Book Reviews: Social Media Marketing by Noah Gray and Michael Fox

As you probably know, this blog is more than just a fun place to blow off steam and knowledge; it’s an intricate part of my freelancing. I get jobs through this blog, this blog is central to some of my Fiverr gigs, and it’s where I show off my expertise. The social media outlets related to The Writer’s Scrap Bin, including the Facebook and Twitter accounts, are as much for connecting with potential clients as they are for connecting with my fellow writers and readers. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to bring you a business-related book review today, namely my review of a book called Social Media Marketing: Step by Step Instructions for Advertising Your Business on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Various Other Platforms by Noah Gray and Michael Fox.

Social media has grown rapidly since the launch of platforms like Facebook and MySpace. Is it too much growth too quickly? That’s for future generations to decide. In the meantime, our world is becoming increasingly dependent on social media for everything from reconnecting with old friends to looking for a job. That’s why businesses have to ride this wave while it lasts. The more exposure a business gets, the more people shop that business’s products and services. What better path to exposure than social media? People are on those sites 24/7 anyway. Why not take advantage of the captive audience? That is exactly what Gray and Fox discuss in Social Media Marketing.

Image retrieved from Amazon

Gray and Fox more than just detail the benefits of social media marketing; they give readers all the tools they need for launching a social media marketing campaign for as little money as possible (often even for free). They tell readers about some of the most prominent social media platforms out there (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, Tumblr, Quora, Periscope, Goodreads, and Flickr) and explain which platform is best for which kind of marketing. They explain the ins and outs of each platforms, as well as what you shouldn’t do in order to avoid getting into trouble.

This book is all about personalizing your approach. Gray and Fox emphasize that social media is constantly evolving, and so platforms will come, go, and change over time. What works in today’s social media might not work in ten years or even in one year. They also stress the fact that you have to decide for yourself which platform(s) is right for your business and how many platforms you can reasonably handle in a single campaign. (Don’t want to burn the candle at both ends, after all!) Regardless, this book provides a general guide which both the novice and experienced social media marketer can use to start their next campaign.

Gray and Fox’s book is yet another I wish I had found a little sooner. The tips for Facebook paid advertising and utilizing Twitter in a social media campaign would have saved me some trial-and-error and uncertainty. Even the Instagram and Pinterest sections should prove useful as I try and expand my blog’s reach.

I personally most benefited from the sections on social media platforms with which I’m not very familiar. Despite all the time I spend online, there are many social media platforms which I’m just becoming aware of. Among these are Quora, Periscope, Flickr, and even Reddit. Fortunately, Gray and Fox provide detailed chapters on all of them. They explain these platforms in ways which made a lot more sense than when I look them up on Google or Wikipedia. The simple language used in this book also helped me to understand how each platform works and which ones will work for my freelance writing and editing work. (Honestly, I think only Quora and Reddit are a good fit for me out of those four.)

However, with all the platforms that Gray and Fox introduced me to, there were just as many that I already knew about. For this reason, the Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube chapters felt rather…repetitive and slow to me. That’s no fault of the writing. Anyone who isn’t already familiar with these platforms and their possibilities for marketing will find these chapters key to starting a social media marketing campaign. After all, these are three of the biggest social media platforms in existence right now. I had just recently familiarized myself with the marketing potentials of these platforms and thus already knew most of the information.

Perhaps the most useful set of chapters for writers is the set on Goodreads. This section teaches readers the basics of Goodreads, how to use it with a blog, and how to best use it for marketing your book. I’m sure that most of my readers are comfortable with Goodreads already. Regardless, I think that these chapters could help writers learn to utilize this platform’s potential even better.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for people looking to launch a social media marketing campaign. Gray and Fox’s Social Media Marketing is well-organized, informative, and written perfectly for a beginning marketer. You don’t even have to spend any money to jump on these tips! Many of them just involve having an active and strategic social media account in order to work.

Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, or even a writer, you need to bring your products/services/books into the realm of social media. Like it or not, there will be one form of social media or another for quite some time. You have to strike the iron while it’s hot, or else you—and your business—will be left behind.

You can buy Social Media Marketing by Noah Gray and Michael Fox as an eBook or in print on Amazon.

Do you know of any books I should read? Want your work reviewed on this blog? E-mail me at or message me on Fiverr and we can arrange something.


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

Special Announcement: Kickstarter for The Present is a Gift by Elchanan Ogorek

Hello, everyone! I want to take some time today to tell you about a kickstarter for a special children’s book called The Present is a Gift by Elchanan Ogorek.

The Present is a Gift teaches children about mindfulness using animals. As you can read on Ogorek’s kickstarter page, these animals teach the readers about several aspects of mindfulness, including:

  • Living in the moment
  • Being curious
  • Paying attention to the little details
  • Accepting yourself
  • Staying focused
  • And more!

On top of these lessons, each animal demonstrates a different yoga pose. As you can see in the picture below, they also provide useful facts for the reader.

Perhaps the best part of this book is the author himself. Elchanan Ogorek is not only a father but also a social worker. As such, he genuinely wants to help young readers and teach them how to apply mindfulness to their lives. That way, they can become happier, more relaxed, and more grateful adults later.

You’re probably wondering why Ogorek has started a kickstarter for this book. What costs could a children’s book incur?

All $5,000 are going to one of the most frustrating yet satisfying parts of the writing process: publication. The money raised from this kickstarter will help to publish, market, and distribute The Present is a Gift.

We all know how pricey indie publishing can be, even for the simplest books. However, I think this book is worth the money and effort. I’ve always been a very anxious person; it’s only gotten worse in adulthood. I think that, like everything children encounter at an early age, this book could instill values and habits into its readers which will help them deal with stress and anxiety later on. I, for one, want the next generation to be a lot less wound-up than mine.

To learn more about The Present is a Gift and contribute money for its publication, check out the kickstarter campaign. But you should hurry–there’s only 11 days left in the campaign!

If you know about any worthy book-related kickstarters or charities, please e-mail me at and it might be featured in a future post.


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

Book Reviews: The Most Dangerous Dream by Kelsey Brickl

Warning: The book featured in this review, The Most Dangerous Dream by Kelsey Brickl, contains depictions of sex, sexual situations, and other sensitive matters. If you wish to avoid such depictions or are under the age of 18, proceed with caution.

Another hectic week is underway, and I’m here to bring you another book which I’m particularly excited about. The first reason is that it’s a retelling of a well-known work. (I am rather find of using things like fairy tales to jump-start my own stories.) The other reason is that it is very well-written, titillating yet also classy. Today I will be reviewing The Most Dangerous Dream by Kelsey Brickl.

History is full of what if’s. What if Alexander the Great had not died young? What if Henry VIII had not divorced Catherine of Aragon? What if the United States had not successfully built the atomic bomb? Even fiction from bygone eras contain unexplored avenues, and it is such an avenue which Brickl postulates in her reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera.

Image retrieved from Amazon

What if Christine had not been repulsed by the deformed Erik? What if she actually decided to get to know him and, through this bonding, falls in love with the man who has been her secret singing coach for all these years?

When Brickl explores this possibility, what we get is not a deranged, deformed man holding people hostage for the love of a woman who will never love him back. Instead, Brickl shows readers the softer side of the Phantom, the human side which is loving, jealous, possessive, and passionate. More than that, she reveals a new side to Christine, one which is sexual, untamed, and, at times, lacking in good judgment and care for female virtues. Their story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, sensual and thrilling, a love story which at times does not seem meant to be, only to have our expectations subverted. Will love prevail? Or will Erik’s–the Phantom’s–possessive, manipulative, and secretive nature get between them enough for Christine’s childhood friend Raoul to swoop in?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never read The Phantom of the Opera. I’ve never seen the Broadway play, and I’ve only seen snippets of one of the later movies. Still, we all know the gist of the story, and I believe that Brickl’s The Most Dangerous Dream did it justice. In fact, I may not be able to watch or read anything related to the original in the same light as I would have without reading this first.

Brickl turns a classic story about a deformed and desperate maniac into a man in love who has been dealt a bad hand in life, including a physical deformity. It’s a struggle to find and keep love in the face of nonconformity in a time when normality was key to thriving in the social world. There’s tension and emotional upheaval to spare, and no character is either entirely likeable or entirely despicable. Even Erik and Christine, as the star-crossed lovers in this tale, have plenty of flaws and strengths, moments when you want them together and moments when they seem better off going their separate ways.

I can’t really say that any character was my favorite for this very reason. Erik was too jealous, possessive, and manipulative, sometimes downright creepy. Yet he is also sweet, caring, protective, passionate, and a gentleman. Christine is beautiful, kind, talented, and a little stubborn. Still, she’s also rather impulsive and naïve. It was hard not to find fault in their actions and question the validity of their relationship, but that just made it feel all the more real.

Of course, the time period and country in which the book takes place makes for a more challenging read than modern romances. The speech pattern is somewhat antiquated and there are references to many foods, operas, and aspects of Parisian high society which not every reader will immediately recognize. However, these are the same sorts of issues often encountered in historical fiction, and they’re nothing that an enthralled reader cannot overcome.

I anticipate readers having a problem with the premise for this novel. For one thing, it’s a reimagining. Those are always received critically in the literary and entertainment worlds. More importantly, though, is the fact that the relationship between Erik and Christine borders on emotionally abusive. After all, Erik follows her in the shadows and manipulates everything around her to make things how he wants them to be. It is also creepy that he has been watching her since before she became a woman, which indicates that he has been essentially stalking her since childhood and he is much older than she is.

These concerns and more are addressed in the forms of Meg, Christine’s internal struggles, and even Erik’s internal struggles. I would not stand by if I was these red flags in a friend’s romance or my own, but Erik only wants what is best for Christine; his methods are questionable but he learns from mistakes, as we all do. While this story does not depict the ideal relationship, it depicts a realistic ones with ups, downs, happiness, and regrets, and its romantic arc is very much in line with this genre and the time period, albeit a little more sweetly and happily than the original.

I found a few typos, such as “robe” when Brickl meant “rope,” but they were not so prominent or frequent as to ruin the novel. I was surprised by how well Brickl maintained the feel of the time period while not losing my attention. Even at 400+ pages, the book is so gripping and compelling that it makes for a quicker read than you would think. A word of warning: some of this illusion of speed is due to steamy scenes between Christine and Erik. If you’re turned on by intellectual and/or artistic activities and people, you’ll especially appreciate those scenes.

Overall, The Most Dangerous Dream is an exciting and intellectual read. It is truly for romantic (in the traditional sense of the term). If you are a huge fan of The Phantom of the Opera, you might have mixed feelings about Brickl’s reimagining. However, if you want a new perspective on the infamous Phantom, you will love it. Brickl is a wonderful writer, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. If she does more in this genre (historical romance and reimaginings), I’m sure it will be a hit like this one.

It’s currently unavailable, but you will be able to snag a copy of The Most Dangerous Dream by Kelsey Brickl on Amazon.

Do you know of any books I should read? Want your work reviewed on this blog? E-mail me at or message me on Fiverr and we can arrange something.


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011