As a phenomenally unsuccessful author of several novels, I began to look into the matter and try to figure out why my books aren’t selling. Now, I began with the reasonable assumption that my novels are the best-written and most-entertaining works of fiction on the market.
That being the case, why aren’t they selling?
The first thing that came to my mind were the covers. I compared the covers of my novels with those of other independent authors and discovered that my covers don’t look like other author’s covers. For instance, despite my covers having been designed by a former graphics artist, I couldn’t help but notice that my novels were missing one key ingredient that seems common to all other independent authors’ works:
Now, let me make it clear that I have no desire to ever have naked people on the cover of any of my books. While there are some passages in my books that are both sexy and Christian (i.e. marriage-honoring), it just seems that naked people on the cover would probably send the wrong message.
Tell the truth: if you see a book cover—or a movie poster—that shows two people who, from the waist up, are wearing no clothes, the first thing that comes to mind these days is probably not, “Boy, that looks like a happily married couple!” No, we just assume they are unmarried because modern popular culture finds no pleasing sexuality among the married—unless both people are of the same gender.
But then, another question comes to my mind: where and how were these cover pictures taken? There is apparently no shortage of people in this world—men and women—who have no qualms about having their picture taken while they are naked. Where are these people? I’m not saying I want to meet them or hire them, but if I did, I have no idea where I would find them. I check the want ads occasionally and I have never seen one that reads, “Young, chiseled torso seeking people who will photograph me” or “pert derrière seeks opportunity to be photographed in latest swimwear.” Everyone I know seems to prefer to live life clothed and, from what I can tell based on how we fill out those clothes, I say, “Praise the Lord!”
OK, so I don’t have naked people on my covers. What else am I missing? If there aren’t naked people, there are explosions. Once again: where does one go to photograph an explosion? I suppose some of this is being done with PaintShop, but they look real to me. As someone who generally tries to avoid explosions, I don’t know where I would go to take a picture of one—and I have a sneaking suspicion that if I tried to stage one the authorities might frown on me for doing so!
So I have no idea why my novels aren’t selling as well as the explosive-nudity cartel, but I’m going to keep working on it. If you have any ideas, please email me (unless you are currently running for mayor of New York City; I think I have made it clear I don’t want those kinds of pictures).