Showing posts with label book reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book reviews. Show all posts

You, Your Reviews and Your Lifelong Marketing


You, Your Reviews and Your Lifelong Marketing

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the winningest book in her 
#HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for Writers, The Frugal Editor

Generally speaking, your two most important parts of a writing career is your byline and credit line. You will find an example of the byline in its most helpful form above, and an example of the credit line below this article as a mini bio. (The lease effective credit line—and shortest—I have ever seen was in the LA Times when only a moniker for Twitter (X) given. I mean, there wasn’t even an introduction saying what it was for! Nevertheless, even that was helpful to readers.

But in today’s #WritersontheMove, I want to celebrate (or mourn) the end of the release period of my The Frugal Editor, (about a year after the copyright or any book), I want to share with you important intricacies of reviews which is also the number one most effective marketing techniques for any book release no matter where it first appears—print, TV, radio, and online media, the cover of your book, or sometimes even handwritten reviews from the salespeople at your favorite hometown bookstore..

One of the reasons reviews and the excerpts that can be drawn from them (also called blurbs, testimonials, endorsements) are my favorite is they are likely to be the most active marketing period of a book—both pre- and post-release. Another is that they are so lasting I call them forever marketing techniques. And I want you to know one of the most important ways to keep them working for as long as you decide the life of your book should be—right up to its becoming a classic. As important as general reviews are (and I have written a tome-sized book on about every aspect of reviews called How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethicallythe big secret is in those excepts/blurbs. Below you will find a short example of a review that is ripe with possible excepts (many are!), but in Hollywood one great word like “fabulous!” is a poster-worthy excerpt that they call might call a “logline” in addition to all the other monikers I listed above. So, you can play this game as well as they. Ta da! 

Example of Full Review: Oh, how writers wish someone could take them by the hand and lead them directly to publishers, helping every step of the way? Look no further as all the answers are in this book, Third Edition of The Frugal Editor. Previous editions were excellent. Nothing could be better . . . except this book which has an additional 50% new content. The publishing world changes quickly, and this text allows writers to keep up with the ever-changing world of editors, publicists, finicky agents, trends, cultural expectations, queries, and media kits. Carolyn Howard-Johnson wastes no time clearly and succinctly explaining the how and why, sharing little known secrets and exploding grammar myths. Information about possible scams and misinformation is important to understand. Save yourself time and money by learning from the best, Howard-Johnson.” ~ Carolyn Wilhelm, BA, MA, MS and author of environmental content is a veteran educator

Excerpted for Passion: Oh, how writers wish someone could take them by the hand and lead them directly to publishers, helping every step of the way? Look no further as all the answers are in this book, Third Edition of The Frugal Editor. Previous editions were excellent. Nothing could be better . . . except this book which has an additional 50% new content.” ~ Carolyn Wilhelm, BA, MA, MS, veteran educator, and author of environmental content  

NOTE: This could be three excerpts, depending on submission standards and other preferences and a little rearranging carefully using ellipses and parentheses advised for editing direct quotes.

Excerpted to Impart Specific Information: The publishing world changes quickly, and [the 3rd Edition of The Frugal Editor] allows writers to keep up with the ever-changing world of editors, publicists, finicky agents, trends, cultural expectations, queries, and media kits.” ~ Carolyn Wilhelm, BA, MA, MS and author of environmental content is a veteran educator

Note the use of parentheses.

Excerpted for Brevity: 1. Save yourself time and money by learning from the best, Howard-Johnson.” ~ Carolyn Wilhelm, BA, MA, MS and author of environmental content is a veteran educator

There are a couple of extras where the clarifying changes might require the permission of the reviewer; that is generally not a problem when you explain the quotation will include their credentials and/or the name of the media in which it first appeared. Occasionally, that source-name is all that is needed.

This definitely isn’t that last thing you should know about this process, but it’s an important one. Copy-and-paste or otherwise preserve both reviews and blurbs whenever and wherever you find them. Put them in a file. Remember, reviews are forever. You might even reuse some of them when you publish your book’s second or tenth edition.

About the Author


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including USA Book News’ winner for The Frugal Book Promoter. An instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers Program for nearly a decade, she believes in entering (and winning!) contests and anthologies as an excellent way to separate our writing from the hundreds of thousands of books that get published each year. Two of her favorite awards are Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment given by members of the California Legislature and “Women Who Make Life Happen,” given by the Pasadena Weekly newspaper. She is also an award-winning poet and novelist, and she loves passing along the tricks of the trade she learned from marketing those so-called hard-to-promote genres. Learn more on her website at https://HowToDoItFrugally.com. Let Amazon notify you when she publishes new books (or new editions!) by following her Amazon profile page at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile. Her The Frugal Editor is now in its third edition from Modern History Press and sorrowfully ending its official release year. Let it help you edit your 2024 work-in-process and happy new year.

The Frugal Editor & Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips || Combined Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frugal Editor & Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips Combined Book Review of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's landmark Editing Books.    Reviews by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Book Review || The Frugal Editor, Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Today I am sharing my favorite self-editing book. Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a friend and co-contributor to Writer’s On The Move (WOTM).  She is a consistent source of encouragement for the writer’s journey!

Carolyn’s delivery style is down to earth, illuminating, & frugal in its time saving, headache preventing approach. My favorite aspect of her book includes the basics required for an effective writer’s practice, and the seven thorough Appendices:

*Appendix One, “Editing At A Glance”,
*Followed by Recommended Reading & Resources,
*A Generous Agents List,
*Sample Cover and Sample Query Letters, and
*Formatting for Kindle Made Easy.

The Goal of the book is to equip aspiring and accomplished authors with the best self-editing skills and tips for successful publishing.

I highly recommend this book. It’s refreshing, informative and empowers our writers' journey.

Thank you Carolyn Howard-Johnson!

DON’T MISS THE FOLLOW ON …

Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers, The Ultimate Frugal Reference Guide for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy by Carolyn Howard-Johnson  *second edition

My favorite self-editing book just got better, with its second edition addendum book of Great Little Last-Minute Tips. I enjoy Carolyn’s down-to-earth and humorous writing style. It enlightens, is a kick and prevents headaches too.

This little book is powerful with pointers from the depth of her knowledge, writing and editing expertise. This is NOT a boring grammar/editing book. Carolyn’s Word Trippers are full of surprises and fun to make us better writers, better communicators, and better at doing the job we set out to do.

I highly recommend this book, too!
Thanks again Carolyn Howard-Johnson!


Thank you, Carolyn Howard-Johnson for providing me a review book copy of “Great Little Last-Minute Editing tips for Writers”.  I was not required to write a positive review, I receive no compensation, and it was my choice to write this review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for more than a decade. Her marketing plan for the second book in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor, won the Next Generation Millennium Award for Marketing. The just-released third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, published by Modern History Press, is New, Expanded, and Updated. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction books have been honored by the likes of Writer’s Digest, USA Book News Award, the Irwin award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards and more. Learn more about Carolyn and her books of fiction and poetry. Each of them helped her learn more about maximizing marketing efforts for different writers, different titles. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com
Links:
https://howtodoitfrugally.com/
http://www.writersonthemove.com/

 


Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares Sell Sheet Secrets

 


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

 
[Excerpted and abbreviated from a chapter on preparing review copies in my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series for writers.]
 
Over the years as I worked with clients, I realized that too many authors don’t know about sell sheet and many more undervalue the opportunities they afford. Sell sheets are generally thought of as fliers that get inserted into their free review copies, otherwise known as ARCs. They are printed with a very short pitch (otherwise known as a logline), the book’s metadata, a bio of the author that relates well to the theme or topic of the book, and maybe even a few blurbs (endorsements) the publisher or author has already collected. They act as a one-page website at-the-ready for reviewers.
 
When reviewers prefer e-books, few publishers or authors are savvy enough to send a sell sheet as an attachment with it or, better, rework the e-copy into the very front of the e-book itself. A few of the big publishers do that with a special ARC edition of their paperbacks, too.
 
Are you still wondering why they are so important? A great sell sheet helps the reviewer write the review easily and quickly. But more importantly, it can serve as a kind of guide for them by highlighting the points the publisher (traditional or self-publisher) feels most important. The reviewer is not obligated to follow these subtle suggestions, but they usually incorporate at least a portion of it in their reviews. It also helps the reviewer avoid making mistakes within the review itself.
 
Sell sheets can also be inserted into books used for other marketing purposes. Books sent to bookstore buyers, TV directors, schedulers, feature editors, librarians and more. When appropriate, publishers might add a subtle suggestion that reviews and blurbs are always appreciated or add a Post-it note to that effect. These marketing wonders may be called “sell sheets,” but they are beyond selling. They are useful, professional, and even courteous because they make it easier for recipients to do their work.
 
Ideally sell sheets should be printed in color on glossy paper, 8 ½ x 11, and may be printed on both sides.  Here is what they should include.
 
•    A book cover image.
•    A headshot of the author.
•    Include book and author awards. You're trying to convince people of the quality of the book and expertise of the author.
•    Know your audience and let the sell sheet reader know who that is. No book is for "everyone."
•    Include the BISAC subject heading in your metadata. You'll find them at bisg.org/standards/bisac_subject/index.html. These are the headings that bookstores and librarians use so you might as well do what you can to make their jobs easier when you are selling them on featuring your workshop or having a signing for you, too.
•    Your metadata includes:
        -Your ISBN, both 10 and 13.
        -The book's binding type (perfect, wire, comb, sewn)/
        -How the book might be purchased. (paperback, hardback, jacket, e-book).
        -The book’s dimensions.
        -The book’s page count.
        -When pertinent, include name of the illustrator, their awards, and short bio.
        -Don’t forget the retail price for both US, Canada, and others that may be pertinent.
    Let people know what the book includes:
            *Appendix
            *Glossary
            *Reference
            *Index
            *Bibilography (My publisher is an avid fan of bibliographies for his nonfiction books because that are a mark of professional publishing.)
•    Include review quotes and endorsements, most important and credible first.
•    Include a short author biography. Keep it focused on the author's pertinent platform rather than how many children she has, unless the book is about raising children.
•    Include complete distributor information. That, by the way, is not Ingram, though that info should be there, too. If you don't have a distributor, do your research fast and try to get one that offers a sales force as well as distribution.
•    Include the publisher and how to order directly from them.
•    Mention the author’s speaking ability and the subjects they are qualified to speak on.
You can see that one side sheet will probably not accommodate all the required information. Use both sides. E-mail me at hojonews@aol.com and I will send you a copy of a two-sided professionally produced sell sheet.
 
Hint: You can use sell sheets as fliers at fairs, when you speak and more. When you send out ARCs, you might choose to include the most basic info on a label applied to the inside of the front cover. That way, if the sell sheet gets separated from the book, the recipient is sure to have all the information she or he needs.
 
Don't forget to include a way you can be reached by e-mail. You DO want to be reached, don't you?



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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 books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won
multiple awards. That series includes The Frugal Book Promoter  (third edition) and The Frugal Editor (second edition). They garnered 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 Ethically is the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.
 
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.
                  
The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety-one countries before her passion was so rudely interrupted by Covid. She studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her website is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


On Toni Morrison, Reviewers, and Other Sad Tales


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
 
(This is a reprint from a column I once wrote for a review website which is no longer living on the web, in part because of Covid. When I ran across it, I was reminiscing through the list of my columns. I took a minute to read it again because Toni Morrison is in the news…again! She is a target of another book-banning effort apparently because she tells the truth about slavery. This column isn’t about being “woke”—the word didn’t exist in its newer form back then. But generally speaking it is about bias and telling the truth and, in some sense, about how writers are keepers of truths. I thought it time to let its little light shine. The BEA breakfast was probably about 2004-ish. Maybe it’s time to read from Morrison’s trove of wisdom once again. And maybe to pass whatever book—or books—you choose along to anyone who is unfortunate enough to have never read one of her books which is now being attacked for being too “woke!”)
 
 
Right after Toni Morrison's book, Love, was published, I heard her speak at Book Expo America (BEA). I paid $25 for the privilege of hearing her and other book luminaries speak before a packed house of booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and publishers who certainly weren’t there for the very light breakfast. I remember—and this may not be an exact quote—she said that her new book Love is a great book. Bravo! She is unashamed to acknowledge her own art just as she has taught her students to do over the decades.
 
Later that year, I was stunned to read Lev Grossman’s review of Love in Time magazine. He indirectly accuses it of not being much “fun,” as if that is the direction all novels should take. He makes a couple of snide comments about how difficult it is to read and accuses her of being drawn to ugly people. I know he that he knows literature, that he knows great characters (and characterizations) are not necessarily pretty. And, get this! He says she gave way to some embarrassingly maudlin emotions. I asked myself, like what? Love?
 
That was when I started asking myself why Mr. Grossman had turned from reviewer extraordinaire into The Shredder. The answer did not come to me until yesterday. My fellow author, Leora G. Krygier, author of a newly minted memoir, sent me a clip from the alternative newspaper, Village Voice. It spotlighted a Brown University study that surveyed The New York Times Book Review. The inquiry found:
 
•      72% of all the books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review were by men.
•      66 percent of the reviews were written by men.
 
The editor of The NY Times Book Review, Chip McGrath, showed less contrition than Pete Rose. He said, “we don’t have any plans at the moment for changing how we review books,” and “I’m not convinced that we are guilty of a male bias—either consciously or un-.”  He went on to explain that the reviews staff has more women than men. So why more reviews by men? Could it be that when he used the word “staff” the term included support personnel rather than anyone allowed to write reviews?
 
McGrath also said that The Times has been trying to use their women reviewers on more publicity-prone books. Really why would that be?
 
And here’s the trigger: He says, “more books are written by men than women.”
 
I’d like to know where he came up with that zinger. Is he including all those romances and erotica (probably mostly written by women unless names like Kristie Leigh Maguire are pseudonyms for more masculine types)? Does he actually have a count of all those books that are subsidy- and self-published lying around in his slush pile? It’s highly unlikely. If there is any such study that is reliable, I’d like to know just where they (and he) got that information?
 
Naturally, that got me to wondering what Time magazine’s review of Morrison’s book would have been like if they had assigned a female reviewer.
 
After my award-winning novel This is the Place (now out of print) was published, a review of it was posted on Amazon.com. This reviewer strenuously objected to what another reviewer had said, that my book was as surely part of the cultural past of Utah as Gone with the Wind was of the South. His objection was prompted by his belief that subtle discrimination and prejudices don’t count for much; they’re only important if they balloon to the dimensions of slavery or the holocausts. “Insensitive man,” I thought, practicing a little prejudice of my own. Two days later another reviewer, one of Amazon’s top reviewers—took him to task for his insensitivity, praised my book and lambasted Gone With the Wind. He, too, was a man.
 
Which brings me full circle to how the possible, even probable, imbalance between feminine and masculine perspectives at the New York Times Book Review affects their coverage. Do I believe that disparity exists? Yep.(Do I believe it still exists? Yep!) Do I think it is warranted because it reflects the existing inequality in the publishing world? No. Do I think there really are more men writing than women? I’m not so sure. It may be.


And therein lies the saddest tale of all.
 
PS from 2021: I also believe that in many ways discrimination of many kinds is worse today than it was when I wrote this column. Or maybe it’s simply that these days we aren’t trying quite as hard to avoid it.
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning author of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Her HowToDoItFrugally series of books has helped writers and retailers worldwide. Her newest book of poetry, Imperfect Echoes, (Bit.ly/ImperfectEchoes) was honored by Writer’s Digest. Learn more at https://howtodoitfrugally.com.






Everything You Need to Know About Why Getting Great Reviews Is Your Job


 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excerpted from Carolyn’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

You need this article! Here’s why: 

In spite of a contract or even an advance, your publisher may not be a true publisher. True publishing includesthe marketing of a book. Think big names like HarperCollins, Knopf, and Writers’ Digest, the publisher of Nina Amir’s books like Creative Visualization for Writers. They assign a marketing budget to your book and an actual marketing department complete with actual human-type marketers who are trained in the specialized field of not just marketing, but marketing books. Except for those who write only for pleasure, there is no reason to publish a book that doesn’t get read.

Even sadder: Those big publishers need their authors’ help, too. No matter how they are published,  authors can’t count on a free lunch when it comes to the marketing their book. That’s especially true when it comes to the getting of reviews—the kind of reviews that keep a book alive.

Some publishers—even traditional publishers—may not respect tradition, be uncooperative or goof. One of my writing critique partners was published with a fine press. When she learned they had not sent advance review copies of her literary novel to the most prestigious review journals before their strict sixteen-week deadline, she was naturally upset. They explained it was a snafu that could not be fixed. That was no comfort at all. It did help her to know that because thousands of galleys sent to the important review publications lie fallow in slush piles, the chances of having a book reviewed by a major journal—even one published traditionally let alone getting a glowing review—is remote. Because she had me to nag her, she moved on to alternative marketing and review-getting strategies found in the flagship book of my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of book for writer, The Frugal Book Promoter, third edition from Modern History Press, using my backdoor review-getting method. 

Soon after my writing-friend’s experience, I realized that what authors need to know about reviews deserved a full book. I knew early on that reviews are the meat and potatoes of marketing for books. What I didn’t know is that reviews are a magic ingredient from beyond the launch to reviving a book that should by now be a classic but sadly isn’t! That resulted in my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career, a real tome of more than 300 pages of easy reading. It covers everything an author needs to know about reviews—their easy-to-do and do-it-by-yourself powerhouse for successful writing careers. 

These days most small publishers have no marketing department—or marketing plan. In fact, many admit that when it comes to marketing, you are on your own. No offense, publishers. I know many of you do a terrific job considering the profit margin in publishing these days. Let’s face it, you can use help, and you don’t need to deal with disappointed (irate?) authors. And, authors! We are ultimately responsible for our own careers. Sometimes when we wait to take responsibility, it is too late in the publishing game.

Some publishers charge the author an additional or separate fee for marketing. Many who offer marketing packages do not offer a review-getting package. If they do, the review their authors get is a paid-for review, which is definitely not the route you want to go. More on that later in a complete chapter on getting ethical reviews in , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. You know, the kind of reviews that influencers like librarians and bookstore buyers respect.

Many publishers do not even have lists of people to contact who might help your marketing with endorsements or reviews. Further, many big publishers are relying on bloggers for their review process more and more as print journals and newspaper book sections shrink or disappear and as they begin to understand that grassroots publicity—reviews or otherwise—can produce a very green crop. And bloggers? Well, that’s a resource pool you can easily plumb yourself. 

My first publisher supplied review copies only upon written request from individual reviewers. They did not honor requests generated by their authors’ initiatives. This meant that I could not count on them to supply books to reviewers I had successfully queried for a review. Unless the reviewer accepted e-copies (and many reviewers don’t!), I had to order copies directly from the publisher and then reship them to my reviewers. This method is slow, cumbersome, unnecessarily expensive, unprofessional, and discourages authors from trying to get reviews on their own. 

Publishers should offer review copies to a list of reviewers—even unestablished grassroots bloggers—who have been responsive to their authors in the past. And they certainly should not charge an author for review copies. Publishers have a profit margin and publicity obtained by their authors (including reviews) affects their bottom line, too. They should send their author a thank you (or a red rose!) along with encouragement to keep up the good work

And about the idea that the very definition that “publishing” includes marketing: That means that even if they are too small or underfunded to have a marketing department, they should have a list of reviewers to query for reviews, a list of influential people to provide blurbs for your cover, access to book cover designers (not just great graphic designers) who know what sells books, and a whole lot more. Ask potential publishers about their marketing process before you sign, but—even if you feel assured after having that conversation—it’s best to assume you may be on your own. 

So, the marketing part of your book that includes finding the right reviewers to read and comment on your book will—in most cases—be up to you and well within your skill set after reading this book. And even when you have the luxury of a marketing department behind you, those authors who know how to get reviews on their own can keep a book alive for an infinite amount of time after their publishers relegate their books to a backlist or their contract expires.

Note: If it is too late to apply this information to the process you use in choosing a publisher, tactfully take hold and guide the publisher you have through the review process. There are lots of ways to do that in this book. I love Nike’s advice to “Just do it!” only I add “yourself” to the motto. Many publishers are in your employ. You may be paying them for services. At the very least, when your book sells, it makes money for the publisher. You don’t have to ask for permission (though it never hurts to listen to their reasoning before you make a decision).

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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 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.

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.       

The author loves to travel. She has visited more than ninety countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her website, https://howtodoitfrugally.com, includes a media room. Yours should, too!

Cover Photo by Joy V. Smith


 

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Tells Authors How to Pretty Up Their Review Copies Before Sending Them

 



 

 So a Reviewer Said Yes. Now What!


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning

HowToDoItFrugally series of books for authors


Sighhh. I so hate to see an author or publisher send out bare-bones review copies to a reviewer who has committed to reviewing a book.


Here are a few ideas from my newest book from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, to dress that copy up a bit. The idea is to help your reviewer without violating ethics standards.


•   Affix a review label to the inside front cover of the review copy you are sending. It should have all your book’s key data: contact information including name, phone, fax, email, and website. This can be done on a 3.5 x 5 inch label. Print enough for your projected needs.


•   Enclose a media kit or a help sheet (sometimes called a sell sheet) about your title. It should include your media release. It might explain the benefits of your book or why someone would be interested in reading it and a bio of the author. Include the same information on this as the review label mention above. By doing this, you assure that your reviewer has the information he or she needs and that your name is spelled right. Further, if you include a nice synopsis, you may even be able to influence the reviewer to highlight what you find most valuable about your book.


•   Enclose a cover letter stating that this review copy is being sent in direct response to their request and how to reach you if they need any additional information. This information can also go on the outside of the envelope you are using to send your ARC. Do not say that say it is “requested material”, though, unless it is the truth.


•   Send the reviewer a brief e-mail and remind him/her of the request and that the copy is on its way. Double-check the address you have at that time.


•   Some reviewers, bloggers, and other media outlets use the information you send verbatim. In the third edition of the The Frugal Book Promoter now published by Modern History Press, I advise that your media kit include a review with permission for them to cut and paste exactly as it is. Be sure to give them guidelines for its use from both you and the original reviewer (Midwest Book Review, as an example, always extends permission for unlimited use as long as they are credited.)


•   Let your contact know—as part of the letter and the release and even the review slip—that interior art, cover art, and/or author photos are available electronically or as black and white glossies. Make the cover of your book and an author photo available on your website so they can be downloaded in either color or black and white, in either high or low resolution.


•   Don’t try to talk the reviewer into an e-copy if he or she request real paper.


Oh, yeah. Don’t forget to send a thank you for the review. Even if you weren’t that charmed with it. It’s a reviewer’s right to say what they want, although I always advise reviewers to tactfully send a book back if they feel compelled to slaughter it.

More About the Author

 



 

Learn more about how to make your book into a classic with forever reviews in the, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career. It’s fat, but it has a great index so you can find specific aspects of the review process from managing Amazon reviews to writing reviews of books you love.


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 Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor including awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. The newest in the series, How to Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically, was launched as part of a promotional program to more than 20,000 new readers. All are available in print or as e-book. Learn more at https://howtodoitfrugally.com .


Books Reviews by Carolyn Wilhelm


 

As a contributor to Writers On the Move, I decided to get to know the authors beyond reading their bios. So I purchased one book from each person and will sum up what I learned while reading. As you might expect, there was a wealth of information from fantasy to caring for someone with dementia. I feel ready for anything armed with these new books. 

Karen Cioffi - (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Writers on the Move) Children's Author, Ghostwriter, and Online Marketing Instructor

I read two books by Karen Cioffi, Walking Through Walls and How to Wr/te a Children's Fiction Book. I read Walking Through Walls first and was glad I did as it is referred to in the writing for children's book. 

How to Wr/te a Children's Fiction Book is jam-packed with examples of several authors and readers. It helped to navigate all the information as I was already becoming acquainted with the author. It is too bad I didn't have this book before self-publishing! 

Walking Through Walls is a story of twelve-year-old Wang who wants to be rich and famous. He studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Everything is not as it might seem, however, so he has some surprises and growing-up to do. 

Debra Eckerling - Write On Online & Guided Goals 

Being a teacher, I was drawn to Eckerling's book, Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. I found more than I expected by way of journal pages and prompts as the prompts were comprehensive and more in-depth than usual in the classroom. Pictures were included for most prompts, which helps children who usually "see" something to write about in photos. I doubt any writing student would say he or she didn't know anything to write about using this book! 

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson - Multi Award-winning Books for Writers 

I have already read many books written by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and I can honestly say I highly recommend them all for aspiring authors. Editing tips, frugal book promoting, great first impressions, and even a book about focused tweeting for retailers will help any new author. As authors soon find out, they are responsible for book promotion as the publisher does not do everything anymore. She has a book on blogging and one guide to frugal in-store promotion. I love her poetry books, especially Sublime Planet, about global warming. Well, I just purchased another of her books, so I must have them all now. 

 Suzanne Lieurance - Award-Winning Author, Freelance Writer, Writing Coach 

Snapshots from Real Life: Personal Stories to Warm the Heart and Tickle the Funny Bone was what I selected to learn more about Lieurance. And learn, I did. She is a writing teacher, and I found out she knows how to teach writing, as evidenced by the stories she gathered from her writing class for this anthology. I was laughing out loud while reading heartwarming stories of everyday life. There were a few stories with engineers – my husband is one, too, and we have had similar mishaps while he handled the kitchen for me. And watch Grandpa's false teeth if he has any sudden move with his mouth open. The stories were so enjoyable. 

 Deborah Lyn Stanley - Writer, Artist, Editor 

Deborah Lyn Standley's book, Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God's Love, is heart-tugging and a detailed journal of how to care for someone in every way (including bathing) with kindness. She stresses we should remember the person inside is still the same one as before the illness, and to consider that in everything that is done to care for him or her. If you are ever caregiving for someone with dementia, this book is a must read. It is a love story.  

W. Terry Whalin - Helping All Types of Writers 

10 Publishing Myths: Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed is full of wisdom from Whalin, who has spent many years in the publishing business. There is one chapter for every myth, and each chapter ends with a myth buster. The actions used to succeed in the book industry are included in this text. I have heard every one of the myths. If an author has questions about the industry, this book is the quickest way to find the truth. Authors will have more confidence if they read this book and gain from Whalin's experiences. I especially recommend it for authors of Christian writing. 

 Linda Wilson - Children's Writer 

Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery (Abi Wonder Mystery series book 1) was the book by Linda Wilson that I read. Although intended for tween and teens, I was engaged in the story, which held my interest through the end. The characters were not the usual, and Abi does know how to keep a secret. It is a fast-paced mystery with surprises along the way. I highly recommend it as there is no romance, which can often ruin middle-grade books for many children.  

Carolyn Wilhelm - Author, Educator, The Wise Owl Factory 

A Mom - What is an Adoptive Mom? is written by Carolyn Wilhelm and her daughter Betsy Wilhelm. And Betsy happens to be adopted. This is a wonderful book showing that a mom is a mom no matter what. She's the one who knows if you like the crust on your sandwich. She's the one who "understands why you can't sleep without your favorite blankie or stuffed animal." She's the one who comforts you and encourages you. She's the one who loves you. This is an important book about adoption. (Review by Karen Cioffi) 


Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY. 

 

 


 

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