Expert Interview with Sandra Beckwith, author of Build Book Buzz

Sandra BeckwithName: Sandra Beckwith

Business name: Build Book Buzz

Book Title(s):

  • Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book
  • Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates
  • Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contributions
  • Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity that Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement
  • WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN?

Website URL:   http://buildbookbuzz.com

Social Media Links:

www.twitter.com/sandrabeckwith

www.facebook.com/sandra.beckwith3

www.linkedin.com/in/sandrabeckwith

www.pinterest.com/sandrabeckwith

Instagram: SandraBeckwith 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today?

I majored in journalism and public relations in college and never stepped off that path because I love nonfiction writing. For most of my career, I was an award-winning publicist. When I burned out, I shifted to full-time nonfiction writing – newsletters, magazine articles, and books. I eventually tapped into all of my professional experience when I began teaching authors how to promote their books through online courses and other training programs.

I can’t imagine doing anything else. For me, writing anything is like putting together a puzzle that can be solved many ways.

Can you describe a typical day in your life?

I spend most of my work day writing for my Build Book Buzz business or for client projects. Those include alumni profiles, corporate marketing newsletters, articles, and books that I ghostwrite or edit for others. My day is usually a mix of interviewing people by telephone, doing online research, writing, and finding helpful book marketing content to share on social networks. During the months when I’m teaching an online book marketing course, I also spend quite a bit of time reading homework assignments and commenting on them in the course forum.

Outside work, I do a one-hour walk along the Erie Canal towpath and through my little canal village for exercise several times a week, spend too much time thinking about what I’m going to eat, talk to my two daughters on the phone a lot, and spend one day every other weekend visiting my mother in a nursing home two hours away. (She is one of the funniest people I know so it’s always a good time.)

What do you most enjoy about what you do? 

I love helping authors learn how to market their books. I realize that it’s more intuitive for some than for others, so I work hard to create training programs or instructional blog posts that take varying levels of marketing knowledge and know-how into account.    

What is your latest book about?

My most recent training program, rather than a book, is called “Blurbs, Endorsements, and Testimonials: How to Get Experts, Authorities, Celebrities, and Others to Endorse Your Book.” It teaches authors how to get those important and influential pre-publication testimonials they can feature on their book cover, retail sales page, and website.

What inspired you to write your book?

I noticed that too many authors weren’t going after these endorsements from influential leaders and others because they either didn’t know how, were intimidated by the idea of it, or didn’t even know it was an option. I wanted to de-mystify the concept and break it down into manageable steps what would make the process far less intimidating – and generate results for authors.

Can you describe your writing process? 

It’s pretty simple. I do the research required and then write the article, book, blog post, newsletter, etc.

For larger projects, I use Evernote to keep track of my research. With a book I just ghostwrote, I set up Evernote notebooks for each chapter, then “clipped” the research and assigned it to each chapter notebook. Going virtual with my research eliminated the mountains of paper that usually accumulate on my desk while writing a book.

For the actual writing, I really prefer to have my lead in place before I move further into the article, but if I’m not inspired, I plow ahead with the writing and return to the beginning later to focus on the lead.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?

When it comes to teaching authors how to market their books, I’m inspired by Pat Flynn and the Smart Passive Income blog and podcast.

Can you share some book marketing tips for our readers?

Every book is different – there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to marketing books, in spite of what authors might think. Here’s some overall advice, though:

  • Start with a top quality book. If you’re self-publishing, package the book so that it looks traditionally published – hire a professional editor, make sure your interior design is appropriate for your category, pay a cover designer with lots of book cover experience. You want a book that is so good that people talk about it and recommend it to others. And you don’t want anyone to think “self-published” when they see the cover.
  • Do what it takes to get honest reader reviews. They influence book buyers as well as where you show up in Amazon searches for your topic or genre.
  • Learn how to position your book on Amazon. That’s where most people are buying books, so you want to make sure you’re using the right keywords, have an excellent description, leverage your pre-publication blurbs, etc.
  • Know your target audience very, very well. The better you know your target audience, the more likely you are to get your book title in front of them. 

Anything writers should NOT do when marketing their book?

Don’t use social media to sell. Use it to make connections and establish relationships that will support your marketing, instead. It can open a lot of doors if used properly. For example, a leader you connect with a year before your book is done might be someone you can contact for a blurb. Another person you impress with the helpful content you share might offer to pay you to speak at an industry event. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?

I was prom queen my senior year at my high school’s junior-senior prom. “The boy next door” was the junior prom prince. Our mothers were pretty excited – there are plenty of pictures of the neighborhood “royalty” posing together that night at the coronation.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on getting one of my existing training programs into the Udemy format so I can reach a new audience of authors there.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’d love for your readers to subscribe to my free Build Book Buzz newsletter at http://buildbookbuzz.com. Each month, they’ll get two newsletters packed with how-to information and can download my gift, my “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately.



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