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Publishing is changing all the time, but so is marketing.
And just as Amazon changes their algorithms, so Google changes theirs. Discoverability is a function of many things, and in today's interview, I discuss these aspects with Penny Sansevieri, from Author Marketing Experts.
Penny Sansevieri is the author of 10 books, a professional speaker and book publicist at Author Marketing Experts. She has just rewritten and re-released Red Hot Internet Publicity – an insider's guide to promoting your book on the internet.
In the interview, we discuss:
- How Penny got started 13 years ago helping self-published authors with marketing. Back then, self-publishing wasn't the trendy thing and now it's the new black. Everyone is interested. The internet and ebooks have dramatically changed the way authors can reach readers. The good news is that everyone can publish a book. The bad news is – everyone can publish a book.
What has changed in marketing in the last few years?
- Penny has just rewritten and rereleased Red Hot Internet Publicity and we talk about what has changed in the last 6 years. Social media is not a fad. It has become part of our culture and is a new way of discoverability and is now mainstream way of connecting, as well as marketing. We mention Second Life, which was a fad a few years ago. But what hasn't changed is the connection with the consumer. “Normal” people are now on social media, your customers, your readers and it's more of a channel that's in the fabric of your life.
- We discuss the changes in content marketing, Google Search with Panda and Penguin and Search Engine Optimization. How Google's algorithms are now more like a person and can't be tricked with keyword stuffing and ‘back hat' SEO techniques. You can't buy SEO ranking anymore, you have to earn it with great content and becoming an authority.
- This is certainly important for non-fiction authors who can use content marketing to get traffic and potentially sales. It does require consistent work over time to produce quality content and earn attention. Yes, it's hard work! [But personally, this approach has changed my life!]
- Content doesn't just have to be text articles you write. It can be interviews with experts, a curated list of discussions on a topic, a report from an event, a video on YouTube. Create content that your target market are interested in. Consistency is critical. Video and multimedia is essential to stand-out and make sure they are shareable. Penny talks about Klout, a scoring system for influence.
- If you're feeling overwhelmed, master one thing at a time. Don't try to do everything at once. [I started with a blog, then got into podcasting, then twitter and then YouTube – all spaced out over about a year]. At the beginning, it takes a while but once you get the hang of things and master the learning curve, it becomes natural and easy. It takes a lot less time than you think.
Google Plus – not just another social network
- Google Plus as a network is increasingly important. You can claim your Author profile so that Google recognizes you as the author of your content and your authority grows. For me, the growth of G+ in the last 6 months has overtaken Facebook, which has which taken me years to grow. Penny recommends one update a day and link out to some other content. Again, it doesn't take long, but it is VERY helpful for getting ranking for your own content. You can use #tags like Twitter to follow conversations. You can do Hangouts – video chats – which can then post to YouTube. Make sure you sort out your Bio with all your links. There's so much functionality and it is improving all the time.
- The difference between marketing and sales. Marketing is about visibility and it is generally cumulative. There's no immediate direct link from a tweet or a G+ post to a book sale. Figure out where your market is and hang out with them. Become visible and social media can sell books over time. You should also encourage people to sign up to your email list at the back of your book. The visibility from all your effort helps to sell books.
- All this can be very hard at the beginning, but it gets easier. Let's face it – this is a long term career! For fiction authors, it's about content in the form of multiple books. Penny explains an example of a romance author providing content.
- Personally, I do all my own marketing but I get asked every day to “do” marketing for other authors. I don't provide this service but Penny and her company, Author Marketing Experts, can do this for you if you don't want to do it yourself. You can get a personal, targeted marketing approach for your situation, so please go talk to Penny if you're in this situation (and tell her I sent you!)
- Penny also has a little book ‘How to sell your book by the truckloads on Amazon' which goes into the keywords, categories and what you need to know about the algorithm.
Do you have any questions about book marketing? Please leave any questions or comments below.
You can find Penny at Author Marketing Experts and also on twitter @bookgal
Daniel Escurel Occeno says
Apple is the current trendsetter of the future with technology. The sales of the IPad and followed by the rest with tablets were an indicator of the future. But Apple could go on a different direction with their new products decreasing the eBook markets. Would other companies do the same? Only time will tell. At this time it is bullish, but after seeing what Apple wants for its future, we writers might not be as involved. If you want a conspiracy theory, it is the rise of the self-publisher having instant success because of the new technology. Like the USB drive for storage, I worry about the future of eBooks if Apple moves the computer industry away from the Internet.
I believe Apple WAS the trendsetter, but don’t feel that’s the case any longer. Other companies have joined them, and even surpassed them, in technological advances, device availability, and user interactivity. I don’t think there is any one company right now (i.e. with the current tech out there) that has the power to turn the tides of anything technological.
The majority of ebook readers sold today are supported by Android and the majority of ebooks read are on android devices. While I don’t think even Android (Google) could change the future for writers any time soon, I do believe they have the highest influence (possibly with Apple second, depending on how you look at it.
There is no way to tell what the next year, 5 years, or 10 years will hold, but I think the balance of power is a lot more evenly distributed than ever before, and I think that’s a good thing for us as writers and consumers of technology.
Cassandra Charles says
This was a great podcast. I also don’t mind the marketing side to writing. I think it’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t and try new things out. I’ve only dipped my toes with Google +, but I really like it. It seems relatively easy to use, too.
I also think that writers should do what’s best fot them. If you don’t want to be on every new social media platform, then simply don’t be. Choose what’s best for you, and, more importantly, what’s working for you and move on to the next, or none none none if that’s what you want. After all, you don’t want to be all things to all people and end up being nothing to anyone.
Joanna Penn says
absolutely Cassandra – you have to find your niche. I still love twitter and I increasingly use G+ but I have never got on that well with Facebook 🙂
Cassandra Charles says
It seems as though I went a bit crazy with the word ‘none’!
This was, by a large margin, the best episode of your podcast! And I say that with having listened to it for a while now.
I think in many ways, it answers a lot of questions that are constantly asked online with very little answers, or maybe it’s just that times change so fast the answers are not still right. I will say that social media is a job in it’s own and I see a lot of people doing it wrong. When I started trying to create a following, I did so by doing research (which is how I found this podcast) and I followed what I learned in a way that may not get me 1000’s of followers fast, but ones that are actually interested in what I have to say. The same goes for my Google+.
I have friends who wonder why I only have 100+ people who circle me on my google+ while they have 10,000. Then again, he’s not trying to sell himself or anything else, just gain people to pay attention to him, even if they don’t actually care.
I will say that the community feature in Google+ is absolutely amazing! I have gotten more interaction, feedback, comments from people in there than any other social network (combined, actually).
Thanks again for this (and all) episodes)
Daniel Escurel Occeno says
The article below is not positive news for the industry.
[“As sales plunge, Barnes & Noble says it will stop making Nook tablets; e-readers live on” by Laura Hazard Owen JUN. 25, 2013]
Apple is the trendsetter. Their move away from eBooks could cause more markets to close. The tablets and e-readers (along with the desktop home computers) are the doors to the eVenues on the Internet.