Review: Online Marketing for Busy Authors

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

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2016.  Trade paperback, 150 pages.Cover: Online Marketing for Busy Authors

So you might ask, why am I reviewing a book outside of my usual focus?  The answer is simple.  I saw value in it for several reasons.  First, I do have an idea for a novel in the future.  Should I ever see that idea through, I thought this book could be useful.  Second, there could have been something in the book that helps to better this blog’s potential.  Third, and most important, marketing online is one of many aspects of my current job.  I use it to reach out to potential partners, to arrange speaking engagements for my library’s staff to promote our unique services (we serve those with visual, physical, and reading disabilities that prevent the use of regular books), and to create content for our social media sites.  Reading and reviewing a book on online marketing could only help with these goals.

Burke’s writing flows and is easy to understand.  In fact, the book reads like one is having a conversation with her and not reading words written on pages.  Because of this, I think writers of any age would be able to understand the ideas presented.  It is also logically divided into the steps and order of those steps for writers to be successful.  Despite the fact Burke’s own company exists to promote books online for clients*, she realizes not all have the money or opportunity for that and states that clearly at more than one point.  And I believe that is one reason she wrote Online Marketing for Busy Authors.

Burke has divided the book into three main sections: “Getting Organized,” “Turning Your Thinking into Action,” and “Staying the Course.”  In the “Getting Organized” section, Burke outlines things to keep in mind before starting to market a book, including learning about one’s potential readers, setting goals, and creating one’s own personal brand.  The next section moves the focus to actually carrying out the planned actions.  As part of this, Burke outlines things to keep in mind when building a website, establishing mailing lists, and creating a blog.  Burke also presents potential uses of different social media networks and differentials between social media (content) and social networking (creating connections) and best practices for using each.  Lastly, this section ends with ideas for do-it-yourself book publicity and tips to keep in mind if one decides to use a publicity firm.  In “Staying the Course,” Burke discusses how results may not be immediate but slowly build over time by establishing both expertise in one’s niche and by using social networking to grow a fan base.

After reading this book, do I think it was worth it?  Yes.  Burke presents a few ideas I had not thought about.  She also builds on ideas I have used in the past in one capacity or another.  Of the things I learned, I think I will end up applying them at work first, as I spend more time doing outreach and marketing there.  However, I do hope to apply some of what I learned to this blog someday.  And many ideas apply for online marketing for non-books as well, such as for blogs, websites, etc.

Lastly, for those with no social media experience, Burke does a good job of explaining each network’s uses and how those networks can be used.  While many of these explanations may be basic for digital natives, they would help those with no previous experience (which is the group of people Burke states she had the most experience working with).

Do you have any online marketing tips to share?  After all, many marketing tips can be applied to more than just books.  I know one of my favorites, which Burke also mentions, is using social media to share content relevant to one’s field.  I tend to use Twitter mostly for that purpose as many librarians and literary types frequent that domain, whereas my Facebook account is more for keeping in touch with family and friends.

I was offered this book for review by FSB Associates.

*Burke founded FSB Associates, which has promoted books by authors such as Arianna Huffington, Dean Koontz, Rick Atkinson, Scott Turow, Sue Grafton, and many more.  I have reviewed several other books sent by her firm in the past, most recently The Train to Crystal City earlier this month.

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