How to Market Your Book – My Experience With Penny Sansevieri and Author Marketing Experts (AME)

Getting your book published is a step-by-step process. Yes, there are pitfalls, but basically, if you have enough brains to write a book, you can do it. But selling your book, in order words, having anyone actually read it, that’s the really tricky part.

In my earlier blog post, I laid out the step-by-step process I used to get my book published. Worthy of note is the fact that I’m a Brazilian citizen, living in Brazil, which added another layer of complication, but with the help of the folks I mention there, everything happened very smoothly.

Figures vary, but estimates are that some 4000 books get published every day in English. Think about that. Your book is going to be another drop in that vast ocean of books published. Getting noticed, you can see, is no easy feat.

In Brazil, I already have a nice following. I’ve been publishing books here for over 10 years. I have thousands of followers. My YouTube channel for Portuguese speakers just hit 1 million views, with over 1000 new subscribers every month. When I published my “3T Path” book here, in Portuguese, all I had to do was post it on Facebook and send out emails. I do a lecture and dozens of books get sold. Here in my Yoga Resort, the book is always selling. Smooth and stress-free.

In October of 2016, I decided to expand my work to the English-speaking world. Starting with zero. Nada. From scratch. I set up this website, Instagram account, YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook page. And I started doing my stuff, in English. Videos, blog posts and quotes for Instagram. And I wrote the book “The 3T Path” for those interested in really changing their lives with what I had to offer.

I thus knew that publishing my book in English, if I did nothing more, would result in practically no sales, since I didn’t have a US or UK base yet. I figured I would literally sell 2 or 3 books a month for a good time to come.

So, going against my wife’s suggestion, I sought out professional support to prime the pump. I started looking around for book marketing professionals. In the end, I hired Penny Sansevieri and her Author Marketing Experts (AME) company.

Penny looked like the real deal. She’s been around enough and she sells lots of books on the topic of selling books, including one called, “How To Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon”. Great, I thought! That’s what I want to do! So, I contacted her.

We had a very nice first contact. Both by email and by phone I made it clear that I had zero presence in the US or UK so that I didn’t have any fan base to draw upon to sell books in English. I told her on the phone that I didn’t mind making zero profit. I just didn’t want to lose money.

She offered me a package of services, and I even opted for the extra stuff. It came out to a couple of thousand dollars per month, for 3 months straight.

If I had to sum up Penny’s work it would be: “the surgery was a success but the patient died”. Her staff make a really nice looking list of things they tried to do, blogs and media they contacted, this and that strategy, doing a Goodreads giveaway, getting reviews, etc. What actually came through was a tiny fraction of what they supposedly tried to do. And what resulted from that tiny fraction, was pretty much zero sales.

Call me nuts, but I believe that marketing investment has to bring you at least that amount back. Since getting my message out is more important to me than money, I’m not worried about making a profit. But, since I don’t have a trust fund and since I never ask for donations from my students, I also can’t just throw money away.

The lady sells a book titled “how to sell truckloads of books”, but her and her staff, working for 3 months, couldn’t even sell a satchel full of books. Ouch! Biggest case of buyer’s remorse in my entire life. And I’m almost 50 years old! Half a century buying things and hiring services, and Penny takes the gold medal for my biggest case of buyer’s remorse. Quite an achievement.

I don’t think I got 2%, yes, that’s right not TWO PERCENT, of my marketing investment back. In technical terms a ROI of -98%. Harsh.

Did I get great personal advice from Penny for my investment? Nope. After the first talk to seal the deal, that was it. No more Penny. When I noticed the campaign was a disaster and made a fuss, she answered my email, but basically telling me to chillax and that it was normal for there not to be results right away. Nice. Wish you told me that before I parted with my hard-earned money, Penny.

So, my conclusion is that book marketing is GREAT…. for the book marketers. Maybe not so much for the clients. Great business to be in if your aim is making a buck. Better than being an author, that’s for sure!

Sorry, I’m not going to end this post with a magic recipe for you to sell your books. From what I read, all the advice seems to point in the same direction: you just have to be known and followed. Your followers will buy your book and if they like it, others will buy it and then that becomes a “news-worthy” fact to be noted by bloggers and regular media, and then you’ll get more followers and the cycle continues. This is happening to me in Brazil, organically. To be known, they say, you have to constantly create content and participate in other people’s blog and submit articles and stories left and right. So, that’s partly what I’m doing – always and regularly creating content and slowly people are taking notice.

I was hoping, wrongly I see now, that a professional like Penny would have some shortcuts, would have contacts in the media and experienced targeted advice to help an author take a big step in that direction. It’s not what I got from Penny. Not even close.

But hey, poorer but wiser. If I help other authors avoid similar fates, then I’ll be happy in the knowledge my experience wasn’t for naught.

If you’re an author and had experience with a book marketing professional, make sure to leave your comment below!

13 thoughts on “How to Market Your Book – My Experience With Penny Sansevieri and Author Marketing Experts (AME)

  • Pingback: Getting Your Book Published – How I Did It – Giridhari Das

  • February 28, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I think it’s only fair to note that my team and I are very honest with any potential client that wants to talk ROI. Fewer than 1% of all published authors make a living off their books, so the idea that an international author with zero platform in the U.S. could make back a multi-thousand dollar investment in under a year (since our work with you ended) pretty much says that your expectations were misaligned from the get go.

    I’d challenge anyone to find a full service marketing or promotion firm that can guarantee ROI because it’s just not the nature of the business, marketing and promotion is not sales, it’s awareness. We bring buyers to the table but we can’t make them spend their money. Any number of factors can prevent a potential buyer from resonating with a book, including but not limited to the quality of the writing, the book cover, whether or not it can outperform the competition, the timing of the release and even what’s happening in the world that may distract people from making purchases they would have otherwise made. It happens all the time, with all products and services, not just books.

    Authorship is not a get rich quick plan, despite many people’s best efforts, including my own with my own work.

    But I won’t go as far to say that you could never make your investment back! Or that some of the authors that follow you could never make their initial big investment back – with smart self-promotion, a healthy publishing schedule of additional titles, and professional assistance in areas you don’t have publishing or marketing knowledge, an author can create a promising long-term success plan.

    If you’re passionate about a topic or genre write the books. If you want to be a successful author there’s a lot more that goes along with it and it’s not all pretty and it’s a lot of really hard work.

    • March 1, 2018 at 7:04 am

      I don’t think you are honest. Your work generated practically ZERO awareness. And you certainly did not, and I’m sure you do not, make authors aware that the thousands of dollars they give you will probably lead to almost NO BOOK SALES, as was my case. I think you should be ashamed of yourself for scamming people of their hard-earned money.

    • September 8, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      You’re welcome! We have to help each other avoid the pitfalls of publishing and the sharks in the water.

  • October 21, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Hey Giridhari, I had the same experience with Penny this summer with my debut book release. Sadly, you are not alone. She’s full of excuses and no results. If only I would’ve done more research before hiring her. I met her at a couple conferences and really thought she was the real deal. I really hope more people see this and you’ve inspired me to write my own blog in response to this experience. Maybe if more us take this action, unsuspecting indie authors will save their money and spend it on something useful that does help propel their writing careers. Best of luck to your future!!!

    • October 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, we have to speak up. It’s a bit embarrassing admitting to having been duped out of thousands of dollars, but we can help others by doing it. Good luck to you too!

  • December 31, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Giridhari,
    Bless you, for writing this piece. You saved me. I’m a 67-year-old who reinvented myself at 65 by getting an MFA from Columbia U. I’m a retired R.N so marketing a novel is foreign territory. It took me 5 years to complete it and now it is being published by a small publisher. I was just about to have a phone conversation with Penny. I fell for the glitz of her webpage but you saved me. I too am not looking to make a killing or sail off into the sunset with my earnings off of this novel but I don’t want to be scammed either. So Bless you a thousand times over for warning me. I wish you nothing but luck with your work and if you want to visit the US and get a leg up here-give me a shout. Best Joni I

    • December 31, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Glad to be of service and to help one fellow writer avoid this pitfall. Good luck on your book.

  • January 4, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you, Giridhari Das for your informative blog post. My story is similar to those who have already commented. I was basically swept off my feet by the Author Marketing Experts website but decided to look for negative reviews before I contacted Penny Sansevieri. I was thankful to have discovered your article. Thank you so very much for taking the time to warn your fellow writers. You have been a blessing to me.
    ~ Jeanine

    • January 5, 2019 at 6:36 am

      I’m very glad to be shed some light and protect my fellow authors from such abuse. Us authors know too well how much effort and money we have to invest to produce a book. We don’t need a con artist ripping us off on top of that.

  • January 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I’ve worked with AME for 5 of my books and I can’t say enough wonderful things about them. They’re really a great group of women and did all the work they promised to – and then some. By full disclosure, I have worked as a FT publicist in-house at a traditional publisher. I know, from this work, that authors have misguided ideas about what a marketing and PR firm can actually do for them. What I can say about Author Marketing Experts is their work is tremendous, but you get out what you are willing to put in.

    • January 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      What you are willing to put in? Are you serious? Six thousand bucks and everything they asked for? Blogs, videos, Instagram posts, twitter… everything. And they get me nothing? They don’t sell a dozen books for you. It’s a farce. If it’s that difficult, they should be honest and say so. But they don’t, because Penny just wants your money. She could care less if you’re out six, eight or ten thousand dollars, as long as she gets it. Anyway, I’m glad you had a good experience with her. I see your gender is romantic, so I guess that gets more mileage and is easier to market.


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