STEP 1 TO SKYROCKETING YOUR BOOK SALES: WRITER, YOU ARE YOUR BRAND, AND WHAT YOU SELL IS YOU
I'm about to hit you with the truth that will make you scream. You can agree or disagree with it all you want. It remains a fact.
IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW GOOD OR BAD YOUR BOOK IS.
It doesn't matter how well it's written, or how long you slaved over it, or how poignant its theme is, or how urgent its story.
It doesn't even matter if some prominent industry names stand behind you and hail your book as the latest masterpiece from every rooftop until they're blue in the face and their tongues turn purple and fall out.
What matters is how you sell it.
People will either buy it or not based on what feeling they get when they buy it. That's right. You read that correctly. What you're selling is a feeling, not your book. And that feeling is about YOU. What's inside the book doesn't matter much. (Also, it's a weird business, selling books—your customer can't test it like they can a couch—they're buying a promise and can be disappointed halfway through). Of course, it helps if your book is not a total shit show and you've done your job, studied your craft, and delivered something readable, or at least passable for being readable. The rest is really up to the feeling.
Uncomfortable, isn't it? And yet you know it's true. You've scratched your head at some bestsellers, and you've looked at your own work, thinking it's a million times better, and you've wondered why it's not selling, and you were tempted to throw up your arms and quit the goddamn writing business already, get a job and forget about your dream.