Google Hangouts For Business with Brandee Sweesy

Brain Burps About Books Podcast #171

Thank you to the MFA program at Hamline for sponsoring the podcast. Hamline is the only university in the U.S. with three fine arts programs in creative writing: BFA, MFA (writing for adults), and MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. The deadline for application to July residency is May 15. Click here to check it out!

In this week’s episode you’ll hear
  • a lot about Hangouts For Business with Brandee Sweesy in the interview with this Google Plus Hangout Expert and Producer.
  • a reminder to mark your calendars: How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller launches on Amazon on March 25th! Help celebrate the publication (finally!) of the second jam-packed edition by signing up for the Q&A webinar here! I’m giving away $125 worth of tools to support writers to anyone who buys a copy of my book from Amazon from March 25 – 31. All you have to do is submit your receipt to
  • Julie Falatko review Baby Penguins Love Their Mama by Melissa Guion.

Baby Penguins Love Their  Mama

Where to come see me in April
  1. April 19th – Children’s Literary Salons, hosted by the esteemed New York Public Librarian, toast of the town, and Fuse #8 creator Betsy Bird. Get more information here.
  2. April 24th – American Society of Journalists and Authors – Find out more here.
  3. May 2-4 – Eastern PA SCBWI Chapter Spring writer’s retreat at the Highlights Foundation with Patti Gauch, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Matt Phelan, Suzie Townsend and Viana Siniscalchi.
  4. May 14th. 6-8pm  The panel is co-presensted by Barrington Books and the Barrington Public Library. With these writers, too: Bianca TuretskyAnnie CardiKatie CotungoTara Sullivan 


In the interview with Brandee Sweesy
  • WARNING: There is curse uttered.
  • we poke and hope.
  • find out how to apply marketing strategies.
  • discover where you should watch a hangout. (Hint: Here’s one place: mine are here at or go straight to the Lunch ‘n Learn playlist here)
  • find out why you shouldn’t get the new Keynote.

Sometimes I use affiliate links. if you click on them and buy what I recommend, I earn a referral fee. You do not pay any more than if you found the same thing through a search engine. It’s akin to going to a restaurant and getting a recommendation from the waitress on what’s good. You don’t pay more for the food she suggests, but you might tip her for her service. In any case I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, recommend a product or person I don’t believe in or trust. Otherwise, how would you believe me next time?

Recent Comments

  • Taurean Watkins
    March 21, 2014 - 7:44 pm · Reply

    Great episode, Katie, and as always Julie Falatko’s reviews are worth the wait (Julie F. if you see this, sorry for that confusion thing on Twitter), though I think we could use another gratitude segment from Julie Hedlund, even if it’s just a repeat, we both know how busy she is between her upcoming release and running 12×12 and all.
    Good interview this week, too, that said, I do have one point I must make about mailing lists.
    Yes, mailing lists are important and writers need them, but having a list and building it are (IMHO) two different things.
    First, I just want to say you convinced me YEARS AGO to have a mailing list (OKAY! LOL), but I’ve been struggling to grow that list, and I’m still trying to make links between my Facebook page to my mailing list work.
    Speaking for myself a moment, I do treat my writer stuff as a business, but unlike other kinds of businesses (i.e. the “Cubicle” work you mentioned) I have to do a lot on my own and within a VERY TIGHT budget. But you or I are only one person, and as you’ve done at various times, we’ve got to stop, breathe, and switch off “Squirrel” mode.
    I can only imagine what some of my writer friends (who are just starting their careers and selling their work) who are also parents and/or teachers have to juggle. But even though I’m not a parent or teacher, or facing thousands of student loan debt, it’s not any easier for me, either. Don’t mean to sound whiny, and sorry if I’m coming off that way, but I’m only reminding those who are easily intimidated by all this to chill.
    But I am working on some new ways to draw new subscribers to my list.
    Still, I think you might want to reiterate that just like being SOCIAL in social media, building a list takes TIME, I know you know that, but I felt that was one misstep in the interview where you and your guest highlighted why we need a list, but left out it TAKES TIME.
    Just like publishing (a book, story, nonfiction article, whatever) takes time…
    The key difference between the two is that we alone control our list and it’s up to us to help it grow.
    I participate in social media because I’ve come to enjoy it, and for my niche, it’s starting to connect me to like-minded souls like nothing else.
    Once I saw it as a way to communicate it became easier and more fun. So while social media does not sell books, it does help connect us to other writers and eventually the readers we all want to have, and understand I say this because I know too many great writers who are just getting their Barings with a lot of this, but I do agree with the points made.
    I get what you and your guest were saying, but newbies and/or luddites aside (and no offense to you or your guest) you were kind of scaring ME, and I know where you coming from.
    Yes, social media alone doesn’t sell anything, but for those of us for whom selling ourselves is not as natural as breathing air, it’s got to start somewhere!
    I see them fulfilling two different but RELATED needs. Social media connects us with our potential readers/customers and humanizing our brand. (To paraphrase your guest in the podcast above)
    Building a mailing list is getting as many of our dedicated fans to sign up and be proverbial flies on the wall of what we’re up to as writers, being part of special events and giveaways, and sneak peeks of things our subscribers will love! (Excerpts of, early cover reveals, etc)
    A forum I belong to is having a rigorous discussion on promotion, where to start, what works, etc. I was thinking of them as much as myself while listening to this episode and I hope some of them will listen to it, while planning’s important, there are many things we do as writers that involves just diving in and trusting ourselves to get better.
    Okay, rant over, and I’m still committed to being brief in my comments, but I had to speak to this. Take care, Katie-
    Taurean J. Watkins (Taury)

  • Sarah M
    March 21, 2014 - 10:23 pm · Reply

    I will say….this was totally over my head, and I know quite a bit about social media. I think I get the main gist but some details were fuzzy, so hopefully just by listening I’ll have ingested it subconsciously.
    Thanks for letting me be a part of your launch team. I’ve finished reading the book and am ready for the interview. 🙂
    Sarah M

    • Katie
      March 22, 2014 - 8:43 am · Reply

      I warned you, right?! Now that I’ve been doing the Lunch ‘n Learns for a couple of months I STILL have some trouble! Google does NOT make it easy, I’ll tell you. I now understand why Brandee has such a good thang going!
      Glad you’re on the team, and thanks for the support, Sarah. I’m excited and nervous about the coming week!

  • Taurean Watkins
    March 21, 2014 - 10:55 pm · Reply

    An aside, Katie, one of you keywords is misspelled. “Google Hangouts” is “Google Hanhouts.” Happens to us all, myself FOR SURE included. 7 (correctly spelled keywords) out of 8’s not bad, though!

    • Taurean Watkins
      March 21, 2014 - 10:56 pm · Reply

      I MEAN: An aside, Katie, one of YOUR keywords is misspelled. “Google Hangouts” is “Google Hanhouts.” Happens to us all, myself FOR SURE included. 7 (correctly spelled keywords) out of 8′s not bad, though! (Yeah, I’m that anal about correct spelling sometimes) LOL!

  • Katie
    March 22, 2014 - 8:40 am · Reply

    Thanks, Taury. Sometimes I misspell keywords because people misspell them. But actually, I meant to include both, so thanks.

  • Lucy Anne Jennings
    March 22, 2014 - 6:31 pm · Reply

    Well, I'm a new fan of Katie! I've been working on this blog/writing/video dream of mine for a few years… and I was very proud to actually know what Katie and Brandee were talking about. I loved the podcast.
    One question: I can't find the webinar plugin that Brandee says she uses. She mentioned it, and you said you would list it in the show notes. Maybe I can't find it because I'm not such a smatie-pants after all.
    I bought Easy Webinar Plugin by Casey Zeman last summer (because I have shiny object syndrome). I haven't made a webinar yet. I also bought Webinar Jam recently… just to see if it is better. Do you recommend either of these?

    • Katie
      March 24, 2014 - 5:40 pm · Reply

      I do not know either of those I’m so sorry. And here’s another big fail on my part: I don’t remember the webinar plug-in that Brandy says she uses! I will try to go back and listen to the podcast or I will ask Brandy what she uses but keep it hard to get a hold of recently. We recorded that so long ago. Do I still have a new fan? 😎

      • Lucy Jennings
        March 30, 2014 - 4:02 pm · Reply

        Of course you still have me in as a fan! I decided to stay with my original purchase Easy Webinar Plugin, quit fretting about what to do, and just go work on my book.

  • Kendra Williams-Valentine
    March 30, 2014 - 1:51 pm · Reply

    I had to write after this podcast to make sure you knew that there are people- LIKE ME who absolutely loved it! I’ve noticed you really try to cater to the novice or shy writer tip toeing around being entrepreneurial, which is great- however new writers like myself whom have a decent relationship with entrepreneurship and social media, definitely appreciate pod-casts like this one. We can’t grow or learn by rotating within the same niche circles. The world is connected these days as are industries. I absolutely loved Brandee’s straight forward advice… and as I am an adult, listening this podcast as such, I have no problem with a curse word here or a term I need to Google for myself there… I rather do that then feel like fast forwarding through ‘been there heard that’ snipets. Love the show Katie! And stop trying to please everyone, I’ve listened to enough of your podcasts to know that you have a great sense for whats relevant and not! Great work!

    • Katie
      March 30, 2014 - 3:51 pm · Reply

      This is an AWESOME response. I do think most of my listeners are more tech-wary, based on the questions I get, so it’s hard to balance. And who knows who is listening unless I hear from you guys! So feedback as to who you want to hear from and what you want to learn is perfect for you and me.

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