07 May 2019 by Published in: Uncategorized 5 comments

In the last blog, I covered how to tell whether you’ve got a problem with either your cover or your blurb. To briefly recap, the job of an ad is to get prospects to the product page, and on Amazon, since it’s basically your book cover, if you’re getting plenty of impressions but paltry clicks, it’s the cover. If you’re getting a good ratio of clicks, but few conversions to sales, it’s likely the blurb’s fault, and then, in descending order, reviews, and finally, the Look Inside chapter.

So let’s discuss the content, which is part of that Look Inside.

If you’re selling the first book in decent quantities, but the conversion to sales of books 2 through whatever is poor, it’s time to take a hard and honest look at what’s between the covers. Because the ad worked and got the reader to consider the book, and the blurb worked and got them to buy.

If they didn’t buy, and your conversions from clicks to sales is bad, chances are very good your Look Inside chapter isn’t very good – assuming your blurb rocks. I’d first look at the blurb. If it’s a winner, then I’d look at your reviews and confirm there isn’t a bunch of terrible stuff saying never buy the book. If the reviews are fine, then the only thing left is the Look Inside.

Going back to my original philosophy of “the job of the first sentence of the product description is to get the reader to the second, and the job of the second is to get them to the third, and the job of the rest is to lead them to the inevitable conclusion that they need to buy”, you can view the job of the first book in a series as that of getting them to buy the second. Job of the second book is to get them to buy the third. And so on.

If your first book isn’t seeing good conversion to book two, it probably isn’t an angry God who hates you or the unfairness of life.

It’s the content.

Which means either the story isn’t particularly compelling or good, or the characters aren’t, or the pacing isn’t, or (most likely) the writing isn’t up to competitive levels, and you need a serious editor who can polish it up and point out the deficiencies so you become a better writer.

Nobody wants to hear they have an ugly baby, but as indie authors we have to pay attention to the feedback that the market’s giving us. If you’re seeing plenty of impressions and good click through, your cover is rocking it, and if a good percentage of the clicks result in a sale, then your blurb is doing what it should. But if after book one the reader doesn’t feel compelled to move to book two, the entire effort will have failed, because while you were able to fill your funnel (book 1) the end result of it amounted to nothing.

If that’s the case, you’d be well advised to hire a competent editor, because the universe is telling you that what’s in the tin is disappointing readers, and you’re going to have a hell of a time building a career.

That’s it for this week. As always, show your support for me by buying my crap, and be nice to each other, or barring that, at least snarky and amusing.



  1. Tue 07th May 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Spot on, as usual.

  2. Zara Pradyer
    Tue 07th May 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you very much, Russell. I will share your guidance with writerly friends who are even more bewildered and delusional than me. Cheers.

  3. Tue 07th May 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks Russell,
    Assuming everything leads up to the sale of book 1, is there an industry standard or average expectation of what constitutes at good read through onto book 2?
    I know we expect it to be 100% from 1 until done, but that’s not realistic – is there a marker?

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 08th May 2019 at 1:05 pm

      It varies by genre. Perhaps someone can chime in here? In JET I see about an 80% conversion from book 1 to book 2 over time. Not immediately, but within, say, 60 days. The post-ap is higher. More like 85%. I have no idea if that’s amazing or sucks ass. It is what it is, and it pays the bills, so I’m not complaining.

      • Scott Silverii  –  Wed 08th May 2019 at 11:49 pm

        Sounds perfect. Thanks for your time in helping others.


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