Caterpillars Do The Work

The late great George Carlin once said: "The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity."

Publicity and promotion, the two-headed snake all authors must confront.

When an author publishes a book, she, or he, is faced with the profound question that plagues all authors: to promote or not to promote. Some anonymous pundit said: "Two-thirds of promotion is motion."

Unfortunately, that seems to be true. We are all in motion, trying desperately to figure out something that works, something that sets us apart from the other thousands of authors pushing their respective books.

We spend countless amounts of energy on this effort. Too often, I fear we are doing nothing but motion, i.e., spinning our wheels. Still, we persist.

Every author from legacy print-published to ebook indie author ends up doing something in the form of promotion in hopes of making sales. We want to drive readers to brick-and-mortar stores to purchase books at the checkout counter or drive readers to the online book page to purchase with a click.

Irish writer Brendan Behan said, "All publicity is good, except an obituary notice." I don't know about that, but I do know that you must get your name out there, and preferably not as a posthumous author. You must bring attention to your books. Especially if you're an indie writer and publisher.

My Brainstorm

Here's the cover of Summer Sizzlers, the result of a little brainstorm I had about promotion. In each ebook I've published, I've included book excerpts from my friends as well as my current, and soon-to-be published, ebooks.

I approached my friends Cynthia Wicklund and Elaine Chase with this idea: "Why not put out a free book of novel excerpts?"

Within a week, Elaine had the cover designed, I drafted the ad copy with input from them, we submitted our excerpts, Elaine and Cynthia edited. Then Cynthia whipped it all into a formatted manuscript and published it on Smashwords where it's free.

Unfortunately, to get Summer Sizzlers on Kindle, the largest retailer of ebooks, we had to list it at a minimum price of $.99. Here's the blurb:

Ahhh…the warm summer sun, the intoxicating smell of coconut tanning oil and a sexy romance—what’s more fun than that!

Why sexy romances from a trio of bestselling authors, of course. Meet eBook bestseller Joan Reeves, eBook bestseller Cynthia Wicklund and Waldenbooks bestseller Elaine Raco Chase—they put their lovely heads together and came up with Summer Sizzlers—an entire book of free samples of romance novels just for you.

Summer Sizzlers makes it easy to pick the perfect romance to take to the beach or on vacation—especially if you're vacationing at home due to our slow-as-molasses economy.

I know we three authors are working hard to succeed as indie authors so I guess we're the caterpillars in Carlin's joke. Sure, we hope to turn into butterflies, but only time and sales will tell that tale.

Takeaway Truth

Grab a free copy of Summer Sizzlers or a free Kindle sample and let me know whether or not you think it's a good promotion idea.

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