Gentle Book Marketing With Sarah Santacroce

Can book marketing really be gentle, sustainable — and even enjoyable? Sarah Santacroce talks about how to reframe marketing and gives ideas for marketing your books.

In the intro, Kindle Vella launches in the US [The Next Web]; A UK report calls for a reset in music streaming revenues to ensure fairer pay for artists [BBC] and how it relates to authors and publishing [The Bookseller]; are you in a mid-year pandemic slump? and a wet adventure walk [Books and Travel]

kobo writing life

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors. 

Sarah Santacroce is the author of The Gentle Marketing Revolution: A Radical Business Approach to Getting New Clients with Integrity and Kindness. She’s also a business coach, podcaster, LinkedIn specialist, and the founder of The Gentle Business Revolution.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

Show Notes

  • How a breakdown led to a breakthrough
  • What does ‘gentle’ mean when it comes to marketing?
  • Why client avatars are overrated
  • Building a brand around yourself so that when you pivot you can take your audience with you
  • Making a book launch about the message, not about you, the author
  • Lessons learned from a Kickstarter book launch
  • Pitching podcasters

You can find Sarah Santacroce at and on Twitter @sarahsantacroce

Transcript of interview with Sarah Santacroce

Joanna: Sarah Santacroce is the author of The Gentle Marketing Revolution: A Radical Business Approach to Getting New Clients with Integrity and Kindness. She’s also a business coach, podcaster, LinkedIn specialist, and the founder of The Gentle Business Revolution. Welcome, Sarah.

Sarah: Hi, Joanna. Thanks so much for having me. This is fun.

Joanna: Tell us a bit more about you and your background in business and writing, and also where you are in the world as I think people would find that interesting.

Sarah: Off recording, we said we’re both Europeans, but I guess that’s not so completely true for both of us because I’m in Switzerland and we’re not part of the European Union and England is a whole other story!

I born and raised in Switzerland. That’s where I am based now. Still, we did a little exchange in California between 2006 and 2010, and that’s where I started my business.

I first got into social media in general, and then we came back to Switzerland in 2010, that was still the ice age regarding social media in Switzerland. People were maybe on Facebook, but just about started.

So when I came and thought, oh, I’m going to help businesses with their social media strategy, I quickly realized never mind strategy, they don’t even understand what social media is. And so I had to pivot into training and then focus mainly on LinkedIn, and that’s what I’ve done the last 10 or so years. I created an online LinkedIn consulting business.

A bit more than two years ago, I had this breakdown that led to a breakthrough, how they often go, and really started realizing I can’t do this anymore, this whole online marketing thing.

Something is just wrong and nobody’s addressing it. Am I the only one feeling that way? That’s where The Gentle Business Revolution was born and then led me to write this book about gentle marketing.

Joanna: Can we explore that a bit more? You mentioned the word breakdown, you said everything felt wrong. I know many authors don’t like marketing, but there’s also a lot of hype-y marketing in the author space. Tell us a bit more about that process of feeling because I know authors feel it too.

How did you know things were wrong or you were feeling it was wrong?

Sarah: Through my work, mainly with clients in the LinkedIn space, but they were all online entrepreneurs. I heard it over and over again, this phrase, ‘I hate marketing. I love what I do.’

A lot of my clients are in the service-oriented business, so they love coaching. They love creating transformations but marketing their business, they hated that. I think for a lot of authors, that’s kind of similar. It’s like, yeah, we loved writing our book, but now we have to market it and market it the way the gurus tell us, oh my God, that’s just another story!

I really felt an ever-growing anxiety when it came to marketing and I started realizing that the anxiety is two-fold. On one hand, there is anxiety from us, the entrepreneurs who are told to market in a certain way, because when you go online there’s millions and millions of things that tell you how you should be marketing. So that creates anxieties for entrepreneurs, but there’s also anxiety on the receiving end.

When I used to open my email inbox and there was all these headlines, like, you know, ‘Have you created your seven-figure business yet? If not, what are you doing wrong?’ And all of these pushy, scarcity-oriented headlines in emails, that creates anxiety also on the receiving end.

I really paid attention to this ever-growing anxiety. Actually, the first term that I came up with was ‘anxiety-free marketing’ because I felt like can we just talk about our businesses but without creating more anxiety?

Joanna: I feel very conflicted about this because, on the one hand, I totally agree with you. And on the other hand, we still have to sell our books and make some money. Tell us a bit more about the gentle side and we’ll get into the detail.

How did you come up with this word gentle and how does it balance ambition and the desire to make money?

Sarah: In fact, it has nothing to do with each other. You’re right though. It’s like, we have this idea that gentle means too nice or a pushover, but that’s not at all what the meaning of the word is.

The word means empathic maybe, it means compassionate, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not making money. In fact, in the book, I write about the triple win, which is based on the triple bottom line.

I came up with this idea the triple win, and that is a win for ourselves. So clearly, yes, we still want to make money. Win for our clients and then also I included the win for the planet.

So it really just means marketing our business with integrity and kindness. I think that’s where a lot of the hype and bro-marketing or whatever you want to call it, that’s where things got out of hand. There was no more integrity. It was always about just making that sale no matter what. And that’s what I think is wrong with the current marketing paradigm.

Joanna: You’re right because again, people think marketing is negative, but marketing is not negative in itself.

Marketing is sharing what we’ve created with people who are interested in hearing about it. That doesn’t mean we need to push, push, push, and hype, hype, hype.

Sarah: That’s what I’m saying, that’s exactly what I’m saying. And the difference is very subtle, actually. It’s about words.

On my walk today, I just listened to this podcast by Brene Brown where she talks about the concept of dehumanizing. She talks mainly about politics, but that is exactly what’s been happening also in marketing.

We had started to dehumanize the way we market our businesses. So it was all about numbers and getting more and more and more numbers rather than actually selling our services or ideas or products to humans.

And so it’s all about the words we choose to use in our marketing, whether it is these shaming techniques or only highlighting how much money you could be making if you’re using this product and selling this illusion of how rich you’re going to get when you buy my product.

That is all about words, the words you choose, whether you’re inviting and focusing on the positive or whether you’re focusing on the negative and making me feel bad that I’m not a seven-figure business owner yet. And maybe I will never get there because I’m such a loser because you’re making me feel bad. So it’s all about the subtle differences in words and language really.

Joanna: The intention. And it’s interesting, you talked there about that almost instead of dehumanizing that if we remember there are humans on the end.

Sarah: Exactly.

Joanna: It always makes me laugh with email lists, people are like, ‘Oh, well, you have to have this massive list of hundreds of thousands of people or whatever.’ And people who have a list of maybe 50 people get really upset because they think that’s too small.

But then if you think about how things used to be in book marketing where if you got 50 people in a room to actually listen to you, if you’d imagine 50 people listening, humans, then it changes completely.

50 people in a room (or on an email list) listening to you is actually quite a lot.

Sarah: It is. Can you imagine out of 50 people, you get 10 people to a workshop around the topic of your book? You’re done and you made your day. So it really is this push to always more.

Of course, I’m totally not against technology. I think technology helps. I mean we couldn’t be doing this podcast if it wasn’t for technology, but there’s, to a certain extent these guru marketers, they created these huge, huge, kingdoms and that you really became only a number to them.

That’s the risk also of technology is that you’re on a webinar with thousands of other people and clearly, you don’t feel heard and seen because you’re just one of those buyers. So there’s a good side to technology, but there’s also the dehumanizing side to technology.

Joanna: No, it’s a good point. I’ve been talking a lot about doubling down on being human in an age of AI. There’s more and more AI creation and ways to scale, and scale is brilliant.

Again, this is going out to a lot of people on the podcast feed, but I also find that podcasting is quite a personal way, and people, even when I meet someone who’s been…you’ve got a podcast too. Obviously, when you meet people who’ve listened to your podcast, they actually feel quite connected.

Even though you’ve created it in a bigger way, it can still be personal, which is interesting.

Sarah: Again, yeah, and it’s because we make it personal. And we really talk, it’s the choice of words. We want your listeners to feel like we really care about them and we don’t just care about their money.

I think that’s also the dehumanizing aspect of marketing. If it feels like you only want to make the sale, or if you truly care that I’m going to get results from what you’re selling to me.

In book marketing, you see a lot of these books that are lead magnets. I don’t want to get too much into that, but I really wanted to write a book where the reader walks away with real information and, yes, it’s part of my business.

We’ll talk about that maybe a bit later, but I didn’t want to just create an empty book that then has you come over to my website and buy my $600 program. That’s also the place where you show that you truly care, there’s empathy and there’s integrity behind it.

Joanna: I want to be clear with what I’m hearing from you. There’s nothing wrong with lead magnets. There’s nothing wrong with marketing. It’s our intention and the care we put into things and that we really do want to give value to people who get something from us, even if it’s for free. And that’s important.

It’s about the value to the person, whether or not they buy something.

Sarah: Exactly. Clearly there are just things that work in marketing and a lead magnet maybe I don’t like the word anymore because if you think about, it’s not a nice word, but giving away something for free that gets people to come to your email list and then get to know you and they get a taste of you basically, that’s a good concept in marketing. And so there’s nothing wrong with that. But then the value has to be there when you’re actually asking for money.

Joanna: Yes. And I really think this is great because it hopefully will help some people who struggle with the mindset of marketing to change the way they feel about it. Because as you say, if you come to it with the good intentions, then the same tactic as such can work for you, but you’re doing it differently to someone else who’s using it in a different way. So I really like that.

I want to get into some of the details of the book.

You say in the book, ‘Forget your client avatar start, with yourself.’ What do you mean by this and why is that important?

Sarah: In every marketing program that I’ve ever taken, it’s always the first thing you look at is the client avatar. And again, there’s nothing wrong with looking at the client avatar, but I actually say customer-centric marketing is a bit overrated, especially when it comes to us entrepreneurs and maybe your authors who are listening.

If you only pay attention to your avatar, so you create this giant business model around your ideal client avatar, and you then wake up one day and realize, oh my gosh, these people are not at all aligned with who I am, what my values are, what I stand for in this world, then that’s exactly when you maybe also have this breakdown that I had a few years ago. I created a business that was purely oriented towards this client avatar.

The marketing felt like a hustle all the time because I geared everything towards them. So what I suggest is that we actually start with ourselves and in the book, I built a book around three stages, rumble, rise, and resonate.

The first one is rumble and that means rumbling what your story and who you are because when we go deep within ourselves and do this work and figure out what our values are, our world view, what our story is so that we can really show up fully, then we can bring more of ourselves into our marketing.

That’s when marketing is really fun. That’s when we feel like we are doing something that is aligned with our values and it attracts people that are also aligned with those values.

I think the reason that so many people hate marketing is because they’re just following blindly things that some guru told them to do. And deep down, if they really listened to themselves, they don’t feel aligned with what they’re doing.

Again, that’s what I did and it didn’t feel good. I felt like, really do I want to send out another cart closing email today because that’s what I’ve been taught? You send out four cart closing emails the same day.

Go within first, figure out who you are, and then bring more of you to your marketing.

That sounds like marketing that is joyful and not arduous.

Joanna: It’s so important to tap into that feeling. I know exactly what you mean. I used to a lot more joint ventures and webinars and things and I would never do that. They’d be like, ‘Oh, well, we’ll do a webinar, but you have to send out these closing emails or whatever.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t do that.’

I’ll send one email that says, ‘Hey, fancy coming along?’ And then one email with, ‘Here’s the recording,’ and that’s about it. I never felt like I wanted to do more than that. And that feeling is so important.

I agree with you. I feel like people aren’t necessarily in touch with that feeling. And in order to find the best marketing for you and your audience, it’s really tapping into what feels good.

For me, podcasting, I do so much of it because I enjoy this. It’s also marketing.

Sarah: Right. Exactly. It’s marketing and it’s bringing all of you to your marketing because you get to also bring in your stories and you get to connect with people on the podcast that you feel aligned with. You would never bring in someone who you’re like, oh, this is, like, a complete jerk. Why would you want to have him on the podcast?

Joanna: You talked about what you stand for in this world and your values. And I think if you do build more of an audience around yourself and to be fair, you have to grow into that. But if you can do that, then people will follow you when you pivot.

Because of course, both of us have been online business people for over a decade and many people fall away because they build a brand around one particular thing, and then they just have to blow it all up because they want to change.

Whereas if you build it around yourself, you can pivot and people will come with you, at least some of them.

Sarah: That’s an interesting point. I never actually paid attention to that, but you’re right. Look at what I did before, I had nothing to do with gentle marketing. Even though people always told me, ‘You’re the real thing,’ and, ‘We never thought you were pushy or anything like that.’

They followed me even though I was doing something very specific. Now I feel like I’ve really come full circle and I share, for example, I remember the day when I pushed publish on my new about page where I share about my hippie upbringing and how the growing up in a commune has really had a big impact on how I look at business and how I want to run my business.

That felt so scary, especially having built a business on the most sterile professional platform that you can think of.

Joanna: And in fact, the more you are honest with boundaries, of course, we all have to have boundaries around what we share, but if you share as a real person, I think a lot of people still listen to this podcast after so many years because I share my mistakes and the problems and the issues as well as the other things along the way.

That helps people know that you’re a real person instead of someone trying to be something else.

Sarah: I talk about that as well because a lot of people ask me, ‘Could you have called it authenticity marketing or something like that?’ Unfortunately, the word authenticity almost became a buzzword. It became this thing that you do.

It’s another thing you do and check off, ‘Oh, I’m being authentic.’ And let’s face it, there’s just no course on how to be authentic. The course would probably be exactly what I talk about in rumble, find out who you are, but it’s not a checklist, show up in pajamas on your Zoom call and that’s being authentic.

In a way, there’s this thing also that sometimes we feel like we have to be authentic or we have to be vulnerable. No, that’s if you start using those things in order to sell more, or in order to market, people can see through it, people want the truth now more than ever, especially after what we’ve just gone through, and people can see through it.

I think it’s almost like consciousness in the world has risen and marketing is still this outdated thing that we used to do 10 years ago when people didn’t have all this information that we have access to today. It feels like a lot of the marketing, the hype-y, pushy bro marketing, it feels like they’re treating me as I’m stupid. Like, really, don’t you understand that I can see through this completely? It always makes me cringe.

Joanna: Also in the book, you say “stop chasing, attract instead.” What are some of the things that authors can do to attract readers?

Sarah: We already mentioned podcasts, so that is my favorite. And I think it’s your favorite too.

Find opportunities where people can really hear you talk about the story, the backstory also of your book, and hear the real you and not just the marketing pitch of the book because that’s where you bring more of you.

Another thing I seen some authors do recently is a webinar or a collaboration actually where they got on a webinar with three authors. And then the idea was to each talk, not just about the book, but about ideas from the book, so they had a common seem to the webinar. And then at the end, they just invited people who hadn’t bought the books yet. If they’re interested, go and buy the books of all three authors.

I found that a beautiful collaboration because oftentimes as authors, just like as entrepreneurs, we do everything alone and that’s hard. To sell a book all by yourself, you have to create the audience around it. So think maybe also about collaborating more with others where you have a common audience. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same topic, but they often overlap.

Joanna: You and I obviously have our own podcasts, but we both go on other people’s. I’ve been on yours. And we go on other people’s shows. Most authors are not going to start their own podcast.

Do you have any tips for getting on other people’s shows? What has worked for you in terms of pitching?

Sarah: Probably like you know as well, we get those pitches like every week and there’s very few that turn into something, but the ones that do work are the ones who did their homework. They’ve listened to my podcast, they know what the show is about.

In my case, I organize my conversations around the 7Ps of the gentle marketing mandala. And so they put that into their pitch.

Often they’re agencies. And so they’re like, ‘I’d like to pitch this person for this and this topic.’ And so they actually give you the topics.

So that’s the first recommendation I would have. I’d say you need to actually do the homework and make sure that A, you have researched the podcast, B, you suggest what kind of topics you would like to cover, and C, what has worked really well for me is a quick video that I record.

In my case, I actually recorded a generic video that I use in all of my pitches. It helps the host to actually see the person and hear them talk and have them go through the topics that they suggest. So that has worked well for me.

Joanna: I’ve never done a video, but it is interesting. I find particularly if you are a non-English or non-native English speaker…because with my Books and Travel podcast, I interview a lot of international authors and I do go looking for videos just to make sure that our level of English is going to work. So I think that is important, but you’re absolutely right.

For people listening, I think you get much better results if you pitch 3 or 5 podcasts specifically than scattergun, 100 with the same letter. You do much better if you do your homework, as you said. Again, it comes back to your intention, which is to serve the audience of the podcast host.

Sarah: Exactly. Yes.

Joanna: I also wanted to ask about you recommend ditching the shoulds, and you call it comparitis, and I call it comparisonitis, but comparing yourself with others. Obviously, this is easier said, or not easily said, easier said than done.

We know there are new ways to market all the time, particularly with books, paid advertising like Amazon ads and Facebook ads, but no one is finding it easy or experimenting with ease. There’s a lot of anxiety, as you mentioned, around this type of thing.

How do we, as you call it, ‘experiment with ease’ around marketing?

Sarah: I have to admit that with this book marketing thing, it was new territory for me as well. I noticed myself thinking, how does it work, and what are the standard rules in this industry?

When I talk to my coach about it, she’s like, ‘Wait a minute, Sarah, just walk your talk and do your own thing.’ I’m like, ‘Oh right. Yeah, I forgot.’

What I noticed is that, of course, for example, when it comes to the book launch, there is this standard, oh, you do the three videos or whatever, how many videos, and then you have your launch. Before COVID, we had our book tour. So there was this standard thing that, to me, just didn’t feel good to make this book launch about me. I really wanted it to be about the message.

And so I thought, well, what can I do differently that would feel good to me? What I came up with, we’ll talk about the Kickstarter in a minute. But the other thing I did is I wanted it to coincide with a worldwide event that’s called the Random Acts of Kindness Week.

I thought that would be a good way for me, as an introvert, to shine the light on something else and just have my book as a, ‘By the way, this is sponsored by my new book, but we’re having a weeklong event that’s based on this random acts of kindness topic and we’re hosting conversations that have to do with kindness in business.’

That got me really excited. I’m like, oh, I can find all these guests that have something to say about kindness. And so you really have to step out of your box that the industry built and says, ‘This is how it’s done,’ and then give yourself permission to do it differently. So that’s the first thing maybe that I would say.

The other thing is I did then feel like when it came to launching the book on Amazon because I self-published, I’m totally overwhelmed with all the left-brain thinking around algorithms and keywords and all of that. And again, this is not about just throwing everything away.

Like we discussed earlier, there’s just certain concepts and things in marketing that have worked and that’s just how it is. Rather than getting all anxious around those kinds of things, I was like, well, I’m going to have to hire a book launch coach who is going to deal with those number-related things and keywords because that’s her thing. I didn’t want to let my energy get dragged down by things that would just overwhelm me.

Joanna: That’s great. And yes, sometimes just paying someone else to do things. I pay someone to do my Amazon ads for me because I have exactly the same thing.

If your energy really is, ‘I hate this,’ then you either just don’t do it at all and you ignore it or you pay someone else to do it.

And of course, you need to have a budget to do that. Only the individual author can assess what is important to them. But as you said, with actually self-publishing, there are things you have to do, you have fields to fill in to actually put the book up, so you have to do that.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly.

Joanna: You mentioned the Kickstarter and I was part of your Kickstarter and it was really interesting because I feel like many books do not do very well through Kickstarter. It’s starting to get a bit better, but it’s designed for a lot of different things really.

Tell us a bit more about the Kickstarter and why you wanted to do it, and any tips or lessons that you learned.

Sarah: For me, I was really new to Kickstarter and my husband was on it mainly for board games and video games, maybe. So when he first mentioned it, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to work for me.’

I also had the impression that Kickstarter is basically begging people for money, like go around to your friends and ask them for money. And so I was like that doesn’t feel good. But the minute I understood that it has to do with community building, I was like, oh, maybe it is interesting. So that’s really how I looked at it. I looked at it as an internal launch to my own community.

Yes, it helped me raise the money, but it really was this community that kept me going and said, ‘Yeah, Sarah, I think we want you to publish this book.’ So that’s really how I launched it at.

What I learned from it is that, again, when it comes to the numbers there’s always the left brain and the right brain. I had huge fun with the right brain and coming up with the page and the video we shot at the lake and all of these right-brain creative things that gave me a lot of motivation and I liked it a lot.

Then when it came to launching and measuring the numbers and see the money go up, that didn’t excite me so much. It also made me realize that Kickstarter, even though it’s targeted to where it’s creative entrepreneurs and in general, creative people, there is still a pushy attitude to it and I didn’t like that so much.

It’s built into the system that they want you to basically go crazy and reach the $100,000 target or whatever. I think for authors, it’s all about expectations. So I raised a goal of $3,000, which obviously is a very lower-end goal. But it felt important to me that I was able to reach that goal.

So it was more about getting the community together and having that positive outcome rather than raising $10,000 or $20,000 or even more to get the money. It was not about the money, it was more about the community. And that then really helped me to get these initial reviews and get people to share it. Overall, I would say was a successful kind of experiment.

Joanna: That’s so interesting you said that because I haven’t done a Kickstarter yet and I keep thinking about it. I try and trust my feelings as well like you do. And I also just don’t feel good about it.

But as you said, if you put a very low number on it, then there’s much less stress, but I also feel it’s a bit like what I like doing as a creative is I create something, I put it out there in the world, and people can buy it or not.

Whereas with something like Kickstarter, I feel like, well, I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet. How can I possibly tell people upfront what I’m going to make when I’m a discovery writer and I make it as I go? So it worries me that people might not get what I can agree on upfront.

Sarah: That’s interesting because, for me, I used the Kickstarter probably not as you’re supposed to be using it, meaning raising the money before you’ve written the book. I already had a finished manuscript when I launched a Kickstarter. So you’re right that if you do the Kickstarter before you know what you’re going to write, that can be a bit more challenging.

Joanna: This was interesting because you did the launch, you basically launched it as a Kickstarter, so you’d already written it. You did the Kickstarter, you’ve got the money. And then what I thought was really smart is I think you set the book for free. The link I got was the Amazon link where I could download the book for free, right?

Sarah: That’s right. Yes.

Joanna: Which meant that you also got the download and any reviews were going to be a verified review. So that was super smart I thought.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. I thought it was super smart too, but then my book launch coach, she’s like, ‘Well…’ Yeah, we had to do a thing where we had to relaunch it because the official launch was not going to be until the Random Acts of Kindness Week, which was only two months later. So we had to relaunch it with that same link and then ask Amazon to transfer the reviews to the new link. But it worked out in the end.

Joanna: It did work out. Well, there you go. I thought it was super smart. I think this is really interesting because what we just said there were a couple of things I didn’t know. And there are always new things in book marketing. They are always different ways to do stuff.

I want people listening to know you can experiment, you can do different things. It doesn’t have to be the same every time.

As a nonfiction author I always say to people, don’t expect to make your entire business income from book sales.

What part does book sales play in your business and your multiple streams of income and how does the book lead into these other business opportunities?

Sarah: It’s definitely a small part of my business. You can call it a lead magnet if you want. For me, it’s a standalone product, but definitely there’s opportunity for it to lead into other business services that I offer.

At the end of the book I talk about my Gentle Business Circle. That’s my community membership. And then I also have an online program. So it is part of getting people into my world and then having them maybe also download my freebie, which is the one-page marketing plan in the form of a mandala.

If people are interested, that’s at It’s part of a whole if you want. In terms of the actual revenue, it’s still early, early days, but it will probably always be a small part of my business income.

Joanna: Have you noticed that you have attracted new people through the book or, for example, do you find many people come into you through your podcast or your blog?

Sarah: I would say people have come in who have bought the book who’ve heard me talk on other podcasts. That’s usually how it happens. So they go from a podcast that I’ve talked on, they buy the book, and then they sign up to my one-page marketing plan.

Or they sign up to my one-page marketing plan in which in one of the emails I mention the book and then they go buy the book. As you know, it’s all connected and it’s just part of my hub. So that’s how I set it.

Joanna: That’s important, this ecosystem approach, everything links together and you’ve got this coherent message that works with yourself and what you’re doing.

And also, I guess, just to finish this, sort of circle back to the longer-term view because I know you think about this longer-term view as well. If people look at you and I right now and our websites and everything, it looks like we’ve got it all together, right? I feel like people keep saying to me, ‘Look you must’ve been that you were going to build all this.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, no, it just sort of happened over time.’

What have you really learned about this long-term thing and do we really have it all together?

Sarah: First of all, no, I really don’t have it together. I actually even say in the book I don’t have it all figured out, right now, especially. Maybe two years ago, I thought I did, but then everything changed and I’m pivoting again.

And who knows? I’m hoping that I’m still going to be interested in talking about gentle marketing five years from now, but who knows? And that’s the beauty of entrepreneurship. We can always pivot.

Joanna: If you don’t know what you want your authentic brand to be just trust how you feel and over time it will reveal itself.

Sarah: Yes. It really is also about resilience. I think entrepreneurship is so much about resilience and going into a dead end and then saying, ‘Oh, well, okay, that one didn’t work out. Let me start again and go into another direction.’

It’s just, I think, once you’ve done it for 10 years, there’s just no way back and there’s no other place I’d rather be. And so it’s always about thinking, well, if that didn’t work, what else, where do I go next?

For me, the book was always something that I wanted to do. I never thought I’d had it in me. And now already, I’m thinking about writing a second sequel book about selling. Had somebody told me 10, even 2 years ago that I was going to write a book about selling, I would’ve said, ‘No, I know nothing about selling.’ But now it’s just a logical next step. And people are asking me about it, ‘Well, what’s the difference between marketing and selling?’ And so I grow into that.

We grow into them as we grow as people. And I think maybe that’s one of the biggest lessons in entrepreneurship is that we really have to also grow into things as people because we can’t always figure things out and wanting to do more, we have to really also let ourselves be more and that’s only if we do the deeper inner work.

Joanna: Where can people find you and everything you do online?

Sarah: My main site is So my first name is with an H at the end, And you pronounced it perfectly, thanks, Joanna. And my book is at

I mentioned the free download one-page marketing plan at with a 1, number 1. And if you’re more of a listener, then you can also check out my podcast that’s called ‘The Gentle Business Revolution.’

Joanna: Brilliant. Well, thanks so much for your time, Sarah. That was great.

Sarah: It’s been a delight. Thanks for having me, Joanna.

The post Gentle Book Marketing With Sarah Santacroce first appeared on The Creative Penn.

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Author: Joanna Penn

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  • July 18, 2021