Book About Siblings

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Boy, am I frustrated.  My ebook, The Sibling Connection: How Siblings Shape Our Lives, has been available for almost 6 months. And while it hit #1 in its category on Amazon within the first week, it has now been demoted to #98.  Quite a fall from grace!

Sure, I can say that I’m a “best-selling author” of a book about siblings but, in truth, what does that mean?  Any author can hit #1 for a second, a minute, maybe a day, and call herself “best-selling.”

There are a lot of books out there about siblings, though a slew of them are written for kids (Aren’t you happy you have a new baby sister?  Not really!) or for parents (How to avoid favoring one kid over another—even though one is cute and smart and the other hates you?)  The challenge for me: How to find the niche about books written for adults who are most likely not new parents but siblings themselves.  These potential readers are the ones I’m after.

Where are you?  How can you find me?  Book marketing gurus have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves: use the SEO (for example, “book about siblings” in everything you write.)  Everything?  You mean, I can’t write about my other books?  About my take on this presidential fiasco?  About Mother’s Day?  Father’s Day?  Aging?

Nope.  I have to stick to the straight and narrow: book about siblings.

Can you imagine how limiting that can be?  How followers on Twitter soon tire of your mono focused tweets and links to your blog? How your Facebook “friends” are “un friending you en mass?  How your circle on Google+ hasn’t expanded in months?

How I get sick and tired of writing about my “book about siblings?”

And what about all those different angles on the topic that diminish by the day?  Yes, there are sources like news.google.com that can foster some ideas.  There is an occasional post on sites like the huffingtonpost.com that focuses on famous siblings.  You know, the ones: So and so’s brother drives a truck and lives just a block or two away from an urban slum but doesn’t have a jealous bone in his body, even though his famous sister makes millions of bucks.

Ah, isn’t it grand to be famous and have a sibling who is not but loves you just the same?  (Uh, I’m not sure there’s a lot of research out there to support that theory.)

So, on this Mother’s Day as I think of my own mother who died almost eight years ago, I also think about my two living siblings and how our relationships with each other were affected by our mom and all the good things (well, a few not so good) she did to foster strong connections between her children.  Her efforts were a major reason why I wrote my “book about siblings.”

Hats off to you, mom, even if I’m having a hell of a time expanding my ebook readership.  Maybe you’d have a few suggestions, if you were still around.

 

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CAN NEGATIVE PR BE GOOD?

Well, according to my first literary agent, Berenice Hoffman, there is no such thing as bad PR. Any review, negative or positive, is good.  The review gets your name out there (wherever “there” is), and we all know that name recognition (Today, we call it a brand) is what it’s all about.

I needed to remind myself of Hoffman’s pronouncement (Was she preparing me for the shit to hit the fan?) because I got a one-star review today on Goodreads.  I have to assume that the reviewer HATED the book, but she didn’t have the guts to say so.  She just clicked on one measly little star and sent her non review out into the world of social media.  Couldn’t she have shown a little mercy on this first weekday of the New Year and clicked on one more star?

Okay.  My day didn’t start well.  But I was determined not to let one illiterate nobody ruin my life. So, I went online.  And what do you know?  The first article (rather, study) I found was titled  “Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: When Negative Reviews Increase Sales.”  Bingo!  And if the authors of the study representing The Wharton School and Stanford didn’t know what they were talking about, who would?

Now, in all fairness, the study does give sway to situations when negative PR is . . . well, negative. But as I scanned the piece, I found this:

. . . negative publicity may increase sales when product awareness or accessibility is low.  If few people know about a book released by a new author, any publicity, regardless of valence, should increase awareness.

Well, I’m not exactly a new author but I’m surely not a household name.  (Hell, even friends have trouble spelling it.)  But, in the scheme of things, despite my dogged efforts to the contrary, those friends and a few strangers know about the book.  (Okay, so it made it to #1 on Amazon in its category for about a day or two.  Let me crow just a bit because, right now, I want to disappear into the proverbial sludge pile and never return.)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-bad-publicity-is-a-very-good-thing/

The study’s big wigs went on and analyzed book sales of books featured in the New York Times Book Review, and also did experiments in which people read reviews of both real and fictitious books and were then asked how likely they’d be to buy them. The results?

  • Positive publicity does have a positive impact. Overall, a positive review in the New York Times Book Review boosted sales of that book by 32 to 52 percent. (Oh, how I wish that someday . . .)
  • If you’re relatively unknown, there is no such thing as bad publicity. For unknown authors, a bad review actually increased book sales by 45 percent.  (Yippee!)
  • If you’re more established, bad publicity is actually bad. For authors that were better-known, a bad review resulted in a 15 percent hit to sales.  (No worries.)

http://jonahberger.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Negative_Publicity.pdf

You’ll excuse me now, won’t you?  I have some 5-star reviews to reread.

Ebooks & CYBER MONDAY

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Only 5 days to go until Cyber Monday.

In truth, I never paid a heck of a lot of attention to the day when last year Cyber Monday sales passed $2 billion in the biggest e-commerce day ever!  I just figured that my computer would freeze or that I’d spend way too much time sitting when I could be, say, walking in a Chicago snowstorm.  (Yep, it’s early but not too early for the Windy City which, by the way, was given that tag not because of the wind off Lake Michigan but because of the windy politicians.  Nothing much has changed.)

But, hopefully, the exorbitant sales on Cyber Monday bode well for ebook sales as downloads on those new Kindles or Nooks or other readers given as holiday gifts.

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Now, an ebook isn’t necessarily an easy sell for the holidays.  It isn’t something you can hold directly in your hands.  It doesn’t work as a stocking stuffer or a Hanukah gift wrapped in the traditional blue and white.

Nope, publishers and indies need to come up with something special: a hefty discount, a contest to win a Skype session with the author, a trip to New York for the holidays.

I’ve been racking my marketing brain now for weeks about how to hawk my new ebook, The SIBLING CONNECTION.  As I detailed in an earlier post, I’ve run the gamut of marketing tips.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017E04JBO

But there is something to be said for throwing your creation out there in the ethernet and giving up control.  Authors can’t twist potential readers into buying what they don’t want.  With luck, the title is reviewed by a big time online reviewer.  Or the book appears on Amazon’s best-sellers list. Or you have a ton of loyal friends and family members who, out of fear, will download your book.

In the end, you stop checking your Amazon ranking every hour like  you may check your weight. You stop counting how many “likes” and “follow” and “retweets” your posts receive.  You trust in the book gods and goddesses.

Or you give up the ghost and start writing your next book.