Showing posts with label the frugal editor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the frugal editor. Show all posts

Avoiding the Dreaded Adverb in Dialogue and Everywhere Else

 

Let Tom Swift Inform Your Writing 

 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson 

 

The last in a series of articles celebrating the release of the 3rd edition 
of the multi award-winning The Frugal Editor



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 pun aficionados (though they deservedly disappeared—mostly—as people started avoiding anything that smacked of cultural bias.)  The author of Appleton’s classics, of course, laughed all the way to the bank and I was never able to determine if he overused them intentionally or if his popularity survived at least in part because they seemed unintentional and that only lent another dimension to their laughability. But that's a lesson for one of my marketing seminars, not this article on writing.

 

Tom Swifties were popular and funny back 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 I haven't dared to go to the new books in the series, but I assume that this outdated writing has been eliminated from them.

 

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 this example.)

 

"'Look!' suddenly exclaimed Ned. 'There's the agent now!…I'm going to speak to him!'” impulsively declared Ned.'"

 

Regardless of what you think of Appleton’s style choices, you will want to minimize tags when you write dialogue and adverbs in most everything you write!

 

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 clients and students 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. Learn new dialogue techniques to make that job easier from books like Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella and the third edition (only recently released) of my The Frugal Editor.

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.

4. Learn how to make this adverb-cutting exercise improve the images in your prose or poetry using simile or metaphor, also covered in The Frugal Editor. 

 

Until you do a little more research on the adverbs, take Nike's advice and  "Just do it!"

 

---

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Do It Yourself Editing Secrets, both now in their third editions from Modern History Press. The former is the winner of USA Book News "Best Professional Book" award and the Book Publicists of Southern California's coveted Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor is both a USA Book News winner and a Reader Views Literary Award winner and won the Next Generation Marketing and the coveted Irwin awards. Learn more at www.HowToDoItFrugally.com. Thank you, #WritersontheMove, for the opportunity to wind down my marketing plan for the release of new edition of Frugal Editor with this article! Gotta make room for a couple of new books in that series coming in 2024!

 

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.

What Authors Need to Know to Avoid Vital Front Matter Booboos

 


To WritersontheMove Blog Subscribers and Visitors:

2023 has been a celebratory year for the release of the third edition of The Frugal Editorthe winningest book in my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, and I don’t want to let the year pass without sharing part of what my publisher says is approximately 50% new material in this edition.

He also says, “We really overachieved on this book. There's nothing within a mile of it in terms of scope and depth.” One of the reasons for such praise is the inclusion of information on front matter that is as likely to assure a great first impression for a book as a great cover and one that books on editing or publishing rarely cover. So today’s blog post (see below) is what you need to know regardless of the publishing process you have chosen for your book.

The new Frugal Editor also covers the magical properties of back matter including increased readership and book sales but it’s way too long for a blog post. Find the frugal e-copy of the book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T/!)


An Excerpt from the Third Edition of The Frugal Editor

What Authors Need to Know to Avoid Vital Front Matter Booboos

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

Because I am a book marketer and an English Lit major, I love front matter where I often find unexpected information, but when I am reading for entertainment, I hardly notice it. Readers tend to pay little attention to front matter unless we have a reason to do so but industry gatekeepers are pickier. That includes the professional reviewers both authors and publishers want to impress.

Front matter mistakes or intentional deviation from the norm are not as readily forgiven as those in back matter. The easy way to make sure yours is in the realm of industry standards is to request Gorham Printing’s beautifully organized, free Guidebook: Adventures in Publishing, Explore Book Printing. Though I include a long list of both front and back matter elements later in this chapter, Gorham gives you a basic (safe!) order for frontmatter fundamentals for paper books:

1.     Title Page

2.     Copyright Page (lefthand page)

3.     Dedication

4.     Contents (begins on the righthand page)

5.     List of Figures or Tables. In this book, “The Frugal Editor’s Extras” list in the front matter is a cousin to these lists in an effort to make finding information easier for readers much like table or figure lists do. Use it as an example of a way to deviate with your own idea for “extras”in your book.

6.     Foreword 

7.     Preface

8.     Acknowledgements

9.     Introduction

Note: Gorham’s list doesn’t mention a prologue. I like them when they come just before the first chapter in books of fiction, meaning nothing—absolutely nothing but a chapter title—should intervene!

Gorham’s book is a great tutorial that includes their printing costs for books from hardcover to spiral books (often used for the likes of cookbooks). You’ll find a couple more front matter considerations below.

No matter how you plan to publish, you may think of a good reason to deviate from what appears to be acceptable among publishers. If your research inspires an idea for front or back matter that might benefit readers or help to sell more books, you might negotiate with a traditional publisher to accommodate your idea rather than stick to their company-wide style guidelines. I remember a fine publisher had included a short paragraph highlighting their use of a font style that was especially appropriate for the topic of that specific book on one of its front matter pages. 

If you are self-publishing, know what rules you are breaking. Ask yourself if doing so would be welcomed by your readers and if it might attract the ire of a publishing industry professional. Ask yourself if the pluses outweigh the negatives or if you would feel comfortable saving your creative idea for a time when you are so experienced and established that your idea is likely to be accepted and emulated regardless of how brazen it is.

Of course, you can always choose a few books from your library or browse newly released books from publishers you admire at your favorite bookstore, too. Be sure to look at some of the best known books in the same genre as yours. This little exercise might convince you that your title can accommodate a little daring-do!

Here are some other less frequently used front matter components I promised you including the use of two title pages. What, you never noticed a second title page? They can be handy for keeping a nice, open layout with all the sections that should be on the left page where they belong. They are called the title page and the half-title page. Old-timers call title pages other than the first bastard title pages. In those pre politically-correct days, they were abbreviated versions of the title page that could be torn out before the book was bound. One defense for the keeping the practice is that authors can sign and personalize one page and the book still has one left untouched. Another is that an additional title page can separate the book’s text from long and complex frontmatter. The setup of a book’s frontmatter might be part of your publisher’s style guidelines and be nonnegotiable. If the frontmatter is quite long, there may even be a third title page just before the body of the book begins.

Note: An excellent example of a book that departs from frontmatter standards in ways that benefit both book and reader is Behind the Bears Ears: Exploring the Cultural and Natural Histories of a Sacred Landscape by R. E. Burillo (Torrey House Press, 2020). It includes a map of Bears Ears National Monument (US), an anthropologic timeline, and probably breaks some norms for the length of its introduction. This 407-page book also uses back matter effectively.

 

10.  Warning: Don’t neglect your acknowledgements page. There are ways it can be used effectively for both pre-promotion and general marketing. It is spelled Acknowledgements. With a d, please. Even very good editors can overlook a misspelling of this word, at least in part because they don’t bother to peruse front and back matter. “Foreword” is often misspelled, too. Don’t leave the out! Your spellchecker may not catch it!

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Carolyn Howard-Johnson started what she considers her “real writing” career when most are thinking of retiring. She brings her experience as publicist, journalist, marketer, editor, retailer, and the author of those books published almost every way possible including traditionally, 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. She blogs at https://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com and https://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com.

On Breaking Book Formatting and Adverb Rules

Sharing My Daring Departure for My Most Recent Book

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson



 

I am sharing an excerpt from the newest edition  of my The Frugal Editor not only to share the content with those who don’t want to read (or use as reference!) a full book on everything from grammar to style choices to front and backmatter possibilities, but also to share with you a departure I tried in that third edition of that book. My publisher and I titled them  “The Frugal Editor’s Extras” to set them apart from regular copy in the book. They include short pieces--everything from little memoir-like experiences that also serve as editing lessons to topics related to something I covered in the book (yes, like adverbs), but deserved a little...mmm...creative attention. Most of them are only one page long. This one is for authors who are adverse to trimming adverbs back as most experienced editors and academia’s MFA programs suggest. This one (the fifth in the book) tells how authors can make adverbs that might best be deleted work to an author’s advantage instead:

 

5. The Frugal Editor’s Extras

 

 


Remember the Reader’s Digest feature “Toward More Picturesque Speech?” [CJ1] Over the decades, this entertaining little piece of Americana caused many writers to fall in love with metaphors. Writers who want to liven up their copy can edit adverbs so they produce those much-loved figures of speech.

Metaphors and their kin, symbols and similes, are wonderful tools for helping writers with the often-heard “Show, don’t tell” mantra, but they can be tricky. I was speaking to the Small Publishers of North America (SPAN) in Atlanta when one of the writers in the audience asked if there was a site that would give him a list of good metaphors to improve  imagery in his writing. I told him that if there was, it would probably be a list of clichés or a list of what would fast become clichés once everyone started using them. That was before I knew this adverb trick which works better—much better—than any list ever could.

It’s a little trick that lets your search for adverbs make a sweet drink out of lemons. That is, they yield an opportunity for you come up with metaphors or similes. They prompt associations that allow you to find and insert flecks of solid gold into your copy. In the example we used earlier in this book, “She ran quickly,” you determine that the adverb is redundant. Running, by its nature, is quick. However, you still want more than quick. Ask yourself, quickly as what? You might come up with a comparison where you must use the words like or as to make the image come alive. If so, you’ve found a simile. But if you come up with a true metaphor—where the comparison of the image is evident without the like or as—you’ve found something better than gold. You’ve found a metaphor.


Note: You can do something similar with clichés by reworking them. Before you jettison something like "He was just small potatoes" from your copy, try substituting words in the offending phrase with something similar. One critique group I lead came up with phrases for small potatoes. Some were better. Some were worse. Some imparted similar meanings and some different: Small fry, excess produce, misshapen fruit, genetically flawed apples, rejected produce, overripe avocadoes, bruised tomatoes. You can see the list could get longer and longer and one of the alternatives might be something that would work lots better than a cliché that might prompt a gatekeeper to wonder about your ability to author a book.

Now, as much as I love well conceived metaphors and similes, I need to add a word of caution. I once saw an advertisement in Writer’s Digest where presumably an editor had red-penciled a metaphor that appeared on an author’s manuscript. It said, “You may want to reconsider this metaphor.” The reason? The metaphor was a stretch. Metaphors should be so integrated into the flow of the copy that the reader hardly notices them (unless they are intentionally used for humor). They should add to your readers’ pleasure or understanding rather than distract them. When writers fall in love with their own image-making skills, they might undermine their number-one goal—that of writing clearly and keeping the reader involved.

One of the advantages of editing adverbs—indeed any kind of systematic editing—is that you’ll begin to write more concise first drafts. The beauty of adverbs is that they can help you do that, but only if you let each one be your mentor—even if it means whacking the ones that don’t work. When you do, the gremlins, evil little guys that make it their business to foil authors’ efforts to produce professional work, might identify you as a proficient writer and move to greener fields.

 

MORE ABOUT TODAY’S #WRITERSONTHEMOVE CONTRIBUTOR



 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books for writers including USA Book News’ winner for The Frugal Book Promoter now in its third edition. An instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers Program for nearly a decade, she believes in entering (and shouting out!) 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. Find all of the little “Editor’s Extras” by using the separate contents list in the front matter of her newest entry in her series, The Frugal Editor


Three Neglected Components for Publishing an E-Book


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson





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 mulling over this answer this all-important question, I figured I’d pass the answer along to you, but the question was too hard to answer in its original form. I took the liberty of qualifying it with an introductory clause and here it is: 

 

Because a self-publisher must be a jack of all publishing trades and because many readers are still not comfortable with e-books, I believe 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.

 

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 formatting that anyone can hire done, but should know enough about to prepare their manuscript for its final edit. 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, publishers and the media people who get to choose a book for print or internet exposure off!

 

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 directly from my publisher, Modern History Press, in the Appendix of my multi award-winning book on editing. For the recently released third edition of The Frugal Editor, go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T) to get the Amazon special for the whole series of my HowToDoItFrugally series of e-books for writers with one click.

 

Note: You should know that when a reader buys your e-book on Kindle, they get to choose what reader format they prefer, and it costs you no extra time reformatting and tracking several for e-book exposure on different platforms.

 

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 tried-and-true The Frugal Book Promoterhttps://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII

 

More About Today's Contributor




 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the multi award-winning third editions of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including 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. Her blog  TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, lets authors recycle their favorite reviews absolutely free.  Find submission guidelines at https://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/2023/05/send-us-your-fav-book-review.html.

 

 

A

Celebrating the 3rd Edition of The Frugal Editor with a List of Resources



Recommended Reading, Listening,
 And Help from 
The Frugal Editor

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 

   I am celebrating the release of the third edition of the second book in my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for Writers with peek at the Appendics for visitors to Karen Cioffi’s #WritersontheMove blog. It’s a list of recommended reading for authors, some of them oldies but goodies, some new. It is a way to express gratitude and underscore my belief that reading one book on any how-to topic for the publishing industry is never enough because there is no more frugal way for a newbie to learn more about a new career. A great book with notes in the margins is much, much less expensive that classes from respected writers’ schools. And there is no better way than to learn more about publishing than from experts who have been there, done that, and care enough to have taken time from that trajectory to share with other authors.

 

In the Appendix of The Frugal Editor, you'll also find lists of the agents who contributed to the chapters on writing picture-perfect query letters, a short list of common errors, sample query letters, sample cover letters and even writing aids. Here are some recommended books, books I have read and found something new and important for my work in progress (WIP) or surviving the expectations of the traditional world of publishing. The editing process can be so much fun it become as addictive as chewing gum. Like chewing gum, there are some great benefits.

 

Editing

Lapsing Into a Coma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--And How to Avoid Them, by Bill Walsh.

 

Editors

Barbara McNichol, editor and writer, was introduced earlier in this book. Learn more about her at www.barbaramcnichol.com.

 

Dr. Bob Rich, an Aussie who can bring a worldwide sensibility for the English language to titles that would benefit from that expertise. Find him on Twitter @bobswriting.

 

Grammar and Style

AP Stylebook by Associated Press. This is the better of two major stylebooks for those who write for newspapers and other print and online media.

 

Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer's Guide to Getting It Right, by Bill Bryson.

 

Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press Staff. It’s the go-to source for authors of books as opposed to online or print media.

 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss. For the author who doesn’t mind following strict grammar rules assiduously.

 

Far From the Madding Gerund, by Geoffrey K. Pullum et al. Those of you who are thinking what the heck is a gerund? are the ones who should be reading this.

 

Garner's Modern American Usage, by Bryan A. Garner, is complete and excellent for Americans. Choose the more formal style choices this book offers to avoid riling the ire of gatekeepers like agents and publishers. 


Grammar Snobs Are Big Meanies: Guide to Language for Fun & Spite, by June Casagrande. Use this book when you want to argue with an editor, not when you want to impress one. A more formal tome for that purpose is The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (Fowler and Burchfield)It isn't nearly as entertaining, however. And authors (as compared to freelance writers) probably won’t learn as much from it.

 

The American Heritage Book of the English Language is available only in hardcover and is expensive, but you’ll find features in it you love.

 

Perrin and Smith Handbook of Current English has been around so long you might find it in a used bookstore. When you’ve read it, you’ll know the difference between temerity and timidity—or at least know to look them up. “Half knowing a word may be more dangerous than not knowing it at all” is the kind of truth you’ll find within its pages.

 

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. A classic.

 

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, by William Strunk Jr. , E. B. WhiteRoger Angell. Do not read this until you fully understand the difference between a style book and a book of grammar basics.

 

The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms & Literary Quotation, by David Grambs. Keep this one forever and add your own notes when you visit museums and other places where you might encounter words you don’t know.

 

Craft of Writing

Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella is a must-read because poor dialogue technique is a glaring tip-off to editors and publishers that a manuscript is written by a beginner who has not taken the time to learn our craft. Mini review from me: This book has everything you’ll ever need to know about writing dialogue.

 

Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End, by Karl Iglesias. Authors of books can learn a lot from great screenplays. 

 

Custom Dictionaries

Many professional organizations will share their print conventions with authors—from medical terms to lists of shady trees. Just ask. 

 

You’ll find my recommendations for frugal learning for other aspects of publishing in all the books in my HowToDoItFrugally SeriesToday we’re celebrating the release of The Frugal Editor’s third edition and, because blog posts must be more limited that books, it is only a taste of the resources you will find in it.) Nevertheless, a good place to start is to subscribe to this blog so you get their articles directly to your email box and when they arrive do a search using each contributors names. Most of them have at least one how-to book for you to consider.

~~

MORE ABOUT THE FRUGAL EDITOR


Carolyn and her husband Lance edit
his how-to book for immigrants.


          That would be me, as well as the name of the book I am celebrating today. In its first edition The Frugal Editor (the book) was subtitled Put Your Best Foot Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. I wrote it because I needed a text for the class on editing I would soon be teaching for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. At that time (2007), available books on editing didn’t cover what all writers needed including self-publishers. It turned out to be the winningest book in my series of books for writers. 

I also write fiction and poetry and I think my favorite award for them was an honorable mention from Writer’s Digest for my first full book of poetry, ImperfectEchoesI love #sharingwithwriters as a presenter and with visitors who frequent blogs like this one. So this bio comes with huge thanks to Karen Cioffi, owner of this Writers on the Move and many others who are celebrating with me.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Gives Writers Nine Reasons To Love Amazon



Nine Big Reasons To Learn To Love Amazon

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

 

Remember the little greeting card girl who looked like Pipi Longstockings? She put her hands on her hips, stamped her little foot, glowered out of the card at her audience and said “Get Over It!” That’s a little like I feel when I hear an author complain about Amazon. Not that I don’t understand their complaints, even sometimes agree with them. What worries me is that sometimes these authors resort to boycotting Amazon which leads to their selling their books out of their garages…or worse. Though what you might have heard about Amazon may be true, but we authors still need to take the advice of Pipi’s look-alike and “get over it.” For the good of our books. If you are one of those authors, here’s why Amazon is good for your book and by extension, good for your peace of mind, and, yes, good for your book sales

 

1.     Amazon sells far and away more books than any other online 
bookstore. And far and away more books than all traditional bookstores in the US combined.

2.     Amazon provides easily accessed associate sites from Japan to the UK that let you sell your books overseas—even if you haven’t sold foreign rights to your book.

3.     Amazon provides a search engine arguably second only to Google’s—especially if you view this statistic from the standpoint of an author or publisher. Your prospective reader can find you by typing your name, title, or important key words like your genre into the search window.

4.     Promotion packages like Amazon’s Vine Program are available for getting reviewed by their top reviewers. Some are free, some are costly, but they all work.

5.     Amazon offers an author profile. You can even feed your blog and Twitter stream to it and so your readers know more about you instantly. If you don’t have a profile page, go to AuthorCentral.com and explore how you can add all your books to it and a knock-out biography, too.

 

Tip: I include a shortened URL in my e-mail signature that takes my contacts directly to my Amazon author profile.

 

6.     Amazon offers all kinds of ways to promote your book on a dedicated buy page where your readers get to buy your book, often with one click. That page includes:

o    Add-on features that let you highlight your credentials by choosing the best categories and subcategories for Amazon’s logarithms to find and rate your sales numbers against other similar books. (To make the most of these, the author must promote bestselling ratings when they achieve them—perhaps on Twitter.)

o    A new feature is available on your Kindle buy page. It is called “Amazon Plus.” Either the author of a book or its publisher may add five enticing quotations from your book and illustrate each with an arresting image of your choice for entry. Find the A+ entries my publisher (Modern History Press) added for the Kindle version of The Frugal Editor or any of the other books in my HowToDoItFrugally series to get ideas for your own book(s). (It works equally well for books of fiction.)

o    There is a place on your buy page to install an author- or book- related video.

o    The “What other customers buy after they’ve reviewed this item…” feature may feel uncomfortably competitive, but it connects your book to other top sellers on Amazon as well as others’ books to yours.

 

7.   7.  Amazon’s Kindle Select marketing program is free if you can see your way to committing your book as an Amazon exclusive for ninety days. After that period is up, you can publish at Smashwords or anywhere else you want to and you can make marketing hay with the Select program when your book is released.

8.    8. Amazon offers an annual contest for e-books in partnership with some of the biggest names in publishing.

9.   9.  When you publish new editions, Amazon offers a widget (gadget) for your backlist book’s buy page that directs readers to your new editions. See how one leads you from the second edition of my The Frugal Editorto the new third edition at my buy page. (Find it a little below the title of the book at the top of the page.

 

Tip: You may enter some typical “back of the book” features on your buy page yourself. That includes the more about the author, your favorite review, and more. Do watch this important page for changes. Amazon adds features to it and also taketh away. (It’s also the place that lists your book sales ratings. 

 

Don’t Forget: When your book becomes a bestseller in the ratings (or highly rated in its genre!) that news can become highly convincing marketing material for your book. You’ll find a screen shot of one of the ratings Modern History Press recently made for me during the release of the third edition of The Frugal Editor at the top of this blog page.

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About the Guest Blogger

 



Cover image supplied by Amazon on their new Series Page

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent contributor to this #WritersontheMove blog. Her The Frugal Editorwas just released in its third edition from Modern History Press. It is the second multi award-winning book in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. Find it on Amazon in paper, hard cover, or as an e-book at the new Amazon page especially for series . (That’s a new Amazon feature, too!) This new edition has been fully updated including a chapter on how backmatter can be extended to both help readers and jumpstart book sales.

If you liked this post, you’ll find more on marketing books in the third edition of Carolyn’s The Frugal Book Promoterthe flagship book in her how-to series for writers.

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