Writing a book is the easy part but authors are not marketers so they find marketing to be quite a challenge.
To market a book you need a couple things. One would be a good cover. Without a good cover your book will probably not get as many sales as it should. I can't stress enough how many books I have seen that have a homemade cover from someone who is not really a professional Photoshop wizard. Just because you can make a design doesn't mean that you should make the design. I know that sounds funny but it's quite true. I tried my first time making a book cover and I thought it was really good, but it wasn't it was horrible.
Of course my friends all told me that they liked the cover but then again my friends are not professionals so what do they know. (I don't think a few can even read lol) They also wanted to make me feel good and won’t tell me criticism that I needed to hear. They would rather tell me they liked the cover than to mess up our friendship.
Every once in a while I will come across a new book cover it catches my eye and I stop I have to see the book is about. Most of the time is not even in the niche that I read. I end up buying the book most of the time.
My friend Ashton just put up a before and after of his latest clients book covers.
The before version on the left is ok but when you look at it you may say to yourself this looks like a swimming with dolphins book. The version on the right you know exactly what type of book it is. This is a great example of knowing what sells.
If you go on Amazon and look at the top selling books in any category you will see covers that are far superior to the homemade ones. Actually I doubt you will see any homemade ones at all. This is not a knock on people who do their own covers, because I know there is a lot of people who are talented and can make their own covers. But for the majority of cover designers that do it at home they are not skilled enough or more importantly don’t know what type of covers sell.
My favorite writer Wayne Stinnett's “Jesse McDermott series” covers you will also see quality. Another thing you will also see is the author name is a little bit bigger than you expect. I love this as Wayne has branded himself so when you see his name you know exactly what type of book he has written.
I think that is a critical step that a lot of authors miss because they don't brand themselves very well. Most home made covers put the title huge and usually have the authors name in a small font size.