I asked Penny some additional questions and internet publicity.
Social networking has caught on as a tool for book promotion, but
there are so many sites. What would you recommend: Which sites? How many? Find hundreds of friends, or concentrate on a few?
Actually I'd recommend connecting on only 1 or 2 social networking sites.
There are a ton of them out there but it doesn't really make sense for an
author to be on too many. It's tough enough to keep up one or two sites let
alone 5 or even 10. My recommendation for good sites that convert well (by
convert I mean convert readers into customers) are: Squidoo and Facebook.
Obviously the first word in Social Networking is "social" so you'll want to
get on there daily and update your status, etc but to make it easier you can
feed your blog through these sites as well as any micro-blogging account you
might have via Twitter.
Most of us have limited time for book marketing, if we want to
produce more product. What marketing strategy gives the most bang for the buck?
Ideally you should first identify where your audience is and go there. Most
wasted marketing efforts are spent doing tasks that aren't leveraging
results, if you can find out where your reader is and spend time there
that's the best place to start. If you're going online I recommend a few
things, first off get a blog. Blogs are a great way to add content to your
site and keep the ranking up so you'll come up in searches. Then, get a
social networking page (start with one), feed your blog and Twitter account
through there. Next, make sure that whatever you're sending out is relevant
to your reader. Be interesting and helpful - the Web 2.0 model is that you
help first and ask later. If you look at my Twitter account
(www.twitter.com/Bookgal) you'll see that I am constantly throwing out
helpful tips, links and advice. I do this intentionally and will
*occasionally* ask for something in return. I've made a lot of sales this
way and gotten a lot of new leads into the business. It really does work and
honestly, I spend only an hour a day doing this. I will preload my blog and
Twitter account so I don't have to be at my computer all day updating and
How detailed should your marketing plan be?
You know, I'll tell you - I really think that once you identify your market
and where they are online and off, you can start to build a strategy from
there. I'm hesitant to outline a very detailed plan because it might
prevent you from recognizing opportunities. I do recommend a to do list to
keep you on track. Also, a lot of what we do in marketing is "invisible"
work and to be able to check stuff off that list feels like accomplishment
and this keeps the marketing momentum going!
When should you think about getting professional help with
marketing: first book, after you have a series, for ebooks, only for print books?
Whenever you feel you can't handle all of it alone. Don't let your campaign
lose steam because you're afraid to ask for help. And seriously, while
everyone is worried about money these days don't let price deter you. There
are a lot of quality people out there who are reasonable and can really help
to spike book momentum (and, hopefully, sales). Ideally though you want
someone who understands your work, cares about your goals and isn't trying
to push you into a direction that you aren't comfortable taking. Ask a lot
of questions, folks like to get referrals but I'm not a fan of that. I mean
who's going to give you a bad referral, right? Use the Internet to do your
research and see what you can find out on the company or person you're
Since we're involved in a Virtual Book Tour Group, what's your advice for getting the most from this project?
Network, network, network --- this is a great group and a fantastic chance
to market yourself virtually. Put your best foot out there, make sure that
your book info and bio are up to date, that you give good answers to the
questions that are asked of you when you're being interviewed on a blog. Be
helpful and then also, I recommend that wherever you appear you mention them
in your blog, Twitter, newsletter, whatever. Also, do the host a favor and
go in and social bookmark the page you appear on. This will help get you
additional attention for your blog post as well as traffic to their site so
it's a nice little "thank you" to your host! (you can social bookmark on
sites like DIGG, Delicious, and Stumbled Upon)