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!

Getting your book published looks easy, but it’s really not. I want to share here some tips on how I did it.

First step: editing

Editing is essential. Never, ever, think that you can publish your book without an editor going over it. Doesn’t matter how brilliant you may think you are. You need another set of eyes and a good brain for words to iron out your text. I hired Dr. Carl Herzig, Professor of English, St. Ambrose University. He’s BRILLIANT. He’s a wonderful person, excellent to work with and a great editor. He chopped off 10% of my original text and smoothed over the rest. This is the second time I’ve used him and I can’t see how you could do better than to use him.

Time it took: 6 weeks for the first version (my book is about 50 thousand words). Then another 4 weeks going over it and refining it.

Second step: proofreading

Once the book has been edited and the back and forth between you and the editor finalized, you need to send it off to a proofreader. This person will do a last check to make sure nothing got through. I used for this Vishnu Maya Dasi. She’s was quick and professional and spotted several mistakes. Very fair price too. If you write to me I can give you her contact.

Time it took: 2 weeks.

Third step: layout and cover

I’ve been publishing in Brazil for many, many years, so I have a good relationship with a Brazilian publishing house, today called Coletivo Editorial. These days they have working with them an expert layout and cover person, Narada Muni Das. He did my layout and cover work and I really liked it. Very open, fast and willing to change and redesign that parts you don’t like.

Time it took: one month.

Fourth step: proofreading after the layout is done

Once the layout is done, you need to have it proofread again. This person will make sure all the chapter headings are there, no bits of the book were cut off, the numbering is in order and, plus, catch any mistakes left by the editor and the proofreader. For this, I was lucky to have as a friend, Robson Silva, who’s just amazing. He’s like the Terminator of mistake-finding in his precision and attention for detail. He not only proofread the copy for print, but also the ebook files later on.

Time it took: 2 weeks.

Fith step: ebook formatting and publishing

Once you have the InDesign files for your book and the high-res PDF files for your cover, you’re ready to get published. But, man, not so easy! In Brazil, my publishers take care of everything, but for publishing my book in English, I was on my own. I opted for the self-publishing route, because it gives you so much freedom. The book is yours. And you can do with it as you wish. Being in the hand of a publishing house that’ll just sit on your book and maybe never reprint it, is not attractive to me. Unless you’re a hotshot author (and thus not reading this blog post) you probably will not get a publishing deal, nor should you really try for it. Self-publishing is here to stay.

But self-publishing for the first time is a bit daunting. The devil is in the details. And there are a lot of them. So, I decided to get professional help. I hired the services of David Wogahn, of He not only does a first-rate job of producing the ebook version of your book, but he handles everything to get your book published professionally. All the nitty-gritty details.  I really liked having his help. It was a real relief. He writes: “The one thing I’ll say is that it is easy to look at self-publishing as something anyone with technology skills can do. In my experience it begins this way, but much of what clients get out of their relationship with me is experience and wisdom.” I liked his services so much, I’m pretty sure I’ll be asking for his help for my next book, too, even though I now have experience with Amazon, Kindle, etc. He answers all your questions, sets up the accounts, guides you through the whole process and gets your book online, up for sale, properly published.

One cool thing he did for me, was to put my book in They’re really great. Excellent interface and they’ll take care of you ebook distribution brilliantly. I highly recommend them.

Time it took: 4 weeks.

I’m so grateful for the help of these people! They were great! But I must also mention my brilliant wife, Charana Renu, who helped me shape the book and did a first round of editing. She gave me great advice every step of the way.

So, that’s it for now. In my next post on book publishing I’ll write about book marketing, where, unfortunately, I was not so lucky. Click here to read it.