Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

21 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

Friday, December 12th, 2014


a snowflake design

Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.―Steve Maraboli

When you share small acts of kindness, you are giving back more than you might think. You spread cheer to someone else. You elevate your own mood. You inspire more giving. Giving can have a ripple effect. The recipient of your act of kindness benefits, and so do any witnesses. Oh, and you just may enjoy the feeling of giving so much that it turns into a giving spirit that lives on well past the holidays. So here are some ideas:

  1. Call a friend you haven’t talked to all year.
  2. Spread good news about someone.
  3. Collect cans of food and donate them to a food bank.
  4. Gather up your old coats and donate them to Goodwill or a homeless shelter.
  5. Pay for someone’s layaway anonymously.
  6. Run an errand for someone.
  7. Buy books for strangers. Books can change lives.
  8. Give an unexpected generous tip to make someone’s day.
  9. Buy someone in your family a journal and inscribe it your best life lesson on the first page.
  10. Bake some holiday cookies and share the sweet merriment with your neighbors.
  11. Leave a note of cheer on someone’s windshield.
  12. Sign up for a holiday 5K because the money goes to a good cause.
  13. Donate possessions you no longer need to the Salvation Army.
  14. Bring a box of toys to a children’s hospital.
  15. Have a beautiful photo framed and send it as a gift to someone special.
  16. Smile at a stranger.
  17. Give a genuine compliment every day.
  18. Bring treats to the office to share with coworkers.
  19. Donate blood and save a life.
  20. Bring some blankets, dog food or pet toys to the animal shelter.
  21. Write a note or send an email of appreciation to someone who has positively impacted your life.

What are some of the special ways you give back during the holidays? Let’s add to this list. Share your act of kindness in the comments section below. Happy Holidays.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.


Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. A nationally-recognized speaker and digital branding expert, Fauzia writes regularly for Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen.  For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Facebook and Twitter. To talk with FSB and ask publicity questions about your book, please join us FSB on Twitter and Facebook. 


The Age of the Specialists

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
The Age of Specialists

The Age of Specialists

Get specific. Those two little words mean so much. Get specific is a great writing tip, and a great way to write a To Do list. When you get specific in conversation, people know precisely what you are talking about. As a business owner, I’ve learned that you can provide the most value to your customers and clients when you are a specialist and not a generalist. The old saying that you can’t be all things to all people is true.  Most of my clients today prefer to have a team of specialists—with specific strengths in which they excel—rather than a team of generalists. At my company, FSB Associates, we specialize in online publicity. We find being focused helps us deliver better results for our clients. Here are five ways that focus will make your work better:


The Age of Specialists

  1. Position your strengths.

    Marcus Buckingham has several books on identifying your strengths and the value of spending your time honing your strengths and disregarding your weaknesses. Put another way, there’s not a lot of value in being a well-rounded person. There is more value in honing your strengths—or becoming an expert in a specific niche. Imagine what you could accomplish if you take an area where you are naturally strong (where you already excel) and you work on those skills and abilities? For example, as online publicity specialists, we get results for our clients because this is our specialty. We don’t try and do it all or go outside our lane of expertise. When you stick to your strengths, you will like the results.

  2. Target your pitching.

    When we work to get publicity for our clients, we don’t write a blanket pitch for all media outlets. And we don’t approach the same media outlets for every client. We target our pitches, and we make sure each media outlet is the right match for our clients. (You have to match the message with the right audience.) You will have far better results when you build relationships individually and then customize your pitch to a specific person. Yes, it’s easier to write a boilerplate pitch and send it out in a mass email, but it won’t work. It may feel good to cross it off your To Do list, but it’s not effective. Tailoring a pitch for a single person or specific audience is far more effective.

  3. Know your audience.

    Internet publicity is quite customized. Before you sit down to write a blog, pitch yourself, start a website or agree to a speaking engagement, you have to know your audience. I always remind authors that there is no The best authors have one person in mind (who represents the traits and interests of their specific audience) when they write. You provide a specialty and you have to match your expertise with those who need it. Know what your audience cares about. What adjectives describe your audience, client or customer? Don’t do this or that because it worked for someone else. Instead, ask yourself: Will it work for my audience? If you want to build your client base, take a step back and write down everything you know about where you are getting business from. Then you will know your audience and can assess what you need to do next.

  4. Never fly blind.

    As online publicity specialists, we help our clients with their social media campaigns, but not until we do an intensive sit down to know their interests, values and what they like and don’t like. The faster way is usually not the better way. Take time to know your clients and with that knowledge you can provide your clients with exceptional service.

  5. Build relationships one person at a time.

    Build social capital. Give first. Have a helping mentality long before you need a favor. As author Lois Frankel said, “The time to build a relationship is long before you need it.” Don’t use the anonymity of online to spam people or send unsolicited emails. You should still have the same social etiquette online that you have offline.

Whether you are an author or entrepreneur (or both), getting specific will accelerate your success. Get specific about your strengths, your audience and your value. The more of a specialist you become, the more people will need the services you provide.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.


Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. A nationally-recognized speaker and digital branding expert, Fauzia writes regularly for Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen.  For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Facebook and Twitter. To talk with FSB and ask publicity questions about your book, please join us FSB on Twitter and Facebook. 

Your Website and Google Analytics 101        

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

A sign with a question mark that asks: What are you goals?As an author, you need to have a website so your readers and community can learn about you. In order to know if your website is attracting traffic and is working for you, take advantage of free Google Analytics and connect your website. Google Analytics can tell you so much information even at a glance. If you are new to Google Analytics here’s a little overview to help you get familiar with the data you can collect and review.

Google Analytics 101

Number of visits

Your number of visits is the number of times someone comes to your site. If the same person comes back more than once, that’s tracked as two visits.

Unique Visitors

The number of new people coming to your site. Each unique person is counted once.

Page views

Page views are the number of pages on your site that were viewed. Each link on a website takes you to a new page. An increase in page views indicates that more content is being viewed across your website. You can see where people are going on your site and how many pages they view per visit.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of people who see one page and then leave the site or bounce off the page. Aim for a decreasing bounce rate. It means people are finding content they like and you are likely achieving reader engagement.

Average time on the site

This indicates how long someone stays on your site. This is a good number to track to see if it’s improving or declining.

Top content

Track the content that gets the most page views and best traffic to show your high-performing pages and then you know what works and you can do more of it.

Social visits

Find out what social media sites send the most traffic to your website by going to the Traffic Sources section of Google analytics and click on “All Traffic.” You will be able to see the websites that send traffic to your site.

Traffic source keywords

Track the keywords people use via search engines to get to your site. Keywords people use that have a low bounce rate, high time on site and lots of page visits are the ones you should use in your blog post titles, and as tags and categories. Your keywords also can be a good indication to you of the content that resonates with your readers.


Keyword search engine optimization (SEO) is important, but so is sounding like you. People expect authentic communication not marketing copy. Make sure your site isn’t so optimized for SEO it hardly reads well.

For more information on how best to use Google Analytics to drive traffic to your website, read my Q & A with Social Marketology author, Ric Dragon. He provides excellent insights on how to gauge if your website is effective. . Understanding what draws people to your website is instrumental to giving your visitors more of what they want and encouraging repeat and longer visits.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.


Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. A nationally-recognized speaker and digital branding expert, Fauzia writes regularly for Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen.  For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Facebook and Twitter. To talk with FSB and ask publicity questions about your book, please join us FSB on Twitter and Facebook. 

Steve Jobs Makes Me Better

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

Steve Jobs stepped down as the CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, and if you read the news on Twitter first, then you also saw the millions of tweets thanking him and feeling sad at the news of his departure. Think about that for a minute: we, the people, were thanking the CEO of a company for making us better.

Most of us don’t even know the CEOs of companies, but we know Steve Jobs. We know him because he was always on our side. His decisions about design, beauty and elegance were not about technology; they were about us.

Apple makes great products, but I was not always a Mac fan. Actually, until 2007, I was a PC user. I just assumed that Macs were for those creative types, the artists and graphic designers and photographers and movie makers. I am a publicist and a small business owner. I figured I could do with a PC.

Our family’s love affair started with the iPod, of course. John, my husband and our home and company CIO, had bought several MP3 players and told our tween girls that they were the same as an iPod, just a lot cheaper. Of course, that was not going over well, so we bought them iPods. Those were the first Apple products in our home.

Upon seeing the elegance of the design, both John and I got iPods, as well. Then John bought a Mac Mini for the home to test it out in June 2007. We thought our girls would enjoy the music, photo and movie programs. Not only did they enjoy them, but we loved them, as well.

In fall 2007, John then bought himself a MacBook Pro, and for our daughter’s 13th birthday we got her a MacBook (we owe our current Mac devotion to her love of Apple products). After seeing John’s laptop, I, of course, had Mac envy and wanted a MacBook Pro for myself.

Now our home was almost totally powered by Mac computers, and we were loving them. The programs and templates allowed me to do my best work. The laptops were effortless. Gone were the days of my laptops overheating (yes I am talking to you, HP) or freezing for no reason (that’s you, Microsoft). I could already feel that this laptop was about me. It just worked.

In our Web design department at FSB (our firm), we moved to Macs in the office. Now the Macs had started moving into the office, as well. We were switching our website development to Dreamweaver and did not want to buy the expensive program for PC, so in came the Macs. They were, of course, a big hit.

In the meantime, one of our publicists’ computer crashed from a virus (remember the blue screen of death?). By this point, John was frustrated by how much tech support was needed by the PCs and decided to get her a Mac Mini. This required our company to change our software needs, which were PC based, so we developed an awesome database that was Web-based. Now we were platform-agnostic and could work from anywhere. Fabulous!

By 2008 the entire FSB office was converted to Macs. Everyone loved them and felt that they were so much easier to work with. None of us was thinking about how to work with our computer. We were just doing our work, and the Macs were just working. It was all about us.

Then there is the classic story of getting our first iPhones. John really wanted one, but I figured a phone is a phone, and I did not care. But he convinced me that it would be a great anniversary present for each other. I rolled my eyes but went along with it. So on our wedding anniversary, we were standing in line at a Mac store waiting to buy our iPhones. I rolled my eyes and told him he owed me. Then we got the iPhones, and 24 hours later I was converted and was found saying, “You can take my iPhone from my cold, dead fingers.”

There was no turning back. We were Mac devotees. Yesterday I started to count how many Apple products we own, and I lost the count at 30. Our home and our office are completely powered by Apple products, and we could not be happier.

As a small business and a tech-savvy family, our Apple products have made our lives better. We do our best work on our Apple hardware and software. The Macs in the office, including the server, have saved us money and hours of frustration in tech support.

Like millions of others whose lives have been made better by your products, we, as a family and a business, thank you, Steve Jobs, for improving our family life, saving us money in our small business and giving us the tools to do our best work. We all wish you the best of health and continued success.

Dina R. Rose: It’s Not About Nutrition

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This week we welcome Dina R. Rose who has a PhD in sociology from Duke University and is the author of the popular blog, It’s Not About Nutrition where she focuses on helping parents find the right approach to get kids eating right.

After her mother’s premature death from obesity-related illnesses at the age of 65, Dina knew she wanted to give her daughter a better — and happier — food-life. Dina made helping parents solve their kids’ eating problems her life work. Most parents know what their children should eat, but have trouble putting this knowledge into practice. Dina offers parents the relief they need: practical, research-based strategies so they can stop struggling and start succeeding.

A Food Sociologist, Dina answers the how not the what when it comes to nutrition. The foods children should eat is not so much a mystery as getting them to actually accept and enjoy a regular healthy diet.

In her workshops and one-on-one sessions, Dina gives parents the tools to teach kids to eat right without having to rely on calorie counting systems, complex menus, or portion limits. By making smart decisions based on the latest in parenting, sociology, nutrition, and food psychology research, parents can learn to:

  • Deliberately and consciously shape children’s eating habits.
  • Identify why children eat the way they do.
  • Manage events as they happen so unexpected treats don’t ruin your plans.
  • Use taste and texture to teach kids to eat a wide variety of foods.
  • Avoid the 3 most common ways parents inadvertently teach bad eating habits.
  • Teach children how to try new foods.
  • Identify how parenting style influences children’s eating.
  • Solve eating problems that arise at different developmental stages.
  • Know what to do instead of bribing and begging kids to eat.
  • Consciously shape children’s relationships to food.

Look for Dina Rose’s upcoming book, It’s Not About Nutrition: Unexpected Lessons In Teaching Your Child Healthy Eating for Life. For more information on how to get a preview of this book, visit the It’s Not About Nutrition Web site and make sure you visit Dina’s blog as well for the latest in parenting and nutrition.

The clip below features Dina Rose on Better Connecticut where she provides tips for parents on how to feed their children healthy foods.

Are you a social media fan?

Join the It’s Not About Nutrition community on Facebook and catch up with Dina Rose on Twitter.

Publishers Looking to Amplify eBook Marketing

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Our new Amplify e-book marketing program is off to a running start. Publishers are realizing that e-book publicity is going to have to play by different rules than those traditionally found in paper book campaigns. Why? Walk into a bookstore and you’re practically tripping over new releases placed strategically on tables and shelves for all to see.  E-books on the other hand aren’t availed the same service online where millions of titles vie for attention.  The hit-and-run campaigns publishers are used to are short-term events for paper books that won’t cut it with e-books and now with brick-and-mortar booksellers against the ropes, book publicity faces a whole new challenge and importance.

FSB’s Amplify marketing program focuses on turning a short-term event into an extended engagement that increases a book and author’s online visibility. By grouping similar e-books together and promoting them over a six month period, campaigns are amped by boosting their volume, duration, and networking communities. Early adopters of the Amplify program are spearheading the online book publicity movement and among them are publishers such as F&W Media, TOR BooksVanguard Press (Perseus), and Reader’s Digest Trade Publishing.

F&W Media is currently featuring a line of crime novels under the brand, F&W Crime, whose titles seen below are a good example of what makes up a typical Amplify program lineup. By promoting individual books as part of a whole, each title benefits from the support of other titles, the publisher, and FSB’s 16 years of experience, personal relationships with online media outlets, and a far-reaching social media network that includes a team of Twitter support.

Screams & Whispers by Randall Peffer

Young Cape Cod public defender and commercial fisherman Michael Decastro ventures to Saigon with his father to come to the aid of his long-lost client and love-interest Tuki Aparecio, who is in a fight of her life with a mysterious dragon lady from Indochina’s underworld. Screams & Whispers from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Untouchable by Scott O’Connor

A year has passed since Lucy Darby’s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. The Kid hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, and only communicates through a collection of notebooks. Untouchable from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

County Line by Bill Cameron

When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind. Skin and Peter cross the country on a desperate journey deep into Ruby Jane’s haunted past — and toward an explosive confrontation. County Line from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby

Private eye Noah Braddock has found peace in his relationship with Detective Liz Santangelo and has called a tentative truce with his alcoholic mother, Carolina. So when lawyer Darcy Gill demands that he look into a death row case, he’s more interested in catching some waves. Darcy then plays her trump card: the man scheduled to die is the father Noah never knew. Liquid Smoke from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Year End Buzz

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

by Ken Ishii

The weather may be cold outside, but book buzz surrounding our projects has been heating up the office. The publicists here are hard at work vying for precious exposure at a time when everyone is scampering for attention during the holiday shopping season. Perseverance has paid off, though, in the form of solid placements that have caught the attention of web viewers everywhere. Below you’ll find a sample of some of our recent favorite placements.

The Network is Your Customer by David Rogers

On The Huffington Post consultant and author David Rogers borrows from his book, The Network Is Your Customer, to share “Five Strategies for Business Growth in a World of Customer Networks.” This article represents important social media trends that are poised for greater action in 2011.  The Network is Your Customer from Yale University Press is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Now Build A Great Business! by Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy

Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy, the business dynamic-duo behind the book Now, Build A Great Business!, speak to a young generation of entrepreneurs with advice on team building in the article, “Being A Great Leader Means Not Doing It Alone,” on  Now Build A Great Business! from AMACOM is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Cooking For Isaiah by Silvana Nardone

Those with celiac or on a gluten-free diet can shed worries over a lack of variety when they see the kind of spread author Silvana Nardone has to offer in her cookbook Cooking For Isaiah. Silvana Nardone and friends share an extravagant wheat-free feast while demonstrating what’s possible with a little kitchen ingenuity in the article, “Gluten-Free Potluck Dinner,” on  Cooking For Isaiah from Reader’s Digest is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Nighttime Novelist by Joseph Bates

In The Nighttime Novelist, author Joseph Bates takes the labor out of writing for aspiring novelists by breaking fiction into small easily digestible sections and making the most out of daily time constraints. An article on does an equal job by effectively outlining the contents of Joseph Bates’ book in, “The Nighttime Novelist is a Succinct Guide for Part Time Writers.”  The Nighttime Novelist from Writers Digest is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

ZooBorns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

Authors Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland, who have compiled a high-resolution collection of irresistible photos of newborn animals in their book ZooBorns, share the joy of nature’s precious creatures on in the article “Zoo Babies From Around the World.”  This book is sure to be a hit for the holiday season.  ZooBorns from Simon & Schuster is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

John Lennon: Life is What Happens by John M. Borack

John Lennon’s monumental contribution to music and society is easily seen through the  wealth of attention the late Beatles member received this month surrounding the anniversary of his death on December 8th. For John Borack’s book, John Lennon: Life is What Happens, we created a slideshow presentation that eventually was chosen as a feature slide presentation by on their “Books” page.

While we were able to secure coverage on multiple websites for John Borack’s tribute book, the article “Bros Before Hos: Lessons From John Lennon” on stands out for its connotation of equality. Despite his superstar status and advocacy for peace and freedom, John Lennon was not pardoned from the bitter laws of romantic relationships.  And that makes him closer to us all.  John Lennon: Life Is What Happens from Krause Publications is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Dead Or Alive by Tom Clancy

The FSB Associates Web Site Development team continues to create and maintain a wide variety of Web sites for authors and publishers. One recent project that we’re particularly proud of is Tom Clancy’s website,, which features excerpts from past titles such as The Hunt For Red October and a video book trailer for his newest novel in almost a decade, Dead Or Alive.  Dead Or Alive from Penguin Group is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Our Gratitude

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

by Ken Ishii
Web Editor

We all know Thanksgiving is a time to contemplate the things that we’re thankful for among other activities that involve a mouthful.  So here goes.  At FSB we’re thankful for the continued support from authors, publishers, editors, and bloggers that have become so tightly knit for one common purpose. The love of reading.

We’re not too sure who to thank for this next one, but we’re grateful for the incredible networking revolution that has formed this phenomenon we call social media.  Where would we be in this big wide world without the ability to group together like-minded folks from all corners of the globe?

That brings us to the FSB ambassadors that connect our authors to a world of readers out there.  The talented crew here has put more books on the map than previously imagined. We’ve seen big article placements on Business Insider, Excelle, and CNN Living in just the last two weeks alone by our three star publicists Anna Suknov, Julie Harabedian, and Leyane Jerejian. We’re pretty sure our authors are going to share in the thanks this week as well. A tip of the hat goes out to all of us behind the scenes including Digital Media Specialist Jaime Saranczak, Office Administrator Ruby Mansuri, and myself for helping set a stage for smooth campaigns and business support. A big warm thanks goes out to our leaders Fauzia and John Burke for their guidance and expertise in bringing the best out of the team here at FSB Associates.

It can’t all be about business though.  In fact, I’m truly thankful that there’s a nationally observed holiday for celebrating recognition.  A day of gratitude for being able to lift our heads from keyboards and mobile devices to see we haven’t completely lost one another when we surface from our digital mines. With virtual spaces replacing the physical world, it has never been more important to share time with family as now.  What with our voices drowning in a sea of algorithms and our vision of the world filtered through ever finer pixillation, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold on to what we know in our hearts is the real world when even our senses deceive us.  So, for the sake of preserving our physical surroundings, let’s make an oath to pull the cyber-plug and connect with family this week.  In fact, let’s make it a regular thing.  After all, while trends in politics, technology, and business come and go, you share them with relatives who, living and resting, are eternal.

Happy Thanksgiving!