The book market is full of budding writers of both fiction and non-fiction. With competition so tight, you need your book to be excellent in order to stand a chance of success - and not just the content. If you've ever written a great book, proofed it perfectly and marketed it well only to see it suffer in the charts, here's a quick list of problems that may have caused this.
1. Overloaded titles
Ever visited a website with bad search engine optimisation, with copy so dense with keywords it's difficult to read? This sometimes happens with book titles, too.
It can be tempting to list the title of your book along with its genres, themes and other vaguely related keywords so that you can catch them as search terms. Don't do this! It looks desperate, and may make potential readers question the quality of your book. Let the content and description speak for themselves.
Besides, throwing in common search terms that are only tangentially connected to your book will irritate consumers who go on to buy it. Advertise your fiction e-book as 'sci-fi' because one of the characters is a retired astronaut, for example, and you'll attract bad reviews from readers who bought your book expecting something entirely different. One ill-timed bad review could stop every other consumer from buying, so don't risk it. Be honest and descriptive about your content, and those who want it will come.
2. Full-book preview
Be very careful with the settings you select when submitting your e-book. On Amazon, for example, it's possible for your settings to enable the entire book to show up when the customer clicks 'preview'. Don't let this happen to your book! Not every consumer will click preview, but you'll certainly lose a huge portion of your sales to readers who consume as much as they want to for free. It's worth checking this right away.
3. An unexciting cover
Never underestimate the value of a high-quality cover for your book. Don't settle for average. If you created your cover yourself and you are not a professional, try to look at it with a critical eye. It may well be worth finding a freelance graphic designer to create one for you; chances are that it'll more than pay for itself with the amount of buying eyes it draws to your content.
Also, ensure the cover stands out in the search results. Does it utilise the same stock image as your competition, or anything similar? Experiment with colours and layouts to see what pulls in the best numbers.
Of course, sometimes the book market requires a little luck along with strategy but with these three potential problems covered, you will know you've removed every obstacle to getting your content out there.