Monday, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Gifts and a New SharingwithWriters Newsletter Format

Do you remember the Morton Salt icon--a little girl sloshing through puddles (as I recall it) to illustrate the idea "When it rains, it pours!" Consumers were supposed to correlate the motto with the idea that Morton's didn't clump together like salt used to. I really wouldn't know, the clumping part was way before my time! 

But that's what the last few weeks have felt like, clumping. And being unable to stop it!  My computer didn't work . . .and kept not working. We had workers clumping around the house an on our roof!  ("Clumping" seems like the right word, here, too.) Then one of my newsletter subscribers (a poet who is also a silicon valley management consultant) offered to do a new design for my #SharingwithWriters newsletter.  Perhaps she noticed that I violated my own advice to keep branding recognizable using focused topics and, yes, color!

This comes with my heartfelt thanks for making me giving me a new tool! It means so much because she cared enough to do it, but also because it illustrates how important it is for authors (Samanthi is a poet) to support one another—that sparkly essence called networking. But mostly it is proof that authors—generally speaking—are more caring with each other than those in many other industries. I remember once about ten years ago. I was at a meeting for writing instructors at UCLA. I was near the beginning of my foray into independent publishing and a similar viewpoint came bubbling out of my mouth. There was a loud guffaw from the other side of the room where the screenwriting instructors tended to group together. I chose not to react, but that person's disapproval of my Pollyanna attitude proved how important our camaraderie is, even if it didn’t prove that my premise was accurate. Samanthi Fernando—so many years later—dignifies my assertion with her caring.

Samanthi FernandoSamanthi is the author of seven chapbooks. You can learn more about her under the “Thank Yous” segment of this SharingwithWriters newsletter by clicking on the May issue at, on Amazon at or on the About Me segment of her website at And, if you'd like to subscribe, you have time until Thursday to do it before I get my August issue out.  I hope you do! 

Have a happy summer,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson,


Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor ( )

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Must-Have Review Resource for Writers/Publishers

Do you know about Jim Cox's Midwest Book Review.  It's a lot more than a respected review site that considers all books based on their content and value,  not on the press they are printed on.  But it's a lot more than that. Reviews chosen for publishing may get included on any of a number of special editions aimed at librarians and specific regions.  This one by Diane Donovan, editor of The California Bookwatch, appeared on her "Writing/Publishing Shelf."  Reviewers and editors always give permission to expand the exposure of the reviews they write so that means when yours is chosen, you can submit it according to the guidelines in the left column to the sister of this blog, The New Book Review.   Be sure to subscribe while you're there. High participation benefits all the writers, publishers, and reviewers who contribute to it.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically
Subtitle: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career
Series: Third in the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
ISBN: 9781536948370, 

$17.95 PB, $9.95 Kindle
Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Diane Donovan, Editor of California Bookwatch, originally for her Writing/Publishing Shelf

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically should be on the reading lists of anyone interested in gaining and, even more important, using book reviews. It informs both self- and traditionally-published authors of the ins and outs of getting and utilizing reviews; but most importantly, it discusses some of the tips and tricks for doing so - and reveals many approaches to avoid. From making the most of the best review from the most authoritative source to knowing what to do if the review process goes awry, this outlines the entire process of media promotion in the course of explaining the difference between a good and bad review, how they can be effectively utilized, and what to avoid. Very highly recommended!

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