Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Best of...Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent help to the IWSG with her blog posts and newsletter tidbits that offer writers advice that is entertaining, helpful, and easy to digest.

My copy of The Frugal Book Promoter

One of the many great things about Carolyn's books is she takes into consideration all avenues of publishing. Whether self-published or traditionally published, there is advice specific to each situation. Whenever I read one of her books, whether it is the Frugal Editor or the Frugal Book Promoter, it's with a highlighter, pen, and notepad ready. There is something to take note of on every page. 

To thank Carolyn for all of her help with the IWSG, this "Best Of" post is our thanks. 

Here are some of our favorite Carolyn lists and snippets of advice. 

Suggestions for preparing yourself to be the best publicity partner around. (From Carolyn's January 2014 IWSG post.)

1. Join organizations like IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) where you’ll learn to understand the world of publishing from every angle—your, that of your publicist and that of your publisher. And get the support you need along the way.

2. Subscribe to newsletters sent out my experts in the field of publishing. Dan Poynter, John Kremer, Penny C. Sansevieri, and one of my favorite publicity gurus Joan Stewart are all online resources for getting online information that isn’t rooted in myth and gossip. You’ll learn tons from my Sharing with Writers newsletter, too. Subscribe by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to CarolynHowardJ@AOL.com.

3. Take a class in public relations. The only way I know how to avoid drastic mistakes in choosing a class is to patronize your local college or attend writers’ conferences sponsored by universities.

4. One of the most frugal ways to learn a new skillset is to read. Most of those who publish free newsletters like the ones I mentioned above have books that will get you off on the right foot. Find mine here.

A list of the best way to help your writer friends. (From Carolyn's August 2019 IWSG post

1. Be a critique partner. We all need help polishing our manuscripts. As a critique partner, we also learn a lot about our own writing in the process.

2. Mark the book as ‘Want to Read’ on Goodreads. That helps it get noticed more. Plus vote for it if it appears on a Goodreads list.

3. Offer to host the author on your blog during his virtual tour. Either ask for a guest post or send interview questions. Even just a feature on release day helps spread the word.

4. Sign up to be on the author’s street team. You’ll promote on multiple platforms and get all sorts of cool bonus goodies.

5. Promote it on Facebook. Post notifications of the book’s upcoming release or host a Facebook party.

6. Promote the book on Twitter. Send out Tweets about the book – with an image. Retweet the author’s book tweets.

7. Promote the book on Instagram. If you have a review copy, take pictures of it. Same with Pinterest.

8. On release day, announce the book to your followers, friends, family, and fans, whether online or in the real world. Let them know they need to buy this book. Tell your local library and bookstore to order it. Hound them if you have to!

9. Buy the author’s book! Even if you got a free review copy. Years ago, Carolyn Howard Johnson said that was the number one thing you could do to support an author.

10. Review the book. Goodreads-Amazon-iTunes-Barnes and Noble – wherever! Just leave a review or at the very least a star rating. The book will get more notice with more reviews. Just make sure it’s an honest but not overly negative review. (If you’re out to slam other authors, you are in the wrong line of work.)

Tips on Monetizing to generate additional income (From Carolyn's August 2019 ISWG post) 

1. 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. 
2. Accept only professionally produced ads. 
3. 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. 
4. Limit the number of ads to just a few. 
5. 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.
6. Don’t undersell your ad, especially if you already have an extensive platform. 

Best advice from Carolyn throughout the years from her April 2017 post

"Authors! We are ultimately responsible for our own careers."

So, start studying up and get to work! 

The Frugal Book Promoter, Third Edition! 

This multi award-winner, now in its third edition,  celebrates its 16th Anniversary as the flagship of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. For only a few cents a day the third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter assures your book the best possible start in life. The author was inspired to write this book full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly-free publicity for her UCLA Writers’ Program class. A former publicist, journalist, and retailer, Carolyn shares her professional experience as well as practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. She tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional.

Since its first release almost two decades ago, this book has won multiple awards:


Winner USA Book News Award 

Runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards

Global Ebooks Award Honorable Mention

Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Elizabeth - even not being a writer/author ... I've known Carolyn's attributes for years and she has some very sensible and wise advice. Thanks to you and IWSG for highlighting her. Cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent best of!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Join IBPA and get a great discount on IBPA University, which is amazing.

Carolyn knows her stuff.

J.Q. Rose said...

I like these tips put together. Thank you.