Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"I'll Take a Community With That Book, Please!" A Guest Post by Fauzia Burke

How fortunate for me to be part of the community of book bloggers. I have made so many friends in the past 11 months since I started BOOKIN' WITH BINGO, including the wonderful people at FSB Associates. FSB Associates provides online book publicity and are wonderful to work with. As an avid reader and book reviewer myself, FSB often makes it possible to have access to some of the finest books being published today. Personally, they have supported me even to the point of helping me launch my BINGLE BELLS BOOK BUNDLES coming up this month! Were it not for one very special person, there would be no FSB Associates. That person is Fauzia Burke who just happens to also be a featured blogger on The Huffington Post.

And so when I was presented with the opportunity to offer my readers one of Fauzia's articles that was a smash hit on The Huffington Post, I was thrilled and honored to be able to share it with you today. This article was so well received when it originally debuted, that it wound up on the front page of The Huffington Post for a few days. Amazing! Now here it is on my little blog! Just as we are part of the blogging community I mentioned, this article is also about a community. It emphasizes that publishing companies need to change their marketing strategy to reach a new era of readers who are well informed looking to connect. See if you don't agree and probably find yourself in part of this article!
So with that, I am pleased to share Fauzia Burke's fascinating article entitled I'll Take a Community With That Book, Please!

I'll Take a Community With That Book, Please!

By Fauzia Burke

With today's search empowered readers, do we need to market and publish books differently? Does general publishing makes sense in an age of Google searches, micro communities and niche marketing?

Today's readers are tech savvy and resourceful. They know how to get the information they need and have higher expectations from publishers and authors. They don't just expect a book, they expect a community with their book.

I often hear publishers say that there are "very few brands in book publishing." But to thrive in today's competitive, niche markets, perhaps brands are exactly what we need. What readers choose to read is personal and an extension of who they are. Shouldn't their book choices be supported by a publisher, a brand that is invested in their interests?

Many small publishing companies have done an enviable job of branding themselves and building reader communities around their books. Take O'Reilly, TOR and Hay House. You may not read their books, but you know what they publish. Their communities trust them. People who share their point-of-view flock to their lists. These companies publish for a niche community, and are trusted members of their community. They provide extra resources, and often their authors are members of the community itself. TOR has even launched a bookstore to meet their readers' needs. These publishers show passion for their books and an understanding of their readers, and as such their readers reward them with loyalty.

Publishing books for the community

Besides reader loyalty, publishing for micro communities may have other long-term benefits as well. For example, the focus would help publishers save money on marketing. Marketing through online communities is less expensive and much more powerful than trying to reach the general public and hoping to find the right match. The publisher's Web site wouldn't have to cater to a wide variety of people, it would be designed to serve the needs of a small group. Instead of expensive advertising, they could announce the book to the community that has already bought into their brand. Publishers and authors could enlist the support of the community to spread the word (which will always be the most efficient method for marketing books.) The logo on the book spine would mean the readers have a promise that the book is worth reading. The readers would know that the publisher looked at over a thousand manuscripts all on the same topic and is offering them the very best.

So are large, general publishers at a disadvantage with today's search-empowered, community oriented readers? I think so. General trade publishing is for everyone, yet there is no "everyone" out there. Readers are part of micro communities. They want good books, and they need publishers who will support their interests and passions.

The bottom line is that publishers and authors need to evolve their marketing and publishing strategies to accommodate for a new kind of reader. A reader whose expectations demand more interaction and community. A reader whose loyalty you can have once you have earned it. A reader who wants more than a 6 week marketing campaign so you can sell a book. This new reader requires an investment of months and years.

Is that too much to expect? Perhaps. But this is your new reader, and she will stay with you if you stay with her.

Stay tuned for Web marketing tips in future weeks, or follow FSB on Twitter to see our results in real time:

©2009 Fauzia Burke


Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm specializing in creating online awareness for books and authors. From the company's inception in 1995, Fauzia has been a trendsetter in developing integrated online marketing campaigns for authors and publishers alike. FSB has played a role in the success of numerous chart-toppers, including novels by Daniel Silva, Mitch Albom, Michael Cunningham, Tana French, Barbara Delinsky, Jonathan Franzen, Sue Grafton, and Jacqueline Winspear; and nonfiction titles by Doug Stanton, Alan Alda, Barbara Ehrenreich, Dr. Arthur Agatston, Al Gore, Linda Greenlaw, Tony Horwitz, Richard A. Clarke, Vincent Bugliosi, Marlo Thomas, and Bob Woodruff. Before starting FSB Associates, Fauzia worked for John Wiley and Henry Holt. She lives in Basking Ridge, NJ with her husband and two daughters. For more information, please visit the network of FSB sites: FSB Associates, FSB Media, smartbooks and Written Voices.

My Readers KNEW I had to have SOME
kind of fun graphics on my post! Thank
you Fauzia, and everyone at FSB!


Unknown said...

This is a fantastic post. Thank you Karen for introducing us to Fauzia Burke. Ms. Burke, it's wonderful to meet you! Thank you for your thoughts and interest in the readers of today, their needs and likes and dislikes. Whenever I hear people say that book sales are down or that people don't read today like they used to. I always get a little pang of fear that books will disappear! lol I know that will never truly happen but I was never so happy as when I discovered this book blogging community just three and a half months ago. It is so reassuring to know that publishers such as yourself exist who are in tune with the readers of today.

Thank you for the wonderful books you bring to us and all you do to make my reading experience as pleasurable as possible.

Fauzia Burke said...

Thank you ladies. I am grateful to be a member of our vibrant and supportive book community online. Keep up the great work. You guys are saving books and publishing by giving them attention when print is not.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have had a very positive experience with FSB. I love that some publishers are recognizing the blogging community. And what a wonderful place to post about it as this blog, where Bingo has made an outstanding effort to highlight books and publishers in an intelligent way, without pandering. Great combo post! :--)

Bingo said...

Thank you fredamans and Amy...what great comments. Amy, if books disappear, you and I will have to get together as probably between us we might have enough to get us through a few months!

Fauzia, I am thrilled you stopped by and it makes me feel good to know that the little bit that to us, is hugely important, does indeed mean something after all!