In one of my private Facebook groups, an author is asking whether he should change his author photo and use initials for his author name – to be more gender neutral. His books aren’t selling as well as he’d like and he’s wondering if this will help.
If your books aren’t selling, first you need to figure out why they aren’t selling.
The way to measure sales is to test conversions.
Is your book in the right category? Is it in the top page of that category? When you do a book promotion, does your rank stick or does it keep dropping after? Are there any other books like yours, in your category, that are doing significantly better (are there enough readers to support the sales you covet?)
When you advertise the book to your audience, do they click the ad? (If so, they’re interested). Do they buy? (If not, there’s a problem with your amazon page).
Other things you should try…
Do you have a free book or permafree book? Are you running ads? Did you build a website that generates traffic by blogging about things related to your readers (other books in the genre, etc?) Did you network with other authors in your genre by supporting their book launches, helping promote them, introducing them to your readers?
I think the author name and picture is rarely the reason books aren’t selling, and probably not something you need to do unless you’ve tested everything else.