Since 1995, we have promoted over 1,000 titles and developed over 100 Web sites. We can not be more grateful to our friends and clients who have supported us throughout these years. Thank you from all of us at FSB.
A Venture Discovered
In May of 1995, Fauzia Burke started FSB Associates in a spare bedroom. Throughout the years that have ensued, FSB has grown to a firm of eight talented and dedicated full-time employees, which includes Fauzia's husband, John Burke. From day one the focus of the company was to promote books and authors on the Web, doing it with integrity and great care. Our focus never changed, our commitment never wavered, and here we are years later, stronger than we've ever been.
FSB's very first campaign was absolutely FREE. Promoting the book Las nanas de abuelita / Grandmother's Nursery Rhymes by Nelly Palacio Jaramillo, Fauzia began to develop the relationships with Web site content editors that she now cherishes. The publisher entrusting this new venture was Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Soon Holt's adult division, having seen the success of the campaign with the children's title, gave FSB their first paid project for Net Chick: A Smart-Girl Guide to the Wired World by Carla Sinclair.
During the company's second year, Fauzia made the best hire in FSB history, recruiting John Burke, the Sales Director at Springer Verlag at the time. Within months of joining FSB, John launched a web site for Sue Grafton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Kinsey Millhone series. Grafton's was one of the first author web sites launched on the Internet. FSB continues to maintain the web site and was called upon again for a redesign and relaunch in 2004.
A Spare Room to Finished Basement
In the company's third year, FSB hired their first part-time employee. The three employees of FSB certainly needed more space and they took over Fauzia and John's finished basement. With them, they brought proper office furniture and supplies, including the corporate staple, a water cooler.
The team continued to build new relationships with large and small publishers alike including Visible Ink Press, then an imprint of Van Nostrand Reinhold. Then, business began to expand in other directions as McGraw-Hill called for a six month consulting job to train their trade publicity department on web publicity and literary agent Jim Levine recommended one of his authors to hire FSB.
In 1998 (year four), FSB launched a larger-scale, publisher web site for Henry Holt & Co. To our utter delight FSB was also discovered by Farrar, Straus & Giroux that year. Their first project with FS&G was The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. It has been FSB's honor to represent the prestigious list of Farrar, Straus & Giroux authors.
The Big Move
The FSB office made it's first move out of the Burke home into a larger space in 1999. This was the year of much change, as they also hired two more to their staff. Five part-timers began working on publicity projects that had reached to 130 for the year as opposed to the 63 titles promoted the year before. Some of FSB's favorite projects of 1999 were Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman, The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie, and O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton.
One of the biggest events of 1999 was Fauzia and John's meeting with Larry Kirshbaum, the former CEO of Time-Warner Book Group and now literary agent and president of LJK Literary Management. Larry's enthusiasm for FSB confirmed our belief that the company was on the right track.
A New Millennium
By the start of 2000, FSB Associates took another leap of faith and hired their first full-time employee. Jeff Anderson was a trusted member of the firm. He was a tremendous asset to our publicity efforts and arrived just in time, as the company took in 165 projects that year. It was their biggest and most hectic year to date.
Included in this astronomical number of projects was Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe, In America by Susan Sontag, Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil McGraw, Ten Things I Wish I'd Known by Maria Shriver, and Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.
2001 began with great titles such as Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton, both New York Times Bestsellers. With the help of additional employees on John Burke's web development team, FSB created one of the most content-rich Web sites ever generated for a single title. The web site for In Harm's Way remains one of the company's favorite sites to this day. Additionally that year, they launched the web sites for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Susan Sontag, Scott Turow and redesigned and relaunched the web site for Henry Holt, among many more.
The rest of the year kept the FSB team busy with titles like Wit by Margaret Edson, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.
In a short time, the company had to move once again, assuming their places in a small yet open office space in downtown Basking Ridge, where they would conduct business for seven more years.
The Year After the Towers Came Down
As with everyone in the world, 2002 began still in shock from the events of 9/11. FSB anticipated a slow year, as the Dot Com Bust had spread and web sites were closing doors at a pace that made people dizzy. Many, many people were losing their jobs and FSB's established contacts were changing on an hourly basis.
But FSB Associates was OK. Their slow but steady growth, well-trained staff, and committed clients were the key to their survival during this difficult time. Each staff member at FSB believed in the potential of online marketing and the company's reputation with clients was solid, so FSB just rode out the rough times and ended up having a great year. In addition to a number of web sites created, publicity campaigns included Blue Latitude by Tony Horwitz and An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson as well as the renowned Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
And The Projects Rolled In
FSB Associates met Rodale in 2003, and worked on a small book about a diet from South Beach. Rodale had been so impressed with their work on The South Beach Diet that in 2004 the publisher included FSB Associates in most of their marketing and publicity plans. In addition to this astronomical bestselling diet craze, FSB launched the web sites for two of the best selling books of the year, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
2002 brought with it an influx of author-hired projects. Twenty percent of publicity projects came directly from authors. This had been the first time that the company worked closely with such a large number of authors and helped them develop an online strategy.
2004 launched the most Web sites in FSB history, including sites for Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat, and a publisher site for Hyperion Books.
The next several years welcomed an extensive number of projects for the small staff at FSB. The company averaged 125 projects per year for publicity all the while working on numerous web sites large and small.
The Times They Are A-Changin'
2008 was the biggest year in FSB's company history. They are the largest they have ever been with eight full-time and two part-time employees, in addition to a talented team of freelancers. This was another year for office moves as the company is now located in an official, "grown up" office building previously owned by AT&T.
Numerous bestsellers were achieved on the project list this year as four publicists worked on Daniel Silva's Moscow Rules, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi, Your Government Failed You by Richard Clarke, In the Woods by Tana French, Free to be You & Me by Marlo Thomas and Friends, and many more. FSB considers having the honor of developing web sites for Mary Higgins Clark and Robert Kiyosaki among many others.
Although this economy has not been kind to many businesses this year, FSB Associates feels strong and is confident that their focus, dedication, experience, and results will continue to be the guiding force for their future.
Here Comes Social Media
To say social media has changed the landscape of marketing and publicity would be an understatement. At FSB, we are using these tools to think anew about the place of push marketing and press releases and advertising. What we have realized is the efforts we've made to build relationships since 1995 are more valuable than ever. Today nothing matters more than your relationship with people and all the ways you can engage with them.
To learn more about the integration of social media and publicity, you can read Fauzia's blog on Huffington Post.
To meet our current staff, click here.