“Why” is the endless question in life, and the endless question of book sales. Why is that book selling and mine isn’t? Why did my first book hit the Times list, but not the second? Why aren’t my sales big enough to get a contract renewal?
We don’t know.
There’s rarely a real reason for why a book doesn’t sell. A book can get the best reviews and bookstore placement, it can get advertising and ship thousands of books and it still doesn’t sell. There are those that get practically no attention, no extra advertising and few reviews and for whatever reason it takes off.
We can blame a flooded market, the cover, or a major news event. We can blame the editor, the publisher, the agent and even ourselves. The possibilities are endless, but in the end we just don’t know and the best thing to do is pull up our bootstraps and write another dang good book.
In most cases we will never really know why one book (50 Shades, Davinci Code, Twilight) hits when others that are just as good, just as compelling or just as well-written don’t.
Publishing, where all things are subjective, isn’t an easy numbers game. Sometimes its luck. Sometimes it’s timing. All the time it’s perseverance.