TODAY, Saturday, January 22nd, 2022, is the Winter, 2022 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

The contest topic will be posted at this link at 12:00 PM CENTRAL TIME.

Brutal Honesty, Because You Asked! Why YOUR Book Isn’t Selling – by Angela Hoy

Brutal Honesty, Because You Asked! Why YOUR Book Isn’t Selling – by Angela Hoy

I always love it when authors ask me to be honest with them. In most cases, if someone has the courage to ask for honesty, they have the courage to receive the answers they are seeking…with grace. That’s not always the case, however. Luckily, the author below is one of the courageous ones. I thought you’d enjoy the exchange. 😉

Hi Angela:

Getting a book published is easy and there are dozens of self publishing companies willing to rape, burn and pillage stupid authors like myself and, although I have been severely molested (by some of those), I am still dumb enough to consider doing it all over again.

I know how to get a book into print but what I don’t know is how to get it onto book shelves in book stores. For my first book, I went with (a large author meat market that we know you’ve all heard about), and was promised the moon but got severely molested in my bank account, and only made a total of $4.69 USD. Then, not having learned a lesson, I was promised the same moon by (another publisher) and all I got was an invitation to give them more money. Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice… Shame on me.

So, here I am with a new book. This time I stayed away from poetry, and I put together 100 pages of short stories. I only have one question and that is how do I get the book on book store shelves? 

It is not my intent to soft soap you but I have learned that you have a habit of telling the truth as you see it so please tell me. How can I make enough return to at least cover my costs? 

Warm regards,


Hi N.,

The soft soaping you gave me actually felt kinda nice!! 😉

Collections of short stories don’t sell as well as novels. And, poetry tends to be one of the least popular genres. That’s your first problem.

A book’s sales potential depends entirely on: 1. the book itself; and 2. the author’s marketing savvy and efforts. Listing a book on a particular website like Amazon won’t generate sales. Nor will getting your book onto a couple of bookstore shelves.

The author must promote the book in order for it to be successful. This is true for self-published and traditionally published titles. Traditional publishers do little to no promotion for unknown/new authors now. They take a gamble that a book may or may not take off. They run with the ones that do, and generally abandon the ones that don’t. Of course, the ones that do are the ones whose authors are promoting them creatively and consistently.

More than a million books are published each year now and bookstores don’t stock the vast majority of those, including traditionally published books. There simply isn’t enough shelf space. When you walk into a bookstore, you often see books propped up on tables to catch your eye. Did you know that traditional publishers pay a premium for that product placement?

It is highly doubtful a bookstore will want to put a book of short stories by an unknown author on their shelves. I’m sorry. That’s the truth. If you offered them a book of poetry, your chances would be even lower. Like…non-existent.

Most books are purchased online now as Amazon consistently outsells all bookstore chains combined. I, personally, never approach bookstores about selling my books. That type of negotiation can take hours, and end up costing me money (in returned books that are dusty, bent, or otherwise unusable). All that time, effort, stress, and money to sell maybe one or two books max? NO THANKS.

If you really want to sell books, aside from being an aggressive marketer, you need to write a book that will be appealing to the largest audience (i.e. the one that buys the most books!). According to, the genres that sell the best on Amazon are:

  1. Romance (sorry, I know you’re a dude) and Erotica
  2. Mysteries and Crime
  3. Religious/Inspirational
  4. Sci-fi/Fantasy
  5. Horror

Read a much more detailed list RIGHT HERE.

Thank you for your email. Always happy to be brutally honest. 😉


Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises. - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors. - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.


BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

Fall 2020 24 Hour Short Story Contest

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.

We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!

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