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I thought this religious book would be a bestseller. But when I tried to sell it through CreateSpace during a few months it has lead to zero sales.

After this I put it freely available on the Web, but the dream to sell it (and to sell a big number of copies) remains. (Well, my main purpose is a big number of readers, not big profit.)

I also sent it to many literary agents but at best received replies that these do not deal with books of this topic.

What I did wrong?

Can it be turned into bestseller?

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That was a good one! –  John Smithers May 23 '11 at 19:59
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It would also help if you had a better grasp on the language you're writing in. Perhaps try writing in your native language instead? –  StrixVaria May 23 '11 at 23:31
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The way the question is worded, the answer is only applicable to you. If you reword it to be more neutral so that it can apply to anyone trying to figure out why their book isn't selling, it can be reopened. –  Ralph Gallagher May 24 '11 at 4:03
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If there was a known way to turn books into bestsellers we'd all be rich. –  MaQleod May 25 '11 at 1:14
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@MaQleod I've discovered a magical elixir....$60 and it can be yours in 48 hours by mail-order... –  Aerovistae Jun 30 '12 at 16:37
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closed as too localized by John Smithers, Neil Fein, Craig Sefton, StrixVaria, Ralph Gallagher May 24 '11 at 2:21

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4 Answers

Having read parts of your writing(s) I must say: your writings are bad. Not pleased to be rude, but your writings is worse than the worst vulgar propaganda. I have no problem with Christians, Jews, Muslims and most religious people. But your book deserves to be utterly reworked.

Although declared that you were writing on religion, in fact, the book is focused on faith. Faith (and belief) is the act of will but it is too complex so many religious authorities (not only Christians) state that the faith is a gift (or grace).

The lack of references. There is nothing wrong with referencing Bible but your silence about other sources turns your book into a propaganda pamphlet with almost no knowledge value. (Please, do not just start arguing that Bible is enough. If you want to bring your thoughts to real people, you are obliged to cite more sources.)

Inconsistency and lack of courage. Example: In part 3.2 you are mentioning an episode with a rich woman. First, you were asking money, then (after she had brought the money), you were refusing. In other words you were humilitating her. Now, I'd expect an explanation. Why hadn't you refused her demands directly? Why were you so cruel? What is the moral of this episode? Was there a need to demonstrate your righteousness or your weakness (since you had succumbed to a temptation of superiority)?

So, if you are going to explain a new point-of-view, you need to become a philosopher (and a historian, a theologian, an anthropologist, ...). To write a book of this kind is taking years of gathering, sorting, studying and analysing.

If you are going to explain your own opinion and experience, you need to understand it first. (How was I feeling it? And how does this serve to me?) It takes even more time, maybe most of your life. But it is the unconditional necessity.

At least (but not last) you need to gain fame. If a famous man is stating that one plus one are two, people will listen. Be offensive. Insult every potential opposition, in advance and repetitively. Shout aloud that supporters of something are stupid, dumb, hypocrites. It doesn't matter which target will you aim at, you can slander atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, liberals, conservatives, ... no matter. How many people do understand Nietzsche's statement that "God is dead" in context? Get jailed. No kidding, it works. (But beware of headshrinkers.) If persistent enough, you can become a "controversial" person.

If you prefer a less dirty way I can recommend: gain fame (yes, again). Stick on something you are really good in. You are mentioning maths and programming, so start and publish some open-source project, get a university diploma and focus on science. Or become a fiction writer. If you want people to learn about your thoughts, write fiction. For instance, Philip K. Dick's "Valis" is boring and over-complicated for me, tremendously. His "Exegesis" is even beyond my mental abilities. He had failed to explain his point-of-view to me. But through his novels and short stories he had succeeded so I dare to think that I understand his opinions. (Explanation: PKD is one of my most favourite writers.)

Hope I wasn't rude too much. No offense.

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+1 although I am wondering if you are also not writing in your native language. But holy damn is everything you said true. –  Aerovistae Jun 30 '12 at 16:40
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Plainly speaking: your book is one amongst millions. People won't find it by sheer serendipity. And they won't bother picking it up unless something persuades them they should.

To sell a book, you've pretty much got two options: you either need to succeed on strength of your writing, by selling the book to a publisher who'll do the marketing for you; or else you need to be a great marketer yourself.

Get lots of constructive criticism of your writing wherever you can; study the market to understand what agents and publishers your writing might be appropriate for; and if you're going the self-marketing route, you need to bring yourself up to speed in that field, because nobody's going to sell your book but you.

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+1 for somehow managing to give an answer that was both helpful and not condescending. Somehow. I tried, failed. –  Aerovistae Jun 30 '12 at 16:42
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Start marketing to atheists?  

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You are my favorite, favorite, favorite. –  Aerovistae Jun 30 '12 at 16:40
    
;) thank you, dear. –  Lauren Ipsum Jul 1 '12 at 1:50
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Religious books tend to have an extremely small market. They very rarely hit the best-seller charts.

But you're not going to hit the best seller charts by self-publishing with CreateSpace no matter what. Bestsellers take amazing plot/writing, a lot of marketing, and luck. People aren't going to magically find your book - you need to advertise it, get reviews, and make people want to read it.

A good majority of people won't read anything that's self-published. Thousands of books are self-published and most of them aren't worth the paper they're printed on. There is a lot more work that goes into publishing than just printing the book.

If literary agents are turning you down because they don't represent that type of book, you're doing something wrong. That means you haven't done the research required to find an agent or a publisher.

If you think you're going to spend a month writing a book and make millions off it instantly, you might as well give up now.

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