Posts Tagged ‘social media’

11 Ways to Promote Your Book Year Round

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I probably don’t have to tell you that marketing your book is a year-round endeavor. Today’s digital world provides you with endless ways to market your book and connect directly with your readers. Just like we all build relationships in the real world . . . with an investment of your time, you can build your readership online. As you put together your digital marketing game plan, here are some ideas for you to consider.

1. Get a jumpstart. Build up excitement before your book comes out by talking about it on your social media pages. Talk about the process of writing. Share a quote or two from your book. Do a countdown. Create buzz about your book before it’s even finished.

2. Start with the four big platforms. Social media is an excellent way to build relationships, so start with the four big social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Connect your website to each of your social media platforms. Not only are these social media sites free, but they give you the opportunity to engage with your audience, grow your readership, create a community and establish your brand like never before.

3. People follow people, not books. Let your website be a comprehensive picture of you, your brand, your book and your message.

4. Write blogs and newsletters. Blogs and newsletters are great tools to promote your book and can be simple to do, especially if your book is finished. You may want to repurpose content, slice and dice certain aspects of your book to promote it to your audience, and show the value of the content you provide. Once you have a blog written, share it on all of your social media sites and encourage others to share it too. Blogs and newsletters build your brand, get your name out there and can drive traffic to your website.

5. Think slow and steady. It’s okay if your marketing efforts don’t immediately go viral. Be consistent in creating buzz about your brand and book by communicating daily on your social media sites. Think big picture because carving out your niche, creating a presence and building a following takes time.

6. Tap into your professional and personal networks. Consider reaching out to people individually to spread the word about your book and ask a few contacts for some testimonials. Consider offering a free chapter of your book that people can download from your website to capture interest and lead people to buy your book.

7. Reach out to the media. You can reach out to the media directly, following writer’s guidelines and offering an article or making a pitch. Another way to connect with the media is to follow Help A Reporter Out or HARO, and answer media requests with content that is relevant to your space or expertise. HARO gives you the opportunity to be quoted and get exposure for your name, website and book.

8. Find your ideal audience. How would you explain your ideal audience? What interests do they have and what do they value? Take some time to think about it and possibly jot down who you should be interacting with based on your particular niche or brand. Once you have a clear picture of your ideal audience, you will be able to target them more effectively and provide them with your content which will be of value to them. Follow people who complement your brand and other authors in your genre or niche.

9. Show your value. How can your book help other people? What’s in it for them? Let your marketing efforts come from the authentic place of offering value to your readers. Providing value and solutions is the way to form lasting relationships with your readers.

10. Follow the three E’s. Does your content entertain? Does it enlighten? Does it engage? If so, post it, write it, Facebook it, share it, blog it or tweet it online.

11. Go offline with your ideas. You can complement your digital marketing efforts with some offline promotions as well. Just some ideas . . . Create a flyer with tabs to tear off that include your book title and website. Buy an ad in local newspapers. Create some announcement cards or postcards for your book. Leave them in waiting rooms of offices, post them up to bulletin boards, and see if you can share them at libraries and some local bookstores. Consider hosting a book launch party. Invite your friends and have them invite their friends. Approach bookstores and coffee shops and see if they will allow you to do a book signing or carry your book.

An effective digital strategy is a conversation with your readers that doesn’t end. Jump online and start your conversation today. If you’ve been at it for some time now, I’d love to hear from you. What book marketing strategy worked best for you? Chime in the comments section below.

© 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.

Social Media vs Social Networking

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Although most of us use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference between social media and social networking. For me, understanding the distinctions was a big aha moment. To develop a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy, it is helpful (even crucial) to understand the differences.

Social Media
Social media is the media (content) that you upload — whether that’s a blog, video, slideshow, podcast, newsletter or an eBook. Consider social media as a one-to-many communication method. Although people can respond and comment, you own the content and have to produce (write/record/create) the media yourself.

Your social media goal and strategy: Decide if you want to connect with your audience in the form of a blog, video, newsletter, podcast or eBook. Blogs are a great way to get started, particularly if you are a non-fiction author as you already have your book to re-purpose content into a blog or to use your book as an idea generator for your blogs. Or you can create blogs from scratch that eventually can be the framework for your next book. Blogs help brand authors, increase exposure, and can easily be shared, helping consistently to increase your following and enhance your promotional efforts. Plus, you can always include links in your blog directly to your book, driving traffic to your book.

Social Networking
Once you decide what media you are going to use, begin with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage with your audience. Having a Facebook business page for you and your brand is essential because, as you know, people on Facebook read books and will tell their friends and colleagues about your book. Facebook and Twitter also provide you with numerous opportunities to connect with your prospective audience through web links, posts, news stories, notes, photo sharing, blog posts, direct messages, questions and comments. Eventually you may want to branch out with other social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Social networking is all about engagement — creating relationships, communicating with your readers, building your following and connecting with your online audience. If you treat social networking like social media, you will come off as someone using a bullhorn. It’s important to listen as much as talk with social networking.

Your social networking goal and strategy: Your social networking goal is to interact, converse and create conversation: search conversations, begin new conversations, set alerts to monitor your name, find new ways to connect. Realize social networking is a marathon and not a race as it will take time to build relationships and grow your following. Work for buzz and excitement on your book, product or service. Remember that people naturally gravitate towards people who they find relatable and who have similar experiences and interests. Investing in relationships can build loyal fans.

There is some overlap and integration with social media and social networking. Social media experts at, say that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are whole package platforms — and are considered both social media (tools) and social networking (a way to engage). YouTube, on the other hand, is a tool for video, so it’s social media. Chatting with other colleagues on LinkedIn? That’s social networking. Both work together for your overall social media strategy.

To develop your digital strategy, decide what types of media you want to create and use social networking to build up your following so you can brand yourself as an author.

Once you successfully have your social media and social networking strategies working in harmony, you will be more connected with your audience and be able to more effectively promote not only your books, but also your apps, conferences, videos, webinars, websites and more. You will be actively increasing the value of your personal brand as an author, and reaching the right people with your unique message.

© 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.

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.

Weekly Round Up

Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Courtney Allen

Even through all of the emails, pitching, reports, etc, we all make it a point to read other things on the web to improve our business, learn new things, and have fun!

Here’s some of the tweets the FSB team has found interesting and entertaining this week!

For Marketing Knowledge

3 Simple Keys to an Effective Marketing Strategy

This article explains the definition of effective marketing strategy through the phrase’s three important words. Effective. Marketing. Strategy.

Managing Social Media Marketing with the 3 Cs: Curator, Content and Calendar

Social media marketing has become so imperative in online business today. It can be confusing and there are so many different platforms to use. This article from Social Media Today offers some advice and discusses the three C’s of social media marketing.

Storytelling May Be Your Company’s Biggest Asset

Brian Sheehan, author of Loveworks, explains for brands great stories lead to better sales but a large part of the challenge starts with recognizing what stories can be told and shares three sources for inspiration.

For Business Lessons

10 Lessons For Entrepreneurs on Building Trust

“ is the most powerful tool that an entrepreneur can wield” Forbes contributor gained a whole new perspective on how trust works from a new book by successful entrepreneur August Turak, titled “Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.

4 Unique Working Styles: What’s Yours?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” There are different types of working styles and rather than critiquing someone who you doesn’t work the same way as you, learn to work together and just do what makes you come alive.

How to End Every Day with Zero Emails

Email has taken over our business day as well as nights and weekends. If you are looking to free yourself from the inbox overload, Fauzia Burke shares steps to ending the day with zero emails.

For Motivation

{Keep on..} If You’re Not Proud, You’re Not Done

“If you don’t put your heart into your activities, if you hand in incomplete work as finished, if you don’t do your best every time you start something, then you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice.” Frank Sonnenberg

10 Comforting Words Of Wisdom From Albus Dumbledore

Who doesn’t love some Harry Potter?  Albus Dumbledore always knows the right thing to say when we’re feeling sad or confused about things that are happening around us.

For Book Fun!

Goodreads Infographic: Which Books Do Readers Find Hard To Finish

How often do you not finish a book? Goodreads looks at those books that people shelved as “unfinished”, “abandoned” or “did not finish” and compiled an Infographic of the Top 5 Most Abandoned Books

Sales of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” surge by 150,000% after JK Rowling revealed as author

What’s the power in a name? Quite a lot! Before the news broke last night, “Robert Galbraith” was critically acclaimed, but it takes Rowling to be commercially successful. The book was ranked 4,709 on Amazon’s bestsellers listing; it is now number three.

Break Time

35 Random Corners Of The Internet You Should Visit When You Need A Break

Need a break? BuzzFeed shares sites to bookmark for when you’re having a bad day or when you just need a distraction and want to play!

7 mind tricks that shape your everyday behavior

Interesting read from Reader’s Digest – Our thoughts and behaviors are surprisingly affected by seemingly unconnected ways because of the mind tricks going on in your brain

4 Ways to Create Compelling Content

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

If your business blog is all about what you want to write about and what you want to market and sell, your blog, as they say, could be an epic fail. While it’s great to generate regular content about your business and its niche, the driving factor for your content creation — whether your blog or your newsletter content — has to be centered around what your customers’ want. To create compelling content your customers can’t wait to devour, always ask yourself: Is this providing value to my customer base?

Here are 4 ways to ensure you are generating content that resonates with your target audience.

  1. Tune in to the social media channel. How do you find out what your customers want to read, you ask? Social media provides ample opportunity to listen in and hear what people are talking about in your niche. What’s going viral in your business space? What is getting a ton of LIKES on Facebook, numerous SHARES or an abundance of comments? Listen in on Twitter and see what people are talking about and retweeting. See what hashtags are trending in the general category of your business. Pay attention to the comments section of your blog, and find out what your customers want to know. Always aspire to make your customers’ lives easier by answering their questions, solving their problems, and aiming to be the go-to source of information for your industry by staying on top of trends.
  2. Turn questions into answers. I bet a week doesn’t go by without receiving a question from one of your customers. In fact, I am sure you can easily tell me a question you are asked repeatedly in your business. Take that question and turn it into a blog topic. If a few people in your customer base have the same question, you are on to a topic that resonates with your larger audience. Take that topic and run with it. You will be building relationships and rapport with your customers as you strengthen your brand.
  3. Solve your customers’ problems. Identify the biggest problems your customers face and create content that shows your customers how to resolve those problems. Behind any successful business, you will probably find a product or a service that solves a problem people have — and the same goes for your content. The more your content provides value to your customer by making their lives easier — with advice, a solution, tips, strategies — the more your content will be in demand. You can talk about your product or service that you provide, but do so in a way that offers your reader value, don’t offer a thinly veiled marketing pitch for your business. When you constantly create content of value, you will become the go-to source for information in your field, positioning your business and brand as the expert source.
  4. Show, don’t tell. Infographics are increasingly popular because people are visual learners. People are more likely to remember something if it is shown to them visually than if it arrives under their eyes in a blur of text. What cool industry stats can you share with your audience? What facts and figures would your audience love to know? Create an infographic and send it out as a blog. Your blogs don’t always have to be a certain word count — go for the visual angle too.

Along the same lines, consider doing a V-log or video blog instead of the standard text only blog. Short videos allow your audience to connect with you personally, and they are often shared more on other social media platforms — so as you create and share amazing content with a video, you also can be expanding your audience base at the same time!

Epic win!

In the end, in order to keep your brand vibrant and relevant, you need to have a content marketing strategy. And with that strategy, you should always make sure that your content entertains, informs and delights your readers!

© 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.

Cultivating Super Fans with eNewsletters

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Social media is sexy, but the real power of your relationship with your fans is in email newsletters. The people on your mailing list are your “Super Fans.” They are the ones who have given you permission to show up in their inbox. That invitation is very valuable.

Think about it, when was the last time you signed up for a newsletter. Probably not for a while. Once I asked an author that question and she said, “oh I don’t do that.” She’s right we don’t do that, unless we are Super Fans or the author/company is providing something of value.

Super Fans are the people who pre-order your books, are the first in line to buy your products, and recommend you to others. So your most important marketing task is to keep them happy and engaged because they are your sales force, the wind beneath your wings, and (drum roll please) your Super Fans.

Here are some simple steps to improve your eNewsletters:

  1. Grow Your List: Make sure it is easy to sign up for your mailing list. Have a prominent link on every page of your website.
  2. Be Consistent: Don’t just email them when you have something to sell. Make sure you share useful information, resources and special offers consistently throughout the year. Just remember talking to people on your mailing list is a privilege, don’t abuse it.
  3. Frequency: It is best not to send mailings too often. Retailers learned how quickly we unsubscribed when they sent too many offers. You should know your Super Fans best, so plan accordingly. For some people daily emails work, for others weekly or even monthly are the right option. When in doubt plan for once a month.
  4. Use Software: There are excellent email newsletter solutions out there. The most popular are Constant Contact, iContact, and Mail Chimp. Do a little research and find the best fit for your needs.
  5. Design It: People don’t read, they scan emails. So make sure your design is easy to scan with images and links for more information. Most people won’t read a block of text that is 1,000 words long.
  6. Content: It’s most important to remember that the purpose of your newsletter is to develop and further enrich your relationship with your fans so make sure it does not sound like an infomercial. Always add a personal note, and keep it short.
  7. Track Results: The best part about using the email software is that it gives you lots of information. Not only whether your list is growing or shrinking but also what content and headlines work best for your list. Every time you do a mailing, you should assess the results a week later.
  8. Timing: Is there a good time to send a newsletter? Turns out there is. GetResponse analyzed 21 million messages to discover that: the top engagement times of 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. MailerMailer did a study to discover that the best day to send out a newsletter is Monday. That was a surprise to me.
  9. Special Offers: As Super Fans, your mailing list subscribers have earned the right for a few perks. So if you want someone to get an early peak at your new product or a special deal, this is the group for it. I would also recommend a “Super Fan only” event. It can be a Google hangout or a Skype chat. Sometimes, we have even given away signed copies of books and tote bags to the Super Fans.
  10. Respect: More than any other advice, I want to leave you with this thought. Please be respectful of your “Super Fans.” Respect their time, their opinion and feedback and most of all their friendship. Don’t ever spam them.

Remember your Super Fans are among your biggest assets. Take great care to cultivate your relationship with them and stay engaged and connected.

© 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.

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Book

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

You may think of Pinterest as a place where scrapbooking fans, home interior aficionados and fashionistas go to hang out online and share images, but Pinterest is a social networking site that can be used for so much more. A year ago, Pinterest increased its unique visitors by 155 percent in one month alone, according to HubSpot. Today Pinterest is evolving its features to include business — and not just personal — accounts. Pinterest is raising brand awareness and also driving purchasing decisions. So before you write off Pinterest as a crafty outlet you don’t have time for, consider that Pinterest can be used as a social media marketing tool to help promote you and your book.

If you aren’t yet familiar with Pinterest, it’s a social media platform where you can visually share photos, images, graphics and videos by pinning them to online bulletin boards that you create. Most people with Pinterest pages develop themed boards to comprehensively cover their areas of interest. What better way to identify and connect with your ideal audience than through your shared interests?

If you are just getting started with Pinterest, the first thing you need to do is to request an invite from Pinterest. If you don’t want to wait, ask a friend who is already connected to Pinterest to invite you. Once you have a Pinterest invite, you can add Pinterest to part of your overall social media strategy to market you book. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Maximize your Pinterest profile. Make sure you fully fill out your profile with a compelling image that represents you and your brand. Include a description about you that makes people want to know more. Include an image of your book. Connect your Pinterest page to your website so your visitors can easily click through and get to your website. In your settings, make sure you aren’t hiding your Pinterest page from search engines.

Start pinning. Pinterest is the place for visual creativity. Pin up photos of your book, well-designed quotes, video trailers of your book or invite other people to share photos reading your book. Create boards on your Pinterest page in themed categories for things you and your target audience like. Pinterest is great for novels. For example if your novel is based in a particular country or part of the country or a particular time period, you can collect links and images to represent that time and place. You can have a board about your book tour and pin the sites of indie bookstores who are hosting you. There can be a board where you pin all the great reviews about your book. The ideas are endless, and remember that it’s just a fun, graphic way to curate information.

Make sure your pins are connected. When you pin images that are your own, make sure they include links back to your website so when people click on or share your images, they go back to your website. Link back to specific landing pages on your site to showcase your book. If you pin other people’s images, be sure to cite the source, but you can include your website in the description of the image.

Follow people you want to follow you back. Use Pinterest to make connections. Begin to follow and share images from people you want to connect with. If you regularly interact with their Pinterest boards, they are likely to take notice of you and follow you back.

Encourage followers to share your images by adding the Pin It Button to your website. Make sure your pins are attracting your target audience. You want your pins to be shared by your followers so they can spread the word about you, your Pinterest page and your website.

Add the Pinterest Follow Me button to your website and your other social media platforms. You can encourage people who go to your website, Facebook, and Twitter pages to also join you on Pinterest.

When your readers know and like you as an author, they want to know what you like. Pinterest can help you grow a following by connecting to others through your similar interests. Tell your story through your Pinterest page in creative ways and soon you will be on your way to building your Pinterest community.

© 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.

Does Social Media Sell Books? Gillian Flynn’s Agent Gives Her Perspective

Monday, February 4th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

Those of you who know me are probably shocked at the title of this blog. You know I am a true believer in digital marketing and publicity and always suggest to authors that they should spend time developing a relationship with their readers. So why am I asking this question? For a couple of reasons: One because I am seeing social media burn-out in authors and second because I realized that two of the top selling authors of 2012 did not invest much time in social media.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the three biggest selling authors last year were E. L. James, Suzanne Collins & Gillian Flynn. Neither Suzanne Collins nor Gillian Flynn spend much time on social networking. So how important is it for sales? I decided to ask this question to someone who has had a front row seat to the success of Gillian Flynn as well as many other authors.

The following is an interview with Gillian Flynn’s literary agent Stephanie Rostan (Levine Greenberg)

Hi Stephanie, I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions about the success of GONE GIRL:

Q. I noticed that Ms. Flynn’s website is great but not updated often. I could not find a blog, a mailing list, or a Twitter handle. I may have missed them, but it was not obvious. She has a Facebook page with 13,000 people which I assume is updated by someone other than her and only about her events. Clearly in this case, the books are hugely successful without the author’s investment in social media, so do you think an investment of social media/digital marketing is important for an author’s success?

A: Yes, but it is not always the author’s investment. There has certainly been a lot of social media chatter ABOUT Gillian’s books, although it’s true that for the most part she was not out there participating in or generating the conversation. I think a lot of this was ignited by media coverage of the book (online and off) and early on it was helped by a widespread galley distribution that the publisher executed for GONE GIRL. The book itself really encourages discussion, so as more people read it, more people felt compelled to talk about it.

If the main function of social media, for an author, is to get the word out that this book is worth reading — ideally to the people who will be most likely to read it — and this can be accomplished in other ways (media coverage, ads, bookstore placement, online retailer promotion), then the social media component becomes less important. I also think it’s critical that no matter how active an author is online, the conversation about them and/or their book must be picked up and carried on by others for it to truly have an impact on sales. It can’t be ONLY about the author talking (blogging/tweeting).

Also . . . there is a big difference for fiction vs. nonfiction authors. For nonfiction authors with a specific expertise, being out there in the community that has interest in that expertise will most likely be effective in selling their book. For fiction authors, trying to “sell” their personality may not be as useful for getting someone to read their book for the first time — this isn’t a popularity contest, it’s about the reading experience. I do think readers like to form relationships with authors whose books they love, but that comes AFTER they’ve read the book. So it can be more useful in building and maintaining an audience over time.

Q: So in your opinion, novelists are better off focusing all their attention on writing the best book they can?

A: I think they absolutely need to focus on writing the best book first. Without that, what is there to talk about? That said, once the book is written, every author should take some time to consider how they will work with social media. What are they comfortable with? What are they good at? What will the publisher do? What fits best with the book? These answers will be somewhat different for different authors. I always try to help authors find something that makes sense to them and feels organic — I don’t think it works well to fake or force a social media presence. And as I said above, there are other ways to develop visibility for your work — social media is appealing because it’s free (if you don’t count the massive time commitment!), it’s accessible, and it’s directly under your control. Many other avenues for promotion are not.

Q: Do you feel Gillian is an exception then?

A: Yes and no. The level of her success is exceptional (and her books are exceptional!). But I work with other authors who have upward-trending sales without a lot of personal online interaction. This doesn’t mean that OTHER people don’t talk about their books online, just that their own level of activity may be low (an updated Facebook page and fan mail/email, for example). Many of these authors have multiple books (so they have spent time over several years building an audience), and write in a specific niche that helps them find their readers. They also receive various kinds of support from their publishers.

Q: In your opinion, what was the tipping point in her success?

A: This was her third book. The first two books were widely and well-reviewed, had been nominated for and/or won awards, and had had solid sales. There was a foundation to build on with GONE GIRL. The moment when you could tell this was going to be a different publication was right around the pub date for the book, when we saw how many really outstanding reviews, from such a wide range of national media, were lined up. The publisher had executed a really flawless campaign — sales, marketing and publicity together. The book is also incredibly good and engaging — it was that combination of hard work/foundation, a fantastic book, and a gathering storm of media coverage that all broke at once.

Q: Do your other authors benefit from interacting with their readers on social media and being pro-active with their digital branding strategy?

A: Some of them do, and some of them don’t. But isn’t that how publishing is? Nothing works all the time, or for everyone. It’s important for authors to leave no stone unturned and consider how social media can work for them, but also important to consider the whole picture of getting the word out about their book and reaching readers. I’m sure there are examples of authors whose success is directly related to their social media strategy/efforts. But there are also authors whose success has come mostly without that. Without diving too deeply into it, I think there are different kinds of readers out there who use and don’t use social media in different ways — when there’s a match between the author’s efforts and the potential readers they are reaching, that can be magic. But when there isn’t, a lot of energy can go to waste. Not to mention that things are always changing in the social media world. As I said above — the best advice I can give is to write the best book you can, and reassess your social media involvement/strategy often.

That was truly great and honest advice. Thank you so much for taking the time. You can learn more about Stephanie on her companies’ website.

© 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.

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.