Friday, May 11, 2007

Steve Weber - Amazon's Bookseller & Author Of " Plug Your Book!: Online Book Marketing for Authors "

Welcome to “Up Close & Personal.” For every interview I will be introducing a literary personality discussing his views and insights, as well as upcoming literary events around the world.

Today’s interview is with Steve Weber, author of "Plug Your Book!: Online Book Marketing for Authors." He offers an inside look at successful marketing techniques, possibilities via the internet, how to make sales and have the world take notice of our books.

Mr. Weber discusses the various Amazon programs, how to build author Web site, Myspace interactions, blogging with other authors, networking to promote and sell your book.

His idea are great for both fiction and non-fiction author. Hey, for a self-published book, his ranking at Amazon is #3,368 and it’s only been out since February of this year ’07. How about that for a success...

E. I. Thank you for dropping by Mr. Weber, tell us what were you like as a teenager? Please tell your readers more about Steve Weber -- the man behind the author?

Steve Weber: I was a bit of a bookworm. I read all the books in our house, and I read the encyclopedia too. In school, I was mainly interested in English and literature, and I couldn't have cared less about math, although I was fond of science. I could never force myself to pay attention to algebra or calculus -- I have a mental block against that stuff. I also had some of the typical teenage pastimes like sports. I had a paper route.

E. I. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?

Steve Weber: Rewriting. I'm pretty good at looking at my draft through the eyes of the reader and recognizing what's not any good. But it's an agonizing, slow process for me. Part of what I enjoy so much about writing is finally being finished -- getting to the point where my idea is expressed well. I get wonderful satisfaction from that.

E. I. Was there anyone who really influenced you to become a writer?

Steve Weber: No one person in particular, but my parents and some of my teachers in school recognized I had some ability in writing and they encouraged me. I always felt it was the one thing I was really good at. My Mom always raved about the letters I wrote when I was young, and that's the joke in our family: I became a writer because Mom told me I wrote good letters.

E. I. Did you start writing this book with a different plan specifically in mind?

Steve Weber: The book was really unfocused; I had to cut two-thirds of it. I've never learned to write from an outline, so I ended up with too much. I had whole sections on how to manage your writing as a "business," and advice on how to get published. In the end I decided the book should be limited to the subject of author promotion on the Internet.

E. I. Let’s shift gears... tell us about your book ‘Plug Your Book ’ what is the premise? And how did you come up with the title and idea?

Steve Weber: When I started promoting my previous book, "The Home-Based Bookstore," Google's Adsense was all the rage. I experimented with those pay-per-click ads and Yahoo Publisher ads because I'd heard they were so effective. I discovered they are not effective in selling books. After about three months I gave up on advertising and started blogging and participating on MySpace and other social-networking sites. Around the same time, I started recruiting some Amazon Top
Reviewers to read and review my book. That's when my book started selling, and it was such a revelation. All those things I'd been spending money on to promote my book were basically a waste of time, while the grassroots techniques that cost nothing were extremely effective. So I thought it would be very helpful to new authors to have the benefit of that experience.

E. I. Can you tell us what is different about this book from others? What should readers expect about this new training manual for marketing a book?

Steve Weber: It's the only book that covers Internet book publicity comprehensively. Some other books touch on this, but none of them are as current and complete. Of course, the book doesn't claim that you should abandon other traditional forms of book promotion -- such as bookstore signings, for example. Those topics have been covered in other books.

E. I. In your own opinion what do you think is the biggest misconceptions of authors about promoting, selling their book, and selling themselves as a writer?

Steve Weber: For new writers, the biggest misconception is that once your book is out there, it will sell itself. But the greatest book in the world won't sell a single copy until people are made aware of it. And most of this responsibility rests with the author. Many authors detest the idea of "selling." But if you believe your work is important, you've got to help spread the word about it.

E.I. In what ways does your writing benefit from your training as a bookseller?

Steve Weber: Since 2000, I've been an online seller of books as my primary occupation -- new, used and collectible books. Most of my business comes from Amazon buyers, and about 20 percent comes from other sites. I've sold books to more than 100,000 online buyers, so it's given me a bit of insight into the decision-making process that online buyers go through when they buy a book. I think Amazon's book reviews and the ability to search for titles and authors has been a boon for
readers, publishers and authors.

E.I. How did your books get written? Is it inspired creativity, or a more disciplined hard work approach, with detailed outlines, scheduled writing times, etc.?

Steve Weber: I can't write by outlines or schedules. Once I get the idea I just start doing it and I hate to stop until it's finished. So often I'll work all day and night when I'm almost finished. It's not really discipline, it's obsession.

E.I. Can you tell us a little about your writing schedule, editing and revision process, development, etc.,? How long did it take you to write ‘Plug Your Book’?

Steve Weber: Since I write nonfiction, I send my draft to several people who know about the topic and agree to peer review it. Then I'll do another rewrite using their suggestions. Then I'll have a content edit and a few rounds of proofreading. It took me about nine months to write "Plug Your Book." I must have rewritten most of the sections 40 or 50 times.

E.I. Who are your favorite authors, and why do they inspire you?

Steve Weber: I like Malcolm Gladwell and Tom Friedman. The notion of taking ideas out of your head, putting them on paper, then getting millions of other people to talk about those ideas is really inspiring to me.

E.I. What are your media tastes – books, movies, and music?

Steve Weber: I like middle of the road stuff. Current events, economics. Classic rock. I like chick flicks. I really
like to read reviews before I consume, though. I like to know what to expect and I hate to waste my time with a movie or book that turns out to be awful.

E.I. What can fans look forward from you in the coming months?

Steve Weber: I have two book ideas I'm working on. One about book collecting and one about social networking.

E.I. For those who are not familiar with you... would you tell the readers what job did you do before you took up writing seriously?

Steve Weber: In College I studied journalism and I was a news writer before taking up bookselling.

E.I. Mr. Webber, thank you so much for contributing to my blog. It has been a pleasure for me to get to work with you. Would you like to close the interview with a writing tip for young aspiring authors?

Steve Weber: Start a blog. It's a great way to practice your craft and build an audience. Keep at it.

To learn more about Steve Weber please visit him at:

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