Monday, August 19, 2013

A Helping Hand ~ Connecting With Readers

Back in December of 2012, I began to experiment with Twitter.  My teenager knew all about it.  I knew nothing.  I made some mistakes and blunders along the way.  If I annoyed any of you ( or am doing so now) I apologize.  Many an author (or author's significant other) looking to connect with readers through social media have made mistakes.  Not being one to study, observe and learn before jumping in, I was no exception.  Over the last several months I have attempted to help others in spreading the word about their works as well as forward on helpful articles I have run across.  And of course, I've consistently told whoever would listen about Marshall's books.  The writing community as a whole has truly been helpful, gracious and understanding.  I know there is still a lot to learn.  I'm looking forward to the days ahead.

I've heard of stumbleupon but have no experience using it.  As I've traveled the twitter-verse, that's exactly the term I would use for some of the best connections I've made in promoting the Guiamo Chronicles.  In exploring, browsing, searching, I "stumbled upon" a blog advertising book tours. The comments were positive, the blog well done and so I took a stab and reached out inquiring about their possible interest in doing a tour for Guiamo.  The rest is history. The Guiamo Book Tour was an incredible success and encouragement. 

Our experience with Beck Valley Books was a positive one from start to finish.  Sharon, who does the computer side of things, was quick to answer any questions I had and stayed on top of all that needed to be done.  She went above and beyond in helping to promote Guiamo.  Even after the tour was over, she offered to post about a giveaway we were doing as part of the Blogger Book Fair.  Many companies do what they were paid for and then move on.  Not so with Sharon! I'm confident that Beck Valley Books will be a valuable partner in continuing to share the news of Guiamo with others.  

As I've told Sharon via e-mail, if we ever make it over to England, we would love to meet in person. We wish Sharon and Stephen all our best.

And now, pull up a chair as I interview the people behind Beck Valley Books to learn a little more about their journey into the literary world. 

Introducing Beck Valley Books!

~ Could you introduce yourselves to our readers and share a little bit about the two of you?

Hi everyone we are Sharon & Stephen, a pair of book lovers who live in the UK.  We have been married for almost 20 years and have two lovely teenage boys who keep us very busy indeed!   We both work full time as well as running our online bookstore and book blog.

~ We met through the Beck Valley Books book blog, but originally you started as book sellers. Tell us a little bit about your journey in the business of selling and blogging as well as how long you have been a part of the book world.

Our passion for books started many years ago, we love books and constantly went to as many car boots, jumble sales and auctions as we could to find more books for our ever expanding collection. From many visits to the beautiful Northumberland, filled with lovely old bookshops, our dream started of owning our own bookshop one day. After one particular visit we returned home to the news of a bereavement and due to my own ill health which meant I could not return to my previous occupation we decided that there was no need to wait any longer and that is when it all began.

~ What makes Beck Valley Books different than other online bookstores?
I would say because we are a small family run business and value our loyal customers. We have our books on site and know the true condition of them which is always reflected in the books description.  We love our books and want to share our passion with other book readers. 

~ Do you have any hopes and plans for the future?
Stephen hopes one day to have a physical bookstore, a book lovers paradise I think with sofa's, a coffee maker and even a chess board!!  We bought a beautiful book shaped table from an auction a couple of years ago and the first thing Stephen said was that it would go lovely in his book shop !!

~ The two of you work as a team. How do you split up the work? I know with our family, Marshall writes the books and I do the marketing.
I do all the computer side of things, which is massive, putting individual books online is quite time consuming especially the old books, but I love doing it.  Stephen does the buying and delivering and of course all the heavy lifting.

~ Share with us one or two of your successes. What things have you done in your journey that really worked?
I received a wonderful email from a customer who had been looking for his childhood book for over fifty years and finally found it on our store, he was absolutely overjoyed and we were thrilled for him.
The other obvious success is the book tours we now do, at first we started our Beck Valley Books blog to promote our bookstore but it has now become far more important which in a way is quite sad as we love our old, rare books and we are spending less and less time with them.  For me each old book has their own unique history and it's wonderful to pass this onto a new owner.

~ On the same note, what mistakes have you made in the past years that you hope others don’t repeat?
We started out selling every type of book possible but in time you will find a niche that fits your style and you can focus on selling in that particular area.  You have to be in it for the long haul, it isn't an easy way to make money you have to have the motivation to make it work.

~ What are some of the unwritten rules you go by in doing business with others online?
To be honest I don't think I have any x

~ Can you share a fun story of a book you have been involved with doing book tours over the years, perhaps finding an all time favorite read or an author success story?
We have met so many wonderful author's over the last couple of years and it has been an absolute pleasure working alongside all of them, they are such fun people to work with.  I love to hear that our book tours have made a difference in the books sales and online presence.  We have been very lucky up to now that there hasn't been one book that we haven't enjoyed, I think that may be down to the fact that we only review the books we feel that we would really enjoy ourselves.  
My all time favourite read has to be the general fiction book Swallowtail by Sheri Meshal, it was a spiritual delight and it left myself and many of the other reviewers still feeling the effects from reading it even now.

~ Thanks Stephen and Sharon for spending a little bit of time with us!  I'd have to say whether you know it or not, your unwritten rule is to treat others with courtesy, kindness and respect.  It's been a real pleasure!  

Support a Bookstore Today!

I know many are concerned that the bookstore may become a thing of the past.  Stephen and Sharon's dream is to own one of these jewels that are becoming  more rare.  Why not visit them today at Beck Valley Books and browse their selection.  You too might find a treasure!

For more information on tours or new authors to follow


  1. Oh my I'm so humbled, what a wonderful post and it was an absolute pleasure working with you both. We had great response from our book reviewers on Guiamo and I know a couple have already gone on to read the other books in the series. Thanku so much xx

  2. Sharon,
    You're very welcome! I'm so glad you liked the post. It was a pleasure for us as well. Will be looking to do a tour for Cumoro soon.


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