Mar 06

Words Can Influence Your Writing Career

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Did you know that habits increase our chance at success--or not?

Habits are influenced by thought patterns which are in turn influenced by the seeds of our subconscious. Those seeds are words. So reaching for success by changing how we think about words as they relate to our progress in life are often espoused by leaders like psychologists and business leaders like Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of Lexion Capital, an investment management firm.
 
To use our talents more effectively we want habits that nurture our better selves. We want our best habits to dominate our world view, but we can also turn habits we consider destructive into positives. We can do that with the power of words; we substitute words that influence us negatively for those that move us forward. It occurs to me that the process may be easier for writers who already aware of and accept the power of words in our lives. We can make a few words (and habits!) that work against us into words (and habits) that work for us—both consciously and subconsciously.
 
Defensiveness can become curiosity. Curiosity nurtures new ideas, new successes. Curiosity helps in our endeavors to observe details more creatively. Generally speaking, writers have already honed that skill. But curious people also listen more acutely. The asking of questions and the listening to answers are important skills for authors who do public speaking or teaching. Asking questions can get you out of a whole lot of hot water. You may even discover that you have common ground with a heckler!
 
Envy or jealousy are similar to admiration. When we use the “a” word—admire—instead of letting the little green monster take control of our thought patterns, we begin to see how we easy it is to emulate what we admire. That simple change is a positive pattern for growth.
 
Turn procrastination into achievement. Tasks, jobs, assignments sometimes feel like burdens. When you focus on hating them, they are destructive. Instead, rearrange your thinking. Think of them as opportunities for learning. Maybe for learning another skill. Maybe that skill will be organizing our time better. You’ll think of others that might be particularly useful to you as you tackle each of your projects with a different attitude.
 
Turn gut or knee-jerk reactions into level-headed thinking. One way to do this is to avoid making decisions when you are upset, disgruntled, feeling jealous, angry, sad . . . or even overly excited or enthusiastic. This rule has been with most of us since our parents told us not to act until after we have counted to ten. When we substitute the new term for the old, it becomes easier to do. Besides, we now have maturity on our side.
 
Here’s the most important change. And perhaps the most difficult. How many celebrities have we seen get themselves into trouble because they haven’t turned their success into humility? Success follows as your life-skills improve. Why not tape the word “humility” to your bathroom mirror as a reminder of how to handle success. It will happen. Success fosters more success. And you have the power of words on your side.
This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/12/new-years-resolution-five-ways-to-let.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author and Book Marketer
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. 
 
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
                           
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
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Feb 06

Tips on Using Your Amazon Toolbox

Book marketing
Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted in part from the third book in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

You need only a few essentials in your Amazon toolbox to build the traffic crucial for your reviews to be seen—the reviews that will convince readers to buy your book. I believe reviews are the most important tool available—even more important than search engine-friendly keywords across the web. After all, you must have a “convincer” once readers are looking right at your beautiful book cover.

My book—the third in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers—How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career  helps you get the reviews that influence Amazon’s sales ranking, That ranking influences Amazon’s other logarithms that affect sales across their site!

Amazon sales rankings are dandy little aids for evaluating how your book is selling. Not that you should fixate on that, but having an indicator that your book might need a little sales boost is nice. And—when those ratings are nurtured—they prod Amazon’s algorithms to lead people who read books similar to yours to your Amazon buy page.

The problem is that most authors and publishers know little if anything about how those rankings come about. That isn’t their fault because I doubt if Jeff Bezos, the brains behind the entire Amazon model, knows exactly what his algorithms measure. If they’re anything like the rest of the Amazon site, they change from day to day anyway. You don’t need to know the magic behind them; you do need to know what they are and how to prod them a little:
1. Find your sales ranking (or rankings) on your book’s buy page under “product details.” Often called “metadata,” these details are the specifics for your book like ISBN, publisher, number of pages, etc. Scroll down a bit to find this section on your page.

2. If you have a ranking of 24,800, that means that 24,799 books listed in your category are selling better than your book and that up to millions of books in your book’s category are selling less well.

3. The lower your sales ranking number for your book the better. Sales rankings for your Kindle (your ebook) page will not be the same as the one on your paperback page.

Note: When the pages for your paper book and ebook are digitally connected properly, your reviews and the other sales tools Amazon offers may be the same on both pages. (There should be a link on each page pointing to the other—you may have three, paperback, hardcover, and ebook. But don’t count on it, check!)

4. If you market and promote, your efforts may lower those rankings (lower is good!). If so, celebrate because this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the marketing you are doing does not improve your rating much or at all, though it should contribute to your overall branding effort.

5. Don’t try to translate a better ratings to the number of books sold. Algorithms are a lot more complicated than that.

6. Sales rankings fluctuate (sometimes wildly) during the day, so don’t hurry to celebrate or panic unnecessarily.

Warning: Do not spend a lot of time checking your ratings. They should be used as indicators. It’s best not to obsess, but if you can’t avoid it, Bookbuzzr.com and others provide services available for pinging ratings to you in your email box.
So, now you know the basics about sales rankings and have an inkling about how important book reviews are, here’s your nudge! Learn as much as you can about getting reviews ethically (and free!) using my Great Book Reviews book. It’s fat, but MSNBC has a saying, “the more you know.” When considering the health of your book, that would be rewritten “the more you know about reviews, the better your sales, the better your career-building efforts.” 

To get started today, go to your Author Central feature and start poking around. 
-Install your author page or author profile if you haven’t already.

Use the build-your list-feature. If you have only one book, that’s OK. Add it.

-If you have first and second editions of a book, contact the Amazon Elves with the contact feature (email or phone) and have them install a widget that points readers from the first edition to the second so they get your best, up-to-date work.

-Now go to your KDP account and find the place that lets you add reviews yourself. Yes, yourself. Choose your best, most prestigious one of under 4,000 words and post it.

-While you are there, note that this feature lets you post more than one review yourself.

-You’ll also see there are other self-post features. You can even add a note from you directly to your prospective reader. You can add a synopsis or pitch from the back cover or flyleaf. You can add endorsements or blurbs (your copy of , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career will help you do a professional job of getting these by excerpting from everything from your fan email to your reviews.)

And, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will also help you keep getting reviews for as long as you want to keep your book alive. That goes for all online reviews including the ones your readers post on your Amazon page, use for their blogs and Goodreads and on and on. I call them “forever reviews.” Forever reviews can be your frugal path to making your book a classic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The series includes The Frugal Book Promoter, now published in its third edition by Modern History Press, and her The Frugal Editor.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing.  She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. Find her Amazon Author Page at http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
This article was published first at:
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/01/heres-forever-review-getting-nudge-your.html
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CLICK THE LINK BELOW to find out all it includes!
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Sep 12

What Should You Do If Your Book Fails?

Book marketing gone bad

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Determining What Went Wrong to Get Future Marketing Right

Once upon a time, way back in the last decade, author and researcher Lisa Ann Hewlett’s publicity predicament illustrated to the world of books what we authors suspected all along: Huge amounts of publicity surrounding a release don’t necessarily translate into massive sales figures. I still remember it today and am haunted by it whenever a client tells me that her marketing isn’t working.

When a major publicity coup like Lisa’s turns out to be the most bitter dose of rejection we could expect to encounter, it’s an indicator that it could happen to anyone. That may happen even when the publicity is the stuff of which dreams—in Surround Sound and Technicolor—are made of.

It is reported (variably) that Hewlett’s Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children sold between 8,000 and 10,000 copies. Many authors would be ecstatic with sales figures that look like that, but everything is relative. It is believed that Miramax paid a six-figure advance for this title and projected sales in the 30,000 range for hardcover alone. Considering expectations for the book, the figures do appear dismal.

Therefore, smart people in the publishing industry searched for reasons for its less than stellar performance, especially with the kind of publicity this book received, and I mean biggies like Time Magazine (the cover, no less) and several “New York” magazines. TV shows like “60 Minutes,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “NBC Nightly News” lined up behind this book, for heaven’s sake. Even Oprah’s magic book-sale-wand was not effective.

Hewlett’s book made great news! It warned young career women that they have been mislead by petri dish miracles reported in the press. She pointed out that women have come to believe that they can put conception after career and be reasonably sure they can have still have both. She attempts to exorcise that notion in Quest.

So, just what did go wrong?

Many groused that the title was not scintillating nor was the book’s cover. Those in the know wondered if that influenced book sales. But that’s a huge burden to put on professionally produced book cover or title choice in a book published by an experienced, savvy and BIG publisher. Something else was clearly wrong.

My thirty-seven-year-old-daughter who had just returned to college to embark on a career in anthropology suggested that women don’t want to hear the dreadful news. She says, “I just flat out don’t want to hear this bad news in the middle of something rewarding, exciting and new! Why would I slap down the price of a book to get depressed?” Another unmarried friend who is also caring for an aging mother said, “I wouldn’t buy it. What am I supposed to do with that kind of information once I have it?” For women like them, delaying childbearing isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.

All this searching for answers may reap results, may help publicists and publishers and authors determine cause and effect so that this syndrome can be avoided in the future.

The problem lies in the fact that this soul-searching and hullabaloo was misdirected. Even Hewlett says, “I don’t know what to make of this absence of huge sales.” One can see her shaking her head in disbelief. If someone with her research skills can’t figure it out, can anyone? It may be the economy, stupid. Or retailing. Or the book biz.

It’s surely something completely out of the author’s control unless someone had thought to run the idea by a focus group of career women the age of the book’s expected audience. In the publishing industry, the term “beta reader” is often associated with this kind of research, but it must be accompanied by hard questions posed to the readers and that seems to entail some notion of unforeseen exigencies.

That seems like a bit of a conundrum, don’t you think? To do that, a similar trial I might run for my The Frugal Book Promoter might miss the mark for brand new authors because a large percentage still might be operating on decades-old ideas of what big publishers will do in terms of marketing! If that hadn’t occurred to me or my publisher, we wouldn’t have asked the hard question!

But, I think the most valuable lesson that can be learned with the Quest kind of rejection—any kind, really—is that it is not personal, that it pays to search for the lesson even after the fact.

We must keep the faith, keep writing, and keep publicizing, because if we don’t, we’ll never know if a book—or a career—was given the best possible chance at success.

Here’s what I know for sure. I now fear publishing less. If my faith should slip a tad, I know it need not be fatal. I know those things thanks to Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

This article was originally published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2019/06/what-to-do-when-book-any-book-fails.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author and Book Marketer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit.

The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View’s Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY?

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Rather do it yourself? Check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing and Point of View: Two Must-Know Elements

Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself

Are You Overthinking Your Story?



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Aug 29

The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Today, I have a review of an important book for authors. If you intend to submit your nonfiction book or novel to a publisher or literary agent, you need a book proposal. I found this book super-helpful.

The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book to an Agent or Publisher in Thirty Minutes or Less
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: Modern History Press; 2nd ed. edition (September 15, 2019)
ISBN 13: ‎ 978-1615994816
ISBN-10: 1615994815
Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi

While I first read Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book, The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book to an Agent or Publisher in Thirty Minutes or Less,” years ago, the author came out with it in an audiobook format – great for those who’d rather listen than read. As with the book, it has everything, plus even more tips, advice and insights you’ll need to write a book proposal that will do what it’s supposed to… get you in the gate.

The author starts by explaining that a book proposal is a cross between an outline, a resume, and a media kit. Then in six easy-to-follow chapters, Howard-Johnson explains exactly what to do and how to do it to create a proposal that will impress a gatekeeper.

The guesswork is gone, and without having to study a full-length book or take a class.

Along with how to write the proposal, this audiobook includes advice on formatting the proposal and what to add in the marketing section to let the publisher or agent know that you intend to help market your book and how you’ll go about doing that.

It also has examples and lots of resources. If you’re thinking of pitching a nonfiction book, “The Great First Impression Book Proposal” is a must.

About the Author

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s several careers prepared her for promoting her own and others’ books. She was the youngest person ever hired as a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune-A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper. Howard-Johnson’s experience in journalism and as a poet and author of fiction and nonfiction helped the multi award-winning author understand how different genres can be marketed more effectively. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and earned a certificate from that same school’s Instructor Development Program. She turned her knowledge toward helping other writers with her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, including her flagship book The Frugal Book Promoter and her favorite, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. The Frugal Editor won the Next Generation Indie Best Book Award. Howard-Johnson was honored as Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by California Legislature members Carol Liu, Dario Frommer, and Jack Scott. Carolyn is a popular presenter at tradeshows (retail and writing) and writers’ conferences and has lost count of her radio show guest spots. Born and raised in Utah, Howard-Johnson raised her own family in sunny Southern California.
To read Carolyn’s full bio and purchase the book or audio, visit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1615994815/ref=as_li_tl

The reviewer, Karen Cioffi, is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter. She is also an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on writing and Editor-in-Chief of Writers on the Move. You can check out Karen’s books at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S WRITING PROJECT?

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Mar 14

Making Your Book Reviews Work for You

Excerpted (and adapted) from Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

Authors rarely get the most of their reviews. Surprised? I think it’s either that they are so excited about the review or that the idea of extending a review’s value doesn’t occur to them. Or it’s because so many reviews these days come from readers. They aren’t professionals, so they have no idea how to distribute content beyond posting their review on Amazon.

One of the ways they can get more mileage from their reviews is to get them reprinted in more venues than the reviewer ever planned. Or you do it for them. And, no, it isn’t stealing or plagiarism if you get permission from the reviewer first. In fact, it can benefit the reviewer.

When you get further distribute reviews you already have, it’s like getting a little marketing bonus. Here’s how to do that:

If your reviewer doesn’t normally write reviews (these reviewers are often called reader reviewers), suggest she send her review or the link to her review to her friends as a recommendation.

If your reviewer lives in a town with a small daily or weekly newspaper, she could send her review to them. She may realize the thrill of being published the first time.

Ask your reviewer—even one who writes for a review journal—to post her review on Amazon.com, BN.com, and other online booksellers that have reader-review features. I have never had a reviewer decline my suggestion. It is ethical for a reviewer to do it or give you permission to reuse the review as long as she holds the copyright for the review. (Most reviewers do not sign copyright-limiting agreements with the medium who hires them.) Get more information on Amazon’s often misrepresented review policies in Chapter Eleven, “Managing Your Amazon Reviews.”

After you have permission from the reviewer to reprint the review, post it on your blog, on your Web site, and in your newsletter. Use quotations from the reviews to give credibility to selected media releases and queries.

Once you have permission to use reviews, send copies of good ones to bookstore buyers and event directors as part of your campaign to do book signings, to speak, or do workshops in their stores. Go to http://www.midwestbookreview.com/links/bookstor.htm for a starter list of bookstores.

Send quotations (blurbs) from the reviews you get to librarians, especially the ones in your home town or cities you plan to visit during book tours. Include order information. Try Midwest for a list of libraries.

Use snippets from positive reviews as blurbs in everything from your stationery to your blog. (Use your e-reader’s find function to search for other ideas for using your blurbs in this book.)

If your reviewer doesn’t respond to your request to post the review on Amazon, excerpt blurbs from them and post them on your Amazon buy page using Amazon’s Author Connect or Author Central features. They will appear on your Amazon sales page.

Include the crème de la crème of your reviews on the Praise Page of your media kit and inside the front cover of the next edition (perhaps a mass market edition like the pocket paperbacks sold in grocery stores?). See my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter for the complete—and I do mean complete—lowdown on media kits.

Hint: Occasionally authors get reviews on Amazon that, shall we say…don’t thrill them. Reviews like that can be minimized by asking others for reviews. As new reviews are added, the old ones tend to get buried in the lineup of reviews. We can also (pleasantly!) refute a position a reviewer takes using the comment feature—or thank them for bringing something to our attention. We can also dispute their validity with Amazon, though that rarely works.

You can use some of these suggestions as part of your keeping-in-communication-with-reviewers effort after her review has been published.

Author and Book Marketer

Contributor Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit. The Frugal Editor award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View’s Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY?

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

10 Tips to Writing a Query Letter

Traditional Publishing – 4 Advantages to Consider

How to Write Better Endings for Your Stories



Oct 13

Three Critical Components for Publishing Ebooks

Ebook Publishing

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

A website owner was asked what the “three most important components are for publishing a professionally produced e-book” and he referred the question to me. As long as I was figuring out the answer to this all-important question, I figured I’d pass it along to you but publishing an e-book is harder than reading one so I thought it better to simplify a bit. I took the liberty of qualifying it with an introductory clause and here it is.

A self-publisher must be a jack-of-all publishing trades and many readers are still not comfortable with e-books I want to tackle the question with those considerations in mind. I also believe in frugal publishing and e-books are ideal for that.

So, the three most important components of publishing an e-book are:

  1. The cover. Visuals are powerful tools. A great book cover may be even more important for an e-book (even though it’s virtual) than for a paper book. It will probably be the only visual a reader will have to connect the reader to the author’s (and publisher’s) credibility. Self-published authors can do a pretty good job of producing a decent cover using the free app provided by Createspace/KDP on the website.
  2. Great editing. Too many authors and e-book publishers think that great editing is merely the process of eradicating typos, but it’s a lot more. It’s grammar. It’s the conventions of writing (like punctuating dialogue correctly). It’s even the formatting. And it’s knowing about the things that your English teacher may have considered correct, but they’re things that tick publishing professionals like agents and publishers off! If an author can’t afford (or won’t!) spend the money for a full-service editor, read The Frugal Editor, make corrections as you go and then get a few extra pairs of eyes to give you additional input.
  3. Formatting. I list this last because most e-book services like Amazon, Createspace, BookBaby, etc. make it clear that formatting is essential and provide guidelines for getting it right. I included expanded step-by-step instructions for formatting your book for Kindle in the Appendix of my multi award-winning book on editing, The Frugal Editor.

Note: You should know that when a reader buys your e-book on Amazon, he or she gets to choose what reader format they prefer for his or her preferred device after clicking the buy button. When you use Createspace/KDP, you reach most everyone short of those who refuse to buy from Amazon and you save accounting time tracking different online e-book distributors. You will also saves time reformatting from a print version to an e-book and get distribution and marketing benefits when you use them exclusively.

PS: The fourth most important component of e-books is marketing. No e-book—no book!—is truly published if it hasn’t been marketed. It’s part of the publisher’s job no matter how it is published or who the publisher is. And if it is self-published, marketing is as much the author’s job as the writing of the book. Everything you need to know to market your book the way a professional would if you had the money to hire her is in The Frugal Book Promoter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more about her and her books on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile. Visit Carolyn at http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com

This article was republished from Writers on the Move
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2018/09/the-three-ok-four-most-important.html

Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter/editor. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!

Writing for children tips

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3 Steps to Querying Publishers and Agents

Balance in Fiction Writing – The Major Elements

Create a Believable Protagonist with Realistic Characteristics

Feb 18

Writer’s Conferences Are Not All the Same

A few of my clients who travel the ‘real’ traditional publishing road have attended writer’s conferences, or are thinking of attending one.

Well, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a great article that helps writers choose the perfect one. Every writer thinking of attending a writing conference should read it.

CHOOSING THE PERFECT WRITER’S CONFERENCE

Guest Post by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I have been updating the flagship book in my multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books, The Frugal Book Promoter, and ran across this excerpt. So naturally, I wanted to pass it along to you. After all, all conferences were not born equal. You want to choose carefully.

Choosing a conference can be tricky. Many conferences are expensive. Even free online conferences can take a lot of time. This is one of those occasions when it pays to be picky.

Determine your goals and choose a conference accordingly. Some focus almost exclusively on craft and often call themselves retreats. Some offer seminars in book marketing. Others tend to be entrées to agents and publishers, and some offer information on publishing like the legalities of copyright law. Some do a little of everything.

Study up on conferences. The library has back issues of Poets & Writers that include reviews of conferences. Use your networks or Google to get opinions and suggestions from writers who have attended. Here are a few more conference-perfecting ideas:

Do not choose a conference based on its exotic location unless your first interest is a vacation.
If you choose a conference that offers critiques of your work by publishers or agents for an additional fee, spend the extra money to participate. And if you wait until later, you may have to kick in another full conference fee for the privilege.

If signing with an agent is what you are really after, wait until your book or proposal is fine-tuned to go to a conference.

Hint: If pitching an agent is your primary goal, be sure agents who specialize in your genre will be there by reviewing the conference Web site. Register for the conference early enough to be assured of an audience with your choice.

Determine the thrust of the conference you will be attending. Because of proximity and prestige, UCLA (uclaextension.edu/writers) has access to Hollywood as a resource. This makes their conference one of the best for screenwriters. Other conferences have their own specialties.

If you want to find time to concentrate on your writing, you may prefer a writers’ retreat rather than a conference.

Examine the credentials of the conference presenters. If you write persona poems, you may want to study with a teacher who has had success writing that specific kind of poetry like UCLA’s Suzanne Lummis. A person who is interested in writing courtroom dramas will benefit from an instructor who has published in that genre.

Another bona fide educational institution that offer onsite and Web classes are Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York. You may find a good one in your town.

Until you’re sure you can utilize an expensive conference to its fullest, select seminars offered by some online conferences like Jo Linsdell’s PromoDay (jolinsdell.com). It is free, though you are encouraged to make a small donation to defray costs. It’s also a good idea to take the same precautions selecting a free online conference you would take choosing an expensive on-site conference. Time is money.

Hint: Bring a small pouch of tools with you to conferences. I use a bag I received with an Estée Lauder gift-with-purchase. Toss into it color-coded pens, snub-nosed scissors (sharp ones may not get you through airport security), a small roll of cellophane tape, your index labels, paperclips, strong see-through packing tape (in case you must ship materials books and other materials back home), ChapStick, hole puncher, breath mints, a tin of aspirin, elastic bands, Band-Aids, and your personal medication. If you are presenting, throw in a hammer, tacks, razor, a small pair of pliers and a mini measuring tape. Mine even has a spool of very fine wire for hanging large posters. Don’t unpack this kit when you get home. You’ll need it in the future for other conferences, book signings, book fairs, and other promotional events.

You can use a conference to promote, too.

Some conferences offer tables where participants can leave promotional handouts for their books or services. Before you leave home, ask your conference coordinator how you might utilize this opportunity.

–  Ask the conference coordinator if they publish a newsletter or journal. If so, send the editor media releases as your career moves along.
– Take your business cards to the conference.
– If you have a published book, take your bookmarks to give to others.
– If you have an area of expertise that would interest a conference director, introduce yourself. She may be busy, so keep your pitch very short and follow up later.
– Record the names of fellow conference attendees and presenters who might give you endorsements for your book in the future.

This article was first published at:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/06/choosing-perfect-writers-conference.html

About the Author

Author and Book MarketerCarolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies, and review journals. A chapbook of poetry, Tracings, was named to the Compulsive Reader’s Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers’ Society of America’s Award of Excellence. Her poem “Endangered Species” won the Franklin Christoph Prize for poetry. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance, book promotion and editing and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

Both The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor are in their second editions and have awards from names like USA Book News, the Irwin Award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award, Readers’ Views Literary Award and Next Generation Indie Book Award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career is the newly released third in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of book for writers.

Children's ghostwriterWhether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

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Feb 03

16 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book

Thinking about publishing a book? Go for it.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series
of books for writers

There are naysayers enough to fill every dark crevice in your defense against negativity. When people telling you not to publish a book (no, I won’t list all the reasons they will give you), here is a list for you to check to see if you have a viable reason for ignoring them:

1. My favorite: You want a book of memories or your genealogy to give to friends and relatives as holiday gifts—or to have just such a record organized and readily available. There are dozens of other examples. Perhaps you are Armenian, and you have dozens of of old-country remedies you’d like future generations (in your family or community) not to forget.

2. You want a hobby. You’ll love the book launch. You may love planning a creative book tour, too!

3. You want to improve your résumés. For college submissions or your next job. (Of course, if it is a popular book, that might be a more convincing résuméentry, but admissions officers might give a high school junior extra credit for doing something
other than the typical pink-lady kind of charity work.)
a. This might work especially well if you are looking for a job in the media—from hometown press to online efforts. A blogger with a book? Not bad!

4. If you are already an author, you often hear “establish yourself as an expert.” A book with the right theme or content can help anyone do that, but a book alone will not do it. An author must take build an entire platform, not just add a plank. Do not be mislead to think, “once published, immediate expert.”

5. If you want to run for public office, your book that can be shopped to the media to get more air and print attention, but a booklet you can give away to like-minded people who might support will also work well for you. Don’t forget e-books that can be downloaded immediately—and free—by anyone!

6. You are already a public speaker. Don’t you want an additional income stream from selling your book at the back of the room? Wouldn’t having a book give you a better chance of convincing a program director that they need you? I once attended a free lunch at a chic club sponsored by a large investment firm searching for new clients. The author (or her agent) had sold her appearance by offering an imprinted swag bags with the author’s book and lots of souvenir memories inside for each attendee.
a. A book might be a pathway to using your speaking skills as a spokesperson for a large corporation or your favorite foundation. You have seen celebrities do it, but you need only be an charismatic expert with speaking skills to find success this way.

7. You are speaker who has been mostly speaking for free. In combination with a good marketing plan, more high-powered program directors with an available budget might find your resume more appealing.

8. You are becoming aware that you must brand yourself. There are lots of ways to do this—some of them are outlined in my The Frugal Book Promoter—but most any profession, product, or business can benefit from having a published book as part of their branding. I’ve been in many doctors’ offices that distribute booklets, but a couple give away their entire book which is branding that suggests not only generosity as well as expertise. That book–an extra benefit for the same price as that expensive procedure—may get passed along to others. “Free” books are about building buzz.

9. You are dedicated to a nonprofit group. There is power is ideas and words. A book might convince others to support the same group. A book might help that group get what they need from their own members. I published a booklet to encourage college seniors to continue their dedication to our group as alumnae. And I didn’t have to write it myself. Many members contributed anecdotes about how continued participation had benefited them. Booklets like this can be given as gifts or sold to raise funds for pet projects.

0. Publishing houses love books that are suitable for selling spin-off products. But this works the other way around. You have a toy you’d like to market. Write a book using the toy as a character! Think about The Little Engine That Could.

11. A screen writer once took a class from me at UCLA. He thought if he wrote a book, he could break into the movie business more easily. It’s possible! He was already great with dialogue, right? What he didn’t plan for is the steep learning curve required to write narrative. Even a screenplay writer with manuscripts secreted away in the bowels of her computer might suddenly become more interesting to Hollywood if an she has an amazing, original story or manages to make a book into a bestseller.

12. Advocate. Your advocacy could be inspired by your religion, your passion for what yoga can do for lives, your politics, your profession. If you have a knack for inspiring others—personally or professionally—you may ask yourself what took you so long to write your book.

13. You want more visits to your website. Would a free book (or a book with a catchy title) attract extra clicks? Expect that you must use marketing skills to make an offer like this attract attention. I have been heard to say, “For a promotion to be successful, ya gotta promote the promotion!”
a. Here’s a reason you might want to draw more eyes to your site: The more traffic, the more ads you can sell on your site and the more you can charge for them.

14. You can publish to publish. The book you write and publish on your own might lead to an agent and an offer from a big publisher. This is not the direct line to such a goal, but it sometimes works out that way.

15. My least favorite reason: You can get revenge or speak out. This has been particularly popular in recent years, and if you live in a place that has a free press or free speech amendment, you have the right. In spite of my negativity, this kind of book works very well. A book like this has a better chance to sell well because—as they say—“controversy sells.”

16. And last, you just want to publish a book. Call it ego. Why not. The learning curve necessary to make yourself proud is steep, but it’s also a lot of fun!

First published at http://www.writersonthemove.com/2018/10/sixteen-ideas-for-convincing-you-to.html

MORE ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

Carolyn Howard- JohnsonCarolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethicallyis the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Writing a Fiction Story – Walking Through Walls Backstory

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/pros-cons-publishing-small-press

Opening Paragraphs

Apr 01

Borrowing from the Superheroes

Using superheroes as models for your characters

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

One of the articles [in The Smithsonian] was inspired by the movie, Man of Steel. They take up how “superhero origin stories inspire us to cope with adversity.”

The elements that make superheroes so popular can work with characters in any kind of fiction you may write (or read). Here are the ones that Smithsonian writer Robin Rosenberg found in several of the most popular superhero tales. Check your stories and novels to see how these themes (or “life-altering experiences”) might be capitalized on to further pique the interest of your readers.

~Destiny—is your character “chosen” in some way?
~Trauma—has your character suffered trauma that increased his strengths or weaknesses?
~Sheer chance—Sheer chance is usually not as compelling as an action that has been caused or motivated, but sometimes a writer just has to resort to it. If an author makes that choice, he or she should put more emphasis on how the character deals with it.
~Choosing “altruism over the pursuit of wealth and power.”

My own takeaway from Rosenberg’s piece is that literary criticism of the last decade has relegated backstory in novels as pretty undesirable, something that should be minimized at all costs. In my gut, I’ve always disagreed.

Of course, we can’t let backstory get in the way of momentum, but backstory is often part of your hero’s path to character building so they very well may deserve more attention. I’m also reading Wally Lamb’s new novel and I’m pretty sure from the evidence that he agrees with me—at least in regard to literary fiction.

Backstory helps your readers relate and find meaning in loss, and it provides models for coping. If you are a write of nonfiction, you may find ways to use superheroes’ themes anecdotally in your work.

In either case, understanding the psychological underpinnings of why we are so affected may benefit us all by “tapping into our capacity for empathy, one of the greatest [super?] powers of all.”

There’s one more that Rosenberg missed.

I think we’re all searching for connection—human to human. If that happens to be human-to-alien or human-to-superhero, so be it. It’s part of what we all need as readers.

Note: Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist, has written several books about the psychology of superheroes. Search for her on Google.

This article was previously published at: Click Here

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, and the second. Her The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her most recent book in series is , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 170+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

Write a children's book

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Apr 03

Writing – Let Tom Swift Guide You

The old Tom Swift Books

Guest Post by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Ever heard of Tom Swifties?

Maybe you’re too young to be familiar with the classic Tom Swift adventures for boys. Or maybe you’re a girl who never read a Tom Swift book nor cares to.

Tom Swifties are one-line jokes lampooning the style of Victor Appleton, the author of the original Tom Swift books. People started making jokes about his overuse of adverbs and the unnecessary taglines he wrote into his dialogue. Like the Polish jokes, they were so much fun that that a whole series of them became available for the pun-loving. The author of these classics, of course, laughed all the way to the bank. But that’s a lesson for one of my marketing seminars, not this article on writing.

Tom Swifties were then. This is now. I haven’t dared to go to the new books in the series but I assume that this outdated writing has been eliminated from them.

You’ll want to minimize tags and adverbs in your writing, too!

An example from one of the Swift books will suffice to let you know what to watch for.

(Thank you to Roy Peter Clark for the example.)

“‘Look!’ suddenly exclaimed Ned. “There’s the agent now! I’m going to speak to him!” impulsively declared Ned.’

Even authors who swear that adverbs are always very, very good things to use and are reluctant to give up their clever taglines can see how, well . . . .awful this is. In fact, I have to reassure people the quotation is real! Some of the writing that comes to the desks of agents and editors looks almost as bad. Here’s how you can make sure yours doesn’t:

1. Use taglines only when one is necessary for the reader to know who is speaking.

2. Almost always choose “he said” or “she said” over anything too cute, exuberant or wordy like “declared” and “exclaimed.”

3. Cut the “ly” words ruthlessly, not only in dialogue tags but everywhere. You will find specific techniques for strengthening your writing in the process of eliminating adverbs in The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. This book will also give you some computer tricks for making these edits easy.

The Frugal Editor is available for sale on Amazon.com. Until you get the book, you don’t have to know the reasons or the techniques for making the “ly” and tagline edits easy. As Nike is fond of saying, “Just do it!”
—–

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of 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. The former is the winner of USA Book News “Best Professional Book” award and the Book Publicists of Southern California’s coveted Irwin Award. Learn more at http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Storytelling – Don’t Let the Reader Become Disengaged
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into an engaging and publishable book – one you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700