by | Nov 10, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics, Social Media for Authors

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A newsletter all about SUCCESSFUL publishing and POWERFUL promotion.

Nov. 10, 2011 Issue #259


in this issue

— Note From The Editor

— The Power and SEO Behind Blog Commenting

— Feature Article: Eight Mistakes that Will Absolutely Kill Your Book!

— 50 Quick, Dirty, and Cheap Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence

— At Your Service: AME’s Book Marketing Resources

— Book Bits and Bites

— 10 Marketing Strategies for New Writers

— Quick App Builder

— Enter Now: The 2012 Indie Excellence Awards

— Link Building Tip

— Penny in the News!

— Hear What The Publishing Insiders Have to Say

— November Webinar: 10 Mistakes That Will Absolutely Kill Your Book!

— Get Yourself on YouTube!

— Hashtag Helper

— Who’s Talking About You?

— Social Media Snippet:

— Social Media Snippet:

— Reader Tip!


— ————————————————————

Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor


You are receiving this newsletter compliments of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. To opt out, please scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter.


Note From The Editor


Welcome to another issue of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter!


Dear Author,

I just returned from BlogWorld and all I have to say is: WOW. What a fantastic event it was, I absolutely loved it. BlogWorld is headed to NYC in 2012. Run, don’t walk, to this incredible Internet marketing event. It’s a geek’s paradise 🙂

Check out our Facebook wall, it’s packed with insights from BlogWorld, and keep an eye on my HuffPo blog, I’ll be posting some geek-inspired ideas there soon!

Now, on to our newsletter – and eh-hem, welcome to November. We’ve got a great newsletter for you, packed with tips and a fantastic guest expert sharing his insights on the ins and outs of bookcover design. You will love this piece!

Thanks again for joining us for another issue, we’re so glad you’re here!

Wishing you publishing success,

Penny, Paula, Amy, Bianca and everyone at Author Marketing Experts, Inc.


The Power and SEO Behind Blog Commenting


The first step in blog commenting is creating a plan and, of course, knowing who you’ll be engaging with. Here are a few ways you can get started:


Feature Article: Eight Mistakes that Will Absolutely Kill Your Book!


The covers we choose for our books are much more significant than many authors think. Over the years I’ve seen everything from a finely designed book cover, to one the author created himself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with designing your own cover – if you’re actually a cover designer. Otherwise, you should leave it to the pros.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with my friend and colleague Hobie Hobart to talk about the importance of book covers. I think some of his answers will surprise you!

1. How long does the average consumer spend viewing a book cover before he or she decides to buy or not buy the book?

Bookstore browsers spend an average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds studying the back cover before making a buying decision where your book goes straight to the cash register, not back on the shelf.

Online bookstores such as Amazon reduce the decision time even further. In mere seconds, your cover sings or is ignored among the other small thumbnail covers in the search genre.

Mobile devices display book covers and branding down to a small image about 58 pixels square!

John Willig, president and literary agent of Literary Services Inc., told me about his agency’s “3-Second Rule” which they use in evaluating any book submission. If the cover doesn’t grab them in 3 seconds they pass on it. Only 3 seconds!

2. What are the biggest mistakes you see in book cover design?

You want your book designed good, fast and cheap. The reality is that you can have only two of these three.

The fast-and-cheap combo is very popular right now but it produces substandard quality and cookie-cutter looks – not a winning combination if you want to sell a sizeable number of books or if you care how the book influences your brand.

You get a limited number of templates to choose from for your book cover. These book production “factories” have no time in the schedule or room in the budget to slow down and pay attention to quality or your image, let alone other important factors which influence the power of your cover.

The bottom line is when you pay dime store design prices, you need to expect dime store quality books.

3. Is it ever a good idea to put your picture on a book cover?

This is contingent on many factors so the initial answer is, it depends. It IS a good idea, and nearly mandatory, to use your picture on the front cover if you are a Barack Obama, an Oprah, or a renowned superstar. Many authors think that putting their picture on the front cover will make them famous. This is not necessarily so. Unless you are well known in the media, bookstore buyers will not accept your book which pictures you on the front cover. However, if you are selling exclusively to a tight niche where you are well known, or your intention is to start branding yourself to a specific market, your photo on the front cover or the spine can be an advantage.

4. What do bookstore book buyers look for in a book cover?

Bookstore book buyers want concise, quick information. They are very attuned to various aspects of their clientele and can instantly tell if that group would be interested in a particular book. The front cover (or spine, if displayed spine out) must lure them in with an attractive, compelling visual, and then a sizzling spot-on title which will hold their interest. The front cover works in a very subliminal way. Once the front cover draws the bookstore browser in, it is expected that the back cover will provide clear reasons why this book is right for them.

Nora Rawlinson, past Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly, says, “Why not judge a book by its cover? – Anyone who has sat through a sales conference can attest to the widely held belief that you CAN tell a book by its cover. And booksellers are as enamored of dust jackets as sales reps. In our study of booksellers’ assessments of publisher marketing efforts, 75% of the 300 booksellers surveyed (half from independents and half from chains) said that, of all the elements of the book itself, the look and design of the cover was the most important – The jacket is prime real estate for promoting a book.”

5. What distinguishes a bestselling, brand-building book from one that practically guarantees your book will never sell?

Though there are many answers to this question, the most important would be that the cover must absolutely make a connection between your book and your chosen target market. The colors, typestyles and images (if you are using some) must be compatible with the preferences of that market to elicit an immediate response that says, “Pick me!” The title and subtitle have to be concise and compelling. The clear visual reference to a series or previous bestseller, the format of the book (hardcover, softcover, large, small), the look of the inside page design, the width of the spine, the weight and feel of the cover stock – all of these and more need to be right to garner bestselling status and build a brand, and to avoid a garage full of dusty unsold books.

6. How did one of your self-published authors reach bestseller status (over 1,500,000 copies sold!) without being in a bookstore?

Our client, Ruby Payne of aha Process! self-published her book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” nearly 15 years ago with a completely homespun, generic cover. The colors were red, black and yellow with outdated silhouette artwork. She developed her marketing methods (which were brilliant) in an organic way, totally rooted in her desire to get the message out to as many people as possible. The book sold fairly consistently for many years. Then we redesigned the cover, maintaining the existing brand while lifting it from a down-home self-published look to the serious professional look of a major publishing house. Sales of the book soared with the dressed-up branding of the book and all relating marketing collateral. Although she had no desire to jump through the hoops necessary for placement in mainstream bookstores, Ruby was so good at getting her information out to those who wanted and needed it that eventually Barnes and Noble came to her and asked to carry her book because so many people around the country were requesting it. Today, this book IS in the bookstore and Barnes and Noble is her largest customer!

7. How can authors evaluate and know that their title and subtitle are clear, compelling and appropriate for their market?

Evaluating a title and subtitle must be done on two levels. First, it must clearly get the reader’s attention while in the midst of a multitude of other competing titles, and clearly answer the question: “What is this book about and what’s in it for me?” Second, it must deliver that message in an emotional and a rational way. The highly-successful publishing agent, Jilian Manus, told it to me this way: The title must be a “heart” message designed to elicit a powerful emotional response from the reader. The subtitle is a “head” message that informs the reader as to the primary benefit he or she will receive from buying and reading the book. Together the title and subtitle must quickly convey the features, benefits and advantages of your book, and that needs to be understood in 8 seconds or less. If the connection is not made by then, your chance of selling your book to that reader is probably gone forever.

8. How can I be sure I’m choosing the right cover design?

Start by selecting a professional designer who has solid experience in creating bestselling cover design that does its intended job.

Second, if you feel a need to gather opinions about your proposed cover design, do so only from a qualified focus group composed of prospective readers in your market segment who are interested in this specific topic. As an author, you are in your forest and it’s easy to seek input from people you know, like your spouse, friends and co-workers. They care for you and want what’s best for you, so it’s safe to trust their advice, right? WRONG! In reality, their opinions are pretty much useless. They are most likely not your target audience so what they think, well, it simply doesn’t matter. If you develop your book to make your friends and family happy, you end up with a book which won’t appeal to your buying audience.

Third, when surveying your focus group, do not ask “What do you think about my cover design?” Ask this question, and this question only: “Would you buy this book?” Then sit back and wait for the answer. You are not soliciting opinions about design. Don’t even mention it. You only want to know if the cover compels them to buy.

About Hobie Hobart

For over 25 years, Hobie Hobart and his partner Kathi Dunn (known as one of the country’s top book cover designers) have created success tools like bestselling book covers and information products that authors, speakers and experts use to build their brands and business empires. Hobie’s company, Dunn+Associates Strategic Design and Branding for Authors and Experts, worked for six years with Tony Robbins, developing seminar promotional materials and products including Tony’s legendary infomercial product, the PowerTalk series.


50 Quick, Dirty, and Cheap Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence


These are simple yet effective methods for improving your outreach and engagement:


At Your Service: AME’s Book Marketing Resources


Join 17,000+ and “Like” our AME Facebook Page for marketing articles and tips, YouTube videos from our book marketing channel, notices about upcoming webinars, Publishing Insider shows, and more:

Want Book Marketing Content? Visit the articles page on our AME website and you’ll find a range of articles by Penny, which may be used along with her byline (provided at the top of the page) at no cost. The complete list is at

Check out “Blogword Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere” and much more on AME’s Book Marketing Channel on YouTube. New videos are added regularly to keep you up to date on all things book marketing!


Book Bits and Bites


Fun Reads – 10 Wonderful Fake Books by TV Characters:

Good for a Laugh – Awkward Family Pet Photos – Now a Book:

Beyond Bookmarks – The Weirdest Things Found in Books (razor blades?):

Furry Literary Friends – Bookstores with Cats:


10 Marketing Strategies for New Writers


In business, success hinges on a successful marketing campaign. This also applies to new writers who want to take their talent of writing and make a profitable business with it. To help new writers who may know nothing about marketing and business, here are 10 marketing strategies for new writers.

1. Make your site reflect your writing style

This is a unique marketing strategy for writers. When people search for writers, they often judge the content on their website. The potential clients are looking for a certain style that matches their vision. Therefore, always use your own style of writing when creating content to promote your business; do not simply rewrite other writer’s content.

2. Create an eBook

Create a free downloadable eBook that potential clients can read. The main goal of your eBook should be to provide writing samples and help your clients understand your full abilities. You may write short fiction stories, or you may write in-depth technical articles. It mostly depends on the type of clients you wish to attract.

3. Use agency sites

Starting out, not many people are going to know you are a talented writer. You should greatly consider joining an agency site that acts as a middle man, connecting writers with clients. Once you build a client list, focus on your own site, and ask your clients to promote you to their friends who need writers.

4. Create a full bio

Before people do business with other people, they want to know with whom they are doing business. Create a full bio on your website; make sure you include pictures, location, contact information, reviews and other important information.

5. Create business cards

Do not limit yourself to the Internet. There are plenty of brick and mortar business owners than can use the help of a writer. Many writers construct public relations articles to help their client’s image. You should give everyone you meet a business card, and let them know what type of writer you are and how you can help them achieve their goals.

6. Promote yourself on social media sites

Social media marketing is unarguably one of the best marketing methods. Every social media site has pros and cons, so be sure to create an account on each major site, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even YouTube. Experiment to see how each site can benefit your business.

7. Use articles

Write and place articles on high-quality article directories. High-quality article directories are usually directories that do not compensate their contributors in any way; this cuts down on the amount of low-quality or spam articles. Make sure you link back to your site in the articles you submit.

8. Network

Do not be afraid to meet new people. You never know who will come along and greatly help your business succeed. By constantly meeting new people, you can exponentially increase your customer base. Your business depends on the relationships you make with people.

9. Post ads

Take advantage of free ad sites, such as Craigslist. You may even want to post ads in the local paper. Many people still search classified ads to find services.

10. Create a Google business listing

If you want to take your writing to the next level, create a free business listing on Google. Make sure to include important information that can help your listing reach the top result for your industry in your area. People who search for freelance writers in your area can come across your business listing and contact you for your services.

Take advantage of these 10 marketing strategies, and eventually, you will grow your business and won’t need to do so much marketing.

Bill Smith is a contributing writer at


Quick App Builder


If you’re ready to build an app for your book, business, or service, here’s a website that might be of some help!


Enter Now: The 2012 Indie Excellence Awards


The Indie Excellence Awards contest is taking submissions!

NIEA celebrates overall excellence, including design and promotional text. To enter, please send one copy of your book per category entered. Books with publication dates of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 are eligible. Books published anywhere in the world may be submitted as long as they are in English and can be purchased in the United States.

For more information, expanded category listings and entry forms please visit:


Link Building Tip


Did you know that the quantity of your links matters less than the quality? Bad links can actually lower your search traffic. What does it mean to have a “bad link?” Essentially it means a link that doesn’t rank highly enough or isn’t relevant to your topic.


Penny in the News!


* ran Penny’s article “Six Simple Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel!”

* Penny was quoted in the article ” Master of Your Domain (Name): 8 Ways to Tune Up Your Company Website,” for Small Business Online Community:

* Penny has a series on book marketing underway at BookBuzzr:

* Keep up with Penny’s latest publishing/marketing piece for Huffington Post:


Hear What The Publishing Insiders Have to Say


Be in the know and hear what the publishing insiders: Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. – and her guests – has to offer in terms of tips and insights into the industry! Listen here. Publishing Insiders is now available on iTunes, so you can keep up with the show wherever you go!

Upcoming show:

How and Where to Sell Your Self-Published Book on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern
Do you know about the different distribution tools a self-published author needs to make his or her book available for sale? We’re talking Distribution vs. Fulfillment vs. POD vs. DIY. This show, with special guest Amy Collins, will explain all you need to know as a self-published author.

Shows available for download at

* Speaker Tips for Authors
* How to Get Your Book Reviewed
* All About Ghostwriting
* Publishing Insights from Ellora’s Cave
* Re-Purposing Your Content
* The Future of Author Events
* Selling Your Book in Bulk and Special Sales
* What Authors Must Know About Book Cover Design
* Literary Agents and Their Evolving Role in Publishing
* The Dos and Don’ts of Distribution, Parts 1, 2 and 3
* SPECIAL GUEST Seth Godin: Poke the Box
* Smart Self-Publishing: Why Book Design & Editing Matter
* Smart Self-Publishing: Making Money with eBooks
* Smart Self-Publishing Series: Becoming Your Own Publisher
* Branding: The Secret to Selling More Books
* Secrets to Getting Your Book Into Libraries
* Getting Your Book into Bookstores with Elaine Wilkes
* This Book Will Make You Money with special guest Jim Kukral
* How to Make Money on Twitter
* A Self Publishing Success Story
* From Blog to Book
* The Digital Book Revolution
* Powerhouse Promotion with Marci Shimoff
* eBooks: the Savior of Publishing or the Foe? with Joe Konrath
* Special Guest Mari Smith, queen of Facebook
* All Things Twitter! with Warren Whitlock


November Webinar: 10 Mistakes That Will Absolutely Kill Your Book!


When: November 11, 2 p.m. EST, hosted by Hobie Hobart from Dunn+Associates Strategic Design and Branding for Authors and Experts

If you’re serious about your success, if you truly want to sell a ton of books, attract more customers, establish yourself as the leading expert in your industry, land more speaking and consulting engagements, solidify your brand, and build a profitable business empire, this presentation is for you!

In this one-of-a-kind session, Hobie Hobart will reveal:

* How to get the attention of agents and publishers.

* What distinguishes a bestselling, brand-building book from one that practically guarantees your book will never sell.

* How one self-published book attained bestseller status (over 1 million copies sold!) without being in a bookstore.

* Ways to resuscitate an old book or product that is withering-on-the-vine and transform it into a vibrant, new profit center.

* Tips to evaluate and know that your title and subtitle are clear, compelling and appropriate for your market.

* An incredibly simple method of leveraging your book for high-end specialty sales.

* How to brand your social media accounts for maximum leverage.

How to register:

Send an email to and put “10 Mistakes” in the subject line and that’s it! We’ll get you signed up and you’ll receive an email with the log-in information the morning of the webinar.

For over 25 years, Hobie Hobart and his partner Kathi Dunn (known as one of the country’s top book cover designers) have created success tools like bestselling book covers and information products that authors, speakers and experts use to build their brands and business empires. Hobie is a respected book coach who helps authors through the maze of self-publishing seamlessly and cost-effectively. Hobie’s company, Dunn+Associates, worked for six years with Tony Robbins, developing seminar promotional materials and products including Tony’s legendary PowerTalk infomercial series. They also produced the branded marketing materials for Mark Victor Hansen’s Mega events for over five years. Their prestigious list of clients also includes Deepak Chopra, Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield, John Edward, and Sylvia Browne, as well as HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Prentice Hall, Hay House, and a host of publishing giants.


Get Yourself on YouTube!


We all know that Google is the #1 search engine in the world but did you also know that YouTube is #2? Are you on YouTube? If not, you should be. Get yourself a channel and start shooting today!


Hashtag Helper


Do you use Hashtags when Tweeting? If you don’t you should. Check out which tracks the most popular hashtags so you can figure out which ones are best for your campaign!


Who’s Talking About You?


Ready to see which of your Tweets got the most interaction? Check out


Social Media Snippet:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ is a URL shortener (like but packs in real-time sharing and usage stats into the mix. Very handy.


Social Media Snippet:


Have you ever wanted to get an idea of how a competitor’s website is performing? Well, now you can at


Reader Tip!


If you’ve got a Reader Tip you’d like to share, please send it to with the subject line “reader tip.” Submissions should be 75 words or less.




Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is a full-service book marketing, promotion, and publicity company. We serve authors at all stages of marketing and promotion. We offer a full range of packages and services to choose from.

To see a price list or schedule a free consultation, send your e-mail to with the subject line “Author Services Info.” You can also visit our website at


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