Sandra Beckwith – Will Write for Cookies









Let’s time travel back about four years…my self-published parenting book was due to come out in September of 2010…I had no blog, no website, thought tweeting was the sound a bird made, had never been on Facebook and didn’t know the first thing about how to market or promote my book or myself. YIKES!

Then I found out about Sandra Beckwith and her Build Book Buzz online class. I signed up and learned more in those 6 weeks than I could ever have thought was possible. But more importantly, I discovered that some people are just angels in disguise. Sandy was kind and patient and knowledgeable and delivered on her promises…always. The class was filled with personal interaction and hands-on assignments. And I know I will always have a friend who supports and encourages me.

Sandy’s written quite a few books and she knows the business from publishing to press release, from using social media to creating a media kit.


Welcome, Sandy! I really appreciate your being here. I’m so happy you agreed to participate. You bring a very important perspective to the Will Write for Cookies interview.

Me: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?


My first favorite author was Carolyn Keene because she wrote the Nancy Drew series. My friends and I used to swap books on the school bus or in class so we all had access to as many of those wonderful mysteries as possible. Not long after that, I fell in love with Louisa May Alcott’s books. After I read Little Women, I wanted to write her a letter telling her how much I enjoyed that book. I was so sad when my mother told me that she died almost a hundred years ago!

Me: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?


It took me a while to discover that a good editor can both improve your writing and teach you how to do it better the next time. I still pay attention to edits now, a long time after I became a professional writer. Continue reading

Spaghetti Eddie Meets Building Book Buzz

Koenig's 1814 steam-powered printing press

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Friday…my day to review a picture book and link it to Susannah Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday

Before I get to the review of Spaghetti Eddie, I wanted to share with you an amazing resource for authors.  Whether you have published many books already or are just thinking about writing a book, Sandra Beckwith’s Building Book Buzz workshop is a must!  You know, it’s very rewarding to write a book…even more rewarding to see it in print.  But once your book is published, you don’t want the books to sit in their shipping cartons…you want them in the hands of your target market.  So how does that happen?  How do you write a press release about your book?  What social media should you use…Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+?  As the cartoon personality Cathy would say…AAACCKKKK!

If you are planning to self-publish, then taking this course is, without a doubt, the best $199 you will have ever spent.  (Sandy has some discounts available)  But even for those who are published by major houses or have many published books under their belt, it is still usually up to the author to do the lion’s share of marketing and promotion….unless, of course, you are a famous celebrity or politician.  In those instances, the publishing house may ante-up with bigger dollars for advertising and publicity to insure a return of the big advance they probably paid.  Sandy has a blog and she just did a post on how to get free publicity that may make a big difference in how your book is perceived.  She is always providing free tips in the articles she writes.

I hope that anyone who is thinking about getting a book out there will take a look at Sandy’s online workshop…the information will help you know what you have to do…before, during and after the publishing process…and will give you more confidence in your own marketing ability…and her personal attention and expertise are priceless.

And now…on to the review of Spaghetti Eddie.

 Spaghetti Eddie

Written by Ryan SanAngelo

Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

Publishers: Boyds Mills Press

Ages 2 – 7+


Valuing one’s own strengths and qualities, creative problem-solving, helping others.


“This is Eddie.  He eats spaghetti every day except Sundays.  On Sundays, he eats ravioli.”


When Eddie’s mom sends him to the store to buy frosting for his father’s birthday cake, Eddie takes his ever-present bowl of spaghetti and meatballs along.   As he walks to the store, Eddie meets several neighbors and he suggests ingenious spaghetti-solutions to their problems.  For example, one friend has a broken shoelace and Eddie offers a strand of spaghetti to replace it.  As Eddie approaches the grocery store, a robber runs out, holding a bag of stolen money.  Will Eddie be able to do something to save the day?  (Hint: you will stand up and cheer for Eddie when you find out)

Why do I like this book:

What a hilarious story!  I loved this book because I was a very picky eater when I was little (unfortunately, I LOVE EVERYTHING now) and I was able to identify with Eddie, who loved spaghetti so much that he had it every day.  Young children will also appreciate Eddie’s peculiar eating habits… many children have stages where they love or hate a certain food.  Eddie’s ingenious use of his bowl of spaghetti and meatballs will encourage kids to open their creative minds and see new possibilities in the commonplace.  The book is just plain funny…and the illustrations truly capture the spirit and voice of the story.

Related Activities:

Pasta-Covered Treasure Box

Most children have a stash of small keepsakes…a special pebble, a shiny coin, a super-friend’s ring.  Here is a perfect container to keep those items in.  This project also makes a lovely gift for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

You will need: 1 clean container with lid (a one-pound margarine or cottage cheese container works well), white glue (glue stick won’t work), dry pasta (spaghetti, macaroni and/or other interesting shapes), markers.  Depending on the age of the child, you may want to cover the outside of the container with craft or construction paper and decorate the lid with pasta.  Older children may have the patience and dexterity to put pasta on the outside of the container.

1.      Spread white glue on the top of the lid and press pasta shapes in desired design.

2.      Spread white glue on the outside of the container and cover with paper or pasta.

3.      When the glue is dry, you can use marker to color some of the pasta.  Optional: the pasta can be painted with non-toxic tempera paints.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers.  Perfect Picture Book Fridays is hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.