Book doesn't sell well

by Joseph Narimattom

Valley of the Mountain Goddess

Valley of the Mountain Goddess

My newly published children's book doesn't sell as well as I'd expected.

My first children's book in English, THE VALLEY OF THE MOUNTAIN GODDESS was published in Feb. last and is available for sale on But to my great disappointment, it doesn't sell as I had hoped.

The story was edited, beautifully illustrated, but no one buys.

A jungle story set in the evergreen forest, each page, each chapter is full of adventure and suspense.

Targeted to teens of the urbanized world, the book tells the exciting story of the survival of two boys of twelve in a tiny valley, deep in the wilderness.

Supposed to be the abode of the bloodthirsty goddess of the tribes, the boys come across many frightening sights, like a skeleton lying full-length on a rock and heaps of human skulls and bones in the valley.

They survive, hunting down birds and catching fish from the stream that flows through the valley.

Their imprisonment in the valley with tall cliffs all around, when they devise an ingenious method to overcome the barrier that separates them from the civilized world.

I'm sure the story is an exciting one. To overcome the possible limitations of style and grammar, I got it edited. But, the book doesn't sell!

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Does a book have what it takes to catch on?
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Joseph, thanks for your post.

I feel uniquely situated to comment. For one thing, from the contacts I make here at the site, I know that books (especially self published books) don't sell themselves!

I know that there are stories of groundswells getting started, but it's the rare book that sells well without heavy promotion.

Even with heavy promotion, there is no such thing as a self-published book that is sure to sell. Without promotion, it's a pretty sure bet that you won't succeed.

After all, a groundswell can only start if at least a few people are reading your book and can't help promoting your brilliant work to others!

I know too from my past as a screenwriter that "editing" doesn't mean "make marketable." Many times I was hired to rework scripts written by others. When I was hired to do what Hollywood calls a "polish" - essentially the equivalent of an edit - there was no way to fix the big problems with the script, only the little ones.

That could only happen when I was given free rein to start from scratch.

An editor may improve your grammar by 99%, but he/she can't render it artful, and they can't change any big structural problems with your story.

For instance, your book may put too much focus on excitement and too little on character development. (In your description you go into great detail on the challenges, but give us no sense at all of how your two main characters might differ.)

Then again, it may be the greatest book ever written! Figure out a way to put it in the hands of a couple hundred members of your target audience and you'll find out if it has what it takes to sell of its own volition.

Social networking means any reader is a potential promoter of your book! In fact, an experiment occurs to me.

Give the book to a hundred perfect strangers in return for their "friending" you on Facebook. Wait a week, then see if they're telling their friends about your book. If so, great. If not, that'll tell you something.

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