions and quality


You might be the most talented new writer on the scene, with a mind swarming with ideas, and the kinds of skills that would make Shakespeare gasp. However, writing a good book is simply not enough. Make no mistake: making use of a book cover which will represent it on various marketplaces is an absolute must.

Digital marketing relies heavily on content – this is why the entire marketing era is known as ‘content marketing’. As a content contributor on both social channels and visual search engines, you need to design your “covers”. Even exceptional content will ultimately fail to reach its audience if it’s not presented in a visually impressive way… and there’s no getting around this fact. No matter how good you are in creating valuable reads, all the bridges to your readers are built on visual attachments which entice, intrigue, and achieve a far greater reach.

What to take away from all this? The one reason most efforts on social media channels fail is that the story lacks the cover(s)!


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