Marketing Book About Adult Siblings



czlko6iw8aucqzoBublish, the distributor of my book The Sibling Connection: How Siblings Shape Our Lives, decided with authors’ okay to discount ebooks to $.99 for the holidays.  (The original price:  $7.99.)  Not a bad idea!  Everything else on the planet is discounted for the holidays.

Now at .$99, there’s little chance of making any money, but there is the opportunity for authors to expand their reader base.  With a revised edition of Dead Serious: A Book for Teens About Teen Suicide slated for publication in 2017, I need all the readers I can round up.

So, discounting the sibling book made a lot of sense.  We authors are usually not very good at marketing, but, in this age of online public relations and high fees for “professional” publicists, we’ve had to suck it up and learn the tricks of the trade.

Before the discount, the sibling book’s ranking on Amazon was a dismal 72, or something like that.  I’d stopped checking months earlier but took a peek just before the holiday sale.

But then the good stuff happened, and the book shot up to #4.  That wasn’t without some help from a number of online book sites that feature free and discounted books.  Sites like and  (Cute name, eh?)

I was riding high there for a time and looking forward to the next week or two when a host of other sites would be featuring my book.  Many of the sites promote a title for free but usually just for a day. Sometimes, for an additional $7.95, the marketing can be extended for a week or more.  And then there are sites like and that can cost up to $49 with “promises” of reaching thousands of readers via their Twitter and Facebook accounts and sometimes with direct emails.

By the time I finished doing my due diligence, I’d signed up for 9 sites and waited to see if my book was “accepted” by another 2. (I’m still waiting.)

To date, it would take selling 220 copies of my book to break even.  Granted, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but my book sales have been sluggish and far below what I’d expected.

So, did I spend my money for naught?  What now?  Well, I’ve got new marketing “campaigns” lined up until the end of the month.  Who knows: maybe there will be a holiday rush when all those last-minute shoppers realize that they will be going home to spend time with family and need some help in surviving the potentially rocky connections with their siblings.  What with the election and all, there are bound to be even more hurdles this year.  Sister Sally may have voted for you-know-who.  Or Brother Dan may have pulled the lever for Jill Stein.  Or maybe the Bernie supporter decided to stay home.

Oy vey!

Stay tuned: when all the hoopla is over, when siblings have returned from whence they came, and the $.99 discount and online marketing have expired until the next go-round, I’ll tally up the numbers  and maybe even have a few bucks to spend on my book club’s next book for January.


Thanks For The Memories: Remembering Pearl Harbor

One of my favorite TV shows, “Sunday Morning” now with Jane Pauley at the helm, aired “Remembering Pearl Harbor” on Sunday.

The Japanese attack on December 7th,1941, sparked the defiant battle cry: “REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR.” And even 75 years later, the dwindling ranks of those who watched the attack happen remember it still. 

It was the “dwindling ranks” comment that got me going: tears in between eating my morning fried egg over easy and a piece of 7 Grain toast smeared with coconut oil.  It’s highly doubtful that my dad, who would have turned 100 this May, would have been around for the commemoration of this momentous naval slaughter that ultimately turned our isolationist country into a global world power.  My dad was a World War II vet: he didn’t see action in the Pacific but “over” Italy where he co-piloted a B24 toward the end of the war.  Still, when he was alive, I would pick up the phone on Pearl Harbor Day—to talk, to hear him reminisce about his time in the Army Air Corps, the precursor to today’s Air Force.

It was those stories and the ones my mother told of her days on the road as a World War II traveling wife that captivated me and, ultimately, led to my book, Thanks For The Memories: Love, Sex, and World War II.


In 2006, I flew to Sarasota where my parents lived for a book signing at their favorite bookstore.  My mother had called everyone she knew within a 25-mile radios.  Shame on any invitees who did not attend:  friends; relatives; or staff at the Sarasota Bay Club, the spa where she had her nails done weekly, the hair salon where her long-time stylist cut her hair. I stood in front of a packed room of maybe 100 people, talked about my experiences writing the book and read parts of several chapters.  My mother beamed as if her daughter had won the Pulitzer; my dad appeared moved by the whole deal and kept a low profile, his head down for most of the event.

I sold a lot of books that day.  Again, if an attendee walked out of the bookstore without a signed copy, I’m certain my mother never spoke to her again.  She was like that.  Very loyal with an elephant’s memory that never forgot what she perceived as a slight.

Today, as I sat watching the segment on “Sunday Morning,” the first-hand accounts of two survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack reaffirmed their commitment to keeping the history alive as long as they are still ticking in the face of the march of time.

Every day, memories of World War II—its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs—disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of aging, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. They are dying quickly—according to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, only 620,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were alive in 2016. (The National World War II Museum)

A native Hawaiian who was a little girl during the attack voiced her pessimism.  Most young people who visit Pearl Harbor today, she said, don’t have a clue as to what happened there, let alone what country attacked the United States.


The men and women of the “Greatest Generation” were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives.  At a time when we have an all-volunteer military with a handful of Americans fighting and protecting the U.S., how would young people respond if they were drafted to go to war—their only way out; psychological discharge, flat feet, a broken back, or a Tweet from Mr. Trump?  Would young married women hit the road, crisscrossing the country, to live in dusty, no-count towns for two months a shot before moving on, just for the chance to spend a little time with their husbands?  Would today’s young women, like 18 million women during the war, either go back to work or to work for the first time or join the military where they could not fight but volunteered as nurses, administrators, secretaries for the big brass?

I wouldn’t bet on it

To hear my parents’ voices and some of their experiences during World War II, I listen to the following segment on National Public Radio’s “Day To Day,” recorded on December 7, 2006.  The segment helps keep me connected to them and to the “Day of Infamy” which is, according to many historians, the most important day in American history.



Pros and Cons of the $.99 Book

Well, here it is holiday time—time for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Shop Your Local Stores . . . The list continues.

So, what’s an author to do?  The goal, of course, is to expand readership and sell books.  When the standard social media PR seems to have turned into a steady but unimpressive drip, the author faces a dilemma:  sell your book for full price (in, my case, a whopping $7.99 for an ebook) or discount the book to a meager $.99 for a limited time in the hopes that a new cadre of readers will plop down their change and buy the book.

I decided to take the plunge: my book is on sale now for $.99.  My rationale?  There must be folks out there who want to better understand their sibling connections.  There must be brothers and sisters out there who think gifting an ebook during the holidays makes a terrific (and inexpensive) gift.  There have to be potential readers who’ve held off downloading the book but may be motivated now.

Alas, slapping a $.99 sticker price for The Sibling Connection: How Siblings Shape Our Lives is just the first step.  I mean, who will know about the sale?  You’ve clubbed followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin . . .  By now, after a year, they are sick and tired of tweets and posts about everything sibling.  Believe me, I’ve had to dig hard to find new takes on a single theme.

So, yes, I’ll let those followers know.  But it’s time to spread my wings.  What’s next?  What’s next is signing up—sometimes for free, sometimes not—for as many recommended online book sites that promote discounted and free books to what they promise are thousands and thousands of potential readers.  Finding the best sites isn’t always easy but, as is often the case, there are sites like “Best Promotion Sites 2016” geared toward authors.

So, I’ve spent hours filling out forms, writing my biography as a writer, descriptions of my book, online bookstores that currently sell my book . . .  And who knows what the increased sales may be?  Sure not me.  The #1 site on this list is BookBub.  Yes, listing there which, I read, is not a guarantee costs money.  Lots of money.  The estimate to list/promote my non fiction book about family relationships is almost $500.  Are they kidding?  I’ve only made $500 in royalties so far after handing off 10% to my distributor, Bublish.  So, BookBub is out!

Other recommended sites such as Book Reader Magazine, Discount Book Man, Book of the Day, Just Kindle Books, Your Book Promoter and more are often happy to list your book for one day for free but offer other paid programs for as low as $7.95.  For example, Book of the promises the following:

  • 3 times as much traffic as Unfiltered.
  • Your cover and description will be included in our newsletter.
  • Posts will be sent to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
  • Your book gets a full page on our main site with no external ads.
  • Displayed in the category of your choice.
  • Your book page can include video and links to Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo.
  • You’ll be featured on the Front Page for at least one day.
  • You’re eligible for the Trending and Top Ten displays.
  • Your book will appear in our slider at the bottom of every page.
  • If you have more than one book on our main site, they’ll be cross-referenced at the bottom of each book’s page.
  • You can post an author profile with links to social media and your website.
  • You can use our automatic interface to announce a sale on the Special Offers page. (Also adds a sticker on your book’s page.)

You’re eligible for our Native Advertising Program, a 21-day tour around our site. (Additional charge.)

Of course, it’s an additional charge,  I have no idea what a “Native Advertising Program” might be (selling to Native Americans?), but I’m going to take a pass.

So, what the heck?  I’ll have to sell 8 books to break even, but it’s worth a shot.

While I can’t monitor the success of this listing and others on most online sites, I can check my ranking on Amazon.  Alas, when I looked this morning, my ranking had dropped since last week before I signed up for these free and not-so-free book promotion sites.  Not an encouraging start.  In fairness, most of the sites have not yet listed my book.

This is just one more wait-and-see stabs at selling books.  Authors who dreamed of sitting in some delightful, peaceful space and just writing, have another thing coming.  The work of a successful author is never done.  Unless she is lucky enough to have an aggressive publisher who thinks it can make some money off of your book, you are stuck:  Either do the marketing or settle for a job well done but one that floats out there in the ethernet all by itself.