Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
How Amazon Thinks, Why Brands No Longer Matter – and other insights from Digital Book World 2014
January 23, 2014by: Penny
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I was invited to Digital Book World to speak on a panel about what’s working when it comes to social media. But first, here’s a recap of some of the best tweets and I think you’ll really be surprised by some of the findings:


eBook Sales, how are we doing, really? Turns out, fiction really cleans up in this market. Here are the numbers:

60% of sales come from adult fiction with only 27% adult non-fiction, and where does the rest go? The smaller percentage goes to children’s books.

One of the biggest messages from this event that I heard over and over again was this: Everything works better when you have relationships with your reader.

This means reaching out to your reader, dialoging with them, thanking them for a review. Here’s how you can thank folks for their reviews on Amazon:


To that end,

Author name recognition important, but famous name is not enough. Fan loyalty is the key. #DBW14 Peter Hildick-Smith, Codex Group.

@Bookgal: Marketing is a convo w/the reader, focus on one reader not the masses. This makes the convo focused & interesting. It’s a big dif. #DBW14


And this tweet goes to pricing. This is why I don’t recommend that authors go full–price on their first book. You can charge more once you are a brand and have some books out there:

@mrmullin: People willing to pay 66% more in ebook for author with brand equity with a fan base, according to Codex. #dbw14

“Create more value than you capture.” Every author needs to apply this! Lessons from @Uber @timoreilly #DBW14


And what are major publishers looking for? They’re looking for big overseas sales. This per Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster:

“Looking forward to huge digital growth overseas. Markets are growing quickly and catching up fast.” per Carolyn Reidy #DBW14 #ebooks


In fact, the numbers of non-English speakers is pretty amazing:

#dbw14 2 billion #english speakers globally;1.4 are non native English speakers– @Nielsen


Annual Writing Income (survey done by F&W Publications) – I would think that this is average, though I would also say that when viewing this, you should consider the numbers. There are a lot more books self-published so the numbers are bound to be lower, especially when you figure that 1% of these authors publish a book that’s actually saleable.

How much do authors make?










According to Dana Beth Weinberg, who presented on reasons why authors would want to self-publish or why publishers should be worried that so many authors are going the indie route, here’s a slide she shared on “the math” behind indie royalty, vs. traditional. Her comparison at the bottom to the fans is juxtaposed to the comment earlier in the conference that an author needs 50,000 fans to make a difference:

Here's how much indie authors can make!









I took this picture because I think it speaks to our marketing, just in general. We often subscribe to old, outdated theories that really no longer work. It’s really important to learn what’s new and what’s actually working, versus just doing stuff because it feels productive. This session was led by Emanuel Rosen, author of The Anatomy of Buzz.

Why Your Marketing Doesn't Work










The above is particularly true when you consider the following, too:

How do consumers buy?

Consumers today are influenced by other people more than by marketing. Brand is getting less important, not more. @EmanuelRosen

When consumers rely on user reviews persuasion no longer works. This was particularly staggering. Remember how the old sales model was that you needed three tiers of pricing to get folks to buy the medium-priced item? That’s just not true anymore, according to Emanual Rosen, who gave a fascinating presentation about the new world of sales:

Sales theory was have 3 tiers of pricing: high, med, low – which will push more sales to medium price. That’s not true anymore.

Here is a great clip on how consumers buy, when market research makes sense, and when it doesn’t. Turns out, people are heavily influenced by other people:



Is branding important? Emanuel Rosen seems to disagree. Very interesting clip!

Brad Stone, author of Everything Amazon, was the highlight of the final day at Digital Book World and presented a very interesting session on Amazon. Here he talks about the Amazon mindset:




Lots of conversations were overheard in the hallway, one publisher had this to say: It’s too late to battle Amazon because we let them ride for so long. Making new startups really hard.

And this in a Tweet:

@Tom_Chalmers: Nice to see it said – ‘Publishers should be working from massive consumer databases and speaking directly to customer’ @MikeShatzkin


Are you on Wattpad? If you’re not, you should check it out, their traffic is tremendous. Here’s a quick tip for more exposure there:

@wattpad does very well in mobile. Readers selecting short stories. Romance, mysteries, sci-fi are huge.



On a panel about community, Sarah Wendell, co-founder of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books said this about why she does not force everyone to her website and why she posts in a variety of places online:


@smartbitches better to interact with people where they are, instead of bring them to site, so goal is different to website traffic

If you want to check out more tweets from this fantastic event, search the hashtag: #DBW14 on Twitter!


And Best query letter – Every!

2014-01-15 10.53.18









And finally, here’s a write up from my session:

Amazon Hack: A Quick Tip for More Reviews and Networking with Reviewers!
January 21, 2014by: Penny
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Did you know that you can thank your reviewers on Amazon and while saying “thank you” is great, here’s the bigger picture: It’s all about relationships. So reaching out to your reviewers is one way to do that. This quick video will show you how to network with reviewers, say thank you and – even offer them another book to review!

Amazon Hack: An Easy Way to Make Changes to Your Book
January 21, 2014by: Penny
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Over the years, authors have told me that they can never seem to reach Amazon. Well now you can. Here’s a simple trick for reaching the Amazon team to help you update your book page, add reviews, change categories, or whatever you need to enhance your book.



Crowdfunding Your Book – an interview with PubSlush!
January 20, 2014by: Penny
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Ready to get some funding for your book? This interview with Amanda Barbara of PubSlush will teach you the ins and outs of crowdfunding a book:

What does it take to raise a lot of money?
Which books do better in crowdfunding?
What does an author need to do to be successful with these types of programs?
Can you really make money to support your book promotion?
Do you need a book video to entice funding?

You’ll learn all of this and more!

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AME Blog Carnival – tips and tricks for writers and authors – January 20, 2014
January 20, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to the January 20, 2014 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. This week we have some good insights on book marketing, and writing. Thank you to all of this week’s contributors!

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme presents Simple, But Effective, posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “I recently discovered this interesting book marketing technique.”

writer in jammies2


Emma Lee-Potter presents How to Write a Plot, posted at Emma Lee Potter, saying, “On a sunny autumn morning I came up with the perfect plan and drove 40 miles through the stunning Cotswolds countryside to attend a Writing a Good Plot workshop at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.”

Chrys Fey presents How to Edit a Book, posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Every writer has their own technique to editing and there is no wrong way to go about it. All I can do is share how I edit my books to help you develop your own technique.”

Erica Verrillo presents A New Year’s Resolution – For Writers, posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “It’s January, and I can guess what you have resolved for 2014, because every writer makes the same New Year’s resolutions. Chances are, you will make the same resolutions next year, and they will be equally as futile. The problem is that you are setting your sights too low. If you are going to make a resolution, make it big. This is my New Year’s Resolution …”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of Jan. 13, 2014
January 17, 2014by: Paula
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Here are some hot tips via book marketing tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include how to tie current events to your marketing, what to post on social media, book sales for self-published authors, and more.



* How to Use a Call to Action in Social Media – Dos & Don’ts

Seven experts explain what a call to action is and provide examples of successful CTA posts in social media:

* Authors: What Should You Post on Social Media Sites?

Your best bet is to share a mix of information, and remember that your followers don’t want to read endless self-promotional posts:

* How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books

Social media can increase your visibility (and readership). One author shares his experience:

* Are You Making the Most of These 6 Critical Campaign Promotion Channels?

Your marketing has a better chance of being successful if you rely on multiple sources:

* Yikes. Self-Published Authors See Much Lower Sales

This chart presented at Digital Book World says it all: self-published authors have lower sales than traditionally published and hybrid authors:

* How Current Events Can Tie in With Your Marketing Strategy

When there’s breaking news and you’ve got some insights to share, here’s how you can get your moment in the spotlight:

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AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – January 13, 2014
January 13, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to the January 13, 2014 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. We have a good mix of posts on book marketing, publishing, and writing. Thank you to all of this week’s contributors!

Book Publishing:

Erica Verrillo presents Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: Everything I did wrong, Part 3: ePublishing posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Many first-time authors focus on publishing the way a pregnant woman focuses on birth. The soon-to-be mother thinks, “I’m going to have a baby!” not “I’m going to have a sullen teenager who hates me and bashes up my car.” I made a number of critical mistakes in publishing both my print and eBooks. If you don’t do what I did, your book won’t have so many accidents later on.”

marketing road sign2

Book Marketing:

Stefanie presents Book Marketing Timeline – Why A Book Marketing Timeline Is Important! posted at The Write One Blog.

Book Publicity

xmarkm presents Fear and Loathing on the Netgalley Trail posted at Running, Writing, and Chasing the Dragon, saying, “Netgalley is a popular resource for book reviewers. My article is a fun, edgy, quirky, and fresh look at writing book reviews and obtaining ARC copies of novels.”


Erik Matlock presents Some Advice for the Aspiring Blogger posted at Becoming a Better Man.

Chrys Fey presents How to Write a Novel posted at Write With Fey, saying, “This is a collection of links (some have summaries) from my blog that could aid you in the process of writing your first novel. Enjoy!”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of Jan. 6, 2014
January 10, 2014by: Paula
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Let’s kick off a new year with some inspirational and informative book marketing tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include how to write an effective book tweet, 50 websites authors should bookmark, ways to grow your Twitter following, and more. Best of luck with your 2014 promotions!


* 9 Ways to Grow Your Twitter Following (ethically)

Learn how to steer clear of bots and spammers and find good folks to follow you:

twitter bird and word bubble2

* 13 Top Authors Explain How to Get Your First Book Published

Not sure how to get started? Here are insights from 13 published authors on how they got their book published:

* 50 Websites Every Author Should Bookmark in 2014

Here are some terrific resources you can – and should – use:

* How to Write an Effective Book Tweet

Not sure how to use Twitter for book promotion? Learn what kind of tweets work, what hashtags to use, and more:

* Worst Ways to Pitch a Guest Post

Number one: Do not send an automated email. And there’s more:

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Become a Power Pinterest User: Quick and Simple Tips!
January 8, 2014by: Penny
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Pinterest Power Tips! I was just at NMX (New Media Expo) in Vegas and it was fantastic! I also spoke there which was such fun. I attended a session on Pinterest taught by Cynthia Sanchez ( – she was fantastic. We have two videos from her session and some fun Pinterest tools and tips I know you’ll love!

Pinterest board how-to’s: Regardless of how many boards you have, you should have at least 5 pins per board because that’s what shows up in your feed. If you have less, you’ll see blank spaces for pins and that just doesn’t look great.

Using Keywords: Use keywords in your pin description and your bio!

Image tips: Want to get more eyes to your Pinterest images?  Make the images tall instead of wide! That’s why info graphics do so well because they get more visibility in that they are so tall. Keep in mind that images are cut off at 1930 pixels and users will have to “click more” to see the entire image.

Some great Pinterest tools:

Need to manipulate images? Try using (love this site! and it’s free!)

Shot pin tool ( – If you’re pinning content from a website, sometimes the image choices aren’t great or, in some cases, non-existent. ShotPin lets you grab a snapshot of the website instead so you have a more relevant image to pin.

Who do you follow on Pinterest?

Follow only active pinners – how do you know if they are active? Click on their number of pins and see when they last pinned

Don’t forget!

Always add a URL to your Pin description and consider doing branded pins. Those are pins that carry your logo or branding!

Pin tips: It’s always good to pin to multiple boards. Don’t just focus on one board

Pinning video? Don’t just pin the video, grab a screen capture of the video and pin that with a link back to your website to help drive more traffic.

Repinning tips to get you more traffic!

How to maximize your SEO with your Pinterest profile

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Getting More Reviews
January 6, 2014by: Penny
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Get More ReviewsPeople ask me all the time: How can I get more reviews? Well, have you ever tried asking for them? No, I don’t mean from reviewers. I mean from your readers. And this isn’t family and friends because, though well-meaning, they may not have the time to review, or they may not know what to say. In future posts, I’m going to address some steps to help friends and family become savvy reviewers, for now, let’s focus on your readers. Let’s follow the love and by this I mean, go after folks who are already engaged with your book, who have gotten to the end and think, “I just loved this!”

Goodreads did a study last year and they found that 90% of all readers want to engage with the author at the end of the book. So certainly adding your contact info is important but also when your readers get to the end of your book, that’s the time to ask them for a review. Tell them how important their feedback is (that’s very true) and how important reviews are. We worked with an author and asked her to include a letter in the back of her book. This simple request netted her over 80 reader reviews, and though the book came out a year ago, she continues to get reviews for it.

Here’s a sample of the letter we used, and below is the book in question.


The Publicist Review Letter












Wondering about the book in question? Here it is:

Good luck!

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