Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book about book promoting is now bigger and better

Carolyn Howard-Johnson (www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com) is an award-winning author and a former publicist. With a last name that makes me keep thinking about fried clam strips and ice cream, Carolyn serves up a large portion of useful info and advice. Her book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t was one of the first books I bought when I started self publishing in 2008, and it has been extremely useful.

It has just been updated with a new subtitle ("How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher") that recognizes self-publishing, and it has been expanded to include simple ways to promote books using newer technology. I bought the new book a few days ago and recommend it highly. It can empower you to give your book the best possible start in life.

Book promotion has changed tremendously since publication of the first "Frugal" in 2004, particularly because of the web, e-books and the growing acceptance of self-published books. So, this new edition includes lots of information on ways to promote that were not around or were in their infancy a few years ago.

Here's some of what's new: (1) The Second Edition has been reorganized. (2) It's much bigger -- so it can be much more helpful. (3) Updates on writers’ conferences, getting reviews, book fairs and trade shows; media releases, query letters and media kits; working with a professional publicist; "backdoor methods" of getting reviews -- even long after a book has been published (4) Online bookstores (5) Blogging (6) Social networks (7) Avoiding scam-traps

"Frugal" shows you how to promote your book with powerful but inexpensive or even free publicity. Carolyn points out important publicity possibilities that you may not think of, like reviewing other authors’ books.

The promotional tips are not just theory -- they come from Carolyn’s own successful book campaigns. Several ideas will certainly be right for you and your book.


Most new writers have much more time than money, and this book can help you achieve big-buck results with minimum use of your credit cards -- and no federal bailout. “Frugal” belongs on every author’s shelf, whether you are an independent self-publisher, are using a self-publishing company or a traditional publisher.

Here are some of Carolyn’s tips:
  • Read, read, read: Even your junk mail can be useful. My daughter found a flier from the local library in the Sunday paper stuffed between grocery coupons. It mentioned a display done by a local merchant in the library window. My book was displayed in their lobby and I became a seminar speaker for their author series. Rubbish (even spam email) can be valuable.
  • Keep an open mind for promotion ideas: Look at the different themes in your book. There are angles you can exploit when you’re talking to editors. My book, This is the Place is romantic and set in Salt Lake City, the site where the winter Olympic games were played in 2002. I found sports desks and feature editors open to it as Olympics fervor grew, and even as it waned.
  • Etiquette counts: Send thank-you notes to contacts after they’ve featured you or your book. This happens so rarely they are sure to be impressed and to pay attention to the next idea you have, even if it’s just a listing in a calendar for your next book signing.
  • Publicize who you are, what you do: Reviews aren’t the only way to go. Think of angles for human interest stories, not only about your book but about you as its author. Are you very young? Is writing a book a new endeavor for you? Several editors have liked the idea that I wrote my first book at an age when most are thinking of retiring, that I think of myself as an example of the fact that it is never too late to follow a dream.
  • Develop new activities to publicize: Don’t do just book signings. Use your imagination for a spectacular launch. Get charities involved. Think in terms of ways to help your community.
  • Frequency is important: The editor who ignores your first release may pay more attention to your second or 25th. She will come to view you as a source and call you when she needs to quote an expert. This can work for novels as well as nonfiction. Publicity is like planting bulbs. It proliferates even when you aren’t trying.
Even if you are lucky enough to have a huge promotion budget and don't need to be frugal, Carolyn has important advice and information for you. Buy the book.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, Michael. I'm so glad the first edition helped you. I know it has helped many, but I am still especially proud of the second edition. We all should learn something as time passes, right? (-:
    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging writers' resources at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

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