It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Why? Because it’s time to reveal our favorite book jackets.
A few years ago, I confessed to abiliophobia and many of my readers rushed immediately to the doctor to ask about this affliction! Because many of you share it with me. It’s the fear of being without a book or something to read. I will hyperventilate if I am trapped on an international flight without plenty of books.
Do you ever buy a book because you are attracted to its cover?
Do you ever just admire the book cover for its artistic qualities?
Regular readers of this website know that I make a list of the best book covers. And, it’s not only fun, did you know that book covers also offer valuable leadership and goal setting lessons? (Click here to read more.)
If you want to compare this year’s list with previous years:
It’s no secret that I love books. A few years ago, I confessed to abiliophobia, the fear of being without a book or at least something to read. (Try telling your doctor about your affliction and see what happens.) There’s little more concerning to me than being stuck somewhere with nothing to read.
Fortunately for me, my career has me covered. Whether visiting a library, a book warehouse, an author conference, a publisher, a bookstore or my home, I always have several within reach.
Like most of us, a book cover captures my interest. I often pause and peruse books simply based on the graphic design.
Do you ever buy a book because you are attracted to its cover? That’s the goal of every designer: to influence that moment and make you take action. Pick me up!
Each year, I make a list of the best book covers. And, it’s not only fun, did you know that book covers also offer valuable leadership and goal setting lessons? (Click here to read more.)
If you want to compare this year’s list with previous years:
Have you written a book but need some marketing tips?
How do you get the message out about your work?
How to Increase Online Effectiveness
Today it’s not only about the manuscript but also about how to get the word out about your book. Online marketing and social media have upended the traditional methods to market an author. Today, your effectiveness online is crucial to the success of your book.
In my own experience in the book business, I have seen the shift to social media and the rise of the author’s platform as major marketing tools. One of the notable experts in this field is Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide. Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more.
I recently asked Fauzia to share her wisdom about the best ways to market a book online.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” -John F. Kennedy
You’ve personally witnessed online developments from inception to today’s social and mobile world. Compare and contrast today to pre-online. How is the world different for authors today?
Oh, wow. Everything has changed . . . the most significant being that there’s never been a better time to be an author. Now, for the first time in the history of publishing, authors have direct access to their readers. Social media has changed the publishing landscape. While there is more competition in the marketplace today, there are more opportunities than ever before.
The new accessibility of social media allows authors to reach their audience directly, and this makes a long-term online marketing strategy absolutely essential for authors. The key to success for authors today is to build and grow their platform long-term. If they earn the trust of their readers, they can do anything.
“There’s never been a better time to be an author.” –Fauzia Burke
What are some of the biggest misconceptions authors have when it comes to book publicity?
Many people feel book publicity is not quantifiable. I disagree with that notion. We can absolutely quantify the effects of publicity. When book publicity works, we see an increase in sales. Today, we can also judge the value by an increase in social media visibility and more traffic to an author’s site. Unfortunately, we can’t often duplicate success or land book sales each time. How a book resonates with its audience is magic. We can’t make people buy a book, a fact that is more frustrating to us as publicists than to anyone.
The other misconception is that there is a short launch period when an author gets media hits and goes on a book tour, and then an author moves on until the next book. That is just not the case anymore. Book publicity is a marathon, not a sprint. Authors are expected to engage with their readers whether they have a book to push or not.
Josh Charles, an actor on the TV series The Good Wife said when he exited the show: “I think that the beauty of social media is the ability to stay in touch with the fans and share with them what they’re going through and let them know that I’m there and the character may be gone, but I’m still involved in the show.” Authors too start a conversation with their community that is ongoing and lasting. It can’t stop at the end of a book tour.
“How a book resonates with its audience is magic.” –Fauzia Burke
Work on an online marketing strategy. The few authors that have become huge bestselling successes without a digital or social strategy are anomalies. Most of us need to work on online branding every day for the success of our businesses, books and careers. I encourage authors to develop their online brands. Online marketing is not about selling; it’s about making buying easier. It’s about forming real connections.
Authors need to have a professional website. Your website will be your home base for your digital marketing efforts, and it is critical to your credibility. People do judge a book by its cover and an author’s expertise and quality of their writing by the look of their website.
Be patient. If you are a little overwhelmed by the rapidly changing world of online marketing, you are not alone. Remember all of us, experts and novice, are learning as we go. You don’t have to become a social media strategist to be effective. By using the most important online marketing outlets for your audience in a targeted way, your book, brand and bottom line will benefit.
“No matter what your pursuit, the most fulfilling part is sharing it with others.” -Eli Broad
My perception is that, after writing the book, most authors breathe a sigh of relief and think “It’s done!” and then they learn the real work is ahead of them. Is that your experience? How do you ease them into the reality of what’s ahead?
Ah, yes. Of course, for every author, writing their book is a labor of love and incredibly hard work, and so understandably they exhale a sigh of relief when the book writing process is finished. It’s tough to immediately say, “Wait until you see the work that’s still ahead.” We all complain about social media because it’s time consuming, but it’s the way the world has changed, and as authors, we need to change with it. We have to adapt. Once authors embrace the need to change with the times, I tell them some good news:
You don’t have to do everything.
You don’t have to constantly switch directions to follow the next shiny thing.
You get an unprecedented opportunity to build a community of interested readers who want to support your success.
It’s really a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers. I think authors breathe a sigh of relief when they realize the best way to engage effectively online is to be authentic.
“It’s a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers.” –Fauzia Burke
Nolan Bushnell founded groundbreaking companies such as Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. In his first book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Retain and Nurture Creative Talent, he outlines a plan for helping companies bring more creativity into their organization and make it their competitive advantage. (Nolan hired Steve Jobs in 1972, two years after founding Atari.) The book is a must read for all creatives and especially anyone who aspires to manage creatives.
My good friend, best-selling author and speaker Tim Sanders of Net Minds, is his publisher. Tim graciously agreed to interview Nolan and talk about creativity, leadership, libraries and even publishing. Here is the conversation between Tim and Nolan:
I know it’s your strong belief that leaders at companies need to foster a creative culture. If you were going to give leaders one piece of advice on how to think differently about a creative culture, what would that piece of advice be?
I would encourage them to say yes to at least one crazy idea a year.
Give me an example of some of the crazy ideas you heard when you were in Atari.
Among the many that were pitched to me, one that stands out was this notion of making pretty pictures when music happened. It seemed ridiculous at the time. The product ultimately turned into Midi.
Midi, of course, is the standard that still exists to this day for connecting music devices to each other and synchronizing them.
I think we built 20,000 of them, and I think we sold six at full-price. (Laughs). But it did become a force within the industry, for sure.
Let me ask you about leadership because you’ve led several companies. Do you think of leadership in a military way, a coaching way, or an improv comedy way?