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Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Get Published Today which has been called the “road map to publishing success.”
AME was the first book publicity firm to successfully implement the use of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and web sites to promote speaker, business owners, and authors. They have revolutionized Internet marketing by implementing the use of “street teams” to go online and create a viral buzz for an author. These unique campaigns have helped launch 11 books onto the New York Times bestseller list in the last 24 months.
MO: What inspired you to start Author Marketing Experts?
Penny: Actually it’s kind of funny, or not. I got laid off and was just ready for something new. I sort of call myself the accidental entrepreneur because I never set out to do this. I always dreamed of being in the book world and I saw this Tsunami that was self-publishing and believed it would soon take over the market. I also felt that there wasn’t any marketing firm out there that was willing to spend the time with these newbie, first time published authors. I really wanted to dedicate my time and attention to that market because I felt it was going to be huge. Then print-on-demand came along via companies like iUniverse and Author House and the rest, as they say, is history. In the last 12 years we’ve managed hundreds, if not thousands of books. It’s been amazing and despite my early roots in corporate America, I never looked back!
MO: Why are business owners are going to have to be really selective where they spend their social media hours because in order to stand out?
Penny: Because there is so much that steals our time and attention (oooh, look, a butterfly) and not all of it is good or will actually drive our business so it’s not about being everywhere, it’s being everywhere that matters. Business owners need to be discerning so, for example, if your audience isn’t on Facebook then don’t go there, same for LinkedIn and the latest online addiction: Pinterest.
Business should look at where the conversation is and go there. That’s the key. If they aren’t sure how or where to find the conversation then they need to start following their competition and see where they are going.
MO: What’s been one of your most favorite marketing campaigns that you’ve worked on?
Penny: Wow, that’s sort of like picking my favorite child! We’ve had a lot of fun campaigns so it’s not really the campaign, it’s the moment. Like when Honda Retweeted one of our authors and that tweet helped up gather some huge buzz for this campaign, or when our 80+ year old author who knew nothing about the Internet (and didn’t even want to be online) got asked to blog for Entrepreneur magazine online after we pitched him there. Now he loves it by the way!
MO: How have you been using Pinterest to promote your clients?
Penny: Yes, we’ve started to. Personally I adore Pinterest, I think it’s going to be even bigger than anything we’ve seen in recent years. A lot of people like to dismiss it, sort of like we dismissed Twitter 5+ years ago. Pinterest has staying power and it’s being driven by a huge buying demographic: women.
MO: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are keen to get published?
Penny: Do your research. Really. Make sure you have a market for your book, that’s #1. You would be surprised how many folks bring a book to market that has no market, really. Then, make sure you understand the publishing world because it’s changed so much in the last year. Consider your options. You no longer have to wait for a New York publisher to take you on, you can self-publish or go straight to eBook very easily. And if you want to test the market for a title, go eBook first. Less expensive and super easy to get a title to an audience.
MO: What books are currently on your nightstand or Kindle?
Penny: Oh gosh, I’m reading a ton of books. I just finished Launch by Mike Stelzner, and New Jacking by David Meerman Scott. I love learning, I can’t get enough of it!