Monday, April 25, 2016

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Fauzia Burke
Berrett-Koehler     2016
150 pages     Nonfiction

 There has never been a better time for authors to get the word out about their books. Online marketing reaches into nearly every Facebook page and Twitter account. But online marketing can be confusing, frustrating, and time consuming for authors who don't have time, or interest in promoting themselves beyond a book tour and a few television talk shows.  

Fauzia Burke runs FSB Associates, a marketing firm for authors, and in this brief and to the point book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors, she offers advice for authors who are realizing that online marketing is the best way to get the word out about their books.

As a blogger, I have been aware of the steps that Burke outlines, but in her book, I was able to equate the process with my experience with authors I have encountered. I have seen authors who are good marketers and authors who ignore the whole process. One local author, Bonnie Jo Campbell, has a terrific Facebook presence, and for her spring book tour, she took a large cardboard cutout of the author Flannery O'Conner with her everywhere. Flannery showed up at every reading, and Bonnie Jo recorded every visit on Facebook. Another author, Brad Parks, has a newsletter that comes to me because I am on his mailing list. His newsletter is written by his "interns." The interns are constantly doing stupid stuff, and it is all very funny—that is his brand. 

Burke takes the scariness out of marketing. She acknowledges that the most important component of marketing for authors is to know who their readers are and come up with a plan to market to them. Burke calls this building a brand and creating a community.

Burke divides her book into three parts: getting organized; turning thinking into action; and staying the course. Publishers, of course, do a lot of community building for books, but much of the work that needs to be done has to be done by the authors themselves. She assures authors, however, that they don't have to do everything—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, website, mailing lists, or blogs, but she recommends that authors pick some of these online tools and stay with them. She advises all authors to have a website. The author has total control over his/her website. It is the author's chief online presence. She does recommend hiring a digital marketing advisor to help with the creation of the brand and the design of the website.

I am not an author—I am a blogger—but I learned a great deal from reading Online Marketing for Busy Authors. My time has been very limited, but I realized, as I read, that there is more that I can do to promote myself and my blog. 

Online Marketing for Busy Authors is a must read for anyone who has written a book or is interested in writing a book. Burke's company, FSB Associates, frequently sends me books to review on my blog, and I have enjoyed a good relationship with them for several years. 

Here is advice from Burke on the Book Designer website.  

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