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Friday, October 7, 2011

Writers' Tricks of the Trade: Carolyn Howard-Johnson gives marketing advice

The Frugal Book Promoter: Second Edition: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher.

The Frugal Book Promoter: Second Edition
By Carolyn Howard-Johhnson
Author's Web Site: www.howtodoitfrugally.com
Author's Sharing with Writers Blog: www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com
ISBN: 97814637743291
Cover Design: Chaz DeSimone
Designer's Web Site: www.chazdesimone.com
Genre: Nonfiction: Writers/How-To/Marketing

Reviewed by Morgan St. James originally for the Las Vegas Examiner


A few years ago I met author, promoter and writing instructor Carolyn Howard-Johnson when she presented workshops at the Las Vegas Writers Conference. We’ve since become friends and follow milestones in each other’s careers.

Carolyn is the author of books that are tremendously helpful, particularly for the writer who must stay on a budget. One of her books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won’t, is on my own bookshelf with lots of bright orange sticky notes marking passages that I go back to again and again. It is also listed in the bibliography at the back of my new book Writers’ Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction. As you can tell, I cherish her solid advice.

Her books that relate to the real world

In this tight economy and fierce competition for the readers’ dollars, we need every edge we can possibly find. In Carolyn's new book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Get Nearly Free Publicity On Your Own Or Partnering With Your Publisher, she relates to the dynamic changes that have occurred over the past few years in the way we do business. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy and delighted to see that one of the people she dedicates this book to is Trudy McMurrin, a very talented editor I had the pleasure of knowing. Trudy influenced the way many writers developed their skills, and her life was claimed by cancer much too soon in 2009 .

Here is why I suggest adding Carolyn’s books to your writers’ library.

She approaches her topics in plain language, something I really like, and fills them with real-world common sense. I do that, in my own books and columns because hyperbole and lofty writing are not the way to teach in my opinion.Give me plain talk any day!

She doesn’t advocate that the author “run willy-nilly” and break the rules of PR (public relations.) Instead, she says as a creative author you can take the rules and turn what might have been the tinkle of bells into the sound of timpani for everyone you want to reach. She further states that the idea that authors can’t promote is anything but the truth, and cites Mark Twain as one of the best at putting himself out there.

There are two big words the author needs to have at the front of their consciousness at all times: branding and networking. In simple language, figure out who you are—your strengths, who you want to reach, how you want them to perceive you which will give them a reason to believe they can’t go one more day without putting your book in their collection. Then network, network, network. The best branding in the world is no good if the message isn’t circulating.

It reminds me of the bit of advice I always spout.

No one is going to knock at your door and say, “I understand you just wrote a book. Please let me buy a copy.” Of course, it could be Aunt Sadie who lives close by because your mother just told her about the book, but that's not reaching your market.

Let the world know what you’re doing and enlist the help of others to spread the word.

The new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter is broken down into well organized sections:

  • Section I Getting Started and Getting On with It
  • Section II Plunging In: Publicity Basics Now
  • Section III Do-It-Yourself and Partner Publicity
  • Section IV Promote Your Book by Doing What You Love
  • Section V You and the Media
  • Section VI Well Traveled, Oft Forgotten
  • Section VII Onward and Upward

This book is an absolute treasure trove and with two new books to promote myself, I can’t wait to start marking the pages and putting her sage advice to use.

The release of her new book will be announced in this column, on my blog and in the newsletter. Incidentally, Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a guest contributor for the October issue of the Writers’ Tricks of the Trade Newsletter. SUBSCRIBE to the Writers' Tricks of the Trade blog for posts and newsletters to be delivered to you automatically when published.

~For more information about Morgan St. James, visit www.morganstjames-author.com website or the Silver Sisters Mysteries website. Morgan frequently speaks and gives workshops for published and aspiring writers at conferences and events. Her next appearance will be at Partners in Crime, Sydney, Australia on September 11. Information on her website.

Because of the popularity of Writers' Tricks of the Trade, she has recently added a blog, newsletter and the just-released Writers’ Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction book., available in paperback, eBook and Kindle. The hilarious third Silver Sisters Mystery, Vanishing Act in Vegas, was also released in August.

Writers' Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction
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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. As a courtesy to the author, please tweet and retweet this post using this little green retweet widget :

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