Monthly Archives: August 2013

September BAIPA Speaker Penny Sansevieri — How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., in San Diego, is our speaker on Saturday, September 14; she will give an afternoon workshop at BAIPA that same day.  With a topic like “How To Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon,” what a valuable presentation this promises to be! 

Here’s the heart of Penny’s talk:  Amazon is a great place to sell books, but most authors don’t realize that Amazon has an internal sales machine that will actually help you market your book, for free, if you trigger it.  Amazon’s “internal algorithm” is somewhat similar to Google rankings.  The great thing is, once Amazon’s algorithm kicks in, authors could see a boatload of free promotion come their way!

Penny’s presentation will cover points such as:

            * How to optimize your Amazon page: what you must do to start showing up in more searches.

              * Understanding categories, and why eBook and print categories are always different.  More importantly, you’ll learn why this matters.

            * How to optimize your book title, subtitle and keywords on Amazon.

            * Making your Author Central Page work for you.

            * Amazon hacks: fun tricks you can do to spruce up your Amazon page.

            * Amazon reviews: simple ways to find more reviewers for your book.

Penny is a best-selling author and an internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert.  Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.  Penny is an Adjunct Professor, teaching Self-Publishing at NYU. She is the author of nine books, including Powerful Pinterest and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called “the leading guide to everything Internet.” Her company has had eleven books recently top the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.  Penny is a regular contributor to: HuffPo, Social Media magazine, and PR Newswire.


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Arlene Miller – A Passion for Grammar, and…Tap Dancing and Jazz


Arlene Miller Pic

Arlene Miller


                                              Spotlight on BAIPA Members   –   By Linda Jay Geldens

Arlene Miller, better known to BAIPA members as the Grammar Diva, has a passion for grammar.  I asked her, “Why your intense interest in grammar?” Arlene replied, “I think grammar is — like my fascination with tap dancing, and writing music — linear, left-brain, and logical.”

Born near Boston in Lynn, Massachusetts, Arlene lived in New England for 40 years before moving to the Bay Area.  An only child, she always hoped for a brother or sister.  What a creative kid! At age 5, Arlene wrote a musical starring herself and her playmates.

The Tap Decades:  At age 6, she started taking tap and ballet lessons and discovered she had natural rhythm.  During elementary school, she took private tap lessons, performing tap solos and participating in a kick line as part of a tap troupe. Beginning in the late 1970s, Arlene studied jazz tap: “That style of dancing fit me perfectly.”  In 1981, she studied tap on Sundays at a studio in Brookline, Massachusetts; her teacher was a famous vaudeville tap dancer, Leon Collins.  She learned tap improv, and performed on a program with tap dancer Gregory Hines at the Boston Tap Festival.  In the 1980s, Arlene taught dance school, and acted in a Harvard Law School play — where she tap danced on a desk! After moving to Santa Rosa, California, in 1993, she again studied tap and performed with an adult tap troupe.

In junior high and high school, Arlene studied piano and music theory, read music, and wrote lots of lyrics and melodies.  She finished her four-year immersion in Latin by studying Virgil.  In 1973, she got a B.A. at Simmons College, where she majored in Publications (including courses in graphic arts and copyediting) and English Literature. 

When Arlene graduated from college, there were few jobs. “My dream was to write articles for a music magazine like Billboard.”  Instead, she worked briefly as a reporter and as UPI editor for local Florida newspapers. Arlene then became a technical writer at Wang Computers in Massachusetts in 1983, and switched to free-lance technical editing for Data General and DEC when she was a stay-at-home mom.  “I wrote stylebooks and even won some awards from STC – Society for Technical Communicators.” In California, she worked as a contract tech editor for Alcatel and DSC Telecom.

Arlene has written and published two grammar books since 2010, and a brand-new novel, Trashy Novel, under the pseudonym Jo Jo Baker.  Arlene Miller is a natural grammar teacher — she was the entertaining speaker at BAIPA’s February 2013 meeting, and has given corporate grammar workshops. 

Of all her achievements, though, Arlene says, “The best thing I ever did was raise my two kids.”  Her daughter, 26-year-old Shelley, has been an ice skater for six years with Disney on Ice, and is marrying another skater from the Disney show next year.   Her 25-year-old son Jake is a San Jose State University graduate in radio-TV-film, and loves electronic music. 

Grammar is just one of many passions in Arlene Miller’s life!

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Mani Feniger Reads from Her Book in Leipzig, Germany

I smiled at the rows of strangers waiting patiently in the Leipzig City Library. Only a few were visitors to the German city where my mother was born and left in 1936 to escape the Nazi regime. Most of those attending were contemporary Leipzig residents who had come to hear the story of my search for my mother’s past.

For me that story had begun in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Prior to that, I knew almost nothing about either of my parents’ history, only that they had both been fortunate to escape early enough. But when Germany was unified in 1990, I learned that I might be an heir to a property in Leipzig. It had once belonged to my grandparents but had been taken away by a policy of systematic confiscation called “Aryanization.” I was shocked to hear that word pertaining to my own family, and not sure I wanted to re-open those forgotten chapters of my family’s suffering.

But history had a different plan. The opening of that concrete wall also opened a door to information, understanding, and a realization that my ancestors did not want to be forgotten. In 1995 I traveled to Leipzig to walk in my mother’s footsteps. This June I returned again as a guest of the city, with an invitation to present my book during an annual event called “Jewish Week in Leipzig.”

I discovered that many German people, especially a couple of generations after the Third Reich, had a strong desire to include the role of Jewish culture in their own heritage and to find an understanding of their history, no matter how painful. One local resident who read my book said to me: “We cannot go from this earth without resolving this history. We cannot ask the next generation to carry the bitterness.”

Bringing “The Woman in the Photograph” to Germany gave me a profound opportunity to honor my family’s past and to go forward without repeating the divisions and blame of the past. My search brought me full circle back to my family roots where I unexpectedly found new friends and fans in the city of Leipzig, Germany.

See photos, articles and excerpts about “The Woman in the Photograph” at


Grammar Diva Presents Workshop at Book Festival

Arlene Miller, BAIPA Board Secretary, AKA The Grammar Diva, will be presenting a 35-minute grammar workshop at the Sonoma County Book Festival as part of the Redwood Writers Academy.  The workshop will begin at 2:45 p.m.

Redwood Writers will be having short workshops and speakers all day at the Festival.  There will also be exhibits, readings, and much more.  This year the Festival is being held on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus in Santa Rosa, on Saturday, September 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The website is: .

Hope to see you there!

Alicia Young Wins Award for Debut Book at 2013 New York Book Festival


BAIPA member Alicia Young’s debut book, The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Grace: small touches with big impact – at home, work & in love has just won the 2013 New York Book Festival Prize for best new How-to/Self- Help book.

This is a gentle inner-beauty makeover for anyone who feels rushed; Alicia explores ways to tap our inner Audrey Hepburn in a fast-paced world – told with humor and anecdotes from your fellow Savvy Girls.  Visit and click on the Amazon link to see sample chapters.

Alicia is an Australian international TV journalist with more than fifteen years’ experience as a medical reporter, foreign correspondent and news anchor. Alicia was once told off by Mother Teresa for not having children (she forgot) and has volunteered at a hospice and leprosy hospital in India. Outside work, Alicia handles parasols and power tools with equal ease (not really, but she helpfully holds the flashlight when needed). She recently relocated from Chile to the US.


Q: Why write about grace?

Alicia: I feel we’re more logged on than ever, but less connected. As life becomes more frantic, grace is eroding—but it’s so easy to reclaim.  The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Grace is about pausing here and there, to let grace infuse itself in our daily interactions: taking a moment to make a connection with someone in person, rather than through a screen!

Q: You share many anecdotes from women around the world. How did you gather them?

Alicia: Over years of travel. I’ve always kept journals and noted observations in the countries we’ve lived in: Australia, India, Russia, US, UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chile. Each of us has different insights to share, so I tapped women around the world. And of course, I’ve received grace from others, when making the sort of cross-cultural stumbles that inevitably arise in new lands. In Chile, I once greeted a handyman, called Amando, by cheerfully calling, “Hola, Amante!” I’d actually said, “Hello, lover!” To make it worse, he’s not only a handyman, but a Christian pastor. Really. He graciously smiled and overlooked my faux pas.

Q: You independently published. Why not chase a big book deal?

Alicia:  There’s so many ways to have your voice heard now, and after researching the options, I felt indie publishing offered a good model in creativity and autonomy. The good thing about indie publishing is that there’s no one to say no; the bad thing is, there’s no one to say no. So I was very fortunate to be able to bring together a team of professionals: book editors, designers, a cover-art illustrator, to produce a book on par to anything in your local bookstore. Of course, there were also days that I’d say, “I might not drink alcohol, but I’m thinking of starting!” But it’s an experience I’ve relished, and one I’m very grateful for.


Amazon Associate Issues Researched by Lee Foster


        Amazon Issues about Associate Links Researched by Lee Foster


At the July BAIPA meeting, three questions regarding Amazon were posed by BAIPA members.  To find out the answers, BAIPA member and travel writer Lee Foster did some research by asking Amazon.  Here is what he found out:


               Question: Is it OK for author/publishers to use Amazon Associate links to advertise their own books and get a 4 percent added sales return on those sales?


               Answer: Yes, author/publishers are welcome to use the Amazon Associate links to advertise their own items that are for sale on Amazon, and to receive a commission on those orders.   


               Question: Is it OK for author/publishers to go into Amazon with their Associate links and buy third-party objects, getting back a “discount” payment of 4 percent of any sales on any object?


               Answer: No, an author/publisher is not permitted to use their own Associate links to make purchases, if it is to purchase another item besides their own book.  The reason is that the Associates Program is an advertising program, rather than a discount program.  Amazon’s goal is to have Associates refer new customers to Amazon in return for advertising fees.  Associates are not eligible for advertising fees when they place orders themselves, or ask people they know to routinely place orders through their links so they can earn advertising fees.


               Question: Does Amazon have a 24-hour tracking pattern, so that someone going in through a link is remembered if he or she goes offline for a few hours, and then returns to Amazon at the same computer?  Does that link remain trackable?


               Answer: Yes, there is a 24-hour shopping window.  You may earn an advertising fee for any qualifying items placed in a customer’s shopping cart during a 24-hour window.  This window begins at the time a visitor clicks through your Associates link.  However, the session window will close if the customer submits their order or reenters through another Associate’s link.


Thanks, Lee, for doing this research!  Lee’s e-mail address is: .