Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Making My Case: Why Authors Need Websites

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

a post-it note that reads: Who Are You?I heard there’s a rumor going around in book publishing that authors don’t need websites. I kid you not, in 2014 I still hear people saying authors don’t need a website. If it was a true rumor, many authors would exhale with relief. Who has the time to get a great website up, keep it updated with fresh content and still have coveted writing time? If you are an author, you may view getting your website up as a time-suck or annoyance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one. Authors without websites, your careers are like houses without foundations. Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you’ve got to get your author website up.

1. Your readers want to learn more about you.

In our digitally connected world, you can’t put your book out there in the world, but leave yourself in the shadows. Your readers want to know you. They want to know your interests and values, and they want to be able to converse with you online. Your website is the place where readers find out more about you and your expertise. Your website is where you build your brand and keep your content alive in real time. You should own your site. If your publisher owns your site, what happens if you decide to change publishers or decide to self-publish some day? As you develop a blog (which can be re-purposed content from your book) you can regularly reach out to your readers with content of value. Your website houses your content for your email newsletters. And if you want your blog to get more views, you want to be able to share it on Google+ (so it comes up in Google searches). Without a website, your blog is homeless.

2. You need a place to build your community.

As you collect email addresses of your interested readers (I call them your super fans) you are a creating a vetted community of people who are stepping forward and saying, “I am interested in you and what you have to say.” Your website is the ideal place to collect these names for your email newsletter. You are building community. While you can converse on social pages, your website is a home base where collecting emails and generating content meet. Your mailing list is a big asset, you should have control over it. Without a website, it would be difficult to collect email addresses on a consistent basis or have a home base for the content you send out in those emails.

3. You need a place for ecommerce.

If you want to sell other products or services, or that’s your plan down the road, no other social media platform (not Twitter, not Facebook, not Pinterest) can organize the products, books or services like you can organize them on your own website. You can integrate your website with shopping cart tools, add new products all the time and have them organized under a one-click navigation (i.e. under the word, Shop.) Better still, your website can include testimonials from your super fans, solidifying your brand, expertise and the products you offer.

4. Other social media platforms don’t cancel out the need for a website.

Your website is where you are in control. No one else can change the rules like they can on other social media sites. While some players in the publishing industry contend that you can use a social media site in place of having a website, I couldn’t disagree more. A website is where you call the shots. If you are only on social media sites, you are always playing another person’s game. Facebook or Twitter could change the user experience and you just have to follow along. For example, Facebook recently changed its model to more of a pay-to-play platform, so if you opted for a Facebook business page in lieu of your own website, you now have to play by Facebook’s rules. Do you want to be dependent upon Facebook’s algorithm or functionality of who sees your content? If you have a website, you get to decide what your audience sees. Your website and each social media platform are each totally different entities. Knowing your readers and where they spend their time will tell you what social pages you should sign-up for, but bottom line: You always need a website.

5. Why take a hit on your digital reputation when you can avoid it.

Ever hear the quote, “it’s not what you say, but sometimes what you don’t say that speaks the loudest?” Well, that applies to your website too. If your interested reader does a quick search for you and doesn’t find a website, are you okay with that says about you? Not having a website could be viewed as unprofessional, out-of-date, and not connected. Publishers who want you to be a marketing partner for your book, may see your lack of a website as a reason not to take you seriously as a writer. If you want to grow your brand and your business, you need to show up with a website.

Despite popular belief, your website doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You can keep it simple. WordPress is often recommended as a hosting platform because it’s author friendly, easy to use and easy for people to find (good search capabilities). Keep in mind one thing: It’s better not to have a website, than to have a bad one. If you have a website, make it good one.

© 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 and MindBodyGreen. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke and Facebook. To talk with FSB and ask publicity questions about your book, please join us FSB on Twitter and Facebook.

Why Every Author Needs a Digital Marketing Advisor

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Today, every author needs a digital marketing advisor, or at least an experienced marketing advocate to protect their interests. This can be an agent, a marketing savvy friend or a digital marketing consultant, but the need is unquestionable and the development of your digital brand is essential for your book’s success.

I have put together a list of aspects of your marketing plan and the type of advice you need to market your book successfully. If you are a marketing savvy author, consider this a checklist for yourself if not, then think about who is giving you the advice you need:

Your digital marketing advisor should advise you on the best platform to use for your website, and work with a web designer on design, architecture and content. She should make sure Google Analytics is set up on the site along with a mailing list sign-up and social share buttons. Once the site is launched, she should track the analytics, specially the bounce rate of your site. If needed she can prepare monthly reports on the analytics, and suggest changes and updates to the site. Every quarter she should analyze how the site is working and suggest changes and upgrades. Once a year, both of you should plan on a deep dive to revise and refresh the website content.

Mailing List

It takes a long time to grow an email mailing list, but it is well worth the effort. Your mailing list is your most valuable asset as an author so it’s important to set it up and maintain it effectively over the long-term. I consider the members of your mailing list your super fans (and here’s a blog on how to cultivate them)

It is important to have someone protect and cultivate that list. Your advisor should discuss the benefits of different list hosting companies. She should work with you to create and develop a newsletter; coordinate the plan and timing regardless of who is doing the actually content creation and distribution. She can also provide reports on a regular basis with the goal of growing the list and improving the open and click rates.


Some authors might cringe at the thought of a regular blog due to the time it takes, yet blogs are the king of content in the social media world. They can help you build your audience, connect with readers, build trust and drive traffic to your site to sell your book. Your marketing advisor should help you decide on topics that would be timely and would work for your audience. She should help you develop a calendar with topics that would be relevant to the media and your readers.

Social Network

A marketing advisor should help position your brand by linking your website to social media platforms and work with you to create profiles at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn as needed or as appropriate. She can advise you on the positioning of your brand and on best practices of each of these social media outlets so you know what to post and when.

Representation With The Publisher and Others Interested in Supporting Your Book

It is of benefit to you to work with someone who can coordinate the campaign with your publisher and can help build and manage that important relationship. Your agent is probably your best bet, but you may not have an agent or you may need more support with marketing and publicity timing. Your marketing advisor can coordinate the launch of your book campaign to make sure all aspects are optimized and that there is coordination between the different parties for the best results.

You may have support from your employer or friends or influential colleagues and it is critical to have a plan and give them specific things to do to help you. You marketing advisor can coordinate the tweets, reviews and word-of-mouth so necessary for your success.

Recently, I was speaking to an author and asked her, “How is your digital marketing working for you?” She answered, “I don’t know.” Then thought for a moment and said, “How would I know that?” If you feel the same, it is time to get some strategic help.

Marketing is more complicated today due to numerous options and ever-changing social media landscape, but it is also more exciting and measurable than ever before. Where you spend your money, time and talent should be a calculated decision, and with the right advisor it can be.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

5 Reasons Authors Should Blog

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Writing blogs can be distracting, can be a time sink, can be unproductive, and can be a waste of time. There, I listed most of the arguments against blogging. Now let me make my case. Being an author in 2013 is like being a small business owner. You need a marketing strategy or you will go out of business. If people can’t find you, they can’t buy your book. You have many choices when it comes to marketing. Here are some options from my blog on Marketing Options for Authors.

Having a digital marketing strategy is absolutely the best option in my biased opinion. Sure you can point to a few authors who don’t do anything online and are still successful, but for the majority spending time and/or money online is the cost of doing business.

And I consider blogs (like websites) the foundation of a digital strategy. Not only do blogs give authors the opportunity to stay connected with their readers, they also position the author as an expert. Blogs are also the absolute best way to drive traffic to websites. For book authors in a competitive marketplace, the need to blog couldn’t be higher. Let’s take a closer look at some of the compelling reasons why you, as an author, need to blog.

  1. Blogs are a natural extension of you as a writer.
    Consider the time you spend blogging as an extension of your job as a writer. Publishing a book or producing any professional writing, is a small business and authors should look at it as such. Sure, the publisher will offer support and expertise, but it is the author’s responsibility to build a long-term Web strategy. To communicate 24/7, which is now the expectation and the norm, you need to develop different types of content. Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge, test how your content resonates, and collaborate with others. While experts may disagree on how often you need to blog, consistency is the key. Develop a readership base by putting out a blog on a regular schedule — whether that’s once per week or twice per month. Blogs also provide you with the opportunity to link your content to your books, eBooks, whitepapers, audio recordings, slide presentations, videos and webinars, so there are lots of cross-promotional opportunities (more…)

7 Great Ways to Promote Your eBook

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Today producing books (e or p) has never been easier, but promoting them has never been more difficult. There is a lot of noise in both online and offline media and trying to get attention is challenging for sure. However, publishing a book is a dream come true for every author so if you have finally finished your book, please take some time to celebrate. Just remember there is more work to do!

In order to get your eBook in front of as many eyes as possible, you will need some patience, a plan and some creative ideas. Here are seven to get you started:

Get Your Digital House in Order

Before you begin promoting your book, make sure that you have a website and a blog, plus some social networking profiles (Facebook and Twitter are most popular, but for some books LinkedIn or Pinterest may be a better fit). Make sure you schedule some time every day to engage with people. You need to make an investment in your career and brand, and today that investment means having a digital marketing strategy all year round. Here is a blog I wrote on that: If You Don’t Invest in your Career and Brand, No One Else Will Either.


I know blogging takes a lot of time and most of my clients ask me why they should do it. The first reason is that it increases traffic to your website, and the second is that when readers read your blog they see you as an expert in your field or that your work is entertaining. Once trust or interest is established, readers will want more content from you — especially when they see the value you offer for free. You overcome a common buyer fear of purchasing something that doesn’t have value. If you need help figuring out what type of things to blog about or how to generate content that resonates with your target audience, here’s a good place to start: 4 Ways to Create Compelling Content.

Give Your Book a Publication Date

Many authors (and companies) who are publishing an eBook treat the day the book goes live on bookseller sites as a publication date. This is not a great idea as that will make for a frustrating launch. You’ll start watching for downloads before you’ve even done much promotion. So to give your book that best start, give yourself a publication date that is 6-8 weeks after the book has gone live.

Reviews are Essential

To secure reviews from online (blogs/websites) and offline (newspapers/magazines) media, you need to send them “review copies.” With eBooks you can send them PDFs of your book (but that is an insecure way to send your book and I would not recommend it) or give them promo codes provided from some booksellers or get copies printed on print-on-demand. We use a service for our clients called Net Galley which allows us to upload a PDF or ePub file so the reviewers can download them in a secure way.

Give it Away for Free

To attract the readers, you may want to think about giving away an excerpt from your book. You can also give away, a tip list, a fun quiz or a compelling strategy depending on the content of your eBook. By giving something away for free, you are showcasing the value of your content. Add some testimonials to your free chapter or content to encourage people to purchase your entire eBook. Make sure the free content you offer has value in itself and isn’t just a summary of what your eBook is about. Providing value makes the buying decision a natural one.

Create Buzz

Create some buzz about your eBook by talking about it on your social network. Learning how to build your brand, increase engagement and be effective on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will be an important aspect of promoting your eBook. Several weeks before you have finished with your eBook, talk about what’s special about it, and let people know you are going to have an official eBook launch party where you will offer something special (more unique content or maybe a gift basket or signed printed copies). It’s a way to get people in your network excited. Just remember not to be a 24/7 promo machine.

Make a Video

People love YouTube. And people love to know the authors behind great content. Make a short video talking to the camera about the ways in which your eBook can help other people. Talk about the takeaways of your eBook in your video and then show a link to your eBook at the end of your video. Share your video on your YouTube channel, with a post on FaceBook, LinkedIn, and tweet the link. You can repeatedly use your video as a marketing tool by changing the teaser content you post along with the video URL. 
I made several for myself and here is an example.

Promoting books these days is not an easy task. It takes time, expertise, creativity, flexibility and patience. I tell my clients that they should plan on promoting their book for as long as it took them to write it. Not all ideas will work for you, and not all ideas will produce sales, but if you stick with a long term strategy you’ll build a relationship with your readers which is more important than ever.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

5 Benefits of Personal Branding for Authors

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke,

“Branding is about everything.” – Tom Peters

When I was growing up, my grandfather used to say “get an education because once you have it no one can take away from you.” I feel the same way about authors and their personal brands. As authors, once you build and establish your personal brand, no one can take it away from you.

For some authors, the idea of a personal brand is uncomfortable. Some tell me that they don’t want to “be a brand.” Building a brand doesn’t have to be scary. Branding is simply sharing your stories & expertise while building trust — that’s all it is — and it’s so important in today’s market.

Fair warning though, branding is not something you do for a few weeks before your book comes out. Many people, including myself, did not see the benefits of investing time and energy into a branding strategy for 18 months – 2 years. So if you want to take more control of your writing career, then get serious about your personal branding strategy. Here are five benefits that make it worth your time:

1: Show Your Uniqueness. Investing time and effort in your personal brand is crucial to your success as an author. If you are asking, “What’s in it for me?” you should know the most important element of a personal brand is that it helps you be yourself, stand out from the crowd and carve out your niche. After all, there is no competition for you. Your brand is the essence of who you are. There’s a huge difference from an author who has worked to develop a strong personal brand, versus an author who hasn’t invested any resources in developing an online presence. Consider your brand as your digital reputation, resume, platform, and an extension of your business card. Your personal brand will make you more valuable to publishers and agents. Together your book and your brand are credibility builders and door openers.

2: Control the Perception. Branding is about how you are perceived in the market, and today you have control over that perception. Personal brand management is about cultivating the pieces that tell your story. You build your reputation with your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise. In today’s socially connected world, our reputations have become global, making our brand more important than ever. Social media has given us an opportunity like never before to communicate with others and shape personal brands with a myriad of online tools. You can proactively build, maintain and protect your good name in the public eye by authentically investing in your brand.

3: Build a Following. Each social media outlet offers you the opportunity to build a following by generously sharing your time. With focused effort, a plan and allotted time, you can become known as an expert in your industry. Before putting in your time though, make sure you take time to think of the goals.

4: Leverage your brand. When you invest time in building your personal brand, you can leverage it to get more online reviews, write and publish other books, secure speaking engagements and build your business. Your book and your brand can be the gateway for other entrepreneurial pursuits, books, services, and revenue streams. Look at leveraging your brand as an opportunity builder.

5: Learn From Your Readers. Branding helps your readers and potential readers to understand who you are and what your value proposition is so they can make an informed buying decision. As you build a following, you will be creating your ideal audience, interested in what you have to say and interested in buying from you. You in turn can learn about them, about what they like and need. Online branding is building a relationship based on trust and common interests. Done correctly, you’ll get as much out of it as you put into it.

Your brand is the story of your career. It may take time and money and effort to cultivate but once you establish it no one can take it away from you. Here’s a blog on developing your digital marketing blueprint to get you started.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

10 Important Stats for Authors

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

Book Buyers

  1. 2010 stats: More than 40 percent of Americans over the age of 13 purchased a book; the average age of the American book buyer is 42. Women make 64 percent of all book purchases, even among detective stories and thrillers, where they buy more than 60 percent of that genre. Source
  2. Study 2012: Avid book buyers skew older, and female 64%; The #1 principal way of discovering new books? Personal recommendations 48.2% Source

Book Sales

  1. December 2012 retail sales at indie bookstores were up 2.9 percent compared to December 2011, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census. Source
  2. Continued growth of e-book consumption, which rose from 4 percent of unit sales in 2010 to 14 percent in 2011. Among major subgenres, e-books had the most impact in the Mystery/Detective category, accounting for 17 percent of spending, followed by Romance and Science Fiction; where the format accounted for 15 percent of dollars spent. Source
  3. The Association of American Publishers reported that in the first quarter of 2012, adult eBook sales were up to $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales came to only $229.6 million.
  4. December 2012 retail sales at bookstores were up 2.9 percent compared to December 2011, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census. Source

Value of Book recommendations

  1. Andrew Gelman of Columbia University writes in The New York Times: Despite the large number of acquaintances, most Americans know just 10 to 25 people well enough to trust them.
  2. Almost half of book purchasing decisions on Amazon were made before a customer visited the Amazon site . . . They talk with their friends just like we do, they listen to the views of those they respect just like we do, they get together with like minded people, just like we do — they use Google as a 6th sense just like we do. Source
  3. Family and friends are the primary source of book discovery for Americans 16 and older, especially so for suburban (66%) and urban residents (66%). Some 60% of rural residents say they get book recommendations from family and friends. Similarly, city dwellers (25%) and suburbanites (24%) are more likely than rural residents (18%) to have gotten recommendations from book stores they visit. Source
  4. Number 1 way online shoppers discover new books: in-person, personal recommendations (~15% of new books discovered this way). Source

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Best Marketing Options for Authors

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

As authors, you know there are a lot of marketing options for promoting your book these days. There’s publicity, advertising and of course social media, but before you invest your money and time, it is important to know the benefits and challenges of the three types of marketing options (commonly known as Owned, Paid and Earned media by us marketing geeks).

  • Owned is media you as an author control. It includes your website/s, social networks, blogs, videos, etc.
  • Paid is media that is bought. It includes ads: print, broadcast and online (banner and search).
  • Earned is media that is gained through good publicity.

If your goal is CREDIBILITY, publicity wins as the best option. Reviews and interviews will do more for your reputation than any other form of media.

  • Owned: Your content usually has less credibility. We have a joke in our office about such content. We call it the “Aren’t we great? Don’t you agree” content. Although content marketing is growing in importance and has many benefits, credibility is perhaps not the biggest advantage here.
  • Paid: Advertising has similar issues with credibility. Although a well produced ad, placed in a well-suited media outlet will increase brand awareness, it is still not the same as credibility.
  • Earned: Publicity is the most credible form of media. As marketer Seth Godin says, “publicity is the act of getting ink.” Publicity is getting media sources to talk about you, your book and/or business. Publicity is often viewed as more credible because when readers see editorial coverage they know it was not bought (although some Amazon reviews can be bought now. Here’s a blog I wrote about that: Fake Reviews are Worse than Bad Ones). 

Book reviews online and off are more credible than ads and lead to more buying decisions. Most people cite recommendations as the number one reason they buy a book.

However, if you are looking to CONTROL the message, your best bet is paid advertising. It can, however, get expensive.

  • Owned: Your content gives you absolute control over messaging and timing but not over reach. You can’t control how many people will see your blog or video, but you can post it at the time of your choosing. It’s important to have a content strategy and know all the elements of your digital plan, because if you don’t invest in your career and brand, no one else will either.
  • Paid: Advertising is exposure you pay for. Whether it is coverage on TV, radio, newspaper, magazine or online, you control the messaging, reach and timing. You may even pay for a premium location, such as the inside front or back cover of a magazine. You do have tighter controls with advertising because you know precisely what you are paying for and when your ads will run.
  • Earned: Publicity is coverage you hope to receive from media outlets. You can improve your chances by understanding the timing and having a good media angle, but you can’t “make” something happen (publicists do a lot of praying). With publicity, the process is more fluid. A publicist with well-established media relationships can most likely guarantee you some coverage. You can not determine where it will run, when it will run, how long your coverage will be or exactly what that coverage will say.

You can control the TIMING of both owned and paid media. Publicity (earned) is tricky to line up perfectly, but good publicists know how to manage the timing of reviews and features.

  • Owned: Your content gives you the most control over timing. Depending on your marketing plan, you may release an effective piece of content timed with the release of  your new book.
  • Paid: Advertising gives you tremendous control over timing. You can take advantage of breaking news and can scale advertising quickly (as long as you can afford it). You can plan the launch of your book to gain exposure on a particular day and for multiple days.
  • Earned: Publicity is most challenging here as there is little control over timing. While you can pay for ads to run as long as you want, editorial coverage doesn’t run twice. You can, however, get editorial coverage from multiple media outlets and sources around pub date but it is not guaranteed.

The final decision often comes down to COST. Of course the most cost effective option is to create excellent “media” of your own. It is not free, however, as it takes a great deal of your time.

  • Owned: Sure uploading content to your blog, YouTube, Slideshare or social networks like Facebook and Twitter may all be free, creating that content is anything but free. Developing content on a daily basis takes time, creativity, energy and most of all a good plan.
  • Paid: Advertising is of course the most expensive option. The opportunity to control the message, timing and outlet comes with a hefty price tag, but if you are trying to reach a specific audience on a specific day with a specific message, no other form of media will give you that control.
  • Earned: Publicity is also referred to as free and it is absolutely not free. Understanding the needs of the media and having contacts with them requires very specific skill set and today the work is more labor intensive and time consuming than ever. The better your publicity team, the more their time and expertise will cost. Here’s another blog to read: 6 Steps for Finding the Best PR Firm for You & Your Book

The best marketing plans typically include a mixture of all three types of media. As long as you understand the difference between them, you can find the right mix for you and your book.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Things I Got Wrong, and Things I Got Right in 2012

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

As we wrap up 2012 and start to plan for the New Year I wanted to review the things I got right and the things I didn’t. In the past few years, there have been so many changes in the book industry, and in technology, that sometimes my only guide has been my intuition. Fortunately, our missteps can often teach us more than flawless execution. So here are the lessons I have learned in 2012:

Why Press Release Didn’t Work For Us. Working as the President of an online public relations firm, I relied on press releases to get the attention of editors. Over time, however, I noticed that they didn’t seem to be working as they once did. One reason is that the “one pitch fits all” approach was not working online. Bloggers are unique and so are their interests. For example I hear people talking about mommy bloggers or book bloggers, but in truth those communities are made up of people with very different interests.

I took a huge leap of faith and decided to stop doing press releases. Instead of taking the time to write them, proof them, wait for approval, print them and stuff them, we took that time to talk to the editors/bloggers and invest the time in social media. I thought I would get push-back from clients, but once I explained why I was making the change they agreed with the approach.

I am happy to report that this change we got right. It was the right decision and we’re moving into 2013 with no intention of doing the traditional press releases.

Delegating Social Media. I thought outsourcing social media was always wrong. Although it is best to keep your hands in your own social media, the only way for it to be effective is if it is consistent. A writer’s life is not consistent, which means they are sometimes more active on social media than other times. Trying to do it all themselves can be distracting. Of course, it is crucial to delegate this responsibility to someone trustworthy. I would also suggest having clear goals and to monitor activities very closely.

For 2013, we are exploring and open to creating a hybrid system for our clients.

People like to follow people, not books. I thought book websites and book Facebook pages were a good idea. Remember the days of microsites? Today, I believe that the only websites, Facebook pages and Twitter handles should be in the author’s name, no matter how diverse their list of books and activities. I would advise against a title or book site because people follow people not books. Authors are most effective when they work to build their brand, and can increasingly build a loyal following when readers feel connected to them.

In 2013, we will move away from book related digital assets and focus more on the author’s brand.

Keep Learning. Every single job in publishing should be a social job. I did not always think so. But the more people there are to amplify your message the better. Social media is not only a broadcasting tool, it is also one of the best learning and listening tools for you and your business. You have an open forum to observe and study the readers, their taste and comments. At a time when we need to be learning new skills all the time, social media can be a gateway to that learning.

This one I did get right. We shifted our entire staff to incorporate social media and social networking in everything they do: From searching for influencers, tracking numbers and word-of-mouth, to interacting with bloggers, and supporting our clients. In 2013, we will continue our focus on incorporating social media with our online publicity campaigns.

In the coming year, I only know one thing for sure. We’ll need to keep all options open and learn as we go. What have you learned in 2012? Please share your lessons.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

6 Steps for Finding the Best PR Firm for You & Your Book

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

Most authors know that a public relations effort for their book is essential for their success. In order to have a campaign to promote their book comprehensively, many look to augment their publisher’s efforts by hiring a PR agency. But how do you choose the right PR firm for your book? Here are six steps to help make that choice easier:

Step 1: Needs and Goals

Before you begin your search, think about your PR goals. What is it that you want? Do you want to be on TV? Do you want reviews in newspapers? Or, do you want to build exposure online? Whom do you want to reach? Do you know your target demographic? How long do you want to work with a PR agency? Do you want to work with a PR agency for a one-time book or project or for multiple projects longer term? Once you identify your goals, you’ll be able to find an agency that can help you achieve them.

Step 2: Referrals

Your search should always start by asking your agent, publisher or fellow authors for referrals of people they have worked with so you can have some names to begin the process. You can compare and contrast the agencies you have, and find the right fit for you. You can also work the process backward and find a successful book that’s in the same realm as your book, and find out what PR firm that author used.

Step 3: Web Research

Look up the agency online. Check out their website and social networks as well as their current and past projects and testimonials. Find out how long they have been in business and what types of people they work with. In our connected age, it’s easy to do your homework ahead of time to be able to narrow down your list based on your research. It’s 2012 so make sure the agency you select is connected in the social media world — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If they are connected digitally, they will be able to help promote and advice you in the social media space.

Step 4: First Contact

Begin contacting several firms to pick the one that is right for you. Collect information on prices, timeline and availability. Find out more about their area of specialty and expertise. Make sure your book is the type of book the PR agency tends to work with and promote. Now you can narrow your list further.

Step 5: Interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your list based on your budget, goals and timing, you should set up an interview with each PR firm by phone or in-person. A good firm will want to talk with you as well to make sure the fit is perfect. They should also encourage you to talk with other PR firms. Before you schedule the interview, give the firm the opportunity to learn about your book so you can hear their ideas and decide if you like what you are hearing. Ask questions just as if you are interviewing someone for a job. Find out the publications and media outlets where they have built relationships. Remember a good PR agency should have an established network of media contacts. Make sure the agency you are talking to understands your brand. You can even request a preliminary proposal of how they would go about publicizing your book. Good PR agencies have strong track records.

Step 6: The Final Decision

The most important part of your decision process should really be your instincts. It’s all about knowing and liking the PR agency you are going to work with, because if you don’t like the person initially, you will most likely be dissatisfied in the long run. Did you establish rapport upon initial contact? During the interview phase, which firm stood out? What agency do you like, respect and trust the most? In the end, go with your gut, and you will make the best decision for you and your book.

Along with results, a good PR agency should give you valuable information for building your brand and to amplify the exposure you are getting. In the end, it is all about the collaboration so pick your team carefully.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

12 Ways to Build Your Brand and Promote Your Book on Twitter

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

An author recently reached out to me via email and said, “I’ve been tweeting for a couple of weeks and don’t see a change in my Amazon ranking. What am I doing wrong?” I told him, “Nothing. Twitter is just not an instant fix. It takes a long time to build a community in social media.” That’s the honest truth, but there are still ways to make sure the time you spend on Twitter is as productive as possible.

You know the Twitter basics, right? You tweet. You retweet. You write Tweets in 140 characters or less. You keep your tweets short to encourage retweets and you aren’t confused by the terms or symbols of #hashtags or @Mentions. So what else? What’s next? Instead of giving you more of the basics, here are 12 ways to be more strategic about your time on Twitter.

  1. Help other people. This tip usually comes easily to authors and experts because they have been giving advice for years. Twitter just allows you to give it to a larger audience. Ever hear that if you help other people get what they want, you will get what you want? It’s true. Whenever you have any interaction, start with the intention to give more value than you receive.
  2. Tweet quotes. Your nonfiction book is filled with little tips of value, and I bet your novel is full of perfect little sentences. Share them on Twitter daily. Remember to keep them short (120 characters) so people can add a comment and retweet!
  3. Be polite. It may sound time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Every time someone retweets your tweets, thank them. You will create conversations and ultimately create relationships.
  4. Decide who you want to create relationships with and begin a conversation. Many of my clients find themselves talking to whomever reaches out to them. Instead you can be more proactive and make a list of the people you want to get to know. Whether it’s other experts in your space or media professionals, twitter is a great way to learn from others. Initiate contact by retweeting the content of others to help support and promote them and foster a good relationship. Remember not to spam people on Twitter or ask them to follow you or to retweet you.
  5. Post links to helpful articles, resources, tips and other books you enjoy. One of the best ways to become known as an expert is to be on top of the trends in your industry. Share tips from others, as well as articles and resources that consistently brand you in your area of expertise. Remember to stay in your lane. Don’t tweet things that are irrelevant to your brand.
  6. Host a book giveaway. There are so many ways to create contests on Facebook and Twitter. Free giveaways are often shared, so your followers will help promote your book for you.
  7. Study the competition. Twitter is an open forum for you to study other people who might be in your field of expertise. See what they are doing and what’s working for them and modify those tips for yourself to help market your book.
  8. Maximize your Twitter bio. Your Twitter bio is only 160 characters. Use the space wisely and provide a link to your Website or book. Be straightforward yet descriptive about your expertise and include your book title if you have room.
  9. Use the 4:1 rule. While celebrities might tweet hints about their relationships on Twitter and others might tweet a photo of their dinner, you will be missing a big opportunity if you only use Twitter to share bits of personal info. Instead, make sure most of your tweets provide definite value. For every few tweets that are helpful or provide value, write only one tweet that’s promotional about your book.
  10. Enlist raving fans (or family and friends) to help you promote your book. When people love your book, ask them to tweet about it using a hashtag of the title of your book so it trends in the Twitter world. Retweet those tweets from your fans on your Twitter feed.
  11. Do a YouTube video for your book. You know how you watch movie trailers before you head out to the movies? You want to know what you are going to watch before you head to the movies and buy that ticket. The same goes for your book. Create a promotional trailer of your book by reading some excerpts or discussing the main concept of your book. Once you finish, tweet it.
  12. Host a Twitter chat. Promote your expertise by hosting a Tweet chat. Come up with a short hashtag you can encourage your Twitter followers to use during the hour of your Tweet chat. Your Tweet chat can be a Q & A about your book, or you can take questions from followers for an hour at a designated time that you promote on Twitter.

As you work to market your book and become known as an expert in your niche, don’t forget to use Twitter to build your personal brand. More importantly, don’t expect instant success. Pace yourself and enjoy the journey. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck.

© 2012 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. For digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.