Friday, August 21, 2009

Phyllis Zimbler Miller, a self-made writer

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is extremely busy these days, but in a good way. She's doing what she loves: She's promoting her novel MRS. LIEUTENANT. In the near future, look for Mrs. Lieutenant at the movie theatres. Here's Phyllis's story...

From Writing to Becoming an Internet Marketer to Promote My Novel MRS. LIEUTENANT
I’ve been a writer from an early age, banging out my stories on a manual typewriter. I majored in journalism at Michigan State University and worked as a journalist in Philadelphia before earning an M.B.A. from The Wharton School in 1980.
Then I launched on several years of trying to get the mystery novels I wrote published. I even started the Los Angeles Chapter of the national organization Sisters in Crime in the hopes that I would be able to network my novels to being published.
While my agent didn’t sell my novels, she did get me a Jewish holiday book contract with Perigee (a division of Putnam). And I co-wrote the 1992 book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION with Rabbi Karen L. Fox.
Some time later I unsuccessfully attempted to get a traditional publisher interested in my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT.
Mind you, all this time I tried to improve my writing: I took writing classes at UCLA Extension, bought and read book after book from Writer’s Digest Books, participated in a writers’ group, etc. And I rewrote and rewrote my novel.
Then a few months before my 60th birthday I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for a publisher to say yes to me. I went the self-publishing route with Amazon’s print-on-demand unit BookSurge. And at the same time MRS. LIEUTENANT was named a semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Amazon gave each of us semi-finalists a page on Amazon, and that’s the moment of my epiphany. Someone had something on her page that I didn’t – a blog (in January of 2008 I didn’t even know what a blog was). I said to myself: I have to have this too! And I was off and running to learn everything I could about marketing on the Internet and then putting that learned wisdom into action.
I had already known that, no matter who published MRS. LIEUTENANT, I would have to do the marketing myself because Karen and I had to do the marketing for our Jewish holiday book. And I also knew that, like any marketing campaign, if you have tons of money, you have tons of marketing options. Only I didn’t have tons of money.
As I researched my book marketing options, I learned that I could do more on the Internet with less. And on the Internet I could reach more people than I could ever reach using traditional book marketing techniques.
The last 15 months since MRS. LIEUTENANT was published I’ve been intensely learning and sharing Internet marketing information. The Internet levels the playing field and offers so many free and low-cost opportunities to get out the word about your writing.
I started the blog, since November I have been the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show, and I’m now a National Internet Business Examiner writing articles at
My company has just launched the monthly program to help book authors and others market on the Internet, and we also do Twitter tutorial workshops – see .
This month I’m on a virtual book tour with for my new ebook WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF AN ONLINE INFORMATION PRODUCT – an ebook to save others from my trials and tribulations – at
And author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I wrote a chapter on blogging for fiction writers that is available for free at
Here now is the Internet marketing strategy I’d like to share in this guest post:
Provide book club discussion questions on your book’s website to make it easy for book clubs to say yes to your book.
In fact, I recently went further and did a video of why MRS. LIEUTENANT is excellent for book clubs – see
Becoming active on social media sites such as Twitter (follow me at has helped me get online exposure for MRS. LIEUTENANT.
And just in the last two weeks a movie producer found me online and we’ve started discussions about a possible movie project for the novel.
If you’re not online, you can’t be found. Check out the sites where you can upload your writing for free and then link to these sites from your website or blog. You never know who might be looking for just what you have to offer.


  1. Thanks for being here, Phyllis. Best of luck with all your endeavours. Please come back and let us know how you're doing.

  2. Quite a bit of terrific info - Now if I could invent a way to stretch 24 hrs into 48 - So jammed lately I haven't even been blogging or commenting or (gasp) doing any book promo. Even the writing has been ignored for about 2 weeks. BUT THIS WEEKEND - I'M GETTIN' BUSY!!!

    Phyllis - Best of luck with your book & other efforts.

    Thanks Joylene for posting this. Promise I'll catch up soon.

  3. You're welcomed, Dave. Glad you stopped by. We'll both catch up soon.

  4. Phyllis, wow, what a great story you have. I have talked to other published authors who said basically the same thing you did. "If you're not on line you can't be found."
    Great advice. Let us know when we can see you on screen! I know if will be soon.
    Blessing to you

  5. Thanks for sharing your story, Phyllis. It's always inspiring to hear how other writers have turned difficulties into success stories.


  6. Thanks for dropping a note, Carol and Kat. And I'm glad you enjoyed Phyllis's post. Author stories make the world seem much smaller. And friendly. We all have a chance at living our dream.

  7. I'm glad my story was enjoyed. I always hope to inspire others not to give up.

    And thanks to Joylene for hosting this guest post.


  8. You're so welcomed, Phyllis. Please come back and do this again. It was great having you here.


Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.