Sunday, December 21, 2008

 

On Gremlins, Making Mistakes, and Compassion

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Oh, how easy it is to make a mistake. Oh how easy it is not to see it in your own material—even if you are a great editor of others' material.

Often times the mistake involves a word that is spelled differently but pronounced the same. And often the author does know the difference between the spelling of the two. It's just those gremlins that The Frugal Editor is making famous get to us. Maybe we're typing too fast or maybe our brains are in another zone or... but the gremlins will get us—both you and me. Here's an example of how one got me.

I try to take a poetry class once a year. Because I'm an instructor, UCLA Extension Writers' Program gives me one class a year at no charge. It's one of the perks they offer and a great way for them to be sure that their instructors continue to get educated—and at least one of us (me) needs it. So I finished the first draft of my poem. Checked it (well, OK, checked it perfunctorily). I printed out copies so everyone in class would have a critique copy. Stuck the copies into my tote marked "Poetry," and took off for class. Couldn't be late!

When it was my turn to share my poem for critique, I passed out the copies and began to read. There (in the title!) was the word "peer." I meant "pier."

"Oh, gawd," I said. "Make that "pier, p-i-e-r." It was especially awful for me because I am an editor and because I wrote The Frugal Editor. Fine example I had set. What would my classmates think of my abilities? Could I possibly do anything worse to undermine my own credibility?

But here is the most important part. Everyone just nodded and chortled. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to editors, to teachers, to university instructors, to plain-old-everyday writers. The gremlins can hit at any time for any reason.

I thought maybe you'd like to see the poem. Here it is (with the spelling right!):

Death by Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier

From her seat in the gondola. A woman
who might be me, watches roller

bladers with supple bones and toddlers with careless
balloons Far, far down on the pier. She opens

the doors—mini saloon doors of purple—or
she crawls over acrylic barriers. Either way

she hesitates a moment. The lurch
of the wheel as it stops at the top finishes

the job. No scream. Even the plane floating
a campaign trail of plastic behind it, silent. Soundless

waves, too, that far up. She floats as if posing
for her close-up, delicate fingers, poised toes,

her red sunhat a Frisbee against
sky of pulled taffy clouds on blue.

Sea like scallops of Alençon lace below,
sand stretched away toward the Palisades,

the smell of sugary churros her last sensation.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson ©

By the way. I didn't flunk my class, either.

The lesson here, Aesop fashion, is that because the gremlins are always at work, people will make mistakes. It will happen to you and it will happen to me. Best not get critical and point fingers. Your day is nigh!

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits fiction and poetry, is an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program and the author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is edits a newsletter the includes tips galore on everything from editing to branding. Subscribe by sending an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to hojonews@aol.com. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Click on the Newsletter and Blog tab at the top of the home page.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

 

The Muse Online Conference

By Jill Earl

Want to attend a writers’ conference but don’t have a clue where the money’s coming from or how to schedule the time? Don’t throw in the towel, because The Muse Online Conference might be just what you’re looking for!

The conference is the brainchild of co-founders Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard-Johnson and debuted in 2006, offering writers the opportunity to interact with peers and professionals in the writing business, while developing and enhancing their skills. All for free!

This year’s conference will be held October 13-19, and the selection of virtual workshops and real-time chats cover topics ranging from starting a writing career to marketing techniques, and everything else in between. So, you’re sure to find a session (or two) to fit your interests. In addition, attendees can participate in the Virtual Conference Hall, where they can ask questions in any or all of the workshop forum rooms. There’s even a farewell party on the last night of the conference!

I attended the conference for the first time in 2007, and although I couldn’t take the week off, I could easily return where I left off since it was online. I’m still benefiting from the quality information I received and couldn’t wait to sign up for this year’s event!

You’ll need to be quick about registering for the 2008 Muse Conference, because the deadline is September 1. Head over to: http://www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com

Maybe we’ll ‘bump’ into each other in the Conference Hall!

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Friday, October 05, 2007

 

Media Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
E-mail: HoJoNews@aol.com
Or Publicist at www.redenginepress.com
ISBN: 9780978515874
Publisher: Red Engine Press
Wholesaler: Baker & Taylor
Release Date: October 1, 2007

Editor/Author/Publicist Newest Book Reaches Amazon's Top Ten in PreSales

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward To Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success reached the top ten in its category (editing) on Amazon in presale efforts.

The Frugal Editor is the second in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers after The Frugal Editor: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't which is a USA Book News Best Professional Book and Irwin Award Winner. The Frugal Editor helps writers jigger their computers to work with them instead of against them to produce everything from picture-perfect query letters to full manuscripts. It also includes advice from 20 of the nation's top agents on how to avoid appearing like an amateur and a appendices that include contact information for those agents.

The Frugal Editor will foil the gremlins out there determined to keep authors' works from being published, their books from being promoted. They—resolved to embarrass writers before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for them—lurk in their subconscious minds and the depths of their computer programs. With the release of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s The Frugal Editor writers can take control of their own futures—from first query letter to final galley.

This new how-to book is second in the How To Do It Frugally Series, accessible at http://howtodoitfrugally.com.

The author says, "This series is the result of a combination of experience gained through trial and error in promoting my own literary works and my professional experience in marketing, PR, journalism, editing and publishing in general."

Howard-Johnson in an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California legislature. In addition to dozens of literary awards and honors, she was also honored by her city's Ethics Committee and the Pasadena Weekly. She was also recently named outstanding woman by American Business Women's Association.

The Frugal Editor is available for pre-orders at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Frugal-Editor-forward-humiliation-success/dp/0978515870/). Its official release was October 1, 2007

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Support materials available on request.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

 

MEDIA ADVISORY--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Valerie L. Coleman
937.307.0760
info@penofthewriter.com

Dayton's Pen To Paper Literary Symposium Features
Editing/Marketing Expert Carolyn Howard-Johnson


(Dayton, OH) – Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be one of the internationally known authors featured at the fourth annual Pen To Paper Literary Symposium, sponsored by the Mark Baker Foundation and Pen of the Writer in Dayton, Ohio.

Valerie Coleman, symposium coordinator says, “The Pen To Paper Literary Symposium provides a wealth of information on the art of and business of writing. “Attendees gain insight from mainstream and self-published authors, editors, agents and an attorney. This year we’ve expanded the symposium to include sessions for music and screen writing.” It will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2007 at the Dayton Urban League (www.daytonurbanleague.com ), 907 West Fifth Street. Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program, will share her expertise on effective marketing techniques both in the editing of a book and its promotion. She is the author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't which won USA Book News' Best Professional Book 2004 and the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award and the newly-released the Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She was also named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature.

Victoria Christopher Murray (www.VictoriaChristopherMurray.com), an Essence bestselling author of six novels including A Sin and a Shame, Temptation and The Ex Files is also featured.

The symposium includes an Author Showcase on Friday, October 5, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at Sinclair’s Ponitz Center. Aspiring writers, book clubs, avid readers and the public are invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, an on-site bookstore, and products and services from local businesses. There they can also meet and greet the contributing authors to the anthology Tainted Mirror and enjoy live music performances by Dayton’s own Tonya Baker (www.TonyaBaker.com), Christopher(www.MySpace.com/SpiritualRealSoul) and Deron Bell (www.DeronBell.com). A portion of the $10 admission goes to scholarships for students of the Passionate Pens program and Mark Baker Foundation (www.MarkBakerFoundation.org).

Pen of the Writer is a publishing company founded by Dayton native, Valerie L. Coleman. It assists aspiring writers and authors through the process of publishing. For complete agenda and conference registration fees, contact Valerie Coleman at 937.307.0760, info@penofthewriter.com or visit www.PenoftheWriter.com/pentopaper.



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(A media kit, pictures and other support materials for the conference are available upon request at PenoftheWriter.com/media and for Carolyn Howard-Johnson on the Media Room page at www.howtodoitfrugally.com or upon request at HoJoNews@aol.com).

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Helps UCLA Play the Career Game!

Yup! It's true...

Veteran publicist and promotion how-to author Carolyn Howard-Johnson will teach UCLA students winning plays for their budding careers. Students will play The Career Game during Career Week 2007, April 9-13. Howard-Johnson will appear on Tuesday April 10 at 5 pm at the James West Alumni Center on campus.

Students will learn to develop special strategies through one-of-a-kind workshops and meetings with presenters from various industries. Career themes will be played around the themes of traditional games including Scrabble, Sudoku and Pictionary!

We all know and love author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, but did you know she was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment? It's true, the 43rd and 44th District of the California Legislature gave her that well-deserved title for her first novel, This is the Place, and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, which are both award winners.

Carolyn's fiction, nonfiction, and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She consults on publishing and promotion and is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program where she will be teaching a course called "Savvy Marketing for New Authors"-- April 14. Her book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T was USA Book News' Best Professional Book and an Irwin Award winner. Her THE FRUGAL EDITOR will be released this spring.

Howard-Johnson may be reached at (HoJoNews@aol.com)
Information is also available at http://www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

CAROLYN'S EVENT:

WHEN:
TUESDAY APRIL 10TH
TIME:
5 PM
WHERE: James West Alumni Center on the UCLA Campus

Visit Carolyn and learn more about the consulting and strategies panel at http://career.ucla.edu/cw7/ -- click on the link to find out more.

Hope to see you there!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

 

Award-Winning Author Center Ring at Book Expo America!

Who's going to BEA? I'll tell you who!

Our friend and Award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be at the Biblio Booth at Javits Center in New York City at 1 pm Friday, June 1, signing her new Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

The Frugal Editor is the second in the author's HowToDoItFrugally series after The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't. She has a new website to support the launch of this new book. The HowToDoItFrugally.com site features the author, her literary work and how-to books, but it is also designed to give both readers and writers information they want and need.

The Frugal Editor was written, Howard-Johnson says, because "there are gremlins out there determined to keep authors' work from being published, our books from being promoted. They resolve to embarrass us before gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for us. They lurk in out subconscious and the depths of our computer programs." The Frugal Editor will help writers of every ilk present whistle-clean copy (whether it's a one-page cover letter or an entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say "Yea" or "Nay."

Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the 43rd and 44th District of the California Legislature. Her first novel, This is the Place, and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, are both multiple award winners. She speaks frequently, is an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

The author's first book in the HowToDoItFrugally series was named USA Book News' Best Professional Book and given the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award.

At the famous Book Expo America where the publishing industry convenes at different cities throughout the nation in different years, Howard-Johnson will sign and give her copies of her new release to publishing professionals.

Howard-Johnson is the founder of Authors' Coalition

She has also been featured on WOW! in our Inspiration Column - a perfect place for Carolyn Howard-Johnson to be!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Launches New Website

Award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson presents her new website just in time for the launch of her new book, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. The HowToDoItFrugally site features the author, her literary work and how-to books, but it is also designed to give both readers and writers information they want and need.

Of particular interest to the editors of websites, blogs, e-zines and newsletters is the "Free Articles 4 Writers and Editors" page where Howard-Johnson regularly posts articles on writing, book reviews, and essays. General readers will appreciate the "Links for Readers" page that not only lists books by category but also websites that specialize in reviews to help readers select their reading and reference materials. A similar page for writers lists resources writers need for everything from tekky stuff to book promotion to writers' conferences and tradeshows.

Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment this year by the 43rd and 44th District of the California Legislature Her first novel, This is the Place, and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, are both multiple award winners. She speaks frequently, is an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

The author's first book The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't is the first in the HowToDoItFrugally series. It was named USA Book News' Best Professional Book and given the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award.

On www.HowToDoItFrugally.com visitors will find a media room, downloadable media kits and even information on Authors' Coalition, an organization the author founded.

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To read one of Carolyn's articles we featured on WOW! CLICK HERE

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

 

New Math Adds Up To FREE Publicity


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

An excerpt from THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER:
HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T


The new math for free publicity is: E-book + E-gift = Promotion. Oops. Error. Make the answer FREE promotion!

There are three magical concepts to this e-book formula:

1. Accidental
2. Free
3. E-book.

My best promotion ever, a free e-book called COOKING BY THE BOOK, accidentally fell into my lap and it uses all three. I’ll share more about these three promotional potions a bit later.

COOKING BY THE BOOK began when more than two dozen authors from several countries contributed to a book that would be given away free to anyone—as a gift of appreciation to the support teams it takes to write and market a book and to the legions of readers who cook but were probably never exposed to our books. Each invited author had written at least one kitchen scene in his book. Each segment of the cookbook begins with an excerpt from that scene, the recipe comes next and that is followed by a short blurb about the author..

This cookbook e-tool is a cross-pollinator. Each contributing author was to publicize it any way she chose. Participants promised to promote it and not to charge for it. That way each contributor benefited from the efforts, the lists, and the contacts of the other authors. We had some superior promoters among us:

• Most of us set up a page on our websites.
• Contributor Peggy Hazelwood promoted it in her newsletter for book lovers.
• Mary Emma Allen featured it in the columns she writers for New Hampshire dailies, The Citizen and The Union Leader.
• David Leonhardt, ( the happy guy ) author of CLIMB YOUR STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, incorporated the cookbook into a Happiness Game Show he uses in his presentations.
• We gave away coupons for this book at our signings. Because it costs nothing, it can be given to everyone, not just those who purchase a book.
• I use them as thank yous to people who visit my site.
• Some include information on these freebies on the back of business cards and bookmarks.
• I query site editors whenever I run across another place that seems as if our CB Book would interest their audience.

Reviewer JayCe Crawford said, “For a foodie-cum-fiction-freak like me, this cookbook is a dream come true.” That review has popped up in places we didn’t know existed.

Our most startling success came from sources we had no connection to. It was featured in Joan Stewart’s The Publicity Hound, in Writer’s Weekly, on MyShelf.com, in the iUniverse newsletter and more. I had the highest rate of interest I’d ever had when I queried radio stations for interviews and that was in competition with a pitch for THIS IS THE PLACE just before the 2002 games in Salt Lake City and an intolerance angle on the same novel right after 9/11.

Wait, we're not through yet. Mother's day invites us to repeat our publicity blitzes every year, because -- if you haven’t noticed -- mothers tend to do lots of cooking. This book was so successful I collaborated with Sarah Mankowski on a similar one called SEASONED GREETINGS for holiday promotional blitzes.

Back to those three magic words:

1. Accidental: I don’t take credit for knowing a good thing when I saw it. What I learned from this experience is to never dismiss something that is placed on your desk without careful consideration-- even if it seems vaguely hokey. I nearly did just that. “E-book indeed,” I said to myself. I was worried that association with this concept might taint my literary works. Hubris can be very self-defeating.

2. Free: This charmed word convinced editors to offer our cookbook as a freebie to their readers. Usually the contributing author who pitched it was privileged with their own promotional site’s URL being used as a link but when some editors chose to place the entire cookbook download on their own sites, we all benefited just the same.

3. E-book: An e-book is easy for readers to obtain. The author need not budget for postage or processing expenses. In the invitations, queries, and releases I sent out, I emphasized a no strings attached attack: I assured everyone that they would not be expected to register to the site, sign up for a newsletter nor purchase a thing. The E-book concept is also important because—though it may not be new to you and me—the media is still infatuated with it.

Here is a fourth magic word. Cookbook. It has universal appeal. You might find something else that works better for you. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar utilizing the subject of genealogy because my novel is based on the stories of my own ancestors--four generations of them. It is not necessary that the freebie be knitted to your primary title; you may benefit by a theme that reaches out, draws in those who might not otherwise be exposed to your work. Your idea may appeal to a narrower audience but niche markets work, too. Everyone loves something that is FREE.

COOKING BY THE BOOK and my other e-books (check out several at my site or at authorscoalitionandredenginepress) are like hospitality gifts. Only better. That's because they promote not only my work, but that of others. Those who are interested in how these work can download a sample at carolynhoward-johnson.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the award-winning This is the Place, Harkening, and Tracings. She is also the author of the How To Do It Frugally series including The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, the winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book 2004 and the Irwin Award and the soon-to-be-released The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Frugal is available in a full 248 p. e-book format at and in paperback at www.Amazon.com. The author was honored by members of the California Legislature as Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment and was named outstanding woman of the San Gabriel Valley in California for her "literary activism" by the Pasadena Weekly. She is the founder of Authors' Coalition http://authorscoalitionandredenginepress.com. Find the subject of this article, Cooking by the Book, along with other cookbooks and a book of inspiration for writers FREE at this URL: http://carolynhoward-johnson.com.

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