Productivity

Zen Habits to Practice on Social Media

Zen Habits to Practice on Social Media
by Fauzia Burke
Have you ever had a moment where you’ve thought, “what did we ever do without our smartphones?” I’ll be the first to admit, life without smartphones, email, and social media seems unimaginable to me now and, quite frankly, more difficult. How did we ever get anything done? How did we stay connected? 

For busy authors, once laborious tasks are completed in just a few seconds. Yes, it’s true, social media helps us get more exposure and attention for our businesses and books, it directs traffic to our sites, and it builds personal bonds with our readers, clients and colleagues. However there is a dark side, too. 

7 Digital Tools to Help Make Your Days Run a Little Smoother

7 Digital Tools to Help Make Your Days Run a Little Smoother
by Fauzia Burke
At FSB Associates, we love trying new tools, especially those that help us save time. While there are countless digital tools that will help you work more efficiently, the list below represents my new favorites--those tools that we use on a regular basis. They’re fun, easy to use, and will make your days run a little smoother. And the best part--they’re all free.

Canva Ever struggle to create social media graphics that look professional and compelling? Then Canva is for you. Canva allows you to easily create beautiful designs and documents using a drag-and-drop feature. Choose from hundreds of graphics, with both free and paid options, and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.

Animoto allows you to easily create videos to help...

Taking Risks in Publishing (and Life)

Taking Risks in Publishing (and Life)
by Fauzia Burke
Whenever I meet with a potential new client, I like to ask him what his goals are for his marketing/publicity campaign. More often than not, I get an answer like, “I want to be a #1 New York Times bestseller” or “I want a 7-figure advance on my next book.” While it’s completely normal to have high aspirations, I tend to steer authors toward something more achievable, where actual steps can be made toward achieving that goal. Do you want to reach 10x your newsletter subscribers? Or get 100 book reviews on Amazon? Or sell 20% more than your last book?

When it comes to book publishing, and life, the important thing is to set your goals, and then move forward...

5 Ways to Manage Stress this Holiday Season

5 Ways to Manage Stress this Holiday Season
by Fauzia Burke
Holidays can be a stressful time. Every time I am in a parking lot of a shopping mall and see people fighting over the last parking spot, I think we need to all remember this is supposed to be a joyous time. I have discovered 5 ways that keep myself less stressed and I hope they help you too: 1. Gratitude. November is the month for showing gratitude. The holiday season reminds people to take stock. You are more likely to read or write gratitude posts or tweets. Maybe your family members share what they are grateful for around the Thanksgiving dinner table. I love seeing people cultivate gratitude because it leads to so many wonderful, positive things. I am passionate...

How to End Every Day with Zero Emails

How to End Every Day with Zero Emails
by Fauzia Burke
Email has taken over our business day as well as nights and weekends. I made a promise to myself at the start of this year to end everyday with 0 emails in my in-box. At first I thought it was impossible, but as time went on I not only learned to manage email more efficiently, I took charge on my day and got a lot more done. So in case you are looking to free yourself from the in-box overload, here's how I do it:

Every email is not Important
 All my emails are important, or so I thought. But what I realized is that every email is not important. Many of them are just disruptive. I made a choice not to...

Cultivating Super Fans with eNewsletters

Cultivating Super Fans with eNewsletters
by Fauzia Burke
Social media is sexy, but the real power of your relationship with your fans is in email newsletters. The people on your mailing list are your "Super Fans." They are the ones who have given you permission to show up in their inbox. That invitation is very valuable.

Think about it, when was the last time you signed up for a newsletter. Probably not for a while. Once I asked an author that question and she said, "oh I don't do that." She's right we don't do that, unless we are Super Fans or the author/company is providing something of value.

Super Fans are the people who pre-order your books, are the first in line to buy your products, and recommend you...

10 Important Stats for Authors

10 Important Stats for Authors
by Fauzia Burke
By Fauzia Burke

Book Buyers 2010 stats: More than 40 percent of Americans over the age of 13 purchased a book; the average age of the American book buyer is 42. Women make 64 percent of all book purchases, even among detective stories and thrillers, where they buy more than 60 percent of that genre. Source Study 2012: Avid book buyers skew older, and female 64%; The #1 principal way of discovering new books? Personal recommendations 48.2% Source Book Sales December 2012 retail sales at indie bookstores were up 2.9 percent compared to December 2011, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census. Source Continued growth of e-book consumption, which rose from 4 percent of unit sales in 2010 to 14 percent...

7 Ways to be Effective on LinkedIn

7 Ways to be Effective on LinkedIn
by Fauzia Burke
By Fauzia Burke

All social networking venues are not created equal. Each has its own identity. What works on Facebook may not work on LinkedIn or on Twitter. While you can use all social media platforms for an integrated approach to market your book or business, you have to know your audience. The LinkedIn audience is where professionals connect and help each other to be effective, productive and successful. LinkedIn is a great way to build your network, relationships and your personal brand, but in order to do it effectively, you have to use LinkedIn in a professional manner. Here are 7 ways effective:

Stay professional. If you wouldn't put it on your resume, in your portfolio or say it in an...

New Marketing Mantra: Assess, Delete and Respond

New Marketing Mantra: Assess, Delete and Respond
by Fauzia Burke
By Fauzia Burke

Imagine if you opened your inbox, and saw only one email. Imagine if you only got a new one when you answered the current one. Without knowing how many emails you have in total you would take the time and respond with great care. Now imagine you open your inbox and get 200 emails (like most of us). Your process would have to be different. You would have to quickly assess what gets deleted, what can wait, and which emails are top priority. You should approach your job in the same way. Look at everything that needs doing, then assess, delete and respond.

It seems to me that the days of over designing, over thinking, and over obsessing are...

Wanna Be Successful? Make a Do-Not-Do List

Wanna Be Successful? Make a Do-Not-Do List
by Fauzia Burke
by Fauzia Burke "Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." -- Steve Jobs

As women entrepreneurs, we often take on more than we can handle. Often the "to-do" lists from projects, family schedules, home, business, clients, staff, etc., can bury us. However, when I finally learned to make a Do-Not-Do list, I freed up my time and energy to focus on my most important priorities. Now anything that comes between me and my priorities goes on my Do-Not-Do List.

Don't do the same old thing. Stop doing the same old thing if it isn't working. Almost every small business owner says that they need to figure out how to accomplish more in a day, but then we...

September Resolutions

September Resolutions
by Fauzia Burke
Every year September gives me a second start to the year. My kids go back to school and the summer fog lifts from my mind. It's usually a great time for me to get some stuff done. So like my kids, I buy some school supplies: an inspiring journal, a new calendar and my favorite pens. Unlike January when the temperatures are almost the same as December and February, September actually feels like a shift as we transition from warm summer days to cool crisp autumn days (at least we do here on the East coast). This is one of the most productive months for me and I take full advantage of it by setting September resolutions.

Plenty of the year...

10 Skills to Thrive in PR Learned from Reality TV

10 Skills to Thrive in PR Learned from Reality TV
by Fauzia Burke
I have a confession to make. My guilty pleasure is reality competition shows like Project Runaway, Top Chef and Amazing Race. I know I am not alone because all these shows have seen years of success and ratings. Recently, I thought working in PR is a lot like being a candidate in a reality competition: same pressures, same deadlines, same high expectations. I also noticed that there are some common skills between...

PR Is Stressful, But You Don't Have to be a Stress Monster

by Fauzia Burke
I have seen PR people stressed out, screaming, sending emails in all caps, and worse. A new study puts public relations as number seven on the top 10 most stressful professions. As a public relations executive, of course I have days that are stressful, but I don't think that has to make the entire profession stressful. Some of our industry's drama may be self-induced. According to a recent article by Rob Biesenbach, some people take a "perverse pride...

12 Social Media Tools for Publicity

12 Social Media Tools for Publicity
by Fauzia Burke
by Fauzia Burke

The explosion of social media in the last few years has brought with it a whole slew of social media applications and tools designed to help publicists deliver and monitor better results. As I have written before, I think social media has been a huge help for publicity. However, choosing the tools is important in helping you save time and be effective. I've compiled a list of 12 tools that lighten the social media workload at FSB, and I hope you find them helpful as well.

Blog Searches:

Blogpulse: You can search for a URL, name or topic. I think it gives good results for a given topic, even though I'm not always crazy about the results. However, every now and then...

8 Ways to Develop Better Relationships with Bloggers

8 Ways to Develop Better Relationships with Bloggers
by Fauzia Burke
By Fauzia Burke

When authors come to me and say, “I want to reach book bloggers or mommy bloggers,” I often have to tell them that bloggers have very specific tastes. More specific than you probably realize. For example, when reaching out to mommy bloggers, it is really important to know the age of their kids. Pitching a YA novel to a mommy blogger with a baby won’t get you far. Pitching a Sci-Fi novel to a blogger that loves historical romance won’t work either. Sending a WWII book to a blogger that covers the Civil War will make for a cranky blogger, and sending a press release to the wrong person may actually get you blacklisted.

So here are some tips to...

Looking for Balance in a 24/7 World

Looking for Balance in a 24/7 World
by Fauzia Burke
By Fauzia Burke

It is not uncommon for me to get business e-mails at 6:30 a.m. or 12:00 midnight. Until recently, it was also not uncommon for me to answer them. However, this year for my birthday I've decided to give myself the gift of balance.

We live in a culture of 24/7 work and it has become normal to many of us. We have raised the expectation of availability to a point that is unhealthy. Recently, a potential client wrote to me on a Saturday, then wrote back on Sunday wondering why I had not e-mailed him back. Another prospective client emailed me at 10:30 on a weeknight and by 8:30 the next morning had written again, a little frustrated, asking...

PR Quick Links

PR Quick Links
by Fauzia Burke
Here are to 10 quick links to help you on your Web PR journey. Hope you find them helpful.

1. Alltop (top stories and blogs by every topic imaginable)

All Top

2. PR Daily from Ragan's. They have a great newsletter:

PR Daily

3. I think you have seen this: FSB's blogger directory

FSB Media

4. HARO

Help a Reporter Out

Nice video explaining the service and blogger outreach: MyRagantv.com

5. Top Newspapers by Twitter followers

Journalistics.com

6. Top Newspapers on Facebook

Journalistics.com

7. Top Newspapers by traffic

Journalistics.com

8. How to pitch bloggers

Journalistics.com

9. How to add blogger outreach to your PR plan

Mashable.com



10. A comprehensive list of holidays and observances (helpful in pitching books to editors). Sometimes a small, silly holiday can make a quick blog post for someone:

Holiday List