10 QUESTIONS FOR…book marketing guru Penny Sansevieri


Author interview with:

book marketing guru Penny Sansevieri rhip_smimg_penny

1. Tell us about your latest book.

It’s called Red Hot Internet Publicity – I wrote it because I felt there was a real need to get this information out to authors. The Internet is such a hot way to promote a book!

2. How did you get started as a writer?

Sort of accidentally I guess you could say, as a kid I wrote a ton of short stories and (bad) poetry. Then I started noodling with a book idea in 1997, finished it in 1999 and was published that same year. The book, a romance novel called The Cliffhanger, was my first entry into the book world…

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m generally up at 5am and at my desk shortly after that. It’s an insane schedule I know. I run a pr and marketing firm and use that early morning time to catch up on emails, write out my goals for the day and visit a few blogs. I get in a run around 7am, then it’s off to Starbucks for my shot in the arm and back to work till 7pm. My day is generally filled with calls with new authors or existing clients. Sometimes I will also teach a teleclass during the day which I love.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

A mess. Ok, I’m kidding. Sort of. I have two monitors which I just got a few weeks ago and my desk feels a bit like Mission Control. My desk has a stack of books to be read, ones I have finished and am doing proposals on and then another stack of books we’re working on. Sometimes my new 4-month old puppy (Cosmo) sits on my desk and (joyfully) disrupts my day.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I am a constant learner so I love anything related to the Internet and social media, I think given how tough it is to get traditional review space it’s important for an author to immerse him/herself in this area. I would recommend:

Plug Your Book by Steve Webber

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

My book 🙂 Red Hot Internet Publicity

Stephen King’s book On Writing is also a must

and just for fun, The Bestseller which is a fun read about the industry by Olivia Goldsmith

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I was born in Calif but grew up in Belgium where I lived and went to school for 10  years

I love cycling and am *thrilled* that Lance Armstrong is back in the race

I’m addicted to Twitter. It’s not pretty 🙂

7. Favorite quote

“Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I get to do what I love.

Worst part? Hmmm,

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I had “the deal” of a lifetime, likely the biggest deal of my career. I was thrilled, it was my claim to fame and everyone I had aspired to. On a cool November day I got a text message from the folks at “the deal” telling me the deal was off, so sorry. Unfortunately at the time I was strapped into a seat on a plane bound for New York where I was going to meet the folks from “the deal” – we were also on the tarmac. There was nothing I could do but spend the next 5 hours wondering why this had happened and debating whether or not to give up. I was honestly ready to cash it in. What was the point after all? The deal was no longer the deal, the thing I had planned on, and talked about was gone in a single moment. When I got to New York things weren’t much better but I got to my hotel room and had planned to sulk all night and be the only guest at my pity party. That’s when I decided to check email and got a note from an author (I’m sorry to say I didn’t remember who she was at first) who told me that she had seen me speak at an event and had found it so inspiring that she went out immediately and started writing. She then had encouraged her husband to put together a book of his recipes, apparently he was quite the bbq-chef and had developed a number of his own special sauces and side dishes. She told me that shortly after he wrote and published the book he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died. The book is now the most treasured thing she has left and she thanked me for that class and that sliver of inspiration that got her going.

In the middle of my sorrow I suddenly realized I had allowed myself to be defined by a deal and I had lost sight of why I was in this industry in the first place.

Deals will come and deals will go. You’ll get a book signing only to get bumped when a celeb comes to town, you might miss out on that TV interview or maybe that radio show you were on didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. In the end, don’t let these moments define who you are or why you do this. Hang onto the reason that you got into this in the first place and make that your true north. The deal had defined me and when the deal was gone I thought my reason for being in the industry was too. But the real reason I do this had nothing to do with the deal. It’s the people, the writers, the stories – that’s why we do what we do.

Where can people buy your book?


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