Give the Gift of Poetry this Christmas

In keeping with the gift-giving this season, I’d like to offer a gift of poetry to all of you!

Multi award-winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball figure nothing is more meaningful at any holiday than a poem—a real poem, not sing-songy impersonal verse from the shelves of card shops. They also noticed that many folks remember many people they forgot when it may be too late.

Ta Da! We  are offering you our “rational” Christmas chapbook to procrastinators free. Enter the KDP Select free e-book feature. All you do is go to http://amzn.to/BloomingRedKind on Dec. 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 and click.

Anyone can send it free to anyone they’d like to have a thoughtful—and fast—Christmas gift with a click of a mouse (no not the same mouse that’s in “The Night Before Christmas” poem!). Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational was honored by the Military Writers Society of America and USA Book News award.

It’s a mini gift and greeting card in one!

Blooming Red includes Magdalena’s science-inspired and Carolyn’s nostalgic poetry. It also includes some humorous poems for fair measure.

Magdalena Ball runs the highly respected CompulsiveReader.com review site.  She is the author of the poetry book Repulsion Thrust, which was published to unanimous 5-star reviews.  Her novel Sleep Before Evening was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Her latest novel, Black Cow, has been called “an intelligent, deeply reflective novel of our time.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s poetry appears frequently in review journals. She is listed in Poets & Writers and her chapbook of poetry, Tracings , was given the Award of Excellence by the Military Writers Society of America and She Wore Emerald Then won its highest honor of gold. One of her poems recently won the Franklin Christoph Poetry Prize. She is also an award-winning novelist and short story writer and instructor for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

For more information on any of the chapbooks in the Celebration series, contact either of the authors, or visit media rooms at How to do it Frugally or Magadalena Ball’s website. To learn more about artist Vicki Thomas and to see her selections of her work, go to her website.

Book Sales Getting Musty?

Marketing is a big scary, challenging world to the newly published writer, and sometimes even to the multi-published author! Thanks to Carolyn for sharing her tips with us today.

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Adapted from the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter 

In the world of publishing as in life, persistence counts. Of course, there is no way to keep a book at the top of the charts forever, but if you keep reviving it, you might hold a classic in your hands. Or your marketing efforts for one book may propel your next one to greater heights.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen authors who measure their success by book sales give up on their book (and sometimes on writing) just about the time their careers are about ready to take off. I tell my students and clients to fight the it’s-too-late-urge.

Publicity is like the little waves you make when you toss pebbles into a lake. The waves travel, travel, travel and eventually come back to you. If you stop lobbing little stones, you lose momentum. It’s never too late and it’s never too early to promote. Rearrange your thinking. Marketing isn’t about a single book. It’s about building a career. And new books can build on the momentum created by an earlier book, if you keep the faith. Review the marketing ideas in this book, rearrange your schedule and priorities a bit, and keep at it.

Here are a few keep-at-it ideas from the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter:

  • Run a contest on your Web site, on Twitter, or in your newsletter. Use your books for prizes or get cross-promotion benefits by asking other authors for books; many will donate one to you in trade for the exposure. Watch the 99 Cent Stores for suitable favors to go with them.

Hint:Any promotion you do including a contest is more powerful when you call on your friends to tell their blog visitors or Facebook pals about it.

  • Barter your books or your services for exposure on other authors’ Web sites
  • Post your flier, brochure, or business card on bulletin boards everywhere: In grocery stores, coffee shops, Laundromats, car washes, and bookstores.
  • Offer classes in writing to your local high school, college, or library system. Publicizing them is easy and free. When appropriate, use your own book as suggested reading. The organization you are helping will pitch in by promoting your class. The network you build with them and your students is invaluable. Use this experience in your media kit to show you have teaching and presentation skills.
  • Slip automailers into each book you sell or give away for publicity. Automailers are envelopes that are pre-stamped, ready to go. Your auto mailer asks the recipient to recommend your book to someone else. Your mailer includes a brief synopsis of your book, a picture of the cover of your book, your book’s ISBN, ordering information, a couple of your most powerful blurbs, and a space for the reader to add her handwritten, personal recommendation. Make it clear in the directions that the reader should fill out the form, address the envelope, and mail it to a friend. You may offer a free gift for helping out, but don’t make getting the freebie too tough. Proof-of-purchase type schemes discourage your audience from participating.
  • Send notes to your friends and readers asking them to recommend your book to others. Or offer them a perk like free shipping, gift wrap, or small gift if they purchase your book for a friend. That’s an ideal way to use those contact lists you’ve been building.
  • While you’re working on the suggestion above, put on your thinking cap. What directories have you neglected to incorporate into your contact list? Have you joined any new groups since your book was published? Did you ask your grown children for lists of their friends? Did you include lists of old classmates?
  • Though it may be a bit more expensive than some ideas in this book, learn more about Google’s AdWords and AdSense and Facebook’s ad program. Many authors of niche nonfiction or fiction that can be identified with often-searched-for keywords find this advertising program effective.
  • Check out ad programs like Amazon’s Vine review service. You agree to provide a certain number of books to Amazon and pay them a fee for the service. Amazon arranges the reviews for you. It’s expensive, but it gets your book exposed to Amazon’s select cadre of reviewers who not only write reviews for your Amazon sales page but also may start (or restart!) a buzz about your book.
  • Some of your reviews (both others’ reviews of your book and reviews you’ve written about others’ books) have begun to age from disuse. Start posting them (with permission from the reviewer) on Web sites that allow you to do so. Check the guidelines for my free review service blog at TheNewBookReview.
  • Connect and reconnect. Start reading blogs and newsletters you once subscribed to again. Subscribe to a new one. Join a writers’ group or organization related to the subject of your book.=
  • Record a playful message about your book on your answering machine.
  • When you ship signed copies of your book, include a coupon for the purchase of another copy for a friend—signed and dedicated—or for one of your other books. Some distributors insert fliers or coupons into your books when they ship them for a fee.
  • Adjust the idea above to a cross-promotional effort with a friend who writes in the same genre as you. He puts a coupon for your book in his shipments; you do the same for him in yours.
  • Explore the opportunities for speaking on cruise ships. Many have cut back on the number of speakers they use, but your area of expertise may be perfect for one of them. I tried it, but found ship politics a drawback. Still many authors like Allyn Evans who holds top honors in Toastmasters and Erica Miner have used these venues successfully. For help with the application process from beginning to end, contact Daniel Hall at Speakers Cruise Free.

——

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for nearly a decade. Her marketing plan for the 2nd in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success  won the New Millennium Award for Marketing. She just issued the second edition (New! Expanded! Updated! And already an award-winner!) of The Frugal Book Promoter. Learn more about her at www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

Make the Most of Writers’ Conferences

I trust Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Frugal Book Promoter for promotion advice so today I’m helping her celebrate the release of the second edition and its recent availability for Kindle (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkProKindle) .  Here is a partial excerpt from the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter.

Writers’ Conferences Are More
Than Giant Writing Classes

 By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

A partial excerpt from the new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter

 Make the most of a conference by planning in advance. You want to treat a conference like a garden and bring home all the ripe stuff that suits your palate. That means you have to organize. This section will help you do that. Without it you won’t be able to glean the most from whatever conference you choose.

Your notebook—either the old-fashioned paper kind or the one you set up on your laptop— is key to getting the most from a conference:

  • Bring a seven-subject notebook. Divide the notebook into sections that match your goals. These might include: Agents, Publishers, Promotion, Writing, and Other Contacts. Leave one section open for a category that crops up after you arrive.
  • On each separator page tape a number ten envelope in which you slip business cards, bookmarks, mini notes to yourself, and small brochures. When you arrive home, part of your filing and sorting will be done.
  • Take blank mailing labels to make index tabs that stick out from the edge of your notebook.
  •  On the first night of the conference, clip and paste separate parts of the conference handouts into corresponding segments of your notebook.
  • At the back of your conference notebook make a directory section. Use the label index markers to delineate each one.

o   The first page is a name and address list for publishers. They should be listed in conference handouts but you may glean more from seminars. Star the ones you spoke to. Make notes. What have they published that is similar to your book? Jot down anything that will help them remember you when you write to them and mention your encounter. Query letters work best when you indicate you are familiar with the person or company being queried.

 Big Hint: When you talk to publishers always ask them what they do to promote their authors’ books. Pin them down to specifics.

 o   The second directory page is for fellow authors. Jot notes on them, too. It’s no fun to arrive home with a useless business card.

o   Ditto for agents and for conference planners. You may be surprised at how often you’ll refer to this page.

o   A page for “Other Resources” includes information on anything from other conferences to books you’d like to read.

o   Designate a few pages for writing ideas.

o   The final pages are for new promotion ideas.

Hint: Bring a small pouch of tools—I use one I received with an Estée Lauder gift-with-purchase. Toss into it color-coded pens, snub-nosed scissors (sharp ones may not get you through airport security), a small roll of cellophane tape, your index labels, paperclips, strong see-through packing tape, hammer, tacks, razor, ChapStick, hole puncher, breath mints, elastic bands, Band-Aids, and your personal medication. Don’t unpack this when you get home. You’ll need it in the future for other conferences, book signings, book fairs, and other promotional events.

You can use a conference to promote, too.

  • Some conferences offer tables where participants can leave promotional handouts for their books or services. Before you leave home, ask your conference coordinator how you might utilize this opportunity.
  • Ask the conference coordinator if they publish a newsletter or journal. If so, send the editor media releases as your career moves along.
  • Take your business cards to the conference.
  • If you have a published book, take your bookmarks to give to others. And even a few books. Authors tend not to forget to give their books to people who are in a position to recommend it.
  • If you have an area of expertise that would interest a conference director, introduce yourself. She may be busy, so keep your pitch very short and follow up later.
  • Think in terms of gathering endorsements for your book to use in the future. You are building a network.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of book for writers. Learn more about them at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. She also blogs writers’ resources at Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites pick www.SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com. Follow her tweets at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo. And that new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter? It just won a USA Book News award in its own right (for best business/writing book).

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books including the second edition honored by USA BOOK NEWS

The Frugal Book Promoter ( http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo ) :
E-mail: HoJoNews@aol.com
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/carolynhowardjohnson
Web site: http://www.HowToDoItFrugally.com

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