Sunday, September 3, 2023

Oh, So That’s Why My Book Failed?



I realize that many writers must be feeling all kinds of negative things, from stressing over deadlines to anxiety about marketing, to depression over finding a publisher. In my bid to give helpful advice to authors, maybe I too, though a part of the solution, could be fueling their bad feelings. So, for today, let’s explore some writer challenges and take a different approach to them.

1.      Book Envy

You see tons of books everywhere - online, in bookstores, splashed in ads, reviews, etc. You wonder: Why isn’t my book published and out in the market? It could be because your book sucks or because you failed to take the necessary steps to get it published. But, for today let’s see things differently. Maybe other people have published books, but many of those books are crap. They got published because an editor related to the author due to being gay, black, or a woman - or all three? You have a good shot these days, so no excuses. Or, maybe some of the books author just fill all of the boxes on a publisher checklist, but really the books are mediocre at best. Finally, maybe some authors paid to get their books out there. They may have promised to buy tons of copies from the publisher or committed to pouring a big budget into marketing. In such a case, they really are no more worthy than a self-published author, but they used assets to get into a publishing house. Does any of this make you feel better? Probably not, but at least you see why things are the way they are. 


2.      Book Review Whores

You see some books get a lot of professional and consumer reviews. Why do they get all of the attention, you wonder? Again, your book might suck or you failed to get into the right hands at the right time. Or, perhaps something else is at play. Maybe some of those reviews are indirectly paid for. Maybe a publisher has a side deal regarding advertising to get a review. Perhaps it’s identity politics at play-- the book meets demographic checklists on gender, race, religion, sexuality, and politics for a reviewer. It’s not your fault that you arent’t reviewed. 

3.      Social Media Stars

Sure, you know that you need to be more active on social media -- to post regularly and pursue more connections- but you feel it’s a waste of time and as a technophobe, you’re bot proficient as it. But maybe there’s another reason why social media studs are out there. Could be luck. We hear of the few successes- and not of the many failures. Also, social studs could be paid to help others-- you can have a social media surrogate, you can buy followers, and you can pay for ads that lead to followers. It’s not all of your fault -- social media is a dirty playground with a few lottery winners.  

4.      Best-Seller Bullies

Everyone says they are a best-seller. How can that be? Well, some lie. Others take the minimal route to get there -- they were in the Top 20 in an amazon sub-genre for one hour and technically made a list. Others rig it -- they pay friends, family, employees, or clients to buy the book and register enough sales to hit a list. Honest or lazy folk like you are left behind. Most best-sellers aren’t on the list because they have great books -- but they have great marketing.  

5.      News Media Personalities

Maybe you want to be featured by the news media and wonder why your great book is not getting its deserved attention. Could be because your book is sub-par but likely it’s because of a number of factors. First, a lot of media comes to those who have a book publicist. They have the connections and know-how. Second, authors get interviewed when they bring something to the table, such as having a big social media footprint (so you can promote the media segment). Third, some media is interested in certain topics and if your book doesn’t cover that topic, forget it. Fourth, let’s face it, good-looking, younger people are featured on TV over crusty, old, out-of-shape people. Again, it may not be your fault the media shuns you.  

So, what have we learned today? It’s simply not your fault that your book isn’t getting attention or sales. Money, age, race, gender, looks, politics, and personal connections all conspire for or against you.  

Authors can acknowledge these realities and either quit, embrace them, or persevere despite them. Keep writing -- and marketing -- and do your best.  One day you’ll get your due. Maybe. Well, I hope so. 

“One of the main reasons we fail to stick to new good habits and ditch negative ones is that we focus on changing what we’re doing (or not doing) without also making sure that we embrace this habit as a new and valuable part of our identity.” --Jen Sincero, Best-selling author

Need Book Marketing Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


Read This!

Are Book Industry Monopolies Killing Authors?


Do Authors Have A Barbie Complex?


Authors: You’ll Sell More Books If You Write Better!


Embrace Your Writer Avatar To Quell Fears


28 Digital Book Storefronts That Your Book Should Be On


27 Things To Do To Promote Your Book


10 Rules For Authors To Get Attention


More Great Life Advice When Marketing Books


How Do Authors Draw Readers In?


How Do You Find Your Targeted Reader, Dear Author?


The New Author Marketing Playbook


10 Winning Book Strategies For Authors


Authors, Always Speak Your Mind


About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.