Books Open Doors Insights: Why Books Fail to Sell and How to Avoid It

July 20, 2022

In this training, Ellen Violette, award-winning book expert,  shares several mistakes authors commonly make that stop their books from selling and what to do instead.

Resources Mentioned:

Ellen Violette
Books Open Doors

Bestseller Breakthrough Consultation
If you want to go deeper or get started with your book project.

Video Version of this Podcast


This episode of the Books Open Doors® Podcast shares some key strategies to avoid launching a book that never gets off the ground. Seems like a no-brainer, but again and again host, Ellen Violette, has seen authors’ best efforts flounder for lack of some basic foundational elements to ensure their books become compelling bestsellers — rather than failed vanity projects!  You’ll come away with Ellen’s take on the Top 9 Mistakes that derail first-time (and even experienced) authors. Her straightforward, actionable advice will save you wasted time, money and heartbreak.

Among the strategies for putting your book in a position to succeed? Stay focused. Define your audience. Choose a vivid title that clearly amplifies your message. Don’t forget to issue a compelling call to action … and finally, don’t forget that getting help is a terrific option! Why go it alone when you can get there faster and with a book far more likely to generate positive buzz, healthy sales and a landslide of business leads?

Already feeling the need for a course correction? Or maybe, you’d like to sidestep altogether the stumbling blocks so common to first-time authors? Reach out to Ellen, who has strategies to keep you on track to a bestseller. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.

 Key Quotes:

 “It’s important to know why books fail because these things are avoidable. When you’re  aware of it, you can save a lot of time and aggravation writing something nobody wants to read!”

 “It’s devastating to have somebody tell you that (your book) is not working (the worst part of Ellen’s job as a coach). But  if (Ellen) doesn’t tell you when it’s not working and you put it out and nobody wants to read … and it gets terrible reviews that’s devastating. Plus, if you get a lot of those, you’re in real trouble.”

“You just want to do enough to make the point. Not go on and on and on  with too many examples… Don’t overstate!”

“The more you outline, the less work it’s going to be and the less possibility that you’re going to make a big mistake or the book is going to be disorganized.”

“The book has to connect to the title, and then the whole book has to connect to the audience. That’s what makes a book sell — and not having those things makes a book fail.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Criticism may be painful, but better to get that feedback upfront and spare yourself painful reviews and a book that goes directly into obscurity.
  • Sometimes what starts as one book morphs into another — or even two separate efforts. How do you figure that out? Find a trusted advisor like Ellen to provide expert insight!
  • Stumbling Block #1: An author’s reluctance to share some or all of their journey.
    Solution: Commit to sharing stories candidly or focus on other people’s stories. No tangents!
  • Stumbling Block #2: Providing more and more and more information rather than narratives that bring that information to life.
    Solution: Forge an emotional connection that will make readers stay with the journey. It’s in the stories — not the data.
  • Stumbling Block #3: Working off a title that doesn’t reflect the subject matter.
    Keep the writing disciplined and crystal clear. If you stay on-topic, choosing a title should be easy!
  • Stumbling Block #4: Going too far out there. It may be tempting to launch into cerebral musings but, if you indulge that impulse, be warned: You’re going to lose your commercial audience
    Solution: Stay grounded, accessible and
  • Stumbling Block #5: Writing for multiple different audiences at once, inevitably creating a mess.
    Solution: Know exactly who you’re trying to reach right from the outset.
  • Stumbling Block #6: Skipping the outline. You might think you’ve got it all laid out in your head, but that never works.
    Solution: Create (then review and analyze) a detailed outline that will provide a road map that saves time and averts flabbiness and mistakes.
  • Stumbling #7: Creating an outline, and then failing to follow it. It’s there for a reason! It will keep you organized and on point.
    Solution: Decide to stick with your road map — and then do it!
  • Stumbling Block #8: Omitting a call to action. No matter how good your book,it won’t help you build a group or email list or make sales if you don’t ask your audience to DO something once they read the book.
    Solution: Ensure that your book includes a clear point of entry that advances a direct interaction with your website, a webinar, a newsletter, social media or some other marketing channel.
  • Stumbling Block #9: Your cover is not graphically pleasing to the eye, uninspired and/or uninspiring or — still worse — doesn’t effectively communicate the mood and content of the book.
    Solution: Make sure you choose something memorable and compelling that clearly evokes the topic and tone of your book.
    (Ellen offers a whole module on how to title a book in the Three-Day Best-Seller Program. Find out more here.)

About Ellen:

Ellen is a multiple #1 bestselling author, 3X award-winning book marketing and business coach, including being named a Top 20 Book Coach of 2022 by CoachFoundation, host of The Books Open Doors® Podcast, CEO of Create a Splash/Books Open Doors® Author Services and Grammy-nominated songwriter. She works with high-achieving trainers, coaches, founders and speakers who want to write, publish, launch a book to #1 bestseller and use their book to RISE to the top of their niche! Her company also offers book marketing support. Her mission is to make the world a better place, one book at a time by helping experts get more credibility, make a bigger impact, open doors to unlimited opportunities, make more money and leave a lasting legacy.

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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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