Wednesday, November 05, 2008


What are you doing to promote your book?

I'm sure many of you have seen this before, but it's always good for a chuckle. So grab some popcorn and enjoy the flick! And remember: don't let this happen to you!

Moral of the story: start promoting your book now.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Red Hot Internet Publicity

Book Marketing for Authors

If you’re ready to make your foray into the 'Net, here are some easy ways you can access your success online.

1) Forget about getting a web site: get an online brochure that sells books. I think one of the biggest problems with web sites is that people think they need to be fancy and colorful and most of all: complicated. While color on a site is not a bad thing, don’t let the design of the web site mar its effectiveness. The best web sites are often the most drab. Let’s take a look at two very successful sites: Google and Craig’s List. Now we all know about the Google site, but have you looked at the Craig’s List site recently? It’s quite possibly one of the worst looking sites in history, but you know what? It does the job and it does it very well. That’s the key: a site needs to do the job and do it well, if that means having a chartreuse web page then that’s what it means.

2) Social networking: you may hate real-time networking, but don’t miss the boat with your online efforts. Sites like MySpace, Eons, Gather and Linkedin are all fantastic places to network *and* they’re additional portals to your book, product, or message. You can be on one or all of these sites, it just depends on how aggressive a marketer you want to be.

3) Craig’s List as a promotional tool: have you ever tried driving traffic to your site from Craig’s List? If you haven’t, you should. Craig’s List is a unique promotional tool and while it can have an impact on your promotion, you need to use it with care. Take a peek at the sight and start reading some of the other ads and blurbs that make the cut. Posting to this site requires a certain casual, maybe even campy language approach. And keep this in mind: Craig’s List is very anti-sale so whatever you do, offer help, a solution, or some other freebie, but don’t sell. Using a loss-leader to get people to your site is often a great idea when it comes to Craig’s List promotion.

4) Article syndication: Online article syndication is the way to go to maximize your online exposure. The thing is, a year ago we were telling you to load your articles onto as many syndication sites as you could - one hundred or more was even better. How has that changed? Well, now loading your articles on more than five sites could be the kiss of death and get your articles sent into oblivion instead of getting exposure.

5) Are you social bookmarking? Here’s how it works: Social bookmarking allows you to generate high quality backlinks to your sites and promote your web presence.

Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are: Technorati,, Flickr. In its simplest form, social bookmarking is the collective act of bookmarking (tagging) and sharing Internet links and resources. By sharing, of course we mean promoting. There are different types of social bookmarking services – you can upload, store, bookmark (tag) and share photos, news stories, links. So how does it work? Let’s say you have a book web site that you like, using one of the social bookmarking services like you can assign that webpage a tag and put it up on your page, which can be accessed by anyone. Your page can be used for promotion or to create a resource page or customers. You can also share your page with other people and have them link to it, or put links to your new web sites on your page to get inbound links.

6) Got a blog? Then try adding your blog to Blogburst. Access to this site could get your blog entries picked up by Reuters, the Associated Press, and USA Today online.

Getting on the 'Net doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be effective. Using tools (most of them free) can really drive some traffic to your site and interest to your book. Remember that when it comes to Internet marketing, more isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just more. It's easy to get lost in the noise of the 'Net, but the simplest way to bypass the clutter is to stay on message and connect with sites that have good ranking. Why? Because their ranking is your ranking, if you’re getting listed on a high traffic site, guess what? Sooner or later that traffic could find its way to you.


Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Daily Life Creates Opportunities for Self-Promotion

When running daily errands, the people we connect with may have more impact than you think.

A recent example:

I went to the bank and met a new teller I hadn’t seen before. She motioned me to her window, jet-black hair and a grim look on her face, obviously unnerved by the day’s tediousness.
“Can I help you?” She didn’t even look at me as I set the check on the counter; I smiled awaiting her gaze. When I didn’t speak, she looked up. “I’d like to deposit this into the WOW! account,” I said.
“The... Wow?” She met my eyes and smiled, obviously intrigued.
“Yeah, my biz.” I pushed the deposit slip across the smooth tabletop.
Glancing down at the thin white flake, then up at me again, she asked, “What is it that you do?” A glimmer shot across the green flecks in her eyes.
“Oh, we have a website for women writers and readers—
“Really! I’m an avid reader,” she blurted. “You know what I like to read?” Her eyes darted from side to side, as if reading was taboo to her manager and job description. “Chick Lit...” she whispered.
“Oh, one of my favorite genres!” I went on to tell her about all the authors we’ve interviewed and slipped her a card. “If you’re ever online...”

Now she’s an avid fan and subscribes to our newsletter. It’s amazing how the people you meet in everyday life does wonders for promotion.

When you’re excited about what you do, it comes naturally. A trip to the local liquor store garnered a business proposition. The owner felt my excitement and wanted to invest in our company.

Now, of course, you shouldn’t take every offer, but you should feel some satisfaction in the fact that others are interested in what you are promoting. Simply gaining their interest means you have what it takes to make your product (or yourself) sell.

Let’s put this into a writer’s perspective. Throughout your day, how many places do you frequent? What relationships have you garnered in your day-to-day life? It doesn’t matter that these people are out of your idea of what book promotion should be. Everybody reads something, whether online, the news, a telephone book, or a candy wrapper... it doesn’t really matter because it’s all about human relations.

The more people you share yourself with in your daily life, the more prosperous you will become. It’s a simple fact that I can’t stress more.

Q: What are your daily errands?

Q: How many people in your daily life/errands do you actually share your writing career with?

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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 (
Information is also available at


5 PM
WHERE: James West Alumni Center on the UCLA Campus

Visit Carolyn and learn more about the consulting and strategies panel at -- click on the link to find out more.

Hope to see you there!

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Friday, March 23, 2007


Brief Anatomy of a Press Release

A Press Release can be anything from a simple ad for your website, company, product or service. Basically, in writer's terms, it's a short newsworthy blurb of a couple paragraphs or more. Like a flash fiction contest, you're going to have to trim the filler to get to the main course -- a scrumptious, bite-sized piece that's easy to digest. So, let's examine the ingredients:

Headline (Title):
A short, snappy, relevant headline that grabs the reader's attention.

A brief paragraph, or blurb that tells a story at a glance and makes the reader want to dive in.

This is the content of your press release -- the main course. The points you want your reader to digest, eat up, and have an appetite for more! The sole purpose of the content is to attract an editor's attention (much like a query). Keep it succinct. Don't ramble. Your goal is to garner a feature article, story, or simply get an editor to publish your material. (Note: most press releases -- even web -- have the city and state listed first, then the date of the release.)

Contact Info:
How should an editor contact you if they wish to acquire additional information? That's what you need to include here. Don't forget your name, email, and website address! (Note: This information can be placed before the headline, or afterward)


Here's an example of a Press Release that Beryl wrote for our current issue:


Beryl Hall Bray and Angela Miyuki Mackintosh
Editors, WOW! Women On Writing

An Extraordinary Find for the Literate

Summary: Enjoy and explore the wonderful world of publishing, access rare, important interviews with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, Ann Moore/Time Inc., Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins and other informative articles.

Anaheim, CA -- March 5, 2007 -- Everyone from NY publishers, through editors, agents, and authors on to readers will unearth something of interest in the latest issue of WOW! Women On Writing? Why? Because The Big House issue has rare interviews with three of the top women in the publishing world, giving us insights into the empire affecting the very books on booksellers’ shelves--that feed our hearts and minds.

These articles afford us an unexpected glimpse into remarkable, professional, successful women who garner the cream of the crop in the literary world: Ann Moore/Time Inc., Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, and Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins.

But, there is more. The feature Deconstructing the Big House was meticulously researched--clearly laying out how the big six publishing entities are set up. It makes it easy to identify the niches, the specialties, of various publishers, within the hierarchies.

This article describes the big houses, Who they are, What they own, Where they are located, When they merged, and Why they do what they do. The Big Six List contains tons of useful links for aspiring authors and readers who wish to discover different publishers to locate more of their favorite genre.

WOW! has been consistent in interviewing award-winning notables from the world of writing, while becoming a showcase for up and coming new talent. The three interviews, the overview of the Big House, other articles and columns make this an excellent resource for learning more about your literary world.



  • Include a compelling, but relevant headline
  • Keep it brief
  • Don't make any wild claims or exaggerations
  • Don't send out a press release just because you want to create traffic -- make sure that you have interesting material to submit to the press
  • Keep it under 500 words
  • Proof read
  • For web -- include links back to your website within the press release body if appropriate, and of course, in your contact details.
Including your link within your press release body and contact details will help you get picked up by search engines when submitting to press release distribution services. This is a handy way of creating internet buzz!

For your reference, here are some free press release sites:
(Note: some require a sign-up)

**We do not endorse these sites, but provide them for informational purposes only. Please read all of their guidelines and terms before submitting.

These sites provide great general press release distribution, but for specific content, such as advertising your book, new writer's website, or writing service, we suggest that you submit directly to publications that you wish to garner interviews, buzz, or articles with. Targeting your PR is much more effective. Just be sure to make your press release enticing, as you would a query, and you'll be sure to get some well-earned buzz. Good luck!

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


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


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, 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.


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 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 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:

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