Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joylene Butler's Interview with Penny C. Sansevieri

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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 Book to Bestseller which has been called the "road map to publishing success." AME is the first marketing and publicity firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through The Virtual Author Tour™, which strategically works with message boards, blogs, ezines, and relevant sites to push an authors message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book's topic, positioning the author in his or her market.

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.Click here

Penny successfully authored her first book, The Cliffhanger, which was released in 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it soared up the ranks at Amazon.com and held the #1 spot for three months*. *best selling book within San Diego.

Our interview:

Penny, what led you into the marketing and promotional business?

Well I started out in publicity and marketing but in corporate America – then I was laid off and then the company that I went to was shut down, so twice in once year I was out of work. I took it as a sign and started AME, then it was called Author Services – I eventually changed the name, incorporated and 10+ years later, here I am…

The Cliffhanger, your first novel held #1 spot on Amazon for three months. What an accomplishment. Have you expanded on the strategy you used back then for books you'll have published today? Or does the same efforts work today?

Actually the key to that success was creativity. The strategy was really a postcard mailing that hooked into a current story (the Presidential race of 2000), but the key was being creative.

Can you tell us about Candlewood Lake?

I’d love to… Candlewood Lake was born out a story my mother told me after my father passed away. They met at Candlewood Lake in Connecticut – after he died I wrote this book as a sort of tribute to how life was “back when” --- there is nothing in this story about them, that’s not what this was for, but more to highlight this tiny part of the world where people lived and loved. The story actually follows three kids who grow up and how the lake shapes their lives, the choices they make (not all of the good) – and the tragedies that befall them during their lifetime. I’ve had readers tell me it’s a page turner, I hope so!

You're wearing a lot of hats: CEO, author, book marketing expert, and media relations expert; which one is your favourite? And why?

Actually I would have to say book marketing expert – I get to brainstorm new campaigns with authors and our marketing team. The brainstorming and creative piece is always my first love – and yes, I love writing but it all starts with an idea….

How did Author Marketing Experts, Inc., come about?

AME is a long held dream of mine that I fell into quite accidentally. I was interviewed once for a magazine piece on being an entrepreneur and I said that I was never an intentional entrepreneur, meaning that I never woke up one day and said “I want to be self-employed” – candidly I was terrified of the idea but when given no other choice I decided to take the leap. So I started gradually, first doing consulting, then partial campaigns, then full programs. Now we have staff and books on the bestseller list – it’s hard to believe!

You had a dream and that gave birth to AME. Have your hopes and your expectations come true? Are you content with how far you've come, or are you aiming even higher?

Yes and yes – I am always striving for more but I have to tell you, if someone had said to me 10 years ago when I was down, depressed and without a job twice in the same year that I would be doing this for a living, I never would have believed them. This company has exceeded anything I thought I would accomplish with it. Do I still aim higher? Yes I do. Why? Because as an entrepreneur we must keep striving, when we decide to settle, we become accustomed to what is and we stop striving and stop achieving. That’s half the fun of being self-employed, the achievement and drive for more is what makes us unique!

Penny, most days I feel under pressure and consequently am looking for ways to lesson my work load. You're adding to yours, and producing your newsletter every month. How do you do it?

I know, it’s insane isn’t it? Just when I think I can’t add more, I do. The problem is that when you do what you love, it never feels like work. One of my favorite quotes is: “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

Can readers expect another fiction novel by Penny Sansevieri any time soon? And if so, how do you find time to write?

Yes, and I’ve been writing it for over a year now. Want a hint on what it’s about? Well, it’s about being in publishing and it’s a *lot* of fun to write! When do I find time? I always tease my friends and say “I write during my downtime, between the hours of midnight and 3am…”

With all the assistance you provide writers in today's tight marketplace, why do you suppose some writers still fail to get published?

I think we just have a tough time sticking with something. I mean let’s face it, finishing a book takes effort, focus, and commitment and there’s no guarantee it’ll get published and/or even read so it’s a challenge really. I mean (and especially these days) we have to juggle a lot, job, family, other personal and professional commitments and often I find that authors don’t have the time to get to know their marketplace or go to a writer’s conference to network. I think one of the biggest reasons that authors don’t get published is persistence and asking the right questions.

Thanks so much for sharing your time, Penny. In closing, can you share what the future may hold for Penny Sanevieri? And AME?

Well, we continue to strive to be the best in our marketplace. Seven+ years ago I saw the writing on the wall as it related to traditional book marketing and publicity so I began to invest a lot of the company’s equity into the expansion of our Internet department. A lot of folks thought I was crazy to do that. Now, here we are, years later and the Internet is the new “black” – it’s the hottest (and best) way to market a book. I hope to always be able to stay ahead of the curve….

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