The Crucial Step most Authors miss that dooms their book to failure

Adriane Nicol
3 min readApr 24, 2022

If you are a self-published author that struggles to sell their books on Amazon likely you have made this mistake that makes it almost impossible for your book to get consistent sales.

Most authors think that promoting their book on social media, book promotion sites and free giveaways are the ways to find their audience and drive book sales.

These methods can manually drive book sales but require constant work and are not repeatable on auto-pilot. The most important factor in book sales is often overlooked or even ignored entirely.

If you have your books listed on Amazon then you should make sure that customers can find your book on Amazon! Doing this will drive more sales than all the other methods combined and does so without you doing daily promotion work.

I’m aware that this sounds good to be true but you need to start thinking about it this way. Why did you list your book on Amazon in the first place? Probably because millions of people visit the site every day looking for books to read. While this presents a great opportunity for you it can also be a big challenge.

How do you get your book found in the sea of other books listed on Amazon? The good news is that there are certain factors that the Amazon algorithm takes into account when delivering search results to customers.

  • Reviews, if you don’t have at least 15 reviews then Amazon doesn’t even suggest you run ads. This means they won’t even take your money to push your book. You need a minimum of 15 reviews if you want your book to rank in search results.
  • Category. Your book needs to be listed in the right category so that it has a chance to rank highly. If you are in a super competitive category it will make it harder for your book to rank high.
  • Keywords. You need to use keywords that buyers search for when looking to purchase a book. These same keywords also need to be used in your book description and your main keyword used in your subtitle so that your book is more likely to come up in search results when someone types it into the search bar.

Here are some resources to help you with each of those key factors:

Reviews: I suggest using services such as Pubby, Booksprout, or Online book club to get reviews. These services help you build a launch team and give thousands of readers a chance to read your ARC and leave a review.

Categories and Keywords: Self Publishing Titans has a free chrome extension that will help you identify the best categories and keywords for your book. Publisher Rocket has paid software that will allow you quickly identify categories and keywords that have buyer intent (i.e. that readers look for when they are actually buying a book).

Making sure you do the basics to make your book more visible on Amazon will put you ahead of the vast majority of authors and will lead to more sales.

If you would like to get more tips and strategies on how to promote your book you can download my free guide Secret Book Promotion Strategies that actually work!



Adriane Nicol

Bestselling Udemy course creator, writer and spreadsheet geek. Writes about earning outside your 9-5, finance, and personal development.