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Top 5 Reasons Your Book Isn’t Selling on Amazon

5 minute read

You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing a book, but it’s not getting the attention and sales you expected despite being available on Amazon.

In this article, we will explore the top five reasons why your book may not perform well on Amazon and give some tips on fixing it.

Let’s start.

Reason 1. You have the wrong keywords and categories

Keywords on Amazon work the same way as websites in search engines – they help users find the most suitable product or service. In our case, they are necessary for the reader to find a book that interests them. For example, books on time management, fantasy books for adults, women’s fiction, etc. Keywords help narrow down the search and find something more specific.

Categories work similarly but offer a wider variety of books. They are usually dedicated to specific genres and age groups. Specifying the correct categories and subcategories is essential because each aims at a particular target audience. For example, if you accidentally put your fantasy book in the self-help category, it may not catch the eye of potential readers.

How to choose the right keywords and categories?

Since thousands of books of the same genre are sold on Amazon, the right keywords and categories will help you not get lost in the crowd.

To find keywords, you can use special platforms, such as Keyword Tool or Ahrefs. You can also find them manually by entering different phrases in the search bar and seeing the suggested queries. These queries are generated organically based on real user requests.

When choosing categories, try to select the most specific and narrowest one. Amazon offers sub-genres for each genre, so don’t just list fantasy; add Paranormal & Urban, Epic, Action & Adventure, etc.  

Reason 2. Your book cover isn’t appealing

A book cover is one of the factors that make people pick up a book in a bookstore. It is responsible for the first impression. If your cover isn’t marketable and appealing to the target audience, no matter how brilliant your novel is, there’s a chance it will go unnoticed.

What is a bad cover? First, it doesn’t look professional, making readers wonder if the book is worth their time. Second, the cover can be dull and lost among thousands of other books. Third, it may not meet genre expectations. After all, when readers are looking for a story to suit their mood and taste, they expect to see a particular set of elements inherent in their favorite genre.

How to get a marketable book cover?

Initially, it’s essential to conduct market research, namely, bestsellers in your genre, and find their strengths and weaknesses.

Next, pay attention to the peculiarities of book cover design in a particular genre. Each category has its own color palette, typography, and imagery standards. The right combination of these elements creates the exact mood and evokes the emotions the target audience is looking for.

Book cover design by Getcovers

Reason 3. Your book description misses something

Book annotation has several functions:

  • It plays a vital role in capturing the attention of potential readers browsing through Amazon’s vast collection of books. 
  • It provides essential information about the book’s content, genre, and key themes.
  • It sets readers’ expectations from the story.
  • Amazon’s search algorithm considers keywords in book descriptions to match reader searches.

Thus, a good annotation encourages the reader to buy your book, while a lousy description can create a negative impression of your story.

How to write an excellent book description?

Keep in mind that Amazon provides a limited character count, so your description should be concise. You can start with a captivating hook or an intriguing question that grabs the reader’s attention. Also, think about the unique qualities of your book that make it stand out and include them in the description.

While writing the plot summary, mention the main themes but avoid spoilers. In addition, describe the protagonists as it helps to create an emotional connection with readers. Finally, remember to optimize your annotation for keywords.


Reason 4. Your book price is too high

Determining the right price for your book on Amazon is crucial, as overpricing or underpricing can pose challenges. Many authors aim to set a high price to recoup their expenses for publishing, but this approach often proves ineffective.

How to choose the right price?

First, you should conduct thorough research on Amazon. Explore books in your genre, analyze their pricing strategies, and assess their performance. This will provide valuable insights into the prevailing price ranges and reader expectations.

Then, it’s essential to understand that you can’t set too high prices for your first book if you are an aspiring author. Since readers don’t know you yet, they won’t want to pay much for uncertainty.  

Reason 5. You don’t do marketing

Once you publish a book on Amazon, don’t sit back and expect the platform’s algorithms to work for you without any effort. No one has canceled the usual promotion of a book through other channels.

After all, Amazon is a giant online store, not a marketing tool. Your book can catch the eye of the target audience if buyers are directly looking for something on the platform. However, if you want to reach a broader range of potential readers, you can’t do without social media, newsletters, and other channels.

What to consider when promoting your book?

First, you need a clear marketing plan. It’s better to create it long before the book’s release and work on attracting an audience in advance.

To create an effective plan, it is crucial to study your target audience. This will help you decide on the type of content and channels for promotion. Try to use a variety of channels. In addition to social media and newsletters, tidy up your website and blog, and try writing guest posts for other self-publisher pages.

All this together will bring a lot of interested readers to your Amazon page who want to buy your book.


Selling your book on Amazon can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful attention to various factors that influence its success.

We have explored five reasons why your book isn’t selling on Amazon, mainly:

  • Wrong keywords and categories
  • Unappealing book cover
  • Unengaging description
  • Inappropriate price
  • Lack of marketing.

However, now that you know the enemy by sight, you can quickly fix it and watch your sales rise.

Have you ever experienced any of these problems on Amazon? Please share with us in the comments.

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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