How to Sell Books
What should you do if your books aren't selling?
The first thing to do is get angry. Get really, really angry. Ask yourself why others are selling and you aren't. Get yourself into the zone where you are prepared to do anything, and everything, to start selling books.
Next, look at what kinds of books are selling. You have to write what people want to read. If you are writing for pleasure then yes, you can write whatever you want to. But if you want to sell you have to write what people are prepared to pay to read. This might seem like selling out, but sometimes that is what you have to do to sell.
Next, is your cover the best it can be? Sadly, people do judge a book by its cover and you have about two seconds to make an impression on a potential buyer. There is no point splashing out hundreds of dollars if your book will only sell a few dozen, but there are many options. You could try getting a cover made on Fiverr. Or you can purchase the right to use a stock photography image and make your own cover. Whatever you do, keep it real. Don't pour money down the drain by using a professional cover on a poorly written book that is full of errors.
Is your writing as good as it can be? Ideally you need to find your own voice. If your way of expressing yourself is sufficiently different from other people, and you can write to excite, you are well on your way to finding readers. You need to have something valid to say - even if it is something as simple as I love being in love - and you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly If a reader scratches his head when he finishes reading your book then you have not done your job properly.
Spelling and grammar are still important. Make sure that you know the rules. You don't have to be an absolute pro but there is a tipping point; too many mistakes in a sentence will take your book to the bottom of the lake.
Niche is important, especially for ebooks. The more specialized your niche - within the confines of what people are willing to buy - the better are your chances of finding readers. Firstly, the niche helps them find your books, and if they like what you write they will come back for more, especially if there are not many people writing in that niche. You could try creating your own niche but that is a more risky strategy; get it wrong and your books will tank, get it right and you might be smiling all the way to the bank.
Keywords are also important. Choose ones that will help readers find your books. For example, using romance as a key word is like throwing a cup of water into the ocean and hoping that someone will find your cup of water. Christian Pirate Romance (if indeed that was what your book was about) will be a much better choice.
Blurbs are extremely important. Once someone has paused long enough to look at your cover they will read the blurb to find out what your book is about. One line is not going to do it. There is no point saying 'this is a book for readers of all ages and it is filled with mystery and adventure'. You need to be more specific, without giving the entire plot away. If you do that, the person reading the blurb will no longer have any interest in reading the book. What you want to do is tease. Reveal just enough to tease without displaying everything. Ask questions that will draw the potential buyer in. Humans are curious; they like to know the answers to questions that have been asked. If you say 'will she get her tattoos removed, and shave off her moustache, to keep the man she loves?' you have already whetted the potential buyer's appetite to know more about this intriguing person.
Marketing and advertising are important, so I'm told, but who has time for that? Just keep on writing, and developing your craft, and one day that sales graph will start to rise. It is starting to work for me, though sadly so far only on Amazon. Perhaps one day I'll get lucky here too. Good luck!