80,127 Fans in 3 Months: Publisher Finds Success (And Sales) on Facebook

07/13/2010 03:57 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Good Books was founded in 1979 by Merle and Phyllis Good in Pennsylvania. In 2010, they published The Mayo Clinic Diet which became a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but the Goods are no strangers to success. In December 2000, they published the first Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook, which was newly revised and updated this year, and remains the bestselling title in the series (six books in total) which has sold 10 million copies.

In April of 2010, they decided to dip their toes into social media and set up a Facebook fan page for the series. What followed has surprised them and delighted their fans. I sat down with Merle Good, publisher of Good Books,* to ask him about the growth of their Facebook fans from 0 to 80,127 in less than three months.

Fauzia Burke: Why did you decide to create a Facebook page for Fix-It and Forget-It?
Merle Good: We decided to launch the Facebook page as part of our publicity campaign for Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Revised and Updated. We know that there are millions of fans of the Fix-It and Forget-It franchise on Facebook and we wanted to create a community for them. We also wanted to connect with these home cooks and update them on new projects.

FB: When did you launch the page?
MG: We set up the page mid-April, but we only had 175 fans or so until May 24 when we jumped to over 1,300 fans in one weekend. Since then our numbers have grown rapidly. We're doing a bit of advertising on Facebook and have been adding about 3,000 new fans per day.

FB: What accounts for the rapid growth in fans?
MG: Our advertising has been pretty minimal, but I think it has helped a lot to get the word out that the page exists. I think people recognize the Fix-It and Forget-It brand and want to connect with other people who love the cookbooks and love to cook, but also need quick and easy meals to feed to their families every night.

FB: What has been the biggest surprise?
MG: We're constantly amazed by how much people love the Fix-It and Forget-It cookbooks. People leave the kindest posts on our page letting us know how these cookbooks have made their lives easier.

FB: Do you believe you sell books through your efforts?
MG: Yes. While many of the fans are familiar with Fix-It and Forget-It, people new to the series also join the page. Many of them mention that they want to buy a copy of the book after seeing how much other fans like the series. We are also seeing tremendous interest in the upcoming Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook, which makes us wonder if that might become the bestselling title in the series this year.

FB: What do you think is the biggest benefit of Facebook for authors and publishers?
MG: It's one of the most direct ways I know to connect one-on-one with people who love to buy books and love to cook. We hear first-hand what they like about our cookbooks, and what they are looking for in future books.

With 400 million users spending 500 billion minutes a month on Facebook, there is no reason to stay away from this free site. I have not known one client who has regretted being on Facebook. Give it a shot. I wrote an article a few months ago called It's 2010, You Really Need to be on Facebook, and I stand by this statement. What are you waiting for?

* (Full disclosure, FSB is lucky enough to include Good Books among our clients for many years and have promoted both The Mayo Clinic Diet as well as Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbooks. However, I interviewed them because their rapid growth in Facebook fans is unprecedented and presents us all with a learning opportunity. I hope you agree).

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a web publicity and social media firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. Founded in 1995, FSB's mission is to give authors an opportunity to promote their work to an eager, targeted audience online. FSB is based in the NYC area. Please engage with FSB on Facebook or Twitter. For web publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on a new Twitter feed: @WebSnapshot