Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Social Media Expert

phyllis zimbler miller image

My interview today is with Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter), a social media expert. Phyllis has has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic LLC. She is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, and you can learn more at her Amazon author page at

1. Phyllis, thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us. Can you start by telling us a little bit about you? How did you get into writing and publishing?

I've written since I was a teen. I got a B.A. in Journalism at Michigan State University and then worked as a journalist for several years in Philadelphia before getting an M.B.A. at The Wharton School. (This training and work experience really come in handy for my blogging activities.)

The Jewish holiday book I co-authored, "Seasons for Celebration," was a fluke project brought to me by the book agent who couldn't sell the mystery novels I wrote in the 1990s. I self-published "Mrs. Lieutenant" after 20 years of working on the manuscript, including hiring an editorial consultant to figure out what was "missing" from the book. And I later self-published "Four Comedy Screenplays" because I think they're all good stories and no one is making movies from these scripts.

2. You self-published your book through BookSurge, which is now CreateSpace, do you have any tips for our readers who might be considering publishing through them?

  • Have an expert proofread your book. Even though I taught copyediting at Temple University in Philadelphia, I still missed a place where I used the wrong character's name.

  • If the book is important to you, have a book cover designer create your book cover. BookSurge created the cover for "Mrs. Lieutenant" with my input. If I had understood how important the Internet would be to my book marketing, I would have made the title of the book and my name easier to read in the size photo displayed on Amazon and elsewhere online.

  • Choose your book title carefully. I went back and forth between "Mrs. Lieutenant" and "An Officer's Wife." I chose "Mrs. Lieutenant" but added the subtitle "A Sharon Gold Novel" because the nonfiction booklet "Mrs. Lieutenant" that taught us how to be good officers' wives was on Amazon and I didn't want to confuse anyone.

3. You have already written and published 3 books, what are your top 3 tips for self publishing authors?

Top tips for all authors (not just self-publishing):

  • Have a dedicated WordPress self-hosted website for your book (WordPress so you can make changes yourself). Include a blog on the site if you can commit to writing at least two blog posts a week or getting guest bloggers to write some of the posts.

  • Become active on major social media sites now regardless of when your book will be available. Don't "sell" your book but instead create relationships with potential fans of your book.

  • Make at least part of your book available online for free so people can "sample" your writing before buying. Especially given the price of books today, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes to you.

4. Would you be willing to share with us how you transitioned into the marketing business?

Because of my business school background, I've actually been involved in marketing for years. But my transition to social media marketer came with the self-publishing of "Mrs. Lieutenant." At the same time I started the self-publishing route I entered the manuscript in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. "Mrs. Lieutenant" was chosen as a semi-finalist, and each one of us semi-finalists was given a page on Amazon. Someone had something I didn't - a blog.

I had an "aha" moment and realized that online access leveled the playing field for authors - you no longer needed a huge advertising budget to get out the word about your book. You just had to commit to putting in the time and effort to developing connections online.

After I started learning what I needed to know, I asked my younger daughter Yael K. Miller to partner with me in a social media marketing business to help others not have to learn the hard way as I did.

5. We have been hearing over and over again the importance of social media in marketing. Can you tell us why that is?

Because, if you have online access, there are no barriers to entry to using free social media sites to promote your books. For example, anyone can sign up on Twitter, start reading free reports to learn how to improve his/her Twitter activity, and then start connecting with potential fans.

Thanks to the search capabilities of social media sites, you can find communities of people interested in the topic of your book or self-publishing or anything else that might help you improve your writing and connect with potential fans.

6. Your book Mrs. Lieutenant was named semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, congratulations! Can you tell our readers a little bit about this competition and where they can find more information?

Amazon announces the information before each year's competition. It pays to be an addicted Amazon book buyer - if you're on the site when the new contest is announced you'll see the info.

(One tip: Have everything ready to upload before the opening submission date. And submit the moment you are allowed to because there is a limit to how many people can submit.)

7. Phyllis, thanks again for agreeing to interview with us and all of the help you have given us. In closing, could you tell our readers how they can keep up to date with what you are doing, or sign up for your services?

My company's social media marketing blog has lots of good advice - see - and there's information on our social media services at

Phyllis practices what she preaches. I encourage you to follow her on Twitter and continue to learn more from her!

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