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"My book has great reviews...why isn't it selling?"

Books4Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one.  Book gets published.  A few 5-star reviews appear on Amazon.  Sales are modest at best.  The author wants to know why those great reviews aren't driving more sales.

Unfortunately, the golden rule appears to be as follows: Great reviews might help sales but bad reviews will hurt sales.  Note the emphasis on "might" and "will."  The problem is 5-star reviews, regardless of how many of them exist, won't drive traffic to your book's catalog page on Amazon or anywhere else.  On the other hand, one or more poor reviews can squeeze the life out of whatever traffic is heading to your book's catalog page.

Great reviews aren't just a function of an excellent book.  They're also the result of author platform, marketing, PR, etc.  5-star reviews are a great thing but I'd argue that authors and publishers (myself included) need to focus more on driving traffic to those reviews than getting them written.


Patricia Fry

Hi Joe,

Good info this morning. You're so right--reviews don't sell books, neither does shelf space in bookstores, website showcases, blogs, membership in organizations, etc. If the author isn't out there promoting his book by directing readers to sites and stores, participating in the organizations he joins and so forth, he isn't going to experience the numbers of sales he desires.

You might be interested in my current blog topic. I wrote about how important it is to be in a publishing mindset even while writing your book. Part of this mindset involves marketing your book. Yes, it's never too soon to start thinking about promotion. In fact, one of the most valuable tips I can give hopeful authors is, "Build promotion into your book while you're writing it."

Patricia Fry
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Kat Meyer

Yup - we just had a meeting with an author who can't understand why his well-reviewed literary fiction books aren't selling. While he is open to many of our ideas for promotion, it's a hard reality that for most authors there is no magic bullet. The efforts have to be focused, well-orchestrated and above all tireless. Good reviews are a great start.


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