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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Charity-Driven Promotion: Author Sets an Example

I've long reccommended partnering with a charity for the purposes of promotion, branding and--yes! making our little author-selves feel better.  When this arrived in my e-mail box from an old online friend Karina Fabian, I thought I'd get casual and share it with you. Perhaps it will serve as inspiration for your own charity-driven campaign, today.  It' is Thanksgiving!


I’d heard about serial stories on websites from a friend who has apparently made money at it—better than if she’d published in a magazine—so I decided to give it a try this year. I chose “Christmas Spirits,” a DragonEye, P.I. mystery, because of the season and because the next DragonEye, P.I .book, Live and Let Fly, comes out in April. (A little extra promotion and a chance for folks to fall in love with my characters.) However, since the story deals with poverty and homelessness, I wanted to do something other than raise some spending cash. Thus I decided to make it a charity fundraiser. 

I chose Food for the Poor, because I know it well and they have the added benefit of letting your choose what you give. A cow is an option, and since Vern makes jokes about how he appreciated a fat cow over a skinny virgin, it seemed an appropriate goal. I divided the story into nine segments, planned a start date for mid-November, and set a goal of posting every Tues and Thurs as long as I got $5 in donations between episodes. In the sidebar, I put up a paypal link. Also (since I’m promoting the books), I gave the option to make a bigger donation and get a copy of one of the DragonEye books. Finally, I sent notices to everyone and every group I’m in, plus to all the people who have blogged or interviewed me in the past.

It’s still too early to tell how successful the campaign will be.

I invite you to check out the story at http://christmasspirits.karinafabian.com to see how I set it up. And if you like it, please consider donating and telling your friends!

Find the story at http://christmasspirits.karinafabian.com. You can also get to it via my website, http://fabianspace.com. Look under the Christmas dragon for the link. You can learn more about Food for the Poor at http://www.foodforthepoor.org.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. Karina, interesting concept. I'd be interested to know how successful it is.

    This might be a useful (and good promotional strategy) way to help charities.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  2. Well, I didn't put a hit counter, so I can't tell you how many people are actually visiting the site, but we have raised enough money for a goat, and I've had several people post the letter on their blog, and even got a mini commercial on Among Women broadcast. I'm still waiting for a donation from someone I don't recognize--then I know I'm reaching a new audience and not just the usual Vern fans.

    However, I'm tickled about the goat, and am encouraged to do this again.

  3. That is really cute. That you know exactly what has been donated and that it's a GOAT! (- It makes the whole project even more personal!

  4. This is such a lovely idea, Karina. Congratulations on being able to send a goat. I wish you every success and hope you still have the chance to send that cow.
    Off to visit the site right now.


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