Interview & Contest: Barb Drozdowich

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerJen: Today we welcome author and fellow book blogger Barb Drozdowich to Romancing the Book.  Barb, will you tell us about your latest release?
Barb: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Barb is the author of 6 books.

She and her family live in beautiful British Columbia.

Barb can be found:
Bakerview Consulting (Business Site) http://bakerviewconsulting.com
Barb Drozdowich (Author Site) http://barbdrozdowich.com
Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog) http://sugarbeatsbooks.com
Facebook(Author blog) https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor
Twitter http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc
Google+ https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSgVt36XlVAHWj5dkSd0Zyw
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/sugarbeatsbook

 

Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Barb: My newest release, The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers, is the second edition of a book that was published in mid 2013.

Early in 2013, I noticied I was repeatedly running into the same problems communicating with authors wanting to feature their books on my book blog. Wondering if it was just me or if everyone was seeing the same thing – I created a survey. The result was a survey of well over 200 book bloggers and I found out that everyone was seeing the same things. I set out to create a book to help authors understand how to work with book bloggers to promote their book. It proved to be well received and I decided to update it a bit, add a couple of new chapters and republish it as a second edition. The actual survey results have been removed from the 2nd edition and placed on my business blog (http://bakerviewconsulting.com) for anyone to look at.

The official blurb for the book is:

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers?

If book bloggers are the new gatekeepers to ‘book publishing success,’ do you wonder how you can tap into that source of free promotions?

How you can move comfortably into that world, putting your best foot forward?

Look no further, because The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of over two-hundred bloggers, covering all aspects of communication between authors and review blogs.

Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog. You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, as well as the following:

  • The Query
  • The Review
  • The Giveaway
  • The Guest Post
  • The Book Blurb Excerpt
  • The Cover Reveal
  • …and more!

˃˃˃ Start your journey to publishing success today!

Here’s a short excerpt:

Who are book bloggers?

The only thing we all have in common is that we love books; we love books so much that we have created blogs to express our thoughts about the books we read. Book bloggers also have access to a computer. Other than that, they can be male or female, they can vary in age, be quite computer literate, or just barely holding their own as far as technology is concerned. They may be teenagers, sharing their love of Young Adult (YA) as they conquer their high school classes; they may be stay-at-home moms spending their free time sharing their thoughts on their favorite books as an escape from the kids. They may be budding authors using a book blog as a way to experiment with their writing. A book blogger may be a parent/child duo, with the parent encouraging the child to read more. They may be newly retired, looking for a mental challenge and a way to share their lifelong love of books.

Book blogging is usually a hobby; it is something that is done in a blogger’s spare time. If book bloggers make money from ads on their blogs, it generally isn’t much. There are a few exceptions, of course, but in general, book blogging and reviewing books is something book bloggers do for no pay.

Many book bloggers started blogging to simply share their thoughts with other book lovers. Take a look at this 
selection of the answers I received when I asked the question, “Why did you start book blogging?”

  • “Because I wanted to be able to share great books with other readers.”
  • “I started reading book blogs after joining GoodReads. I already had other blogs and felt like book blogging was something fun I could also do. I have an eclectic taste in books, and I wanted to share that beyond GoodReads.”
  • “I am very supportive of many changes taking place in the book industry. I am particularly supportive of e-books and talented Indie and small press authors and LOVE helping spread the word about their books. I also personally enjoy discovering new to me authors who can help support my book addiction.”
  • “I love to read. This was a way to share what I like and to find new books and authors to read.”
  • “To talk with other book lovers, and to have a creative outlet online.”
  • “I wanted someone to discuss books with and there aren’t any book clubs in my area.”
  • “To have a place to talk about books, to be a part of a community.”
  • “I love reading and none of my friends understand, so I decided to join a community that not only under- stands, but embraces my nerdiness.”
  • “To encourage my students, to share my love of books
  • “I wanted to share my opinions on books for others to see. Plus, there aren’t many people I know in my school who read the same books I do, so it makes it hard to gush.”
  • “To share my love of books with the world.”
  • “I wanted a way to keep myself writing at least something down. That way I might not get writer’s block as often for my writing projects. It is also a way for me to discuss my love for books and find new books that are out there.”
  • “Because I wanted to find new readers like me who are big romance fans to discuss books with and share this big passion of mine!”
  • “To create a space where my kids and I give our opinions about children’s books—we don’t always agree!”

Since I received 215 responses to my original survey, you can well imagine there were many answers to this question. I’ve listed my favorite ones above.

The answer from the list that I liked the most was: “To share my love of books with the world.” This topic will come up over and over again in this book. Book selling is a relationship-based activity. So many studies have been done that tell us people buy books based on a suggestion from a friend or a trusted source. That “friend” may now be half a world away.

When I post a review or other feature on my blog it is open to be read by anyone, no matter what country they live in. Book blogging takes the relationship-selling model and blows it up in terms of reach. The audience doesn’t even need to speak the same language with many blogs. The next time you visit a blog, see if the blog has the ability to be translated to a different language. That functionality is more common than you think.

In conclusion, the only generalization that can be made is that book bloggers love books. This, of course implies that all book bloggers are unique, just as all humans are unique. They can’t really be generalized. Not only do they differ in their reading tastes, they will differ in the way they run their blogs. They have things they accept, and things they don’t accept, things they like and things they don’t like.

 

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Barb: I am most certainly a plotter! I outline every book and then often create a chapter by chapter outline before I attack each chapter. I admire anyone who can just sit down at a blank computer screen and write!

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write?  Is there one you’ll probably stay away from?  Why?
Barb: I’m a non-fiction kind of girl! Just the thought of creating dialogue scares me. I don’t think that I’ll ever write fiction, but I really enjoy writing books that help people understand technical subjects. I like to think that all those years of teaching science has helped me take very technical subjects and break them down into understandable chunks. I remove most of the techno-speak and replace it with every day words.

Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Barb: Since I’m a voracious reader of Regency Romances. I’d go back in time to Regency England – as a person of wealth hopefully so that I can get to wear the fancy dresses and dance with a handsome Duke at a ball. Since I would miss modern conveniences, I think that I would have to take some modern medications like antibiotics, comfy sneakers and a couple of pairs of jeans!

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you reading now?
Barb: My favorite authors are many! I love the work of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Shana Galen, Sarah MacLean, Jessica Scott, Grace Burrowes, Elizabeth Boyle and many others. I just found a copy of Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover. I’m a few chapters in and I love it so far!

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Barb: Like any good book blogger – I read.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Barb: I have several things on the go. I have been recording short videos and putting them up on YouTube and my business blog. These videos walk the viewer through some of the difficult things that we do on blogs – manipulate pictures, deal with video embeds, etc. They have proven to be quite popular. On the prompting of several friends, I’m in the process of creating a beginner level course on WordPress for Udemy.com. What I find is that there are a lot of beginner bloggers that are totally intimidated by the comments about how ‘easy’ WordPress is. For those of us who grew up with computers in the house, that may be – but not everyone starts with that skill level. I want to create a course at the level that I teach one on one – totally lacking in jargon and simple and straight forward. This course will also be aimed at authors and book bloggers as all the examples that I used are things that are peculiar to us – posting book covers on sidebars, linking them to Amazon using Affiliate links, etc. Information should be coming out soon about it’s availability.

Since I was signed with BookTrope Publishing, I have been re-working all my books one at a time to republish under their banner. Book #2 (The Author’s Platform) should be out shortly. It’s been updated to include the recent changes on Goodreads and Facebook as well as a few new chapters. My other 4 books are still available as indie publications, but will be updated one at a time over the next few months and re-published as second editions.

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