A review of Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

Red Hot Internet Publicity
By Penny C Sansevieri
Morgan James Publishing
June 2007, paperback, 29.95, ISBN 978-1600370939, 220pages

It’s hard to take your eyes off the red hot cover of Penny Sansevieri’s latest book. Vibrant, glossy, promising more than a good read, the cover is a good indication of the kind of media savvy which the book imparts. Written in clear prose, and clean large type, the book is a pleasure to read, and full of absolutely innovative, cutting edge ideas for promotion your book in ways that are both more effective, and less physically limiting than traditional book signings.

The book is very neatly organised and covers such things as creating a website to sell, how to write great sales copy, affiliates, keywords, search engines, and e-commerce. None of these things are earth shatteringly new, but Sansevieri does cover them in a way which is specifically geared towards selling books. There are some very useful tips on creating an electronic media room, keeping yourself audience focused, and identifying hot trends so you can piggyback your own product on those. Sansevieri keeps her ear very close to the ground and the links she provides, such as www.google.com/zeitgeist.html are all great ways to bring customers to your site, whatever you’re selling.

Past that point, Red Hot Internet Publicity goes from being a good guide to a great one. Sansevieri clearly has a handle on the pulling power of the blog (“Eighty-seven percent of blog readers are book buyers” – 95), and she provides some exceptional information on how to work them. You can easily start your own blog, and Sansevieri provides information on how to do this quickly and easily, including identifying what to talk about and how to use your blog to generate cash, and how to write blogs well, but she also tells you how to make use of other blogs, create and use podcasts, and create internet focused press releases. The links are all current, and the sources unique.

When it comes to the virtual book tour, Red Hot Internet Publicity really shines. Sansevieri has been running virtual book tours for authors for a few years now, and although her services aren’t inexpensive (she’s got plenty of inside knowledge which makes the tours effective), this book is. It doesn’t provide everything you need to know to have a book tour (you have to hire Sansevieri to get that), but if you are reasonably technologically astute and have some inside knowledge of your audience, this book will give you the tools you need to set up the tour yourself, and this book makes it clear that tour you must:

Rarely are you given the opportunity to gain direct access to your readers the way you can on the ‘Net. You can’t accomplish this in a bookstore or even in the best news piece. And while traditional media and blookstore placement offer great promotional leverage, the ‘Net offers something that no other marketing programs do: a direct pipeline to your readers.(122)

These chapters provide the key steps involved in setting up both a virtual author tour, as well as virtual signings, teleseminars, “one nighters”, virtual networking, and syndication. These are all reasonably cutting edge ways of promoting your book still (though probably not for long), and if you act quickly, you’ll really be able to create a circle of influence and promotion which can bolster your book sales like nothing else can.

Other chapters in the book are equally valuable, covering things like the use of autoresponders, signatures, newsletters, e-books, working Amazon, and a fantastic list of (very current) resources on everything from good books to great book blogs and publishing trend newsletters. There are plenty of books out there which provide information on marketing and selling books, but this has got to be the most topical, up to date, and just plain ‘hot’ books on creating a virtual buzz to sell your book. I received it at an opportune time and have been able to put much of the recommendations in this book into practice. As an almost complete promotions plan (particularly when you live in a remote area with limited ability to get out and network in person), this book is excellent. For new authors, whether self-published, published by a small house, or big, Red Hot Internet Publicity is simply a must.