Sunday, October 02, 2011

Writers' Tricks of the Trade: A Review


The Frugal Book Promoter: Second Edition: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher.
 
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 (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) , 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.
Writers' Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction

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.
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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 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 . 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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