Why do some books sell and others not?

If we all knew before we wrote and published a book if it would sell, we would know which themes to persue. The truth is, we don’t have a crystal ball that magically tells us these factors in advance. The fact is, this is determined by a variety of things.

First, as I have stated numerous times, no book sells itself. If a book is not on a topic that people are interested in reading, it won’t sell. If it is not well-promoted, it won’t sell. If it is not attractive or doesn’t appear interesting or informative, it won’t sell. It’s much easier to say what won’t sell than what will. Still, even the most seasoned writer sometimes has books that do not make it.  I have examined my better-selling books and they have some common denominators. It isn’t because I wrote them. The common threads are: they are well-written and researched; they are true; they are interesting, they are attractively presented and they are promoted.

Let’s take Conspiracy in the Town that Time Forgot, for instance. It was co-written by the person featured in it–Ron Cunningham. It was a true story which catches people’s attention and keeps them turning the pages. We still have book signings and sell a good number of them after almost three years.

Then there’s On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms. It has a catchy title, is humorously presented, is based on tons of research, and has a dynamite cover. Then it has been promoted online. It was the # 3 best selIing cliche origin dictionary in November and December last year on Amazon. I am still amazed at how many sell in both paperback and ebook format.

So in thinking about what books to write–or even read, consider these things.