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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please join the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Compilation of Tips from Carolyn's AllTips Edition of Sharing with Writers

Frugal promotion. Frugal publishing. This is the season of Frugal for writers. And Frugal usually means do-it-yourself. Here are some tips from one of my my AllTips editions of my Sharing with Writers newsletter (subscribe with the little box in the upper left corner of this blog). Hope they save you some money or just help you do some things that otherwise might not get any attention:

Tip: You need to be familiar with BISAC even if you're not self publishing. You and only you know best what your book contains and, therefore, how it is best categorized. If you're self publishing, you'll need to decide the category for the copyright page yourself. If not, you need to double check your publisher's decision to see if he--through an incorrect decision--sent your book to a shelf in the library or bookstore where it will never be found. So, go to www.bisac.org and follow the links through to BISAC Committees and then to BISAC Subject Headings.

Tip: See how one author offers free chapters to promote her novel--in a free REAL chapbook: Get yours as a sample at: http://www.nadinelamanbooks.com/

Tip: Read the book Your First Novel even if you're working on your second. It's by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb (one is a novelist, the other an agent!), published by Writer's Digest. I reviewed it and you can find that review at http://www.carolynhowardjohnson.redenginepress.com/free_content.htm That's my free article page. Scroll down to the Reviews for Writers section. And feel free to mmmm . . . swipe any article or review you find on that page for your own newsletter or blog.

Tip: Annette Fix, author of a memoir, BreakUp Diet, printed flyers a month in advance of her signing at Barnes & Noble and stocked the counters with them. They sold out 20 of her books before her signing and had to re-order! Yay, Annette! And thank you for letting me use this in this AllTips edtion!

Tip: So you got As in English. You know grammar and spelling. That's great but an editor of you those skills alone doth not make. An editor knows formatting, front and back matter, indexing, structure, the elements of fiction and on and on. But mostly she'll see your manuscript in a fresh, new light. Learn how to hire a great editor and learn to be a better partner for any author--awful to superb--in The Frugal Editor.(www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor)

Tip: Time Magazine (January 2009) tell us: The New York Times recently printed its very first display advertisement on its front page (before they had occasionally used text-only classifieds. This tells us that newspapers--even the most venerable--are coming up with new ways to increase income and that you should be doing two things: 1. Ask how can these changes help you with your advertising campaign. Will ads become more affordable for you? and 2. With this kind of evidence of hard times for print vehicles, might you be thinking harder about how you might utilize ads? In the backs of your books, as an example. Some big NY publishers have tried (and then discarded) the idea. The time may be ripe again--especially for independent publishers. I’ve done it in my new 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.

Tip: “Blow your horn loud...If you succeed people will forgive your noise. If you fail people will forget it.” ~ William Feather

Tip: Here’s a calendar to use when you want to market for holidays: http://www.speakingwithspirit.com/pdf/QuirkyMarketingCh1.pdf Or use it the other way around. Look at the holidays and see how they apply to your book or promotion efforts.

Tip: Those of you who are concerned about plagiarism can use http://tynt.com/. Also reread the section in The Frugal Book Promoter on my take on the fear of plagiarism, how to deal with that fear, and what a great publicist would do to turn it to their advantage if it ever happened. Use the index to find references to the subject.

Tip: A great article on fair use: http://adjix.com/dcc6 . It will help with your copyright problems.

Tip: From Dena Dyer (www.denadyer.com). Here's my favorite writing tip of all time: To get quoted in national publications that fit your platform, try joining the reader panels of magazines. Reader panels are special panels you can join for fr ^ ^, so the editors can send you questions about features they're working on. If you read the issue online, then you ARE a reader and qualify. Usually, the magazine will have a spot on their Web site or in their current issue asking for reader panel members. I've gotten quoted in several glossy high-profile publications this way (Working Mother, Parenting, NickJr. Family and more). ~ Dena blogs at Mother Inferior, www.denadyer.typepad.com. She tweets at www.twitter.com/denadyer.

Tip:: Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS) allows a limited number of students to join a mentoring program designed to bring new writers into the freelance writing business. During these weekly teleseminars, Yvonne Perry, the owner of WITS, provides coaching that allows students to build a real-world portfolio while learning the craft and business of freelance writing. Weekly assignments are given to the group and graded individually. Students are given encouragement and help in specific areas of need. The program includes a weekly one-hour teleclass, too. Go to http://writersinthesky.com/mentoring.html

Tip: Here's an easy way to do get a widget to advertise a chat: www.99chats.com

Tip: I get questions like this one from Jo Ann Hernandez, author of Whitebread Competition, http://bronzeword.wordpress.com: “Did I go overboard [on my book proposal]? Should I just list my achievements and say they can be provided if my contact is interested in reading them?" ~~~~~ A thousand times no! People really misunderstand proposals. The idea of a proposal is to give your contacts everything they might need in one place, not to send them on a hunt for information however easy it is to do with links in this Internet connected world. Truly, they don't have time. Learn more about proposals from my "The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YG6O5U/ It's an Amazon short and will cost you 49 cents to get that book proposal right.

Tip: Save ANY indexing ideas you have in something called a Concordance. Don’t fool with the Word indexing feature until it's soooooooo the last thing you do in the editing process. You can use the Concordance to help you. This tip will save you hours of time. And yes, SOME fiction is now being indexed--especially anything historical. People are truth oriented. They want to know what is real and what is imagined.

Tip: Irene Watson is now the managing the Blogging Authors blog. I signed up to get notices in my e-mail box because it is targeted to authors. Irene of Reader Views fame knows publishing well and always strives to provide great content. http://www.bloggingauthors.com/blogging_authors/2009/3/19/how-to-hire-an-editor.html?lastPage=true#comment3385355 .

Tip: Don't suffer with book proposals. You can be a pro with and investment of only 20 minutes and 49 cents with my Great First Impression Book Proposal Short (www.budurl.com/bookproposalreport)

Tip: When you’re trying to hire an editor, find a publisher or whatever, Google that person’s or company’s name + complaint. Put the name in quotes and add + complaint without quotes. Do be cautious about what you read though. There are malcontents out there who will deliberately try to destroy another’s reputation and often the problem is not with the company but with the complainer. Truly.

Tip: Please note the new Resource for Writers page on Contests at http://www.carolynhowardjohnson.redenginepress.com/contests.htm Follow the “Click Here’s to other valuable lists on my site.

Tip: Avoid scams by checking out www.writersweekly.com/whispers_and_warnings.php

Tip: Follow how one writer figured an agent scam when he saw it: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/570357/writers_literary_agency_scams_dont_pg2.html Note that authors are sitting ducks for scams because they so desperately want the best for their work. An author might get an agent quickly and easily but if it’s too easy, that’s a first red flag. Just use caution.

Tip: Available: Audios from Audio Divas on many aspects of building a writing career. Here is the page where you'll find the full list at http://www.tri-studio.com/audiodivas.html including one on "Do It Yourself Indexing." They're frugal. Only about $5.

Tip: Most publishers ask you to do your own index these days. If they do, rejoice. That's because no one can do the job as well as you. You know your book. You know what's important in your book. But that's only if you are willing to do your homework on producing a professional index. Here's the tip if you decide to take it on rather than hire it done. Wait until ALL the editing is done. Every last scrap. It will save you hours of time. And read a little more on indexing in The Frugal Editor. It isn't a book about indexing but it will help you decide whether you want to do it or hire it done and it gives resources for hiring.

Tip I ran across this accidentally! Bowkers, the people who make it their business to list books has an ISBN converter. It will convert from 10 digit to 13 or the other way around. It’s handy if you’ve forgotten yours, or, of course, if you are self publishing. http://www.isbn.org/converterpub.asp

Tips from Linda Ballou, author of the free e-book How to Make Travel Writing Work for You:

Tip #1 - The first step in beginning to write about travel is to find your niche. Focus on an area you are passionate about. Think about your expertise and how you can capitalize on them. Are you a birder? Then go for some of the great birding trips about the globe to get you started. This is going to be a labor of love so make sure you love what you are doing.

For the complete list of tips Go to www.LindaBallouAuthor.com . Enter your name and e-mail in the top right corner of homepage and magically the e-book appears.

Tip: I use Vista Print for lots of my promotional materials. Be aware that shipping prices may fluctuate, depending on the deal of the moment. http://www.vistaprint.com/

Tip: You can add comic balloons to pictures of your book cover or your own little person at http://www.speechable.com . The idea is fraught with eye-catching promo possibilities.

Tip: If you have a blog, connect it to an online bookstore using their widgets. This should be a permanent segment and it should tie you to Amazon's associates program so that you share (though in a small way) in any of the profits that come directly from your blog to Amazon. Programs like this are called "passive income" and once you've set yourself up for this benefit, it is passive. No work at all on your part. Just a little (or big--depending) check from Amazon now and then.

Tip: The New Book Review is a service of HowToDoItFrugally.com. It allows authors to get more exposure from their favorite review and reviewers a chance to have more readers see their reviews--with links, of course. Please check the guidelines on the blog site at www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com.

Tip: A poet friend and artist Joyce White sent me this link for an article on how to make a f r ^ ^ e-book go viral: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4667/default.aspx?t=633748737335824742#comment293 Joyce has a f r ^ ^ report, too, on how you can write your book faster than you ever thought possible. http://www.WriteABookNow.com/cmd.php?af=961637

Tip: Each year The Muse Online Writers Conference cosponsored by Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard-Johnson features seminars on everything from book promotion to the craft of writing: http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/. ----------

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers 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. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

PS: The logo on today's blog is from Lloyd King, poet.


  1. That's a whole lot of gret tips!

  2. Terrific tips...so great I'm printing them out so I can read and absorb them even more.

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