Nobody’s reading my book

Is it worth self-publishing on Amazon?

Our elder has some words of wisdom for a writer whose online sales are not what they’d hoped.


Dear EWC

As you may know, I wrote a children’s fantasy book and the good news is it was self-published on Amazon last December but the bad news is it doesn’t seem to be doing very well. I mean it has sold some copies on Amazon but it hasn’t got that many reviews or attention. And I find this very disappointing. I’ve been writing since I was a kid and it’s my passion. I always dreamed about becoming a published writer and I spent the last few years working on my first published book. I mean I invested a lot of time and money into writing it, editing it, and getting it published, and getting advice from others on how to improve it and publish it. And I had shown my book to a lot of people and they all generally enjoyed it and said I was a talented writer and I have lots of different ideas for stories and books. But I’m now starting to think self-publishing my book was a bad idea and a waste of time and money. I mean I thought with the self-publishing company that published it on Amazon and marketing my book and the fact that millions of people buy books on Amazon I thought my book would easily sell many copies but it seems I was wrong. I know my book has only been out for a few months and I suppose it might take a while for my book to get noticed since I’m a newly published writer. But sometimes I feel like I’m just fooling myself and that I’m no good at writing.


Dave-Scott replies

I’m not a big time writer, but I have had two books, at least two dozen magazine articles, and a bunch of poems and short stories published in literary magazines.

A few things I have found to be true:

– Getting a book traditionally published these days is nearly impossible. The only consideration seems to be – How many copies will it sell?

– For a book to sell, people need to know it exists. In most cases, marketing is up to the author.

– If selling large numbers of books is your only goal, you will probably be constantly disappointed.

– Writing pays next to nothing. Your rewards are more about just feeling good about seeing your work in print and hoping someone finds your message worth reading.

– I prefer to send finished book manuscripts or articles to magazines rather than querying. Then it is yes or no without further questions or more hoops to jump through.

– No one’s opinion about the quality of your writing matters much (although compliments are nice to hear) except that of a publisher or editor.

– Persistence is a necessity to getting published. Pay little attention to rejections. 

– Since it is easier to get published in magazines, try that before trying to get a book published.

I have not tried to self-publish a book or tried the online publishing route, so I am not quite sure what you are dealing with in your efforts. But some of the above advice would pertain to those methods as well. Maybe it is just me, but I would be hesitant about paying someone to publish my work unless I know I can recoup the money.

My final advice is that if you need to write, just keep writing – keep submitting – and don’t expect instant results. At the same time, always work to keep improving your writing.

With that said, I am currently working on a book and hope to have it published in the standard way. My hope is that it will be so different from anything else in its genre that a publisher will just want to go with it – you just never know. So much for taking my own advice.

I wish you the best of luck –let me know if you think my advice helped and how you do down the road.

Article #: 475201

Category: Career

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