Friday, February 23, 2018

Interview with writer Penny Sansevieri

Writer Penny Sansevieri joins me today to chat about her brand-new non-fiction book, How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon.

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She is the author of fourteen books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet."

Welcome, Penny. Please tell us about your current release.
The book is about how to understand and work within the Amazon algorithm system. Which means getting more exposure for your book amidst the millions of other titles on Amazon. In almost every case, the author selects their wrong keywords, which won’t help their book show up in search. So this book teaches authors about keywords, categories and other things authors can do to boost their exposure on Amazon for their book(s).

What inspired you to write this book?
Mostly it was curiosity. I’ve worked a lot in the SEO market (search engine optimization) and it struck me one day that I believed the Amazon site worked the same way. Also, with 4,500 books published every day, authors need to know how they can master this online giant.

Excerpt from How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon:
To start off, let’s talk about what this book is and what it isn’t.

Many Amazon gurus out there will tell you that theirs is the quickest, easiest, and most efficient way to make sales on Amazon. And while I don’t necessarily doubt their expertise, I’ve learned through the hundreds of classes I teach and the research I’ve done that if you don’t start with a basic understanding of what Amazon is and isn’t, your book or product will never gain traction.

Though many experts talk about keywords, categories, and pricing, few experts mention this important fact: Amazon more a search engine than a store. In fact, Amazon is literally the “Google” of online buying.

And with this model in mind, I need to tell you right up front that there is no instant anything when it comes to ranking on Amazon. There’s a lot of shortcut software out there, and keyword apps, but time and time again I’ve been reminded that there’s nothing like good, old-fashioned hard work to make your Amazon page soar. Much like ranking on Google, people are always searching for shortcuts, and they rarely work.

Understanding Amazon and knowing how to use it to your advantage is vital to keeping those sales up. Amazon is the place for book marketing today. In an article in June of 2014, SEOMoz, a popular search engine optimization blog, talked about Amazon and their ranking system. They said, “If you’re an author you don’t care about ranking on Google, you want to rank on Amazon.”

Everyone in the search engine world knows that Amazon ceased being “just a store” several years ago. Now they are the go-to for anything from books and electronics to pet food.

And there’s another twist: in November 2014, SEOMoz reported on Amazon’s new travel service, Amazon Travel. Now, on the surface this seems fairly benign. I mean, so what, right? Amazon sells everything else, why not travel?

The problem is that this digs right at the heart of Google’s business. Think about it. With Amazon Travel you can get access to the best pricing and possibly the best reviews, which means that sites like Yelp and Google’s own review system will start playing second fiddle to Amazon’s long-standing and quite extensive review system. And if Amazon Travel is successful, you could go to this one-stop-shop to find everything from a trip to Maui to a contractor for your room addition.

And let’s not forget Amazon Music, Amazon grocery stores, and their Echo technology. Think I’m crazy? Ten years ago, no one thought Amazon would sell anything besides books. This company is making serious moves.

It means, essentially, that Amazon is gearing up to play a whole different game, a game that means more and more people will be searching on Amazon for practically everything they need.

And if it isn’t already, Google should be worried.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have another book coming out soon about how an author can boost their book exposure by re-launching their book. A lot of authors don’t realize that sometimes a book makeover can help boost a book in significant ways. So the book takes authors through the steps of doing this, and relaunching it on Amazon as well.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was 10 I started writing poetry and from there started crafting stories. So I guess you could say I’ve always had the writer ‘gene’!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could write full time! I work with authors, helping them market their books. So mostly I write on the weekends. During the week I’m writing blog posts.

Sometimes it’s hard to find time to write, but I think a routine is helpful. So I know that Sunday morning is my time. Yes, I should probably be writing daily, but I try to give myself realistic deadlines so I’m able to spend the week working with our authors and dedicating my time to promoting their books!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love writing at Starbucks, crazy as that sounds. The coffee shop “noise” helps me concentrate.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A librarian!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am so lucky to do what I love. When I started this business 18 years ago I had a quote on my desk that read: do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

I’m writing, publishing books, working with authors and living the dream!


Thanks for joining me here today, Penny!

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