Showing posts with label #WritersontheMove. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #WritersontheMove. Show all posts

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Learning to Love What Amazon Can Do for Authors

 


How Authors Can Use Public Relations Principles to Work with Amazon

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning
HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers


I get ideas about stuff to talk about in unexpected places. I assume that is not unique to my writing experience, but today something popped up in Facebook Memories feature I just couldn't resist passing along to my blogger friends. I think the major lesson to me (and from me! Ha!)  is that we can love to hate Amazon and other entities all we want, but it's more useful to our writing careers--both successes and enjoyment of them--if we don't listen to all the rumors of entities in the publishing world and find out for ourselves. In this case it is Amazon, but I constantly run into experiences even after decades of writing experience in several different disciplines (journalism, PR, marketing, blogging, and publishing in a variety of genres, etc.) that nudge me away from all the griping we hear on the web and elsewhere and onto doing what the basics of good marketing departments at great universities tell us to do. That is, make friends, network, and explore new possibilities.
 
Sooo, I had heard from several fairly reliable sources that Amazon wouldn't remove old editions of a book from their sales pages but decided to try one more time using the email feature at their Author Central to reach someone to ask for help. Here is my experience as posted on Facebook way back then--in probably about 2011.
 
"I just had the nicest telephone conversation with Amazon's Author Central. I had worked for two years trying to get the old edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon via e-mail (I thought it would make it easier if they had all the ISBNs, etc in writing! Silly me! And, I admit to hating confrontation and avoiding it like the plague! )
 
"So the conversation goes like this:
 
"ME: "I understand I can't have the first edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon even though it's outdated—by about a decade—but that I can add a new widget to that page to direct my readers to the new one."
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL (At Amazon!):  "I'd be happy to do that for you."
 
"ME: Some chitchat including thank yous as she works. Then some magic words! "Too bad we can't just hide the old edition and get all 128 of the old reviews transferred to the multi award-winning second edition!" (Were "multi award-winning" the magic words?"
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL: "Oh, we can do that!" Typing noises. "It may take 72 hours for that to happen but it's done."
 
"ME: "Really?"
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL: "Really."
 
"ME: Happy Dance. Huge Thank yous.
 
"Note: It obviously is worth the time waiting for a real person on the Author Connect (Author Central)  hotline!  Wish I had a recording of the conversation for you!"
 
Here's a disclaimer.  This is 2022,  NOT 2011. Amazon changes policies all the time as needed (or as they think are needed--I have seen them change back again). So if you are having this particular problem, try my method. But the real point of this post is to try it no matter what it is you want or need. In the past, I have had them...
 
1. Add several widgets to point to several of my books that were published in later editions.


2. To move reviews from earlier editions to later editions.


3. To remove early editions of e-books from Amazon completely. (I didn’t have any luck with getting them to remove outdated but paper books, presumably because removing paper books interferes with their second market (used books) feature.


4. To fix or update metadata.


5. To get blatantly biased reviews removed. Amazon doesn't like this either and is working mightily to avoid it. There are all kinds of scammy approaches to reviews. In fact, I wrote a big, fat how-to book on reviews that includes a case study of sorts on the topic of Amazon vs. Scammy reviews. We don't like to believe it, but there are actually fellow writers out there with an agenda and somehow believe that dissing their competition's books will be good for their own. It is the third in my multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers,  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically at  https://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews.


6. It seems they have recently changed a wonderful feature they had where #authors and #publishers could add all kinds of helpful information to their buy page—everything from professional reviews to notes from the author. I told you they change all the time, but keep checking. Better still, keep asking. You might even run into my "Dana the Wonderful!"
 
 
MORE ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

 

Howard-Johnson is the multi award-wining 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 multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter, now offered by Modern History Press in its third edition. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers and The Great First Impression Book Proposal are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is 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 http://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Karen Cioffi’s WritersOnTheMove, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow for news on her new releases direct from Amazon: http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

 


 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Keeping Our Spirits Up for the Good of Our Writing Careers


The Best of Times, Not the Worst

Keeping Our Spirits Up 

I was excited to be given an honorary membership to a site designed to help writers keep their spirits up in spite of Murphy’s Law, Writer’s Block and all the other boogeymen we writers have convinced ourselves are out there. I know I wasn’t so chosen to go on the forum to complain about my down days, but the brilliant (truly!) site owner had no idea that “no moaning” is my modus operandi on the rare occasions I feel stuck.

No, it’s my grandmother’s Wedgewood sugar bowl. On the rare occasions I begin to ruminate on the time I frittered away between the time I knew I wanted to write and the time I got busy focusing on it, I go to that sugar bowl where I’ll find dozens of scraps of paper. Some scraps are unreadable, but I’ll always find one or two that I scribbled on long ago that pull me out of my funk. They may include an image I didn’t want to forget or an improbably idea for a story or book. Sometimes I don’t find anything all that useful in the moment, but I always find myself smiling or laughing out loud at myself.  Once, I found enough images to write what poets called a “found poem; ” that poem eventually worked its way into a chapbook I published with another upper in my life who partnered with  me on the Celebration Series of poetry chapbooks. An Aussie (seems Aussie’s are always uppers!), Magdalena Ball runs a review site (http://CompulsiveWriter.com), and always seems ready to collaborate on some misery-fighting project. 

I have a ton of other such antidotes for any mood that aims to defeat me. I have never felt compelled to visit to a therapist or a psychiatrist, but I wouldn’t rule that out if necessary. I address some of those techniques in my first how-to book for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter. It includes sections on overcoming fear of marketing, fear of success, and fear of failure so I go back to my own book when I begin admonishing myself about what I might have achieved if I had started publishing earlier.

I bring a background as publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to my practice of staying pretty jolly and focused. Having other careers has helped. When we bring a whole slew of life's experiences to a new pursuit, we can feel secure much more quickly. That's something I keep reminding myself of, too. Years of retailing, as an example, helped me figure out how to market my first novel when my first small publisher failed miserably at that pursuit so it wasn’t the struggle to switch gears it might have been otherwise. 

My biggest hurdle was related to a recognized problem that psychologists sometimes call the “I’m-Not-Good-Enough” syndrome. With "only" a bachelor's degree and some study overseas, I did feel insecure about reaching out to the academic community. A man at a party encouraged me not to let that hold me back, assured me that UCLA would be interested in me as an instructor because they often take experience rather than solely academic credentials into consideration. That was how I started with my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers which I needed to teach marketing to writers back in the early 2000s (most marketing books were written for businesses and marketers in those days!). Though I don't remember that mentor's name (maybe I never knew it?), I will be forever grateful to him. I am here today—and was maybe chosen to be part of this authors-aid site-- because I like the whole "pass it forward" idea--no matter the industry. And I firmly believe we are never so darn smart we can't learn from both newcomers and old-timers. 

So you want to know about this miracle site. Here’s the sad part: This site didn’t take off. Authors can’t use it to share and encourage one another. I hate the old saying, “There is more than one way to skin a cat!,” (disgusting, isn’t it?), but it is a truism. And sometimes a sad event leads to reexamining other possibilities, other opportunities and other says to look at downers.

So, yeah. I can take a minute to feel sad, but lots of social networks, writers’ associations, really texty—you know, dry and boring, based on principles and not real experience. And mostly not for writers. That wasn’t a downer. It was an opportunity.
and educational programs that might otherwise be thought of as support groups are out there. All are filled with people willing to share—rather like a therapy group. That’s sort of why I was determined to teach a class in marketing for writers back in the day, so determined I overcame my fear of academia with a little encouragement from the gentleman I met at that party. That lead me to writing a “text” for the first class. The texts on public relations and marketing I found were 

That experience turned into my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. It includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter 
and The Frugal Editor and How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.  (I hate seeing authors spend money on stuff they can do better than anyone they hire!). In the case of the winningest book in the series, The Frugal Editor,I hate to see authors assume that an editor assigned to them from a big publisher is always in a better position to make choices than they are!

Most of all, I believe that the best way to keep our spirits up is reveling in the successes of others and learning from failures. We can be there for one another. This is not a competition but a sharing experience. Forget the negative words. There is a way to succeed in a notoriously difficult field. This is the best time for that. We can take control of our own futures better than ever before! 

Just know you are not alone. 

And make yourself an equivalent of my antique Wedgwood sugar bowl.

THIS WAS FIRST POSTED MAY 2019, BUT IT SO HITS THE MARK IN WHAT'S GOING ON NOW THAT WE REPRINTED IT!

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Fine Art of Asking for Reviews, Blurbs, and Anything Else


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted and Adapted from the third in the 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

To find even more support for your book or your career, we often need to get more comfortable with asking. You can put your reporter’s hat on and ask—tactfully—questions that will help your career or for favors that will help you expand your base (including reviews, blurbs, advice, etc.). Make the point that your contact’s answer or help is a gift to you, and that you would be pleased to reciprocate when the need arises. Try some of these possibilities:

•    Ask fellow attendees at writers’ or other conferences.

•    Ask directors of conferences if they offer a review exchange or provide an area where you can distribute fliers or sell your books. If the answer, is no, ask if they have other suggestions or know of other resources that might help you.

•    Ask instructors and presenters if they have a list of pertinent resources or know where you can find one.

•    When you’re on the Web, look at the resource pages of the Websites owned by bloggers and other online entities to glean ideas and help. Use the contact feature to ask questions or send queries.

•    Think about classes you have taken. The instructors may have a policy against reviewing students’ work but may be a resource for other needs; , ditto for your fellow students. (I hope you would try to do the same for them!)

•    Ask members of your critique groups or business/professional organizations.

•    When you read, make a note of books and their authors, columnists, experts in your field. Almost all magazines, newspapers and journals list publishers, editors, columnists, etc. and you might be surprised at how many might say “yes” to a request for a blurb or a mention of your service or book as a resource.

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MORE ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

This little how-to article was extracted and adapted from my giant (415 pages) 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 https://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/getting_great_book_reviews.htm third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is just so much to know about putting reviews to work for your book and endorsements (for your book or business!) Learn more about my books for writers and visit my free Writers’ Resources pages at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. It’s also easy to use my review blog. Just follow the submission guidelines in the left column at http://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What To Do When a Book--Any Book--"Fails"


Determining What Went Wrong to Get Future Marketing Right

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

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 he 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 pay 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.

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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.

Her website is https://howtodoitfrugally.com/



Friday, April 5, 2019

A Case Study of a Book Fair Booth That Works



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

I often encourage my clients to reach a bit farther than one expects from a new author--regardless of their expertise or experience. For one thing, the services available to authors (like spots at in book fair booths) are often bare-bones. The alternative may be to do-it-yourself and even make a profit which can then be used to boost the author's marketing budget for the future.

I once sponsored book fair booths at the LA TimesFestival of Books with Joyce Faulkner after we started a writers' group called Authors' Coalition.  Slowly and at considerable cost—one year at a time—I learned what works for book fairs, tradeshows, and other public events and what doesn’t. My booth partners and I used tons of value-added promotions including:
  • We shared printing and postage costs of catalogs we produced ourselves that featured booth participants’ books and an invitation to the fair. With permission, we used the fair logo to give the catalog credibility. We sent our catalog to book buyers, media, and influentials like movie producers (because that fair is in the middle of Hollywood land).
  • We produced a video/trailer featuring booth participants at an additional charge. The charge made it more likely that our video stars would use it for their blogs, websites, and other promotion both before and after the fair and we ran it on a large screen in our booth.
Note: Because CDs can be produced inexpensively in large quantities, we recycled much of the content we developed for these videos and trailers onto CDs to be given away. A participating author offered our freebies to visitors saying, “A CD for your PC?” Fairgoers rarely declined our offer.
  • Books (often overruns or slightly damaged) donated by other authors became gifts-with-purchase of other books from our booth.
  • A drawing for a gift basket was successful because it garnered the contact information of many readers. We shared that information with all booth participants, too.
  • We produced totes and bags featuring our bookcover images and our booth number. We gave them to folks to carry the books they had purchased from us. These bags then became advertisements for our booth as our customers carried them around the grounds.
  • Some of our booth participants wore T-shirts emblazoned with images of their bookcovers, their website addresses, and our booth number.
  • Each participant produced posters that we used to decorate the booth.
  • We had mini training sessions for our booth participants in which we urged them to talk up one another’s books, guided them through promotion possibilities and display techniques, and gave them resources for promotion materials.
Authors' Coalition eventually demanded too much of our time, but what we learned promotion possibilities has been useful ever since. We sometimes volunteer one or more of the above promotions in trade for an organization's booth fee. We sometimes consult with organizations who plan booths for their members. And, occasionally, we get permission from booth planners to let us piggyback our for-profit services on their booth plans with a percentage of the sales going back to the originating organization. That's a win-win for everyone.

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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. Her website is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Three Most Important Components for Publishing Ebooks

Three Neglected E-Book Considerations 

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 Editormake 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 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER


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 (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  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 pagehttp://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor Visit Carolyn at http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Writers Conferences - Two Awesome Tips on Why to Attend


By Wanda Luthman

Have you ever attended a Writers Conference?

Every time I see one advertised, I sigh because they cost A LOT of money, plus travel, plus hotel and food. The first one I went to, I knew someone else that was attending and I asked if I could come as their guest just to see what the fuss was all about. She agreed and I was able to attend the first day of the three-day event for a reduced price. (There's your first tip.)

I LOVED it! 

I met wonderful authors who told me fantastic stories about their lives and I heard great speakers. I had caught the conference bug. But, how was I going to be able to afford them?

The answer came in the form of an email. There’s a local group of authors who call themselves Authors for Authors and they put on two book events a year (spring and fall), locally and for a reasonable table price. The spring one had dwindling attendance so I guess the group decided to switch it up and offer a conference instead.

I received their email about a local conference last spring and I didn’t immediately jump on it because the speakers were all people I knew and I thought to myself (not out loud mind you), ‘what can these people teach me?’

I know, I know, that sounds very haughty and I certainly didn’t everything I’m not sure myself why I felt that way other than that bible scripture that says something about a prophet not being recognized as a prophet in their own home town.

Anyway, one of the organizers, Valerie Allen, was persistent and kept asking me to come and I could even have a table to sell my books. Eventually I signed up for both the conference and for a sales table.

Man, was I blown away with the speakers! 

Those local people did know stuff and knew A LOT more than I did and I learned so much. Plus, I sold books! And I was able to network with other authors which is always fun. I had a great time!

So, this year, when the email came around again, I signed up right away but I didn’t get a table. I realized last time that I couldn’t just enjoy visiting while I was manning a table and this year I wanted my freedom to socialize.

The conference was held on Sunday, April 22nd this year and I can tell you it was an equally wonderful experience, if not even better. I absolutely love talking with other authors. We’re a friendly bunch, you know. And we love to help each other out. I learn so much from other people and that means I don’t have to re-create the wheel. I, also, enjoy sharing what tips and tricks I have learned over my 4 years of being a self-published author.

I want to encourage you to attend at least one conference and see if you don’t get the conference-going bug too! And I highly encourage you to check out local ones. (There's your second tip.) At least you won’t have to pay for a hotel or travel. And you just might be surprised, like I was, with the wealth of experience and knowledge in your own backyard.

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.

MORE ON WRITING

The Lazy Way to Be a Great Writer
Publishing Takes More Than Good Intentions
Point-of-View and Children’s Storytelling


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Writing - Sometimes It Isn't Smart to Avoid Cuss Words


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Many who know me—personally or as a writer--think of me as that sweet woman with the silver hair (platinum, if you please, but not gray!). However, I can on occasion—and sometimes more frequently—let loose with language you would unfriend me for. So I was thrilled to see an article in AARP: The Magazine titled “In Praise of Cussing.”

It turns out that a few carefully chosen zingers can be “an indicator of intelligence” according a study from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Marist College in New York.

Yay!

And expletives can help “reduce and endure physical pain” as well. That’s from Keele University in England. Yep. And “forge better teams in the workplace” and “communicate more persuasively.”

One survey even says I am in good company (meaning the majority!). Fifty-seven percent of workers swear on the job. (I do try to avoid doing that! And I also almost never swear when I am driving! So there!)

So, I don’t think you’ll ever find an unsavory expletive in my newsletter, but you are sure to find idioms and colloquialisms everywhere. I do try not to let even my foulest fictional characters cuss beyond what is needed for their character and the situation. And, yes sometimes I use words with lots of syllables, too, especially when they say things better than the short ones (which is rarely).

All this is not to encourage writers to cuss. It is to remind them that if the words they use in dialogue are too. . . mmmm. . .staid, they may render them . . . well, let’s say unnatural? Or stilted?

One of your characters may just be the type who must have a potty mouth if she is to seem real to your reader. And sometimes that character won’t be the tough-talking dude cliché. Those who write humor know that tough-talking character may be a fragile woman with gray. . . er. . . platinum hair.


Carolyn has been a proud contributor to Writers on the Move since its inception. Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain 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 both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoterand her multi award-winning The Frugal Editorwon 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 newest book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

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. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hoping to Inspire You to Give Back to the Publishing Industry


Early Year Resolutions: 
Tis the Season for Supporting the Industry

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Aha! You may not not be aware of it, but it's resolution time!

It's resolution time so you don't miss an opportunity to support the book industry.

I love to give authors advice on setting goals for the New Year. Here’s the thing: I’ve done that and—in the doing of it—realize that no one author can help another set goals because each author and each title is so different. And I also realize that it's easier if we start thinking about how we can help now,
rather than on January 1st.

I gave authors a whole book of possible resolutions when I finished the second edition of TheFrugal Book Promoter. I got general and told authors to pick and choose their goals from the book. That they wouldn’t be able to do everything that is in it to help themselves and their industry--and that they shouldn’t. I mean the whole idea behind writing that book was to keep other authors from falling in the same potholes I did. I advised them to choose promotions based on their personalities, the titles of their books (different books call for different kinds of marketing campaigns!), and the health of their pocketbooks.

The same goes for your early resolutions. Each of us is different. Still, I’m tackling this subject because I do think there is one thing that almost every author could and should put on his or her resolution list. Are you ready?

Number one is: Buy books!

I often get e-mails from authors saying that their fellow authors don’t buy their books. And I do understand how that can happen. The longer we’ve been writing, the more author-friends we have and, at some point it’s impossible to support them all. Having said that, we as authors shouldn’t expect fellow authors to buy books that don’t interest them. Books they don’t have time for. Or books that aren’t published the way they want to read them (paperback or e-books, anyone?)  That’s why we promote rather than just depending on friends and relatives—which, after all, isn’t the biggest pool of buyers in the world.

Still, we authors should buy some books each year and I think we should set aside a budget for that. It’s about Zen. It’s about supporting the industry that we expect to support us. I even tell authors that they shouldn’t limit themselves to buying only my book on, say, editing or book proposals or wordtrippers or the marketing of books. Even authors who have read extensively on a particular subject may very well get new ideas from a book on a similar subject or be inspired by it.

But there are other ways to support our industry besides buying books we want to (or need to) read. Authors on strict budgets should find books make relatively inexpensive gifts for holiday giving, for hostess and thank you gifts, for birthdays, and even to give to business associates on appropriate occasions.

We all know that we tend to get lax with our resolutions. So, to make your “Buy Books” resolution work all year, go to your gift-giving list for last year and see how many people on that list could get the gift of reading in this year instead of something that will be promptly tossed in the Goodwill bin or re-gifted. Staple your gift list to your resolution list. And then make another resolution to read your resolutions and that attached list of gift-giving idea list at least once a month.

Heck, you could even give your own book to folks on that list. You are proud of it, aren’t you?
If every author gave books as gifts, I could see a bright, shiny year ahead. A year where agents take on more clients because more publishers are selling more books. And when that happens, just think! Books will be the gifts that keep giving. Books will be the gifts that give back!

Here's another, less expensive gift to the industry. Nominate a few helpful websites, blogs, and newsletters for a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites nod. I would love it if you'd include mine among them but there are many other great ones, too.

One of my favorites is Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound (Letting you know about it is sort of my holiday gift to you. It offers ideas from other industries that authors can easily apply to their own campaigns.) 

Here are Writer's Digest suggested categories for nominations, just to help you get your thinking cap on:

Agent Blogs
Writing Communities
Publishing Resources
Jobs and Markets
Creativity and Challenges
Genres/Niches
General Resources
Fun for Writers
This WritersontheMove blog

Send comments and nominations for next year’s list to writersdigest@fwmedia.com with “101 Websites” in the subject line (deadline is Jan. 1, of each year. Learn more at
http://www.writersdigest.com/101-best-websites-for-writers-archive/101-best-websites-for-writers-2009

My SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com is a 101 Best Website pick and Ithank readers who support the industry for that. If you read or just love to pile sweet-smelling books on the stand near your bed, a nomination like this is one of the best gifts you can give.  Second only to reviewing a book you love or think will help others on Amazon.

Please let me know if you buy books, nominate literary websites for awards, or pass along books you love via reviews. I would like to thank you and mention your favorites in my newsletter.  It's part of the marketing fun, part of helping one another, part of the way to keep our marketing efforts rolling along. Part of our industry-aiding resolution putsch.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books, a series for writers and a series for retailers. Learn more about them at http://HowToDoItFrugally.com. You can subscribe to her #SharingwithWriters newsletter in the
window at the top right of nearly every page on the website.


And yes, she does give books for gifts. She often gives her how-to books to clients. She gives her poetry chapbooks on most any occasion, from Christmas to Valentine’s to Mother’s Day. And, she does buy others’ books for her own shelves or Kindle reader but only when she actually yearns to read them or needs to read them.

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