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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Getting Noticed: Book Presentation Tips

Many of the best books go unnoticed—and many of the most noticed books are far from the best. That phenomenon is nothing new, but in today’s over-saturated publishing market, the truth of the matter stings more than ever.

You can spend years crafting a masterpiece, put it up for sale, and nothing.

Possibly not even a single sale.


And for anything that you’ve poured your soul into, the rejection from not being noticed is one of the most painful outcomes you could experience. It turns out that writing quality (while still very important) is not the only factor that determines a book’s success on the market.

In fact, many readers will make their decision about your book without even reading the opening. The first ten seconds of their encounter are the most critical. Over the course of those ten seconds, a reader will:

  • See your book organically in-store or see some promotional material,

  • Be wowed by the cover and click,

  • Check out your star rating and number of reviews, and

  • Read the first part of your blurb.

Any decision-making after that is a formality. By that point, readers either know they like your book, or they know they won’t—and they’ll go about their way.

The bottom line is that the way you present your book is, in some ways, as important as the writing itself. Your cover, description, reviews, and other assets are what determine your sale more than the amount of time you spent world-building or the shocking twist at the midway point.

The good news is that it’s possible (even easy) to match and even outperform traditional publishing houses on all of these fronts on your own. The bad news is that a good book presentation will cost money—possibly a lot of money—and if you don’t know what you’re spending it on, everything can backfire.

No one wants to put tens of thousands of dollars on the line and have it come to nothing, so the gamble intimidates a lot of new authors into skipping this step overall and dooming themselves to pointless mediocrity.

How important is a good book presentation?

A good presentation is critical, but the goal is to be competitive—not to be the best. If your book looks better than the books listed above it and below it, you’ve already won. This is good news because some genres don’t put as much effort into all of these fronts as others, and you might learn that making your book competitive is simpler than you thought.

Another thing to factor in is the quality of your book. If you under-produce a literary masterpiece, people will assume it’s low effort and look elsewhere for a cheap thrill.

Over-producing is much less common, but it can happen. If you over-produce a quick novella you wrote for the fun of it, people expecting something more grandiose will feel disappointed and leave bad reviews.

Moral of the story: have a production that matches the actual value of your book and that will attract readers who love that kind of writing—not just as many readers as possible.

Book Presentation Elements, Ranked Top to Bottom

1. Your cover. If you splurge on any part of publishing, splurge on your cover. It’s almost impossible to have too good of a cover, and even if your uncle who graduated from art school has museum exhibits in his name, if he doesn’t do book covers, it won’t work. Hire a professional—or if you have time on your hands and a willingness to work hard, enroll in a book cover design course and learn how to make covers that have a more serious WOW factor.

2. Reviews. This is arguably the most intimidating part of the process, since it relies on your ability to find people to leave reviews on your books. There are distribution services that help with this like Book Sirens and BookSprout. While putting in this much effort and money for something that won’t pay back directly can feel counter-productive, the reviewers you get will be your best allies when it comes to talking people into trying your book. Reviews also make your book look more official and tells publishers like Amazon to prioritize your book.

3. Your blurb. Your description should be engaging and work to sell your book for you. It’s challenging to work an entire novel’s worth of thrills into only a few paragraphs, but it is doable. See my article here for details.

4. Advertising/branding. There are many different ways to advertise your book, and each additional method you use will get more readers onto your table. The key is to make your book accessible wherever your readers lurk. When you’re starting out, this is the least important area to focus on and might be worth skipping until you have an established base. But if you want to rise to the top quickly, a heavy advertising push could be the magic ticket you need.

Bottom line:

Can you still publish a successful book even if you can’t follow all of the above steps (effectively)?

Of course—there are always exceptions, and technically it’s still free to hit “publish.” The above steps won’t guarantee a bestseller either. They’ll just increase your chances and your visibility and turn the “maybe” readers into “yes” readers.

When you’re starting out, you can focus on having a good cover and blurb or setting up a review team in advance to increase your publicity, and then move up the process with future books.

If this article helped you, consider donating a coffee for me at the link below.


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