How to Get Readers to Buy Your Indie Book

How to Get Readers to Buy Your Indie Book

By on Dec 16, 2015 in Sales and Marketing


If you’re an indie author who has written an ebook or a book, a key next phase will be marketing and promotion of it, in order to reach out to as wide an audience as possible. At this time you’ll most probably think of a cover for your book. In the five points below, I explain why the cover is so important, and share some tips on creating one that is eye-catching and powerfully draws potential readers to your work.

1. The #1 way to attract readers is the cover

The very best thing you can do to increase sales of your title is to have an amazing cover. Of course the book itself has to be wonderful, or it will never go anywhere, but assuming your book is exactly what the readers want to read then you need to entice them to read it in the first place. That is where a fantastic book cover comes in.

When your book is in the digital marketplace, such as on a retailer site like Amazon or iBooks, your little indie book is on the same virtual shelves as the Big 5 New York published books. You are competing with those professional covers for readers’ interest.

2. Get readers to your sample pages

When readers see a professional cover that draws their interest, they click. Once they click on your cover and get to your product page, the blurb must be great to entice them to download the free sample. From there, the actual quality of the book you’ve written is key. But you’ll never get readers to even sample your book if your cover isn’t top notch!

3. Make the genre obvious by your cover

There are few things to consider when deciding if your cover draws readers in or not. Good covers tell the reader right away what the genre of the book is, or the basics of what the book is about. If you’ve got a romance novel, you don’t want it to look like a horror novel. If you’ve got a nonfiction book about planets, you don’t want it to look like a young adult romance novel, and so forth. To get an idea of what book covers in your genre look like, check out the bestseller list for your category on Amazon.

For example, if I want to see the covers that grace the bestselling Young Adult Romance books, I check on Amazon (because they have such a huge portion of the overall book market), and I find Amazon Bestsellers in Teen & Young Adult Romance. Notice I’m very specific. I’m not looking just at bestselling romance books, or bestselling YA books, but both together. I could even refine the list more by searching for bestselling contemporary YA romance, to weed out historical covers. For easy reference, here is the overall Amazon Fiction Bestsellers list, and you can find your genre and subgenre in the list on the left side of the page. If your cover looks like it will fit right in with the other covers on the bestseller list, then you’re doing it right!

Don’t try to have a cover that is so different from anything out there that readers won’t have a clue what they’re going to be reading. It will backfire because they won’t click.

4. Brand yourself as an author

Make your author named big on the cover — pretend you’re already famous even if no one yet knows who you are. Notice how on the big five New York traditionally-published book covers, the author’s name is big and bold, because they’re trying to build that author’s brand. You can do that too, even if you don’t have your own publicist and marketing team.

Many new authors make the mistake of branding the book, or the series, instead of themselves as an author. They’ll mistakenly get a Twitter handle with the name of their book, or make a Facebook profile with their book’s title. Their email address is the name of their series. Don’t do this! It may seem impossible now, but you will write many more books over your career. Make sure everyone knows who you are—the author—and not just know the title of any one book.

Make sure the text on your cover is legible. If you can’t read it in thumbnail, then readers are much less likely to click. They need to see what the title and the author name is in thumbnail size. Review blurbs and subtitles can be smaller.

5. Delegate to a professional artist

If you have a very artistic eye and are already a pro at using professional photo manipulation software such as Photoshop or InDesign, then you could try making your own cover. But don’t take one stock photo and slap some text on it, or you’ll find “clone covers” —other books for sale that also are using the same stock photo as their cover. Instead, make sure your cover uses a minimum of two different stock images (or original, exclusive illustration or photography). That way your cover will be one-of-a-kind.

So: make it easy for readers to want to click on your book by having an easy-to-read, genre specific, impactful book cover… While a wonderful novel or book is important, readers won’t get to find out how great it is unless they are enticed to click on that book cover so they can read the blurb, read the sample pages and decide to buy your book.

If you’re looking for a professional cover you can have instantly for around $69, check out and find your perfect cover in any genre. All covers are one-of-a-kind and once a cover is sold, it is never sold again.

Image credit: Pixabay

Shoshanna Evers is a New York Times Bestselling author, and co-founder of



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