My Book About Brothers and Sisters and “The Jenny Jones Show”

Books About Brothers and Sisters

Yep, I’m still at it.  The drumbeat continues.

I could sit on my laurels (The Sibling Connection did reach #1 on Amazon in its category for a few days), but that ranking has slipped like an eel right through my fingers.

Progress, I’ve been warned, is slow. An author must be patient.  And blog and post and tweet and stand on street corners with books in hand every darn day.  The competition out there is brutal.  At last count, there were 510 million ebooks sold in 2014.  Heck, I just want a miniscule piece of that pie!  Five thousand?  Ten thousand?  Do I hear twenty thousand?

I’ve learned a lot about online marketing and promotion.  The basic principles are the same as those back in the Dark Ages.  Only now, there are all kinds of apps and nifty computer programs and paid consultants out there to help entrepreneurs of all stripes sell some stuff.

Sure, one needs a good web site.  But that alone ain’t going to do it.  Key words.  Social media.  Email addresses of people who, in my case, actually buy books.

Forget about working on your next project.  Social media is a full time job.  Oh, and did I mention fostering relationships with market makers online and somehow getting them to jump on your bandwagon when they’re most intent on selling their own product.

“It’s like a cocktail party,” one CEO told me.  “You need to network.  To schmooze.”

Alas, I’ve never been one to walk into a room of strangers and jump right in.  I’m much more comfortable standing in a corner, sipping a strong drink, and observing all the glad handers that missed their calling and should have considered going into politics.

Politicos, as we well know from this campaign cycle, repeat the same stump speech a zillion times until they can deliver the goods in their sleep.  We voters can, too.  Trump wants to build a wall.  Cruz wants Christian values to save this country.  Bernie wants a revolution.  Hillary wants to get Bill off the campaign trail.

No “Make American Great Again” for me.  All I want is to sell a few copies of The Sibling Connection.  I mean, how hard can that be?  A short, interactive, often humorous ebook for all of $7.98—and that’s not when it’s on sale for half price.

I’ll drill down on those key words.  “Books about brothers and sisters.”  “Books about siblings.”  “Siblings. “Sibling Rivalry.”  What have I forgotten?  I’ll use one of the key word strings every time I write anything.

That in itself is harder than writing the damn book.  I mean, how many blog posts about siblings can a sane person write?

I should have known!

I should have known!

I remember once when I was promoting the first edition of The Sibling Connection.  (That’s right: a “book about siblings.”)  I was a guest on “The Jenny Jones Show,” a national TV fiasco one baby step above “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Anyway, I’d been brought on to talk about siblings.  Okay, so far, so good.  I was always up for a national audience.  When I arrived at the station, the makeup artist sat me down and began applying more lipstick and eye shadow and blush than I’d used when I played the clown in the fifth grade play.

And then Jenny made an appearance.  “We’ve got a great segment.  Three siblings, one of whom is much better looking than the other two.”  She had to be kidding!

“Your job is to encourage the sibs who are not as attractive to talk about their feelings.”

I wanted to hop off my chair in the Green Room, wipe off the hussy makeup, and head for the front studio door. Still, maybe I could turn this thing around and make the salient points about the book.  I’d turn the tables.

So, I ignored as many questions as I could.  Things were going well . . . at least, for me.

During the break, Jenny pulled me aside.  “I think we have something here.  Real fireworks.  We just have to prod these guys to spill the beans, to talk about their jealousy, feelings of poor self-worth . . .  Make it as dramatic as possible.  That’s what our audience wants.”

What had I gotten myself into?  I’d sold my soul in the hopes of hawking a few books.

“I’m not a therapist.  I’m just an author.”

That didn’t faze her.

I wanted to throw up.

After the break and a good deal of hyperventilating (Damn!  I’d told everyone I knew to tune in), I slunk back on stage.  Why did I wear a bright blue dress instead of black?

The rest of my segment was a blur.  A few days later, I received a copy of the tape.  My curiosity trumped (Here he is AGIAN!) my disgust.  With my eyes half closed, I watched.

Damn.  If I didn’t pull it off.  The physical appearance thing went by the wayside.  There was no dramatic breakdown.  If the camera had panned over to Ms. Jones, I’m sure she had a scowl on her face and rued the day her producers ever invited me on the show.

I don’t know if any viewers or members of the audience bought the book.  I doubt it.  If I’d been promoting a romance, maybe even fantasy, I might have made a splash.  But a non-fiction book about brothers and sisters? Not a chance.




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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.

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.


Your Sibling Ties

I’ve written The Sibling Connection.  (Book is 50% off through November.)

(BTW, it was a bear coming up with a title.  These days, key words can make all the difference.  They position a book on Amazon and all the other book sites.  They can determine where your book appears.  No longer can an author just go with it when it comes to a book title.)


An artist designed what I think is a stellar cover.

I redid my web site header.

I’ve posted and boosted on Facebook.  A zillion times.

I’ve tweeted until I’m all tweeted out.

Linkedin has been a trusted tool.

I’m “attending” yet another webinar on marketing books.

I have written what are called Book Bubbles on

I’ve begged friends, family, experts, interviewees to write a customer review on Amazon once they’ve downloaded and read the book.

I’m waiting for five 5-star reviews until I can sign up for a spiffy web program that promotes ebooks to the “world.”

I’ve contacted sibling groups and organizations around the globe.

I’m about to go back to Google+ and maybe even Instagram.

What else is an author to do?

Well, I’ll turn to you.  Give me some love.  Some feedback.  Some of your stories.

I need some juice.  Some energy to make it through the slog of marketing a book on an almost non existent budget.


How’s it going?  Are you and your siblings close?  How did your childhood impact your connections as an adult?  In what ways do you think your siblings have shaped your life?  How has your relationship changed over the year?  What happened when a parent was ill or dying?  Did the circumstances bring you closer?  Further apart?  How do you get along with your sibling’s spouse?

The questions are endless.  But they are important.  They help me find different takes on what this longest-lasting human relationship is all about.

So, give me some love.  Give me your sibling stories.