Monday, August 12, 2019

Sell Ads to Help Finance Your Self-Published Book or Promotional Book

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, 
author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series 
of books for writers

I hate the word “monetize.”  
And I especially don’t like it when this word (it’s really ugly, isn’t it?) is mentioned in the same breath with books. But I’m going to talk about it anyway because, if authors do it right, using ads in their books or other promotional materials can subsidize the cost of publishing a book, costs like great editing, great cover design, and great indexing that they often scrimp on. 
Most every author is self-publishing something themselves these days. If not their books, then e-books or white papers that help them promote their work. Many of these books—are perfect for paid ads and ads in barter. You might also think about trading an ad for another service you need like a blog tour, book cover art, or printing. 
So, even if you do hate the idea, I’m asking you to keep reading. It’s important because many authors never make the money they spend of self-publishing back in royalties or even back-of-the-room sales. Read it with an open mind. You might change your mind, or you might think of way to adapt the idea to your needs and thus help assure a more profitable career as an author. And—trust me—you will discover at least one way you’ve seen back matter ads in books for a long time—all the way back to high school.
Ads in the back matter of books are becoming more accepted (and more ethical), if they are focused on the book’s target audience. Not too long ago, the LA Times reported Amazon puts ads in some Kindle readers and that they then sell them at 18% less than the ad-free device ($114.00). I figure they got that wrong. They might sell them for more because they can enhance the perceived value if the ads  include a discounted offer or essential free resource for its readers. 
Ads in disguise have been used in literary journals and other books for years. They usually come as an order page or a list (subtle or not-so-subtle) of related books that might interest a reader. Your high school yearbook featured pay-for ads, but they called them “sponsors.”  
So, if you decide to put ads into your books, how would you do it? 
~Offer ads or sponsorship in the backmatter of your book. Be sure your offer includes the ways the ad will benefit the advertiser or sponsor including how you will feature your benefactor in social networking you’ll be doing during the launch. 
~Accept only professionally produced ads. 
~Accept only ads that would interest your target audience. Be prepared to refuse some with the “not quite right” phrase that literary journals use to reject submissions. 
~Limit the number of ads to just a few. 
~Encourage ads that give discounts or freebies to benefit your readers. In fact, you could offer a discount on the price of the ad to those who do.
~Don’t undersell your ad, especially if you already have an extensive platform. 
Did I mention that when you use ads this way, your reader benefits. They learn about new resources and special discounts and those discounts may easily pay for the book (yours!) your reader just bought?  Ahem. 
If you are uncomfortable with this idea, start small. Start using ads only in your promotional e-books. Then move on. Eventually your readers may benefit from ads in your full-fledged, honest-to-goodness paperback or hardcover book!  
PS: Anyone with a product (yes, books are products!) or a service that would appeal to readers of The Frugal Book Promoter may e-mail me ( for details of how we might partner on something like this for one of my new releases. I’m planning to update my little booklet, Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips which is for sale to be used as an inexpensive thank-you greetings or gifts for writers but is also given as a little extra when writers sign up for my newsletter. Spaces are limited. 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a novelist, poet, and the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers ( That site includes a huge, free section of Resources for Writers. She also blogs writers’ resources at Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Dog Days of Summer

So dogs get their own days in summer? One might think cats would be offended, but cats think they own every day, so probably not. So since it is too hot to walk the dog on their days or even mow the lawn, what is it you can do? Writing? Yeah. Wait on that a few seconds. Blasphemy. I know. There are a few other things first.

You can keep those entries coming and make sure yours is all polished and ready to win. Less than a month left to get it in. Are you entering? Have you entered?

The 2019 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest is now open for submissions!

Guidelines and rules: 

Word count: 3500-5000

Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy

Theme: Voyagers

Submissions accepted: May 1 - September 4, 2019  

Need some clarification on the genre?
Middle grade – suitable for 9 – 14 year-old children.
Historical – it must have historical aspects and be set in a time before 2000 or earlier. It just needs to be set in the past. Adventure/fantasy – the subgenre can be either adventure OR fantasy. The fantasy genre is acceptable as there are many ancient cultures and times that believed in supernatural occurrences.

It also never hurts to polish those pitches and have them ready to go. You just never know who may be watching.

Or prepare yourself for posting your entry for RED WHEELBARROW between August 21 - 23.

Or you could just answer the optional question. If you answer it would that mean it isn't optional? Probably not. Would that be two questions? I guess that makes three. Right. Here it is.

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

And if you want one more thing, you could check out the going ons of the IWSG Instagram account. Or you could going on about my use of going ons. Did it twice. Whoopsy!

Are we done yet? Not quite. Where have you to go? It's too hot. Oh, you still want to write? Well then I better finish up. For our final task, please welcome Juneta Key to the IWSG admin team.

Juneta Key writes SPECULATIVE FICTION, and loves fantasy and all its subgenres, the paranormal, mythological and space opera. In 2019, she entered into a partnership with another Indie author as co-owner of Stormdance Publications, to create fun, quality themed anthologies, especially about grumpy old gods. She’s one of seven founders of the Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop founded in 2015. 

Also let's give a round of thanks to the awesome co-hosts for this month's posting. Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

Do you plan to participate in any of the above? Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? Enjoying the heat? Getting any writing done? Tired of my questions?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Competition Among Writers

Let's talk insecurities. As writers, we know all about rejection. If you're working, you're getting some rejection from somewhere...unless you've made a deal with the devil.

For everyone else, It happens. But knowing that still doesn't make it enjoyable. As a rejected author I'm always torn between whether I'm the one who stinks, or if the heartless jerk on the other end of my query is to blame.

But I've been that jerk, so today, I want to take a closer look at rejection from the perspective of the one delivering it.

Occasionally, I'll offer my reader services as a slush pile reader or a contest judge. Wearing that hat gives me a much different perspective on rejection. There's one hard truth: the competition among writers is brutal.

Okay, so you're thinking...duh, that's what everyone keeps saying. Trust me, I had the same thought. But once you're in the position of having to choose a single story from a stack of them, you realize (with deep guilt) that you are rejecting good stories simply because you can't choose them all.

It's like walking into a book store with limited cash in your pocket. You can only buy one book. How will you choose? It's your turn to be the bad guy...

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Annual Anthology Contest is open and taking submissions! 

Genre is middle grade historical – adventure/ fantasy and the theme is voyagers.