Online Book Publicity
A Q&A with founder and president of FSB Associates Fauzia Burke
In continuation of my celebration of Latinidad's tenth anniversary, I am
Published on LatinoLA: November 11, 2013
culling the best advice and advisors from back issues to help you get
published. Previously, I've discussed managing money and time, writing
classes, critique groups, the revision process, the submission process,
writing for magazines, and traditional publicity. This month's focus is on
Technology has revolutionized how books are read, and how they are
marketed. What hasn't changed is that authors are expected to take the
lead in promoting their work. Thanks to social media, writers have the
tools to cultivate a following. To learn how to use those tools, read this
month's Q&A with online book publicity expert Fauzia Burke.
To read past issues of Latinidad, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marcelalandres/
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a web
Publicity and social media firm specializing in creating awareness for books
and authors. Founded in 1995, FSB's mission is to give authors an
opportunity to promote their work to an eager, targeted audience online.
For more information, visit http://www.fsbassociates.com/ and for web
publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on
Q: What are the advantages of online book publicity vs. traditional book
A: The Internet offers longevity. Web features and links are available to
readers now, and new readers months and years from now. Like a
snowball rolling down a hill, these features are able to grow thanks in large
part to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which thrive on a
constant flow of information. Unlike traditional publicity, such as
advertising, TV appearances, print features, speaking engagements and
radio interviews, all web features are linked directly to a bookseller or the
author. This takes the potential reader from a place of "liking" the book to
buying the book with one click of a mouse.
Today's readers are tech savvy, resourceful, and have higher expectations
Of publishers and authors. Online book publicity allows these readers to
get the information they need immediately and to share that information
with their own social network. Nowadays, readers don't just buy a book,
they want to receive a community with their book. The bottom line is that
publishers and authors need to evolve their marketing and publishing
strategies to accommodate a new kind of reader, a reader whose
expectations involve more interaction and community.
Q: What mistakes do authors make when they promote their books online?
A: The biggest mistake an author can make in terms of promoting their
books online is not actively engaging in social media and taking
the time to establish a unique digital footprint. Many authors feel
that by building a Website, they have covered their bases online.
However, it is not that easy anymore. If I were an author in
today's competitive market, I would consider the time I spend
developing my online platform and building my brand on the Web
as an extension of my job as a writer. Publishing a book or any
professional writing is a small business and authors should look
at it as such. Now, online branding is not a luxury or an
afterthought--it is a necessity.
We are seeing the impact of social media in every direction and in every
medium. There are 105 million users on Twitter and they send 50 million
tweets per day. We are in an age of authenticity and people want to know
about the authors that speak to them. Twitter makes it very easy to share
information, stay connected, and to "follow" your favorite authors and
publishers. Using social media applications like Tweet Reach, a search
engine "powered by tweets," allows you to monitor how many people were
reached by your tweet. Lasting visibility and publicity is never based on a
single individual, one tweet or post, but an array of contributors.
Online publicity hits are more important than ever. Each time you get a
review or feature, it becomes something that you can Tweet about or post
to Facebook. Getting the placement is simply not enough; you have to
utilize a variety of these social media applications in order to share the
feature with your social network. Sharing is the key to increased visibility
and exposure for a book. In fact, the daily mantra at FSB has evolved into,
"If it can't be shared, it shouldn't be done!" The more features you get, the
more exposure you can generate on social media sites. You need to bring
each piece of publicity and recognition full circle by sharing it with your
Q: What online book publicity tips can you offer to authors?
A: No surprise here, but "word of mouth" on Twitter spreads very quickly.
The word can spread very fast within a 24-hour period, so the more
information available about you, your work, and your interests, the greater
the chance of gaining a fan, a feature, or a sale. With that said, I urge you
to start the chatter!
Please be social, share yourself, and be authentic. Make sure that you
have a variety of places where you can share information and grow your
features, publicize your book, and share your successes. All of these
outlets provide more exposure for your book and help to establish a
strong digital footprint. Publicity breeds more publicity. So, my advice is
to chat it up, be social, and continue building a social network. However,
you must remember not to be a living, breathing advertisement. My rule of
thumb on sharing is a 4 to 1 ratio. You can post something
self-promotional if you post 4 other non-promotional links that are
helpful to your followers. The key is to build credibility.
Q: What changes or trends do you predict in online book publicity?
A: Content development is going to continue to grow in importance.
Videos and slide presentations offer readers a new way to interact with
their favorite authors. Recently, we posted a slideshow with "Five Tips to
Being Happy at Work" on slideshare.net. It is a helpful and useful resource
for our clients and, at the end of the presentation, we can give our viewers
"Calls to Action" by embedding links to online booksellers, and author's
websites. The benefit of this particular strategy is that the views of the
slideshow can be seen just like YouTube, and it can also be easily shared
on Facebook and Twitter through one-click-sharing. Additionally, the
slideshow has great SEO's and is readily available in the search results of
all major search engines. Being able to embed links to online marketplaces
such as Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com into the presentation is a
crucial way to ensure that an inclined buyer is given the opportunity to
purchase the title on the spot.
Q: Other than your fabulous blog on The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/searchS/?q=fauzia+burke, what other
blogs, web sites, and/or books do you recommend to writers who wish
to learn more about online book publicity?
Engage by Brian Solis
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
The New Rules of Marketing and PR, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott
Twitter Power by Joel Comm & Anthony Robbins
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo
The Referral Engine by John Jantsch
Great reference sites:
Excerpted from Latinidad?« ?® 2003 by Marcela Landres
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster.
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