Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks and Keeping It Simple

Today is Thanksgiving (in case you missed the CNN report this morning! Ha!) And I'm thankful. I'm thankful for a whole lot of little things in addition to the big list I keep. And I was reminded of one of them this morning.

Penny Sansivieri's newsletter came to me in my e-mail box. I take dozens of e-letters, but Penny's is one of my favorites for its practical advice on book promotion.  It is always long and packed with resources. I print it out to read when I'm waiting for auditions and doctors. In the past the letter had always come to me as plain text in my e-mail window. Recently, the format changed to full HTML. It was gorgeous but I didn't like it as well and couldn't really decide why. 

Maybe it's because I'm an old-fashioned type girl. I found the old version easier to read than the new, flashier iteration a la  At least, plain text feels more personal or less commercial to me.

In the last election a Pennsylvania politician (can't remember his name but I would have if he'd been from California!) eschewed slick red, white, and blue brochures for homemadish-looking black on white ones and made it part of his branding. Not only did his back-to-essentials approach get mentioned in Time magazine, he won!

Today--Thanksgiving Day--Penny's letter came to me in its not-so-glorious old format. I love it. And I'm thankful. I wanted to use the occasion to remind folks that we don't have to make a big job out of every promotion we do. I believe in the keep-it-simple-stupid credo. I talk a lot about shortcuts and recycling in both my The Frugal Book Promoter and Your Blog, Your Business books.

Of course, I'll read Penny's letter no matter how she sends it to me. Content is still what's important and she's got it!  Oh, by the way. You can subscribe to her letter the easy way by sending an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to  You can subscribe to my Sharing with Writers newsletter (which will come to you as plain text in your e-mail box, too!) the same way. Send your SUBSCRIBE message to

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including 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. Some of her other blogs are, 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 . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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