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