Book Review: ‘Get Published Today’ by Penny Sansevieri

For too long, the publishing industry has been a mysterious, clubby, closed business.
Authors have had to struggle with a number of unanswered questions. Questions like,
“What makes a best-seller?”, “What is a Co-op?” or “What are Reserves against returns?”

In her book, ‘Get Published Today’, Penny Sansevieri answers such questions and more. The sub-title ‘An insider’s guide to publishing success’ actually offers a good clue as to how useful and powerful this book is for every author. Penny shares plenty of real-life stories about the publishing business. And she is generous about sharing all her knowledge including the insider secrets.

The book starts out with an overview of the publishing business and provides some interesting facts. For example, did you know that the average book sells 500 copies, that there are 1,500 new books being published every day and that over 40% of books are sold outside of bookstores?

In a subsequent chapter, Penny picks apart the traditional publishing business. She points out several chinks in the armoury of the “New York Publishers.” This section will be particularly valuable to indie authors in helping them evaluate what markets to target.

Penny then discusses the various methods of self- publishing and points out the subtle differences between various terms being used in the industry. She gives tips on how to choose the right publisher and avoid the nightmare that many authors have faced in the past by choosing greedy, unethical publishers. The sub-section, “Check Your Contract Carefully”, will arm authors with the information and knowledge they need to negotiate publishing contracts in a fair manner. There are also valuable guidelines on how to setup your own publishing company.

The book also does a good job of describing the digital book publishing business. It provides links to resources that should help a would-be author shave hours of research time. Penny also stresses the importance of good editing and suggests that this is the one place that authors should pay for and get professional help since editing can make the difference between a great book and a missed opportunity.

The book then moves on to one of the most important topics and that is the subject of book promotion, marketing, publicity and branding. She gives you templates and frameworks to define your book marketing goals, your book’s USP and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your book.

The section that helps you define your target market is another gem that can help authors in their quest for book marketing success. Penny asks questions to help you profile your reader better. Some of the questions she asks are:
– How old is my reader?
– How educated is my reader?
– What makes my reader happy?
– Is my reader married, single or divorced?
– What does my reader do in his or her spare time?

The section on competition analysis is also insightful. As most of us know, even though we try hard to be different and stand out from the crowd, competition is inevitable. This section gives a framework to track your competing titles.

The section on naming your book is particularly interesting. Did you know that the original proposed title for ‘Gone with the Wind’ was ‘Tomorrow is Another Day’? Or that bookstore databases typically only store the first 30 characters of a book title. So if you have a name that’s longer than 30 characters, it gets cut off?

The book even provides a marketing schedule and tells you what you need to do while the book is being printed and four months, three months and one month prior to publication date. It also teaches you how to create and grow your author platform including providing tips on blogging, tweeting and online networking.

The sections on getting book reviews are also particularly useful. A list of book reviewers on the web and tips on how to pitch to them is provided. There are templates to help you craft the perfect book review pitch.

There are plenty of books out there that cater to the burgeoning indie author audience. But few can compare with this book with regard to breadth and comprehensiveness of covering the various issues that an author needs to address. Get this book today. It will save you hours of time and give you a confidence that is the result of knowing what you are doing.

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter
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