Derek Doepker | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookSo, you have written your book and expect royalties to start rolling in. Then… nothing. You start reading about book promotion and realize you need to spend money to make money. You start running free days and countdown deals. You pay for ads and end up paying people to read your book, which is never a good idea. You then start scratching your head. What is wrong with your book? Why doesn’t it sell?

I recently received a newsletter from Derek Doepker of which addresses this very issue. Derek lists his checklist for a book’s success. As he puts it, if you don’t answer “yes” to ALL of these questions, then there’s a good chance whatever you do to promote your book will waste a lot of time and money and lead to little or no sales.


  • Does my book cover look like it could be seen at a retail store?
  • Does my book cover clearly demonstrate the genre my book is in?
  • Does my book cover grab attention and stand out among other books on Amazon?


  • Does my book title grab attention?
  • Does my book title accurately reflect the genre and show WHO the book is intended to be read by? (More subjective in fiction, definitely a factor in non-fiction)
  • (Non-Fiction) Does my book title show a big benefit and how it’s different than similar books?


  • Does my description first hook the browser?
  • Does my description (and title) make it clear who the ideal reader is early on?
  • Does my description show the emotional and/or practical payoff of reading the book? (What’s in it for the reader?)
  • Does my description take the browser on a clear and cohesive emotional journey and leave them wanting more by engaging curiosity?
  • Does my description have a length similar to other books in the genre? (Usually, a couple paragraphs for fiction, maybe longer for non-fiction)
  • Does my description convey a sense of urgency to purchase and read NOW? (This is usually emotional intrigue in fiction and a cost of inaction in non-fiction)
  • (Non-Fiction) Does my description have benefit claims that are backed up by credibility and/or proof statements?

Sales Factors

  • Does my book have at least 5 reviews, preferably 10+?
  • Does my book’s price match similarly priced books with a similar level of reviews?
  • Does the first 10% of my book further sell the book by hooking in browsers and getting them intrigued?

I hope this helps with your book sales!