Ask PZM: November 2013 – IWSG

It’s that wonderful time again, the first Wednesday in the month, Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavennaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place and you’d like to join, click here.

It’s a simple process: 


“Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.” 

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG co-Hosts this month are CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace!

Please stop by and thank them for their time and effort. CD, Tina, Isis, and Michelle! You guys rock!


ASK PZM: November 2013



1. What do you think is the most misunderstood facet of the book marketing industry?

Book marketing takes a long-term commitment (basically forever) by the author regardless whether traditionally published or self-published and this means continually working on book marketing, even if a few minutes each day.
This also means being open to new book marketing opportunities.  An author cannot be content with only offline activities (book signings, book fairs) – instead an author must also embrace new online activities.
And authors should not abandon their older books when promoting new books.  In fact, here is a personal example of utilizing new opportunities for book marketing as well as promoting older books with newer books:
I have just adapted the screenplay “Hot Potato” that I wrote with my husband (and which is in the book FOUR COMEDY SCREENPLAYS on Amazon) into a novella on Kindle.  (See  
Why did I do this?  Because I wanted to share this story I really like in an easily accessible format  – and because this ebook is one more opportunity to promote all my other books and ebooks on Amazon.
How?  Because I have links at the end of the novella for all my other books.  Thus each ebook on Kindle is a marketing opportunity for all my other ebooks.

2. Do you think because of the negativity surrounding book reviews that their value is diminishing?

No, I do not think the value of book reviews is diminishing.  Regardless of how much, for example, Amazon search algorithms take the number of reviews into account, reviews can be useful for multiple purposes.
One such purpose is that there are sites that will not list your free or bargain books unless you have a certain number of reviews and often with a certain star ranking. 
Another example is that you may want to use quotes from reviews for promotional purposes.
And regardless of the controversy over reviews, I suspect many people look at the number of reviews a book has as part of the decision as to whether to purchase a book.  If there are no reviews, I suspect potential readers may ask themselves:  Has anyone even read this book?
In other words, we authors have to keep up our efforts to get reviews for all books.


3. Are the fees to have your book submitted for a book award worth the expenditure?

I think this is a personal decision depending on your marketing budget.  Even if your book wins an award, will that award translate into sales?
The answer to this may partially depend on how you “advertise” that book award.  And does that award mean anything to your target readers?
Personally, unless you have a large marketing budget, I think it comes down to whether the money required to submit your book to award competitions could be better spent on promotional opportunities that are directed towards your target readers. 

4. Most authors seem to market their books primarily to other authors; what’s the effectiveness of such efforts?

I am not sure that fellow authors are the best target market for buying our books.  After all, we are writing our books for readers who aren’t necessarily authors, so shouldn’t we be marketing to those readers who like our genre? 
In addition, many authors are so busy writing and promoting their books that these authors may not have as much time to read books (or the budget to buy books) as readers who aren’t authors.

Then there is the issue of not reading certain books while writing your own in the same genre.
For example, I am writing a dystopian thriller, THE MOTHER SIEGE, on Wattpad chapter by chapter (see   While I have read dystopian novels, I am purposely not reading very successful ones now because I am concerned that I might unwittingly mimic too closely the work of other authors.

And, of course, we want readers to suggest our books to their friends as well as to book clubs, so we should be promoting our books to these potential influencers.
TWEET #1What’s the most misunderstood facet of the book marketing industry? (click to tweet)
TWEET #2 – Is the value of book reviews diminishing? (click to tweet)
TWEET #3 – Should we register and pay a fee for as many book awards as we can? (click to tweet)
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon.  Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at her nonfiction books at
She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *